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Bantam Old English Game Chicken Breed – Everything You Need To Know

Bantam Old English Game Chicken Breed – Everything You Need To Know

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Whether you are a professional in the poultry world or a beginner, you will probably find the Bantam Old English Game chicken breed is an adorable and interesting chicken.

It is an independent and unique chicken breed that can make an excellent pet if treated properly.

The Bantam Old English Game chicken is one of the oldest chicken breeds in the poultry world, and its purpose has changed over time.

Initially, they were raised for fighting purposes. These birds are mainly used for bird shows and sometimes for meat and eggs.

If you are an owner or a fan of this adorable chicken breed, you have come to the right place.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about the Bantam Old English Game chicken breed. Keep reading to learn more.

Backyard Chickens

The breed was first brought during the first century by the Romans. It was primarily raised for fighting before the sport was banned in the 19th century.

History And Background

The Bantam Old English Game chicken breed is one of the oldest breeds in the poultry world. As the name suggests, it originated in Britain.

Since then, the breed has been mostly raised as a decorative chicken. There are two main types of the Bantam Old English Game chicken breed, namely, Oxford and Carlisle.

The distinction happened after cockfighting was banned in England, and the birds were used for exhibitions and bird shows.

There were different opinions on how these chickens should appear for the shows. This resulted in the birds being bred into different groups.

Oxford is small-sized and comes in around thirty different color combinations. On the other hand, Carlisle is a bit larger with a broader chest and comes in around 13 different color combinations.

This ornamental bird is for shows although it is slowly becoming endangered. It is impressive that the breed has existed for over 2000 years, despite losing its primary purpose.

Today, the breed is exotic because of its appearance. Many chicken enthusiasts enjoy having it in their backyard flock.

Appearance And Breed Standard

Backyard chickens

The Bantam Old English Game has a fairly distinctive appearance. The features that made these birds good fighters back then are still present.

Female chickens weigh up to around 2 kgs, while males weigh up to 3 kgs. They are also very colorful.

Oxford chicken has a slender chest, while Carlisle one is broader. However, the two have very strong legs and are very muscular.

One of their distinctive features is their feathers which are glossy and tough. They also have white skin. 

The Old English Game chickens fly for a longer time than the common backyard chickens. Therefore, it is always good to construct a higher fence if you are raising them.

They have red combs and wattles that are typically small. This is one of the leftover characteristics from their fighting times. The small combs and wattles are more difficult to target.

The breed has strong and curved beaks. Their nails are also long, curved, and tough. They have their chest puffed, which makes them appear more powerful.

As mentioned earlier, the breed comes in various color combinations. The most common color variations are black with blue, grey, or red, and brown with black or red.

Personality And Temperament

Although cockfighting has not been practiced for many years, the Bantam Old English Game chicken has the temperament and personality bred for fighting.

They are loud birds and are not a good option for those who have neighbors that live close by.

The Old English Games are also aggressive. It would be best if you did not keep roosters together as they tend to become territorial and fight one another.

On the other hand, hens are usually very protective and may sometimes groom other birds that are not their own.

These birds do not like being confined in a small area. Therefore, you will need to ensure they have enough space in their coop.

It would be best if you also let them roam around the backyard from time to time. Because of this characteristic, the breed makes an excellent free-range chicken.

They are confident and a bit. They tend to stay away from other breeds of chickens as well as human beings. I

f you want to raise them alongside other chicken breeds, you will need to ensure that you introduce the other chicken breed while your Old English Games are still young.

If you are a beginner, this breed is not for you. Because of their aggressive temperament, they are not easy to maintain.

Their personality and ability to fly may help them escape or get out of the yard easily. Therefore, you will need to be careful of their surroundings.

Egg Laying And Meat Quality

These birds are not prolific layers and are not kept solely for egg production. Under good care and maintenance, they can produce 2 to 3 eggs per week on their most productive days.

This translates to around 100 to 150 eggs per year. The Old English Games usually lay white, medium-sized eggs.

Their chicks mature slowly and have a fighting nature, just like their parents. Hens are reliable brooders and can be protective and excellent mothers to their young ones.

Their meat does not taste any different from that of regular chickens. Despite their small size, they are muscly.

This makes them reasonably good for meat production. However, since they are difficult and expensive to maintain, you should not keep them only for meat.

Health Issues And Care

Backyard chickens

Old English Game chickens are born healthy birds without any hereditary health issues. With a lifespan of 15 years, they have one of the largest life expectancies among backyard chickens.

However, like any other chicken breed, they will still need good care and maintenance in order to live a long and more productive life.

You will need to ensure that your bantam Old English Game chickens have plenty of space. Since they are territorial, they will require enough space so that they do not start fighting in the backyard or their coop.

Your flock should also not have more than one rooster. A single rooster can care for around eight to ten hens, but they will not get along with other male birds in the flock.

Your birds will also need a proper diet. You can make the food yourself or give them commercial chicken food.

Their diet should be nutritious and healthy. If you are raising hens for those few eggs, you will need to feed them calcium feeds to aid in forming strong eggshells.

They will also need a constant supply of fresh water at all times.

Like other breeds of chicken, your Old English Games can be susceptible to poultry parasites. The common chicken parasites that you will have to keep an eye on are lice and mites.

If you notice any signs of these parasites, you should offer the correct treatment as soon as possible. 

In addition, you will need to regularly check your Old English Game chickens for any signs or symptoms of a disease.

Since they are quite active, it is easy to notice changes in temperament. If your birds are getting quieter or tired, you should have your vet examine them and offer the necessary treatment.

Tips For Raising Bantam Old English Game Chickens

As mentioned, this breed is not the easiest to raise. Fortunately, we have a few tips for raising them according to their personality and needs.

In addition to feeding them, providing regular vet check-ups, and ensuring good hygiene and ventilation in the coop, you implement the following tips.

Provide Them With Enough Space

You must ensure that each of your birds has at least 6 ft of space in their coop. Providing them with enough space will prevent your chickens from becoming aggressive towards one another. 

Do Not Keep More Than One Rooster In Your Flock

You should never have more than one rooster in your flock. These birds are aggressive and tend to fight most of the time.

Having two or more roosters in your flock will lead to non-stop fights that can even result in death. A ratio of one rooster per ten hens is okay.

If you have more than one rooster in your flock, you will need to make a separate space for them.

Allow Your Birds To Roam

These birds do not like to be in one place at all times. They are good foragers that will need enough space to move around. You should allow them to move around freely if you have a spacious backyard.


Bantam Old English Game chickens are a perfect choice for passionate and experienced backyard chicken farmers.

These adorable birds may not be a good choice if you want to raise chickens for eggs and meat production since they do not produce many eggs, and their meat does not have a special taste. They are perfect for bird shows and exhibitions.

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