Old English Game Fowl Information
Old English Game Fowl are not birds for families or individuals with limited experience keeping poultry. Their aggressive tendencies and relatively poor egg production often deter people from this breed. However, this breed is highly regarded and appreciated amongst poultry enthusiasts who wish to own birds for moderate meat production, ornamental/show purposes, or to maintain the bloodline of this historic breed.
Moderate egg production
Good meat production
NOT family friendly
Cold climate hardy: Yes
Rare breed: Relatively common
Quantity: 3-4 eggs/hen/week
Old English Game Fowl are believed to be the first even breed developed in Britain. Until its abolishment in England, and Australia soon after, Old English Game was developed and used for cockfighting. Since the abolishment in the 1850s, the breed is still kept today by poultry enthusiasts, not for the purposes of fighting, but as an ornamental bird as well as a moderate meat producer. However, Old English Game Fowl are not a suitable breed for families or novice poultry keepers. The breed still maintains its genetic tendencies for aggression and is known to not only be territorial and fight other roosters should they encroach on their territory, but also peck and attack humans with their spurs. While the aggressive nature is maintained in hens to a lesser extent, this means that in addition to being very reliable brooders, they make highly protective mothers.
There are two varieties of the Old English Game Fowl breed that are recognised and display slightly different physical characteristics. The Oxford variety is known to stand more proudly upright; have an active nature; and a large, flowing tail. The Carlisle adopts a more horizontal posture and packs more muscle than the Oxford. Both varieties are relatively small in size and come in a variety of colours. The standard varieties weigh between 1.5-2.5kg (roosters ~ 2.3kg; hens ~1.7kg), while bantam varieties weigh 0.5-0.8kg. In terms of colours, there are over 30 different recognised varieties. The most common and popular varieties include white, black, spangled, brown red, black breasted red, dun, golden duckwing and red pyle.
It is recommended that only experienced poultry keepers consider Old English Game Fowl. It is important to make an informed decision when purchasing Old English Game Fowl as they are one of the most long-lived breeds, living up to 15 years of age in some cases. Furthermore, while they are appropriate birds in terms of meat production, they are not known for their egg production, producing only 150-180 medium white eggs a year. While roosters are more notably territorial and aggressive, even hens are noted to display aggressive tendencies. For this reason, roosters should be separated early in life and to avoid bullying, the breed should not be mixed with more docile breeds.