Origin: Great Britain.
Eggs: 100-160 Tinted.
Bantam Cock: 620-740g, Hen: 510-620g.
Colours: Black-Red (partridge bred), Black-Red (Wheaten bred), Blue-Red, Blue-Tailed (Wheaten hen), Brown-Red, Crele, Cuckoo, Furness, Blue-Furness, Spangle, Silver Duckwing, Golden Duckwing, Blue Duckwing, Lemon Blue, Pile, Brassy-Backed Black, Brassy Backed Blue, Splashed, Ginger-Red, Blue-Grey, Self White, Self Black, Self Blue, Muffs and Tassels.
Photo: Old English Game Bantam Female.
Old English Game Bantams are a hard feather breed that originates in Great Britain. They were first exhibited here as Old English Game Bantams in the late 1890s.
We can imagine that the first Black-Red and Partridge bantams to come to Britain were the Red Jungle Fowl (the ancestors of all domestic chicken breeds). It was these became the common backyard fowl that was found in the English countryside that were later developed into various strains suited to cock-fighting which at this time was popular as entertainment.
As time went on, the Red Jungle Fowl was developed into several different breeds around Europe (for example, the Dutch Bantam in the Netherlands), and in England, the Old English Game Bantam came about.
In the early days of poultry shows, only the fancier, exotic-looking breeds were of interest, so many game bantams did not get entered. The Old English Game Bantam really made its entrance into the show scene during the late 1890s, and by the early 1900s, there were 40-50 entries in the larger poultry shows of the day.
The Old English Game Club was formed in 1926 with an Oxford Old English Game standard, by which time entries to shows had risen to well over a hundred. The birds looked very different to the birds of today, though.
There were several changes to the breed over the years, and today, the British Standard for Old English Game Bantams follows the Carlisle Old English Game standard but in bantam size.
In America, I’m unsure of when the birds were first imported. Still, the Old English Game Bantam first appeared at a show in Boston in 1914 with 6 entries and in New York with 39 entries (this is according to Old English Bantams as Bred and Shown in the United States published 1991). They were admitted to the American Standard of Perfection in 1925.
The following books are available. Links take you to the Amazon or other sellers’ pages for the books.
- Popular Poultry Breeds – D. Scrivener – P.160
- Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds – C. Ekarius P.137
- British Poultry Standards – P.215
- American Standard of Perfection – P.227
These are the breed clubs for Old English Game Bantam chickens:
- UK: Old English Game Bantam Club – Secretary: Mr S A Owen. Tel: 01664 474215 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- US: Old English Game Bantam Club of America