Gamefowl – Beautiful and Historically Important
Gamefowl have always intrigued me because they are beautiful and because they represent part of the history of poultry keeping. My fascination with these chickens started when I received Black Breasted Red Cubalayas in assortment order of chicks from Duane Urch. They were exciting to own because they were a very different bird from other meat and egg layers that we normally had.
Chicken fighting has been illegal in the US for many years, but there are still rooster fights happening here in the US and is still legal in many parts of the world. I do not condone the practice of rooster fighting. It is wrong but is very much a large part of poultry history and therefore I am interested.
It is also part of our present, because of the people raising these chickens as backyard poultry and because of the rooster fighting activity still going on in the United States. I am asked on a fairly regular basis about the breeds that we carry and about their fighting abilities. I tell them we do not sell or breed chickens for fighting purposes.
When rooster fighting became illegal many chicken breeders adapted and started breeding for exhibition purposes instead of for fighting. One of the most popular breeds in the American poultry shows are Old English Game Bantams which are too small to be a good fighting bird, they are a fancier’s dream. Also the Old English have been bred into having any color under the sun of OEGBs.
There is a United Gamefowl Breeders Association that has a 2011 Annual meeting, scholarships, and State chapters. I am not a member – yet. I have always wanted to become a member but haven’t because I want to be a member of EVERY poultry club and that would be expensive. Right now I am limiting my memberships until I can afford to support more. I also want to be able to dedicate enough time and energy to making a contribution to each organization that I am a member of before adding any more.
How do you feel about gamefowl? Are you attracted by their beauty and historical significance? Do you raise them for exhibition? What are your favorite traits in raising them?