THE AMERICAN GAME FOWL
Anthony Saville April 5, 2006
To all the show people who will be the proud custodians of this breed for the future generations to come Welcome.
These are not just some or other barnyard fowl but the oldest known breed of fowl in America. These fowl are part of America and America is part of these fowl.
You are in good company with these fowl George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Jackson were all proud owners of American Game Fowl. The American Game Cock was almost our national bird and narrowly lost out to the Bald Eagle.
Possibly these fowl are under the greatest threat for their existence ever right now. As an American Game Fowl breeder this is my earnest request to all of you younger than myself. Please enjoy these fine fowl. Endeavoring to carry them through to the next generation exactly as you found them. Entrusting them to the next generation to hand on to their next generation.
The American Game Fowl today is also almost perfectly suited to proceed into the future having been tested for hundreds of years. The genetic material they possess will be needed for the future. Please do not give the American Game Fowl some or other show trait that they do not already possess. Mankind will be their greatest threat because man can be the most destructive force applied to any breed or the greatest assett. Please assist this breed and do not try and give them attributes that they do not already possess.
For the faint of heart possibly this is not the breed of fowl that you need to persevere with. These are a no nonsense breed of Tough, Proud, Bold and Fearless chickens to be admired for their resilience. The hens will gladly give their lives for their batch of chickens and the Cocks will fearlessly drive off any intruder. You would not expect this Fearless Gladiator to gently call the baby chicks for a morsel of food but their gentleness will surprise you. At night when the baby chickens find their roost look under the wings of the cock and you will find a whole clutch of chickens protected there. If you are stupid enough to catch a chicken around the hen or cock then do not complain if you end up with a few holes in your hand from their sharp spurs. Both the Cocks and the hens are normally spurred and for you safety it is recommended that you keep them cut short. Any advocate of not cutting the spurs in this breed be warned three inch sharp spurs can be as lethal to people as a knife especially with the Pile Driver force behind the spurs.
As show people we can try and impose all sorts of different traits on the chickens by working with a standard impossible to proceed into the future with because some individual believes they need this trait. This breed is not about individuals it is about a breed of fowl. As an example imagine MAN insisting that all breed individuals can only have blue legs. Because 99% of the breed currently do not have Blue Legs must we change the breed because of a man made rule. Especially when we find out 50 years later that the Blue Leg was linked to another genetic trait that possibly ruined the breed.
American Game Fowl are not Old English Game (American) with different leg colors. Naturally American Game Fowl have more plumage, larger tails, longer wings and a different body conformation to Old English (American). The difficult part of the Standard for American Game is the different comb and because of the comb types the different head shape. Both Straight comb and Round head conformation is acceptable in the breed. Color is the next difference between the two breeds. Spangles are only Partridge base color in Old English Game. In American Game Wheaten Spangles are greatly prized as a color. The next difference is that in all the Light Red (Wheaten) varieties of American Game that white plumage in the wings and tail is allowed in specimens with White or Yellow legs. Many other differences between the two breeds are for another time and venue.
As if I have not already made enough trouble for myself we need to discuss the Bantam variety of American Game Fowl. Due to some exceptional breeding by many bantam fanciers the bantam American Game are around in pretty substantial numbers. The conformation is excellent and they look like true miniatures of the large variety of American Game. Not at all like the Old English Game where the bantams look nothing like the large variety. There is a Bantam American Game club and they do a fine job. In their infinite wisdom though Blue Legs predominate and are the only leg color accepted by the nucleus of the club.
With Blue legs only predominating the Purple or Gypsey skin pigment is recessive and over years could predominate causing more harm to the breed than good in my personal humble opinion. For clarity there is an American Game Bantam standard in the APA Standards resulting from a cross between a jungle fowl and American Game. The result is the fine specimens in the Bantam Standard but the blue legs from the jungle fowl are a prerequisite of the Standard
The current specimens are also heavier than would be expected of a bantamized variety and body weights need to be discussed for the future.
For the future we need to formulate whether the existing American Game Bantam fanciers are prepared to broaden their vision. Prepared to accommodate the attributes that the Large American Game Fowl already possess into the bantam variety. Or whether the American Game Fowl Society proceeds with a standard to further complicate the issue. The best way forward is to not reinvent the wheel merely make it run smoother.
We need to clarify where the American Game Fowl Society stands and where it feels that it could best help the Breed in the future. Before the puritans rush forward and try and banish the Breed Society and the Breed Custodians please be aware that all of us are actually in the same boat. If we do not keep on bailing the water out of our collective boat together we will have all of our rights to keep show fowl eroded until we are left with 6 chickens in a soundproof room unable to admire them in the light of day.
The American Game Fowl Society is a specialist breed society for American Game Fowl. The society is affiliated to the APA and wishes to proceed into the future with the APA. The American Game Fowl Society is also endorsed by the United Game Fowl Breeders as their show holding affiliate.
Currently the breed are judged to the American Game Fowl Societies endorsed American Game Fowl Standard as produced by Anthony Saville and the publication is available from many different book suppliers.
American Game Fowl can be evaluated as an excellent tasting chicken but requiring dedication in their preparation as a meal (Tough) They lay excellent tasty eggs every second day (Good). They are the best brooders of eggs and will raise a large proportion of their young if free ranged. They are good around horse stables breaking up the manure reducing the fly problem and will survive around varmints. An important trait is the breeds intelligence they are clever and will surprise you with their ability to reason.
If you are looking for a poultry breed with character that will definitely survive under some pretty adverse conditions this could be your breed.
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