Uses: Originally Cock Fighting, now exhibition.
Eggs: 10-80 white / tinted depending on the breed.
Weights: From 0.5 Kg (Nankin Bantam) to 5Kg (Malay)
Colours: Mainly Light and Dark Red / Black but some White, Spangled and Pile.
Useful to Know: A gap between primary and secondary feathers (known as split wing) is often acceptable when showing Hard Feather breeds. Hard feather birds plumage should not be washed before showing or it will be spoilt. Many of these breeds have an in-bred desire to fight.
Photo: Yamato Gunkei, a rare Asian Hard Feather breed.
The Asian Hardfeather category includes breeds like Asil (or Aseel in the US), Nankin-Shamo Bantam, Malay, Ko-Shamo Bantam, Tuzo, Shamo, and Yamato-Gunkei. I have grouped the Asian Hard Feather breeds here until I can learn more about the individual breeds. These are breeds for the ‘specialist’.
‘Hard Feather’ birds are the game varieties together with the Asian Hard Feather birds.
Hard Feathered birds are named because their feathering is very tight, and they often don’t have many feathers, especially around the neck area.
The Malay is the tallest breed of chicken (shown right) and can reach up to 90cm tall, whilst the Ko Shamo has neck hackles that end before the bottom of the neck, and there is bare skin on the breast.
The Asil (that originated in India) is the oldest known of the Asian Hard Feather breeds. These are powerful, muscular birds that were purposefully bred for cock-fighting for over 2000 years. A serious defect in the UK Poultry Standard is ‘Lack of attitude’…need I say more?
The Asian Hardfeather Club was founded in 1999 to cover all the Asian Gamefowl breeds and has had a strong membership ever since.
Take care with males during the breeding season as some can be very aggressive.
The following books are available. Links take you to the Amazon or other sellers’ pages for the books.
- Popular Poultry Breeds – D. Scrivener – P.21, 119, 229
- Storey’s Guide to Poultry Breeds – C. Ekarius – P.74, 96, 100, 136
- British Poultry Standards – Various Pages
These are the breed clubs for Asian Hard Feather breeds:
- UK: The Asian Hardfeather Club: Julia Keeling (Secretary) 01624 801825