Yamato Gunkei Chickens

Yamato Gunkei ChickenUses: Originally Cock Fighting, now exhibition.
Eggs: 5-20 white or tinted.
Origin: Japan.
Weight: Cock: 1.8 – 2.7Kg, Hen: 1.35 – 2.25Kg.
Bantam Cock: 1130g Hen: 910g.
Colours: Black, Black-red (with wheaten / partridge females), Duckwing, Blue, Ginger, Splash, Spangle, Cuckoo, White.
Useful to Know: Not a beginners bird. Yamato Gunkei do not lay many eggs and stock can be expensive.
Photo: A black-red male Yamato Gunkei owned by Kate Beardsmore.

The Yamato Gunkei comes under the Asian Hard Feather category and is the largest of the smaller Shamo breeds. It was created in the Hiroshima region of Japan during the 1920’s. It arrived in Europe in 1980 via some Belgian breeders and is classified as a Large Fowl in the British Poultry Standards.

Head of Yamato Gunkei Chicken
I’ve got my eye on you…

Yamato Gunkei are possibly one of the toughest looking chickens there is and some claim, the ugliest. Their size, looks and wrinkles are all exaggerated, some say older birds even frown at you, but this is simply their wrinkled appearance that they get in older age.

As an ancient, ornamental Japanese breed, they have a thick-set, upright stance and look like they have an attitude!

Love them or hate them, they are certainly a specialist breed to keep. They do not lay very many eggs and fertility is often poor so stock can exchange hands for very high prices.

They are generally not aggressive towards humans although care should be taken with males as with any breed. As with other Asian Hard Feather breeds, they will fight amongst themselves so are best bred in pairs or trios. Separate runs will be needed to keep a reasonable number of birds.



The following books are available. Links take you to the Amazon or other sellers’ pages for the books.

Breed Clubs:

  • UK: The Asian Hardfeather Club: Julia Keeling (Secretary) 01624 801825


  • Please leave a comment below if you can provide further information or have a question about Yamato Gunkei Chickens.

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