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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Poultry Breeds - Old English Game Chickens

Poultry Breeds - Old English Game Chickens

Old English Game

Old English GameOrigin: The Old English Game is descended from ancient cock fighting birds, brought to Great Britain during the 1st century by the Romans. Cock fighting grew popular in Great Britain and spread throughout all rungs of the social ladder. Cock fighting was banned in 1849; however, many people still wanted a competition between chickens. This led to poultry shows were chickens, like the Old English Game, were judged on qualities other than fighting skills.

Characteristics: The Old English Game is an aggressive and noisy bird. It carries itself upright with the chest puffed out, making the bird look bigger. A small, tightly feathered bird, Old English Games are very hardy and extremely active. Old English have figured in the development of many other breeds. The mature cocks are known to be dubbed (have the comb and wattles removed) with a characteristic cut, however the practice of doing so is going out of fashion. Old English hens usually show broodiness but are so small and aggressive as well as defensive that they are not always the best choice as mothers. Old English are capable of considerable flight and may revert to a feral (wild) state in some areas. They are the domestic breed most like the wild jungle fowl in appearance.

Standard Weights: Cock: 5 lbs; Hen: 4 lbs; Cockerel: 4 lbs; Pullet: 3 ½ lbs


  • Black Breasted Red
  • Brown Red
  • Golden Duckwing
  • Silver Duckwing
  • Red Pyle
  • White
  • Black
  • Spangled

Skin Color: White

Egg Shell Color: White or light tint

Use: Old English Games are strictly an ornamental fowl.



Chicken Breeds and Varieties (A2880), John L. Skinner, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Lewis, Celia. "Breed Profiles: Old English Game (Carlisle and Oxford Types)." The Illustrated Guide to Chickens: How to Choose Them, How to Keep Them. New York: Skyhorse Pub., 2011. 124-25. Print.

"Old English Game Chicken." The Livestock Conservancy. The Livestock Conservancy, n.d. Web. 06 July 2015.


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Updated November 18, 1996


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