American Game fowl
An American Game hen
|Country of origin||United States|
American Game is a game breed of chicken originating in the United States. Its colors vary widely, as it has been traditionally bred for reasons other than showing. The American gamefowl should not be confused with Old English Games, another breed once bred for "the pit," though now is an exhibition bird.
American gamefowl is a breed of poultry once bred for cockfighting. They played a significant role in American history as they were bred, fought, and raised by many famous political leaders. As Abraham Lincoln used to be a cockfighting referee, the breed indirectly influenced his nickname "honest Abe."
Most American gamefowl lines (or strains) consist of Irish Game, Old English, and Oriental Gamefowl. However many others contain Spanish strains, along with gamefowl from other places including the Sumatra breed. The American gamefowl has gained in popularity as a show breed since the outlawing of cock fights.
The most common colorations are "Black breasted red" (dubbed reds), "Wheaten" (dubbed reds), "Silver duckwings" (dubbed greys), "Golden duckwings" (called greys), White, black, brown-red, red quil, gold, pumpkin, and blue (in various forms, this includes splash, blue wheaten, blue reds, etc.).
The American gamefowl are extremely cold and heat resistant, intelligent, and are capable of surviving independently in the wild. Many places have cross-bred gamefowl present in the streets/woods. Key West, Guam, and Hawaii are some of the main places known for Spanish gamefowl running wild, with some American gamefowl strains as well. American gamefowl can also be found in the wild in various places in the continental United States, often after escaping or being set free by owners.
American game in poultry shows
In the past, game fowl were primarily used for sport purposes. Recent changes in the political atmosphere have encouraged American to imitate European counterparts and display their fowl in the show ring. American game fowl are considered top competitors in poultry shows across the United States and Europe, typically according to the American Standard of Perfection used by the American Poultry Association. There is an on-line game fowl monthly photo contest for showing gamefowl. The fowl are judged using the American Game Fowl Standards - AGFS.
American Game Bantam
There is a bantam (smaller) variety of this breed, which originated from the original large fowl. However, like the Old English Game bantams they are not considered game birds, and have been cross-bred with other breeds to add feather length and kill gameness. One breed known in this cross is Jungle fowl. American game bantam should not be confused with miniature gamefowl, which are pit (game) quality as well as exhibition quality, after careful cross-breeding.