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 45Ã‚Âº 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 Ã‚Â¼ 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!
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