Old English Game Chickens

Breed Rating (17 reviews)



The Old English Game has been seen in Great Britain since the 19th Century and is a descendant of the ancient fighting cocks. The breed hasn't changed very much for over a thousand years. They were probably the first breed of chicken ever developed in Britain and have always been fighting birds. For fights, the comb and wattles were removed to give a more aggressive appearance and to prevent damage during fights. This was known as dubbing. Although cock fighting has been banned in this country since 1849 and many other countries, the breed is still popular amongst poultry fanciers as an ornamental fowl. The Old English Game Club split into two in the 1930s so there are now two types of Old English Game: The Carlisle and The Oxford. The Carlisle Old English Game has a horizontal back, a large breast and can be seen in 13 different colours while the Oxford Old English Game has a back at 45º to the ground and has 30 different colour varieties. They are small birds with a tightly feathered plumage. The head is small with a big, strong beak, single comb, small thin earlobes and wattles and large eyes. The wings are large and powerful and the legs are strong and short. They have four toes ending in long, curved nails. Because of their excellent muscle distribution, they make wonderful table bird. There is also a ¼ sized bantam.


The Old English Game hen lays well and makes an excellent, reliable brooder and a very protective mother. The chicks are slow to mature and possess the fighting nature from a very young age. They are generally calm birds but it is important to keep mature cocks apart as they will fight each other to the death if they are allowed to. They are hardy and vigorous birds and can be extremely active and very noisy! They make good foragers and like to be out free ranging as they don't really tolerate being confined due to their need to be active. They can fly to around 2 metres so care needs to be taken with boundaries. Cocks weigh around 5lbs while the hens are 4lbs. They are known for their longevity.


The Carlisle Old English Fowl can be seen in the following colours: black red (partridge), black red (wheaten), brown red, spangle, birchen or grey, golden duckwing, silver duckwing, blue red, blue tailed wheaten hen, crele, cuckoo, pyle and self white while the Oxford Old English Fowl can be found in these colours: black breasted dark red, black breasted red, shady or streaky breasted light red, black breasted silver duckwing, black breasted yellow duckwing, black breasted birchen duckwing, black breasted dark grey, clear mealy breasted mealy grey, brown breasted brown red, streaky breasted orange red, ginger breasted ginger red, dun breasted blue dun, streaky breasted red dun, yellow silver and honey dun, pyle, spangled, white, black, furness brassy back and polecat, cuckoo, brown breasted yellow birchen, hennie, muff and tassel!


Fairly common

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Latest Reviews For Old English Games (5 of 17)

  • 5 Star: 13 (13)
  • 4 Star: 2 (2)
  • 3 Star: 15 (2)
  • 2 Star: 2 (0)
  • 1 Star: 0 (0)
Average Rating:

           (Based on 17 reviews)

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           Most friendly chicken ever!

- Julie, 01 May 2013

I rescued one from a local farmers market before Christmas, i didnt know what she was at first, all i knew was that she is the friendliest chicken towards people that i've ever known. she lives indoors, being so tiny and such a good flyer i worry that she'll disappear over the rooftops. she does go outside everyday in a coop to mix with the other girls, but being a fighting breed, shes a little too feisty and does tend to go for them (even at 4x her size!). shes an absolute delight, a perfect pet in fact. i cant imagine my life without her :)


- Pusapati, 13 December 2012

Excellent game fowl

           Fantastic bird

- Diane, 19 October 2011

I was privileged to be given a couple of these birds. They are superb, lovely friendly birds. I will not have a flock without them now.


- Ashley, 30 May 2011

Active and attractive with lively individual characters, a wonderful addition to any flock, space is not an issue with this breed since they are just as happy to be roaming the average sized garden or around a farm. They make fantastic mothers and will happily raise their offspring with the flock and defend them to the death! Highly recommended and very addictive:) cant wait to purchase some more!

           Great Fowl

- Howard, 24 March 2011

The Old English is many things to many people and I see all sorts of debate as to which type is correct, Carlisle, Oxford etc. and all I can say is there are many breeds of poultry in the World, so pick the one that suits you. I personally prefer the American Old English Game because they have beautiful feathering and move like an athlete. America was the final filter for the best cocks, as it was the last Western Country where performance cocks were permitted and their records contain the history of the best fowl all heading there in the 1800's, when cock fighting became a thing of the past in England. My family actually imported their fowl from the United States in the 1800's and I still have the seals and returned Bank Notes due to a shortfall in fowl supplied. We have always had the Stone Irish and Warhorse. Lovely fowl and both strains essentially crow winged and are a pleasure to handle as they exude strength. I like the fact that they will stick up for themselves and have had pieces bitten out of me for getting too close to a hens chickens and have had the males shuffle into myself at head height for disturbing his hens and even suffered a broken finger from separating two cocks who got loose and decided on a dance. I like the fact that these strains are known as fiery and you don't have to worry too much about dogs or predators as they will attack anything that comes into their domain, which is fair enough. As I said, there are many breeds of fowl and I hear all sorts of debate about this or that. I know and everyone knows there are two types of Old English and I would add actually three. Carlisle, A Mark Marshall/Atkinson type and an Oxford type. Breed the type you enjoy and I think it will be a wonderful day when everyone sits down and respects the different types and get down to the type they enjoy.


Breeders Clubs for Old english games

Midland Old English Game Club (Oxford)

Tel: 0121 421 4610

Old English Game Club Carlisle

E-mail: joan.barry123@btinternet.com

Tel: 07816 382266

To view all chicken breed clubs click here.

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