Aragon Game Farm

History of Cockfighting in the Philippines

 

 The Philippine Game Fowl Industry

 

                    




By: Dr. Andrew T. Bunan/ Dr. Eulalio D. Lorenzo/ Mr. Edmundo A. Gorgonia , posted on Friday October 3, 2003

(The population size of game fowls in the Philippines, the number and economic status of the players and the business that comes with it more than qualifies game fowl production to be an industry. Estimates put the number of fighting cocks being conditions at about 12 million at any one time. This estimate does not include the chicks, the growing game fowls and the brood fowls. With the price of a trained fighting cock running by the thousands of pesos, the value of all game fowls combined, each of which is a prized possession compared to meat, egg or native chickens, should be in the tune of billions of pesos, making the game fowl industry similar in size to or even bigger than the chicken meat and egg industries.


(Not for reproduction, written or electronic, in any form.)


The population size of game fowls in the Philippines, the number and economic status of the players and the business that comes with it more than qualifies game fowl production to be an industry. Estimates put the number of fighting cocks being conditions at about 12 million at any one time. This estimate does not include the chicks, the growing game fowls and the brood fowls. With the price of a trained fighting cock running by the thousands of pesos, the value of all game fowls combined, each of which is a prized possession compared to meat, egg or native chickens, should be in the tune of billions of pesos, making the game fowl industry similar in size to or even bigger than the chicken meat and egg industries.



The current status of the game fowl industry is solely a result of the Filipinos’ love for cockfighting. In fact, cockfighting is regarded b many as the Filipino’s national sport, not just a pastime. This has basis, since a municipality is not considered a municipality if it does not have its own cockfighting arena, commonly called “cockpit”. The cockpit is among the few places in the country where the rich and the poor mingle, particularly during weekends when it bustles with activity.



A telltale sign of the popularity of cockfighting in the country is the presence of one, two or a few fighting cocks being corded in the yard of many houses in rural and periurban areas. While some of these birds are produced by the owners themselves through backyard breeding, most are acquired from friends who breed game fowls seriously or from game fowl farms that produce fighting cocks and breeders for sale. This is where the business in game fowl production comes in. The fighting cock aficionados, the hobbyists and the ordinary bettors during cockfights are the buyers, while the breeders, game fowl importers, and feed, biologicals and implements manufacturers are the sellers.



Game fowl farms boast of imported bloodlines to boost their name and, hence, sales. These bloodlines are infused to the existing ones to constantly improve the general performance of the birds they produce. The silent competition to produce better fighting cocks caused a tremendous surge in interest in breeding and improving management to ensure that the genetic potential of the birds is fully utilized. As a consequence, there are, at present, numerous large game fowl farms all over the country and there had been a steady increase in the variety of game fowl products being offered commercially, to ensure good pit performance.





History of Cockfighting in the Philippines:



The ancestors of the modern chicken came from Asia, which includes the Philippines. Of the four species identified, the red jungle fowl or “labuyo” (Gallus gallus) looks exactly like the modern chicken and is, therefore, believed to be its most likely ancestors.


                  






Since the Philippines is among the countries where the red jungle fowl is found, it is most likely that Filipinos were among the first to domesticate them. While the earliest recorded cockfights took place in 300 B.C., it is not a remote possibility that the early Filipinos may have been among the first to develop the sport of cockfighting.


When the Spaniards came to the Philippines, they noted that cockfighting was already very popular in the country. Not even two world wars and the proliferation of concern groups prevented cockfighting from becoming even more popular. Presently, millions of Filipinos take part or enjoy the sport even just form the sidelines.





Benefits from Game Fowl Raising



The establishment of game fowl farms means creation of jobs. Every harm has its farmhands, breeder, trainer, part-time or full-time veterinarian and farm supervisor/manager. Allied to this are the jobs created in the cockpit like “kristos”, “manggagamot”, vendors, cockpit personnel, to name a few.


Whether small, medium or large scale, game fowl breeding provides income to the breeder, although there are breeders who are in it purely for the love of the sport. Because these breeders do not sell their stock, their farms do not earn income. With or without the monetary reward from sales, breeders aim for excellence in their trade, often making experimental crosses, even if these meant months or even years before results are known.





Prospects of the Game Fowl Industry



The Filipino’s keen interest in cockfighting ensures a perpetual need for fighting cocks and all the inputs needed in producing them. What is more interesting is that the sport of cockfighting is presently dominated by affluent Filipinos who have the means of ensure that the quality of the gamecocks does not wane. Moreover, the sport is legal in the Philippines, except the unregistered clandestine hackfights called “tupadas”. These facts have catapulted the unprecedented growth of the game fowl industry. There is no doubt that these same facts will further propel the growth of this industry.


While cockfighting may be dominated by the well-to-do, no one has yet been able to control it in terms of being able to produce virtual winners, with every breeder continually trying to produce better gamecocks. As a result, every breeder has his share in the market for game fowl, since ordinary cockfighters shift from one source to another, their choice depending upon the pit performance of a breeder’s birds.


The role of chance in cockfighting largely contributed to the growth of the game fowl industry. This makes the sport very exciting, because every participant is deemed to have a fair chance of winning, regardless of the kind of fighting cock he has. This, plus the role of non-genetic aspects of game fowl raising such as nutrition, conditioning and general bird management, keep the industry going.


The banning of interstate and overseas transport of fighting cocks by the government of the United States of America serves as a challenge to local game fowl breeders. Since practically all game fowl bloodlines developed in that country are already in the country, the least that local breeders can do is maintain them. With these genetic materials, they can develop new bloodlines that may even be better than the existing ones.





Concerns of the Industry



A concern that could become a major problem in the future is the dependence by local breeders and cockers on imported bloodlines, especially with the elimination of importation restrictions. This is largely affected by political decisions of exporting countries like the United States of America, whose senate has already passed a law banning the transport of cockfights within (interstate) or outside the said country. This would have serious repercussions in the local game fowl industry, particularly if breeders are not serious enough in maintaining imported bloodlines.


The belief that imported bloodlines perform superiorly compared to the local fowl has hindered the development of local bloodlines. This is because in every breeding program, the foundation stock is almost always imported. They may be island-born, but usually form an imported line.


Game fowl owners and breeders have the tendency to raise their game fowl quite extravagantly, hence, the problem of efficiency of production. The notion that “money is not a question if it is for the good of the fame fowl” provided to the birds. More often than not, game fowls are given supplements and medicines that are either in excess of what they need, or are not at all needed. For instance, in a survey conducted in year 2000 among small and medium-scale game fowl farms in Batangas, most raisers/breeders cited high concerns, although there was no mention of specific figures. While affluence in game fowl production is all right for a well-to-do hobbyist, it may not be practical for a breeder who intends to sell his gamecocks. Production cost is lower in large-scale farms because of economies of scale.


Breeders who produce gamecocks for their own use are able to recover their expenses only when their birds win in derbies or hack fights. This emphasizes the need to look at the efficiency of producing these birds. Even if not for business, it is unwise to spend more that what is required just to impress upon others that one’s gamecocks are being amply provided for.




The Money Value of Game Fowls



The business in game fowl production is not limited to the selling of fighting cocks. It also includes the selling of breeders, the price of which depends upon factors like bloodline, pit performance and the name and reputation of the breeder. Since the ultimate goal of a raiser is to produce winners, he will go for the supplier who has all these factors, sometimes at mind-boggling prices.


The price of game fowls varies depending upon the kind of game fowl sold and the factors mentioned earlier. Game fowls are normally sold as stags, cocks, brood cocks, brood hens or trios, consisting of a stag and two pullets of the same bloodline. The following are the price ranges of game fowl belonging to each category:




Stag    Php    4,000.00 - 8,000.00
Battlecock        6,000.00 -10,000.00
Proven brood cock(2 years old)        10,000.00 - 25,000.00
Proven brood hen        3,500.00 - 5,000.00
Brood cock        10,000.00 - 15,000.00
Pullet        3,000.00 - 4,000.00
Trio - local        25,000.00 - 50,000.00
- imported        75,000.00 - 150,000.00




The prices indicted hint about the profitability of game fowl production, although not all game fowl producers or breeders are able to sell at these prices. There are requirements before one could qualify to be a producer or breeder of the caliber that would command such prices. Foremost of these requirements is the winning record of his fighting cocks. The pit is considered as the ultimate test to prove the gameness and winning ability of a fighting cock. For the breeder, he has to prove himself a number of times to convince others of the value of his game fowl.

  

 10-Day Conditioning Program

 



By Webmaster , posted on Monday October 24, 2005

A.
 
Piliin ang manok na iku-kondisyon at paliguan ng tubig na may halong pamatay sa kuto at iba pang parasito sa katawan ng manok.


B.
 
Pang-kondisyon


1.
  Patuka at pagpapatuka /pagsasanay (1-7th day) Ihanda ang mga sumusunod:

- Special conditioner (800 gramo)

-Power Pellet (100 gramo)

-Cracked corn (100 gramo)

-Nilagang Itlog “Egg white” o Puti lang

-MAXXI 1 pack/manok

CONDITIONING PACK


Ilagay ang manok sa “scratch box” na may dayami o tuyong dahon ng mais at hayaan sa loob ng 15-30 minuto. Matapos ito, bigyan ng tamang ehersisyo at pagsasanay at ilipat sa “scratch pen” (3”x 3”). Bigyan mo ng 40-45 gramo ng pinaghalong sangkap at ¼ na bahagi ng “egg white” ang bawat panabong tuwing umaga at hapon hanggang ika-7 araw. Bugyan ng malinis na tubig. Bukod dito, ibigay ang Maxxi conditioning pack na nakatakda sa bawat araw. Ilaban ang manok (‘sparring”) sa ika-5 araw, 2-3 salpukan at lagyan ng ilaw (Flourescent) sa loob ng 2-3 oras pagsapit ng gabi.


2.
  “Pointing at carbo-loading” (8-10th day)


Sa loob ng panahong ito (8-10th) tanging Maxxi carbo-loading feeds at maxxi conditioning pack na nakatakda lamang ang dapat ibigay. Bigyan ng 40-45 gramo ng Maxxi Carbo Loading Feeds at egg white. Gayon din ang Maxxi Conditioning Pack na nakatalaga sa araw na ito, umaga at hapon hanggang ika-9 na araw. Painumin lamang ng 2 hanggang tatlong pag inom (Dips) sa umaga at hapon. Sa umaga matapos kumain, ilagay sa kulungan at takpan ang paligid upang dumilim sa tanghali, ilabas at ilagay sa “Scratch Pen” ng 15-30 minuto bago pakainin. Ibalik muli sa kulungan pagkatapos kumain.


Sa ika-10 araw – (araw ng laban)


Kung “Hack-Fight” – bigyan ng 20-25 gramo ng Maxxi Carbo Loading Feeds at ¼ egg white sa ika-7 ng umaga. Huwag painumin.


Kung “Derby Fight” bigyan lamang ng 20-25 gramo ng Maxxi Carbo Loading at ¼ na Eggwhite (nilaga) sa ika-7 ng umaga. Huwag bigyan ng tubig. Matapos ang 8 oras bigyan muli ng ½ kutsara ng Maxxi Carbo Loading Feeds tuwing dalawang oras hanggang anim na oras bago ang laban.

Feeding and Nutrition



By Dr. Andrew T. Bunan/ Dr. Eulalio D. Lorenzo/ Mr. Edmundo A. Gorgonia , posted on Wednesday April 2, 2008

The amount of feed given, the kind and level of nutrients present in the feed and the way this is given to game fowls are very important aspects of game fowl production. All these have to be well understood and feeding programs well implemented if birds are expected to perform exceptionally well in terms of egg laying, fertility and hatchability in breeders, optimum development in growers and training and pit performance in battlestags and battlecocks. These reasons make feed the biggest single cost in game fowl production.


(Not for reproduction, written or

electronic, in any form.)


The amount of feed given, the kind and level of

nutrients present in the feed and the way this is given to game fowls are very important aspects of game fowl production. All these have to be well understood

and feeding programs well implemented if birds are expected to perform exceptionally well in terms of egg laying, fertility and hatchability in breeders, optimum development in growers and training and pit performance in battlestags and battlecocks. These reasons make feed the biggest single cost in game fowl production.


It is not enough that game fowls are given what appears to be the best brand of commercial game fowl feed available or concentrate mixture one can get, just because everybody else uses it. The bird and its nutrient requirements from hatching up to the pit or the breeding pen should be well understood. These differ in levels, which need to be carefully considered if feeding is to be effective but cost-efficient.


Commercial feeds available in the local market contain a range of nutrients needed in levels required by any age group of chickens. If one does not have any prior formal or practical knowledge in chicken nutrition and feeding, he should not attempt to mix this feed with any other feedstuff, like grains. This will alter the ratio of energy to protein and other nutrients, and if the alteration is beyond what could be tolerated by the game fowl, its performance will be affected.


The Nutrient Game Fowls Require



The food given to game fowls contains water and dry matter. The dry matter component is divided into those that are organic and those that are inorganic. The organic portion is composed of energy, protein and vitamins, while the inorganic portion is made up of minerals.



Water



Water is vital to life. At least half of what compose the adult game chicken is water. In fact, it will die more rapidly if deprived of water than if deprived of food.



Water serves as solvent in digestion and as agent for the transport of nutrients in the body and the excretion of waste products of metabolism. It is involved in various chemical reactions within the body, in which it absorbs the tremendous heat production brought about by these reactions, allowing for very little change in body temperature. Since chickens do not have sweat glands, water has a major function in maintaining its body temperature through evaporation from its lung.



The game fowl takes its water requirement from three sources: the water it drinks, the food it eats and the chemical reactions within its body. Since the bulk of its water requirement is taken from the water it drinks, this should be free from harmful microorganisms and metals so as not to jeopardize its health.


Energy



Energy is a nutrient required by game fowls both for body maintenance and other important bodily functions. Basically, a bird eats to satisfy its energy need. Therefore, all other nutrients have to be in correct ratio with it if they are to be supplied in their correct levels.



For maintenance, energy is used for bodily functions that are necessary for life, like essential muscular activity (digestion, respiration), chemical work (allowing nutrients to pass through concentration gradients), and production of hormones and enzymes that are constantly used up by the bird. The energy supplied by the feed in excess of what the bird needs for maintenance is used for other functions and activities like growth, egg laying and physical work, of which fighting is one. If the bird’s diet contains energy more than what it requires for body maintenance and work, the excess energy is stored as body fat, the bulk of which is found in the bird’s abdomen, the so-called abdominal fat pad.



When starved, the bird gets its supply of energy from its stores: first, the glycogen, which is in the cells; and second, the fat depot. When these are used up, the bird starts to use its muscle protein, which is fatal.



Nutritionists use metabolizable energy (ME) in quantifying the energy requirement of the bird. ME is that portion of the energy of the feed that is left after losses in the feces and urine. In other words, it represents the energy in the feed that the bird can utilize for bodily functions.



Carbohydrate.Carbohydrate is the major ingredient in all game fowl rations to supply their energy need. This is found in grains and plant starches.


When the bird takes in feed, the dietary carbohydrates are digested into simple sugars and then absorbed in the small intestine. Of the different simple sugars, glucose is more readily absorbed. Those that are not converted to glucose in the small intestine are converted into it in the liver. The bird converts glucose to glycogen and stores it in its muscle and liver tissues, and is converted back to glucose on demand.





Lipid. Lipid is important as source of energy. It serves as solvent for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and as source of essential fatty acids. It reduces dustiness in mash feed, aids in feed pelleting and improves feed palatability.


Lipids are stored in the game fowl in the form of body fat. Body fat, in turn, is more effective than glycogen as a stored energy source.



In a bird’s diet, lipids are usually supplied in the form of animal fat (tallow) and vegetable oils (soybean, corn oil), which are rich sources of the essential fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acid.


Protein



Protein is a very important nutrient in feeding game fowls because aside from water, it is found in highest concentration in all organs and muscles. The chick has a high protein because it is growing – its muscles and organs literally increase in size, thus the need for more dietary protein that will be converted to muscle protein. In the adult fowl, the need for protein is lower. Basically, this is for repair of worn-out tissues, cell maintenance and reproduction.


Apart from being components of bird muscle, feathers, skin, toes, beak and scales, proteins also have metabolic functions. The metabolically important proteins are the blood serum proteins, hormones, enzymes and antibodies, each having specific functions in the bird’s body.



Proteins are composed of amino acids, which are either essential or non-essential. Essential amino acids are those that could not be synthesized by the bird and, therefore, have to be present in its diet. Of the essential amino acids, methionine, lysine and threonine are the most limiting, meaning that these are most likely to be deficient in synthetic form. The rest, while considered essential, are usually satisfied as long as the feed is nutritionally balanced.


Amino Acids Considered Essential in Game Fowl Nutrition























Arginine    Leucine    Threonine    Valine
Histidine    Lysine    Tryptophan    Glycine*
Isoleucine    Methionine    Valine


*No dietary essential in adult game fowls, but may be considered in formulating chick rations for
optimum growth





The protein in the game fowl’s diet may be animal-based (meat meal, meat and bone meal, fish meal) or plant-based (soybean oil meal). The value of these proteins to the bird varies according to how closely their amino acids resemble the amino acid composition of the bird muscle. Thus, not all proteins are quality proteins. Their quality or biological value depends upon their amino acid spectrum.


If protein is deficient in the diet, growing birds will have poor growth rate and feed conversion efficiency - that is, they will need more feed per unit increase in body weight. In a mild deficiency, brood hens will have low rate of egg production and the eggs they lay will have low fertility rate. If the deficiency is severe, egg laying will stop and the bird will undergo complete molt, accompanied by severe weight loss.


If protein is in excess of what the bird requires, the excess protein is deaminated and converted to energy. In the process, there is an increase in uric acid level in the blood. To excrete the extra uric acid, the bird will drink more water, and this results in wet droppings (diarrhea). There may be a slight reduction in growth of young game birds, because an imbalance will be created with the conversion of excess protein to energy, since this uses up energy in the body.



Vitamins



Vitamins are organic compounds needed by game fowls in small amounts for normal growth and maintenance of life. They are important because each plays an important role, and that deficiency in any of them seriously affects the bird’s health.


The chicken produces its own Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Therefore, its need for this vitamin is not as much as its need for the other vitamins, which are essential and need to be in its diet.


Vitamins are either fat-soluble or water-soluble. As their classifications imply, fat-soluble vitamins are soluble in fats and fat solvents but not in water, while water-soluble vitamins are soluble only in water. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K, while water-soluble vitamins include the B-complex vitamins and Vitamin C.


Minerals



Apart from carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur, which are major elements that make up the organic chemical compounds of the bird’s body, it requires inorganic elements, or minerals, for proper nutrition.


Minerals are solid, crystalline, chemical elements that cannot be decomposed or synthesized by ordinary chemical reactions. Those that are considered dietary essential are classified as macro and micro minerals. Macro minerals include calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and chloride. Of these, calcium and phosphorus are needed in large amounts, while the rest needed in smaller amounts. Trace minerals include magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, copper, molybdenum, selenium, iodine, cobalt and chromium, which are needed in minute amounts.


Nutrition Important Vitamins, Their Role
and Deficiency Symptons



      


















EGG Candling

 



By: U. R. A. , posted on Thursday September 25, 2003

A lot of people place blame on their incubator for a bad hatching rate, if you have a well insulated unit that can keep a constant temperature with in 1 deg Fahrenheit from the on and off positions and preforms as the manufacturer states, the humidity levels is close to what is recommended by the manufacturer.




Candling


A lot of people place blame on their incubator for a bad hatching rate, if you have a well insulated unit that can keep a constant temperature with in 1 deg Fahrenheit from the on and off positions and preforms as the manufacturer states, the humidity levels is close to what is recommended by the manufacturer.


(Not for reproduction, written or electronic, in any form.)


The Brood stock are lice free, healthy with a good diet supplemented with vitamins and minerals and from a healthy clean environment then your hatch rate should be very good.


By using a technique called candling you can further reduce your losses during the hatching process by identifying problems as or before they occur.


Candling is using a beam of light to see inside the eggshell. You can use a simple wooden box with a light bulb inside it and a small hole at one end big enough to sit the egg on right up to the professional lens focusing, high powered units. The basic wooden box is suitable for most people.


The method of candling is very simple you hold the large end of the egg towards the hole in the box or lens, and then look at the side view of the egg. Rotate the egg slowly till you can see the insides clearly.



I candle 4 times during the incubation period.




1st time is before placing in the incubator by doing this you can see the freshness of the egg by the size of the air sac. The longer an egg sits or is stored the less chance of a successful hatch.1 week is what I go by. You can also see any defects like cracks in the shells, Dark patches on the shells (this could mean the brood stock is a disease carrier) any defective egg shouldn’t be set




2nd time is at 7 days this will tell you if the egg is fertile or not. A clear egg means the egg is not fertile or early death of chick. Check the condition of brood fowl. Fingers of blood vessels are a sign that all is OK. A C shaped vessel the chick is dead. This could be from rough handling or lack of Vitamin. K




3rd time is at 14 days the egg should be a solid dark shape with a well defined air sac.



By looking at the sized of the airsack you can and some practice you can tell the humidity levels in the incubator. A very large air sac you will have a small weak chick the humidity is to low. If a small air sac is seen the chick will be all sticky or could drown during hatching .you can adjust the levels as required.



4th time is at 18 days when removing from the incubator setter to the Hatcher. The chick is fully developed and the air sac is should be about 1 quarter the total volume of the egg. This will give the chick enough air during hatching and that the humidity levels are good.




I candle on the same days each time I hatch and take notes on the appearance of each one so that I can compare my records and observations. If you don’t candle on the same day the observations will be different, as the chick will be more or less advanced in the incubation process. Eg. Day 7 for hatch A and day 9 for hatch B the development is more advanced in hatch B.



I also candle at night or in a darkened room this seems to show the inside of the egg better.



I am no expert on using the incubators and don’t claim to be. I have read and put into practice what I have learned in the past. I hope this will make it easier for people to improve their hatching rates as it has helped mine.



 


This is an infertile or "clear" egg. Infertile eggs appear pale yellow thru- out and the eggshell will look whiter than fertile eggs.



 

These are all fertile eggs. The one on the top left is in the early stages of development. The embryo and its heart is the red splotch with the veins radiating out from it. At this stage you can observe the tiny heart beating.



 

The other three photos show a more developed embryo inside, note the various degrees of dark shadows at the small end of the egg. The shadow is the growing chick within. At this stage you can observe blood pulsating through the veins and often the embryo will move about.

Fertile eggs will show a network of healthy looking red veins. The egg shell will develop a darker opaque color as opposed to chalky white.

 

 This is a group of Dead in Shell (DIS) eggs. All of these eggs were fertile but the embryo has died.

Note that all of these eggs have a deeper orange coloration as opposed to the pale yellow of an infertile egg.


The top left egg has the remains of one disorganized vein streaking across the center. Often you may see many such remnants of veins, if you are unsure if it is indeed dead observe it for a moment for pulsating blood moving through. In addition in DIS eggs you may see multiple small dark spots suspended throughout the egg and/or air bubbles. These are the result of the embryotic tissues necrosing. Often the air cell is absent as in 3 of these 5 eggs.


The lower three eggs were all a bit further along in development, they appear darker throughout and the light barely penetrates the bottom one at all.

 

 

The Gamecock - Basic Breeding Concepts and Considerations

 



By John W. Purdy © 2003 , posted on Sunday August 24, 2003

Breeding gamefowl is one of the many challenging aspects of the Sport of Kings. Numerous books and articles have been written on the subject and they all contain something of value. Over the past several decades, it my belief that the understanding of basic genetics has helped the modern breeder maintain and improve some of the great families of gamefowl that have been passed down through the generations.

(Not for reproduction, written or electronic, in any form.)



Breeding gamefowl is one of the many challenging aspects of the Sport of Kings. Numerous books and articles have been written on the subject and they all contain something of value. Over the past several decades, it my belief that the understanding of basic genetics has helped the modern breeder maintain and improve some of the great families of gamefowl that have been passed down through the generations.



Maintaining and improving bloodlines is the primary goal of cockers. Some would say that cockfighting is practiced to provide an avenue for gambling or to satisfy a primitive bloodlust. After 25 years with gamefowl, I can say that the core of cockfighting is about the perpetuation of an ancient, noble and beautiful feathered gladiator by breeding the best to the best. Cockfighting is about holding in our hands the descendents of the same birds that our ancestors held in their hands while admiring the same qualities and puzzling over the same mysteries. Finally, cockfighting is about standing in awe of nature, which has instilled an incredibly deep survival instinct in every living creature.



Just a few more notes before we jump into the subject… I am not a professional breeder. I have never created my own bloodline that whipped all the big boys, although I have bred some pretty good roosters. However, like all cockers, I have some opinions on the subject and a friend asked me to write them down. I have no chickens for sale and no axes to grind. I just enjoy getting some information out there for the beginners to think about. My opinions are based on a combination of basic genetics, my own personal experiences with breeding gamefowl, and a little common sense.



An effective breeding program is a process that requires a systematic approach. I consider the process equivalent to a road that leads to a particular destination. A cocker can choose the vehicle (bloodlines) and the route (specific breeding techniques) to take. However, a map should be drawn out before the journey starts and it should be consulted from time to time to make sure the original destination seems to be getting closer. Sometimes the destination may change, so a breeder has to remain open minded and flexible. The road is definitely bumpy, but it can be very scenic and enjoyable.



I have identified some important components to any successful breeding program. The following steps, hard work and a little luck will help a gamefowl breeder produce quality gamefowl.



The 7 steps of successful gamefowl breeding


Establishing specific goals for the breeding program.

Identifying and obtaining foundation bloodlines.

Selecting superior individuals within the bloodlines to breed.

Setting up the broodpens: choosing breeding strategies.

Progeny testing: evaluating the success of the program.

Managing the broodfowl to optimize their productivity and the health of their offspring.

Record keeping: keeping it accurate.



Step 1: Establishing Goals



In my opinion, establishing goals or objectives is the most important part of the breeding program. Goals for a gamefowl breeding program are probably most easily measured in terms of the winning percentage of the offspring (progeny testing). Having a breeding goal that is quantifiable, or can be measured, assists the breeder when evaluating the success of the specific matings and the bloodlines used in the breeding program. However, there are many factors that contribute to the winning percentage. For example, age, conditioning, weapon used (style, set, quality of steel), the level of the competition and even luck all have a very significant impact on the outcome of a contest. For this reason, I think it is important to include specific traits as goals in addition to a desired winning percentage. This is because certain traits (primary traits) are correlated to higher winning percentages, and if the fowl produced posses these traits, the chances of success in the pit will increase. Examples of primary traits linked to winning bloodlines include cutting ability, fighting style, strength, speed, body size and type, station, spur alignment, bone size, disposition, and gameness. Other traits (secondary traits) such as eye color, feather color and condition, leg color, and comb type are important but tend to have a weaker or no correlation to winning percentage.



In order to establish traits as goals, it is necessary to group the traits in order of importance. The most important traits should receive the most attention (selection intensity) in the breeding program. More rapid progress can be made by focusing the breeding program on one or few traits. However, this tends to cause a decline or lack of progress in other areas, so a cautious and balanced approach is needed. A breeding program that is balanced will tend to make slower initial progress, but in the long term will outperform a breeding program based on intensive selection for a limited number of traits.



In the following table, I will group traits according to their relative degree of importance in my breeding program, and the degree of selection intensity I feel is merited to each group. Although the groups are arranged by relative importance, all traits in groups A, B & C are important, and all require careful monitoring and consideration. Please keep in mind that these traits, in addition to a minimum winning percentage, are the goals I have established for my breeding program, and are based on my personal preferences, observations, and experiences. Breeding program goals for others cockers will likely be significantly different.



Group    General Trait    Selection Intensity     Specific Quality

A    Cutting ability    Maximum    Accurate; efficient; deep

A    Health    Maximum    Resistant to disease and stress

A    Gameness    Maximum    Tries to destroy the opponent 100% of the time

A    Fighting Style    Maximum    Intelligent, adaptive, head back

           

B    Strength    High    Capable of powerful blows

B    Speed    High    Able to overwhelm/avoid opponent

B    Endurance     High    Ability to give and take for long periods of time

B    Body size/type/conformation    High    Avg 5 lb/upright/football

B    Station    High    High

B    Disposition    High    Gentle

B    Winning percentage    High    70%

           

C    Bone size    Medium    Medium

C    Spur Alignment     Medium    Low on shank/aligns with prop toe

C    Eye color    Medium    Red or Orange

C    Plumage condition    Medium    Flexible, long feathers

           

D    Leg color    Low    Characteristic of the breed

D    Comb type    Low    Characteristic of the breed

D    Plumage Color    Low    Characteristic of the breed   



Step 2: Identifying and Obtaining Broodfowl


Finding and obtaining the broodfowl that will meet or exceed expectations is essential to success as a breeder. The fowl the breeder starts his program with are the foundation of the breeding program. A breeder should take his time before rushing out and buying fowl, because finding the good ones is not easy. There are several approaches that can be used, although some methods work better than others.


Identifying a desirable bloodline is best determined by their offspring’s performance in the pit. Fight reports, recommendations from friends, and attending derbies are all ways to get an idea of how they have performed for other cockers. The fowl should be very strong in the group A and B traits that were identified when planning the goals of the breeding program, and adequate or better in as many of the group C traits as possible. The closer to the goal we are at the beginning, the more quickly it can be reached. A breeder must be completely honest in his evaluation of the merits and demerits of the prospective bloodlines. The purchasing of broodfowl is a lot like getting married… make sure you can live with what you bring home. If a breeder sees something he doesn’t like, and breeds these fowl, chances are that this trait will likely be passed into the future generations of his fowl.


The most certain way of obtaining good fowl is through friendship. Often a good friend is willing to share his best, compete in a combined entry in derbies, and to swap broodfowl in the future as needed. The advantage of getting fowl through friends is that the breeder has seen the birds compete and knows their strengths and weaknesses and can plan the breeding program accordingly.


Another method is to attend derbies and watch for breeders that show fowl that consistently display the qualities the buyer is looking for. The key is to attend derbies at the same or better level of competition than the level at which the buyer plans to compete in the future (average cocks look good against mediocre competition, but look flat-footed and slow in fast company). Once the sights have been set on a particular bloodline, it would help the buyer to become friends with the breeder. The buyer should inquire how the cocks are bred, how long he has had the bloodline, the origin of the bloodline, and the breeder’s opinion on some important traits and qualities. The breeder may or may not be interested in selling any broodfowl. If not, the buyer may be able to purchase battlefowl instead, test the battlecrosses, and if they pass the test, continue to try to get some broodstock. A buyer should always be respectful and persistent. If the buyer can find out where this successful breeder obtained his fowl, he may be able to get similar fowl from the same source.


Another method is purchasing through the magazines or from the internet. This is definitely the method with the highest rate of failure. There are excellent, legitimate breeders that advertise and those who are not; it is very hard from an advertisement or website to determine who will ship you the type of fowl the buyer wants. If hecan travel to the breeder’s farm, it would improve the chances of getting the good ones, but this, of course, is not a foolproof method.



Step 3. Selecting Superior Individuals


Once the bloodline has been identified and the breeder has agreed to sell some of his fowl, the selection of specific individuals is required. If the buyer order chickens though an advertisement, he must clearly specify his requirements to the breeder and ask if he has fowl that will meet the criteria (e.g., station, body type, fighting style). Once again, visiting the breeder at his farm is a significant advantage when selecting brood or battlefowl. There are often subtle differences between individuals within the same bloodline. For example, if the buyer has a choice between two superb physical specimens with one having a better disposition, it will assist the breeding program to start with the calmer, gentler bird.


The goals for the breeding program should be consulted during the selection process. Every cock and hen should be evaluated with respect to the goals. Selected individuals must be extremely healthy, active and in good flesh. They should be balanced, proportional and represent the characteristics of the bloodline. Both cocks and hens should be relatively calm and good natured. Although mature stags and pullets from winning families are perfectly acceptable for breeding, I prefer fowl that are 2 to 5 years of age so that I have had a chance to test them and their immediate family before introducing them into the breeding program. Waiting until cocks and hens are mature also helps identify any desirable or undesirable traits that may not be readily apparent in stags and pullets (e.g., spraddle legs, nervous personality, late developing fighting ability).


I consider what we do as cockers very similar to what happens in nature, where every individual is competing for survival each and every day. Individuals that can’t compete or adapt do not survive, thus their DNA does not get passed to the next generation. Consider how efficiently birds of prey hunt, pursue and capture their quarry. It stands to reason that the best hunters, those that can adapt to different prey, different habitats, adverse weather conditions and can win territorial disputes will have the greatest reproductive success, thus passing the good genes on the next generation. Likewise, cockers should try to select individuals that have proven their worth in the pit and/or whose brothers, offspring, immediate family have proven themselves in the pit. Only through competition can we select individuals that have the mental and physical attributes to get the job done. These individuals should be the cornerstones of our breeding programs.



Step 4. Choosing the Right Breeding Strategies


Much has been written about breeding strategies and techniques that have been used successfully to produce ace cocks. Inbreeding, linebreeding, outcrossing, and crossbreeding are breeding strategies that all have their place in the overall breeding program. These methods, when used appropriately, offer the breeder the best chance to maintain bloodlines and to produce consistently competitive battlefowl. The breeder should keep in mind that the foundation of any breeding method is to breed physically and mentally sound cocks and hens that come from winning families.


Before I discuss breeding methods, a quick discussion of basic genetics is needed. Genetics is a very complex subject. The inheritance and expression of DNA is subject to several known and unknown mechanisms of action, of which college textbooks cover in great detail. Complex genetic interactions, the inheritance of sex-linked traits, and traits influenced by multiple genes are certainly relevant to gamefowl breeding but are beyond the scope of this article.


Genes are made up of pieces of DNA, which carries the information about a particular trait. The genotype is the sum of all genes present on the chromosomes. The phenotype is the appearance of the traits, a visual expression of the genotype. Genes almost always occur in pairs. This means that each cock or hen has two copies of any given gene for a specific trait, one derived from the father and one from the mother. A bird that has two different genes for a specific trait is said to be heterozygous for that trait. A bird that has the same two genes for a given trait is homozygous for that trait.


Some genes and their corresponding traits are dominant or incompletely dominant and others are recessive. A cock that is heterozygous for a particular trait (has one dominant gene and one recessive gene) will look the same as, or similar to (incomplete dominance), to one that is homozygous dominant (has two of the same dominant genes) for that trait. Recessive genes are hidden when paired with a dominant gene. When recessive genes are in a homozygous state (both are identical), they are expressed in the phenotype. An example of this with white and yellow leg color. The gene for white legs is dominant to the gene for yellow legs, meaning a white legged cock or hen could have one gene for white legs (W)and one gene for yellow legs (y), or two genes for white legs (WW). If two heterozygous white legged fowl were bred together (Wy x Wy), the offspring would be approximately 75% white legged [WW or Wy] and 25 % yellow legged [yy] because there is an equal probability that the parent will pass the white legged or yellow legged gene to the offspring. In this case, the ratio of genes in the offspring would be 1 WW: 2 Wy : 1 yy. Another way to say this is that 75% of the chicks would carry the dominant gene for white legs and 25% would receive a recessive yellow legged gene from each parent. In this case where the recessive yellow legged gene is in a homozygous state, it is expressed in the phenotype as yellow legs.


Inbreeding is the breeding of two individuals who are related to each other. Typically all fowl from the same family of fowl are related to some degree, thus inbreeding is practiced whenever we maintain a “pure” line. Linebreeding is a form of inbreeding where particularly superior individuals are used in several generations, which tends to emphasize the genetic influence of the individual in the family. Inbreeding increases the probability that the two copies of any given gene for a particular trait will be identical, or homozygous for that gene. If the cock and hen are related, there is a chance that the two genes in the offspring are both identical copies contributed by the common ancestor. Close inbreeding uncovers hidden, often undesirable homozygous recessive genes that are carried by both parent fowl. Inbreeding depression is a term used to describe the reduction in performance caused by the expression of these recessive genes in inbred individuals. Some cockers will use this as a tool to test a new bloodline by fighting year old stags from a brother/sister mating, since this intensive form of inbreeding will quickly bring undesirable qualities to the surface such as lack of gameness.


Since mating related and phenotypically-identical individuals also tends to increase the number of homozygous dominant genes in the progeny, fowl become more uniform in those traits emphasized in the breeding program. Although true with any breeding system, additional care must be taken with intensive inbreeding (breeding closely related, inbred individuals). Only the very best physical specimens should be retained for maintaining the bloodline and crossing with other bloodlines. Producing these exceptional individuals requires hatching and raising a lot of chicks to increase the probability of the right genetic combination occurring in the offspring.


Increasing homozygous genes in a family through inbreeding increases the probability of producing “prepotent” individuals. Prepotency is the ability of an individual to pass their desirable dominant genes to their offspring. For this reason, prepotent individuals are extremely valuable in linebreeding systems to improve and maintain bloodlines. Although inbreeding will increase the probability of producing prepotency, in my own experience an ace crossbred battlecock was prepotent. Nearly all of his stags were virtually identical to the cock, including fighting style, body shape and station, leg color, a plumage color. They even sounded the same as they all had his distinctive voice.


Outcrossing is the mating of individuals within the same bloodline but having no close ancestral relationships. For example, a trio of Clarets was single mated producing a dozen stags from each hen. When the stags matured into cocks, they were fought and the best multiple time winners were selected for breeding purposes. The original hens were bred to their best sons, and the original cock was used once in the third year in each family. For the next 7 years, the two lines were kept separate, and the original hen and her exceptional son were bred several times in the following generations to increase their genetic contribution to each family. After 10 years, the lines were bred together, resulting in an outcross. The offspring from this mating were tested and the best individuals were bred back to the separate lines. This method of breeding, along with careful selection and progeny testing, can be used to maintain pure families without introducing outside blood. Using linebred, prepotent individuals is highly desirable when outcrossing.


Crossbreeding occurs when two unrelated fowl are mated. Crossbred individuals have many more heterozygous dominant genes present in their genotype. In a heterozygous genotype, dominant genes mask the influence of undesirable or desirable recessive genes. Many of the most successful battlecrosses are produced from crossing two or more unrelated, inbred families of fowl. In fact, the primary reason for maintaining inbred families of fowl is to produce individuals that can be used in crossbreeding systems. This is because crossing two unrelated, inbred bloodlines often results in hybrid vigor in the offspring. Hybrid vigor, or ‘heterosis,’ is the term used when a crossbred individual outperforms the parent fowl. Crossbreeding is widely used in commercial animal production and has proven successful. Hybrid animals and plants tend to grow faster, be more productive and more resistant to stress and disease. Once again, it must be emphasized that the greatest degree of heterosis is seen when inbred, prepotent individuals are used as the parent fowl.


So how does one select the breeds to cross? Some gamefowl breeders advocate crossing fowl that complement each other, such as breeding a power cock over speed hens, in hopes of producing the ultimate combination of desirable qualities. Others advocate breeding fowl that are similar in type and action, contending that the resulting offspring are more likely to be consistent and predictable.


In my opinion, both schools of thought are likely correct because both have proven to be successful. For example, the popular cross of various Hatch and Roundhead families clearly indicate the theory of complementary families is valid. Highly competitive crosses made up of similar families like the Kelso and Albany fowl prove that crossing families that have similar attributes is also effective. The success and failure of any cross is dependent upon the compatibility of the genes and the only way of knowing if the fowl will “nick” is to breed them together and test their progeny.


Crossbred fowl can be used in the breeding program. Many breeders will use superior crosses to add new blood into one or both of the parent lines, especially if the parent lines are intensively inbred and showing signs of inbreeding depression. After the initial introduction, the new blood is bred out in succeeding generations. The introduced family should be of unquestioned quality, as the introduction of inferior genes into an inbred family is an irreversible process. Recently I was given a trio of Regular Greys from a great friend. The fowl have an excellent winning percentage in the gaff and fight a smart style that would be effective in any weapon. They are deep game, deadly cutters, have great bodies and are good natured. Their major shortcoming is that the old cock and his two daughters are medium stationed. Since my goal is to produce high stationed cocks, I have developed a plan to increase their station. Since all three of the adult fowl are medium stationed, I am not hopeful that any of the stags and pullets out of this trio will be high stationed. However, there is a possibility that a recessive gene for high station is being masked, so I am breeding them pure to see if the recessive genes will pair up and produce some high stationed offspring. As an insurance policy, I bred a high station Claret broodstag out of a solid Claret bloodline from the same breeder to one of the Grey hens this year. From the stags and pullets I raise from this mating, I will keep the best overall individuals with the highest station to breed back to Greys next season. Since the pullets of any mating often more closely resemble the broodcock, I expect several of the ½ Grey ½ Claret pullets from this mating to be high stationed like the Claret stag. Like wise, the best performing high stationed ¾ Grey and ¼ Claret cocks (which should be carrying the genes for high station from the ½ and ½ pullets) will be bred over the pure Grey hens. If the pure Greys I’m breeding this year produce any high stationed stags or pullets, they will also be bred to the high stationed Grey/Claret crosses and back to the parent fowl. The goal is to eventually breed the Claret contribution down to a 1/16 or 1/32, while retaining the genes for higher station.


Although breeding crossbred fowl to each other is usually unsuccessful, some two-way crosses nick with a third bloodline. Some of the best fowl I have ever raised were out of a ½ Butcher ½ Lacy Roundhead cock and a Hatch hen. If all three of the original parent fowl are from inbred families, the 3-way crosses can be very consistent in appearance and style. When breeding crosses to crosses, a few excellent individuals may be produced but the pairings of the thousands of possible genetic combinations tends to produce predominantly average or mediocre individuals. An exception to the rule might be a four-way cross produced by mating a two-way cross cock out of two unrelated inbred families (e.g., Hatch and Kelso) to a two-way cross hen out of two unrelated inbred families (e.g., Butcher and Roundhead). Some animal experiments have indicated an additional boost of hybrid vigor is possible from the resulting four-way cross. This is something you may want to try if you have four inbred families.


All modern breeders acknowledge that the fowl used to develop today’s bloodlines were crosses. However, the successful bloodlines the great breeders in the past developed from these crosses were refined over many years through selection of superior individuals, inbreeding, testing and extensive culling.


No discussion of breeding is complete without addressing single mating, flock mating and yard breeding. The most haphazard and careless way to breed could be called ‘yard breeding.’ This is when the cocker lets his hens runs loose on the yard with cocks on strings. Yard breeding will result in chicks out of several different cocks and hens, as hens will often lay in the same nest, and the breeder will have no idea which hen and cock produced the dunghill or what combination produced the ace. Likewise, another questionable method is flock mating, when one cock is bred simultaneously to several hens of different breeds. The breeder may get some good chickens, but without trapnesting, it is impossible to know what hen laid the golden eggs. A somewhat better flock mating method is to breed a cock to full sisters. However, there are some hens that are much superior producers than their sisters, and with this system it is impossible to know which hens are the best. I recommend for the serious breeder of inbred families, single mating a cock with individually penned hens. In this way, the best individuals are rapidly identified. Their offspring can be single mated and the best retained from those future generations. Once the best hens are identified, they can be used in a flock mating system to produce battlecocks.


Single mating can be a lot of work even if the breeder has just a few cocks and hens. It requires moving the cock every 1-3 days to each hen pen. This year I used a chain link dog kennel 12’ wide and 16’ long to single mate three hens. I built a tee-pee shelter in three corners with a roost and nest box in each one, and tied the hens out on tie-cords. I covered the pen with 2” poultry netting and turned the cock loose among the hens. The hens laid in their individual nests and I didn’t have to move the cock, as he visited each hen several times per day. Based on my hatching rate, he did a fine job, and I know exactly what hen and cock produced each chick.


In summary, consider these key points:



Inbreeding is a long-term breeding strategy. It is most useful as a way to strengthen and preserve valuable genetic information in a bloodline. Individuals from these inbred bloodlines are valuable for producing hybrid battle crosses.

Inbreeding increases the number of homozygous genes. Remember that this applies to desirable and undesirable genes equally. If inbred fowl are mated and the progeny display undesirable traits, both parents and offspring should be removed from the breeding program because the parents are carriers for the recessive, undesirable gene expressed in the offspring. These individuals could be retained for crossing.

Linebreeding is a form of inbreeding in which superior individuals are used multiple times in several generations in the development and maintenance of a bloodline. Linebreeding increases the probability that desirable genes from the superior individuals are passed on to the subsequent generations. Care must be taken when linebreeding apparently superior fowl to other closely related individuals because of the potential for uncovering and passing on undesirable genes.

Outcrossing is the mating of unrelated individuals within a bloodline. It is a valuable strategy to maintain a bloodline with minimal effects from inbreeding depression. This strategy requires the maintenance of two or more families within a bloodline.

Crossbreeding is the mating of unrelated individuals from two or more separate bloodlines. When compatible bloodlines are used, crossbreeding often results in hybrid vigor, which occurs when the offspring exceeds the performance of the parent fowl.


Step 5. Evaluating the Progeny


The ultimate measure of success of any breeding program is the quality of the resulting offspring. The relative success of the matings is determined by the ability of the offspring to meet the criteria defined in the goals of the breeding program in Step 1. When breeding inbred families to produce broodfowl, it is only possible to initially evaluate their outward appearance, body structure, health and disposition; the ultimate test for the worth of broodfowl is their ability to produce winners and future generations of top quality broodfowl. This can make mistakes very costly considering the time and money required to determine the quality of their offspring.


Competition in the pit tests the offspring of the broodfowl and skill of the breeder. Information learned about fighting style, speed, cutting ability and other important traits should be gathered, analyzed, and used to guide the breeding program in future breeding seasons. Only through experience and being present at the pit when his warriors are doing battle can the breeder learn the weaknesses and strengths of his fowl and make adjustments to the breeding program.


It is true that superior battlecocks don’t always make superior broodcocks. However, history has proven that superior battlecocks make great broodcocks frequently enough to consider breeding a few great winners every year. I like to use great battlecocks over inbred pullets from another breed to make three-way crosses. Some of the greatest breeders of the past bought spectacular crossbred cocks at the pit and bred them into various ‘yards’ or families. They had to discard many of these yards after the offspring were tested, but some of these crossbred yards produced lines that are winning today.


The level of competition is an important factor to consider when evaluating battlefowl. It is a good idea for the breeder to compete a few times each year at the highest level of competition that he can afford. In this way the breeder can get a better idea of how his fowl measure up to the big boys.



Step 6. Managing Broodfowl


It is often said that if two cockers were given identical bloodlines, it would take just a few generations for the descendents of the original parent fowl to look and act completely different. Most of this phenomenon may be related to a different emphasis on specific traits when selecting broodfowl, and it is also related to differing environments (soil, water, climate, feed). However, another significant effect is due to management.


For example, one management technique is to supply artificial lighting to stimulate early egg production. Early eggs mean earlier chicks, which tends to produce larger adult fowl than those hatched in late spring. This simple management technique can have a significant impact on body size. Another example is the effect of the health of the broodfowl upon the health of the offspring. Since health is one of the most important traits we select for, we must manage the broodfowl to maximize health.


The following generic recommendations should be considered to optimize the productivity and performance of the broodfowl. Specific management techniques should be employed in certain situations (e.g., disease; predators; environmental conditions, etc.).



1. Employ a regular de-worming and de-lousing program.

2. Control the body weight of the broodfowl through diet and exercise. Fat broodcocks tend to produce a lower percentage hatch. Likewise, fat hens lay fewer eggs. Trim the feathers around the vent of each cock and hen to maximize the mating efficiency.

3. Provide enough pen space to minimize stress from overcrowding. In my experience, the minimum floorspace for a single mating broodpen (one cock and hen) is 4’ x 5’ or 20 square feet.

4. Provide a round roost pole, approximately 2.5 inches in diameter. In flock mating system, adequate roost space is an important detail, as the dominant hens will force the submissive hens off the roost until it is nearly dark. This is stressful on all of the fowl.

5. Provide clean, fresh and dry bedding material in the pen.

6. Provide a nest that is big enough so the hen can turn around freely and is protected from the weather. Use clean straw, shavings, or other material in the nest. In a flock mating system, use one nest per 3 hens if the eggs are picked up daily.

7. When using an incubator or a surrogate mother to hatch the eggs, eggs should be picked up at least once per day, kept clean and stored between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Discard undersized, oversized and odd-shaped eggs.

9. Wash dirty eggs soon after gathering. Use hot water and soap or plain hot water and dip in a diluted bleach solution.

10. Feed a breeder pellet if available. The breeder diet is balanced to promote optimum fertility and hatchability, as well as good egg shell quality. Laying pellets are formulated for the commercial production of eggs without consideration of the requirements of the developing embryo or newly hatched chick.

11. Provide oyster shells free-choice for strong eggshells.

12. Feed fruit and vegetables to penned fowl.

13. Always provide clean fresh water and use a high quality vitamin/electrolyte product 1-3 days per week or more often during extreme heat.

14. During the off-season when fowl are not breeding, allow them access to grass.

15. Practice biosecurity. Keep visitors to a minimum, and require shoe disinfection for those who do visit.

16. Minimize the introduction of new fowl onto the premises. New fowl are potential disease carriers. Isolate new fowl for at least two weeks before introducing them into your breeding program.


Step 7. Record Keeping


To keep track of the specific individuals and matings used in the breeding program, it is necessary to keep accurate records. This will help when the breeder needs to go back and figure out exactly how specific fowl were bred or to determine the degree of relationship between certain individuals within a family or bloodline.


Records should identify the individuals used in the brood pen, including their bloodline, toe mark and wingband number. The toemark and wingband numbers for the chicks produced from this mating also needs recording in the record book. I also record the number of eggs set, chicks hatched, and date hatched.


During the growing period, I also record mortality caused from predators, disease, culling or other reasons, and note the broodpen number. If I use medication or vaccinate, I record what, when, and why it was used and the results.



Summary:


Most cockers probably breed a family of fowl 5 or 6 years before they lose the ‘pure’ individuals and can’t maintain it or the fowl do not measure up to their standards and are discarded. Probably most gamefowl families out there don’t measure up to the requirements of a serious, top-level competitor. However, numerous stories exist of cockers discarding or losing families of fowl only to realize later that they were, in fact, a great bloodline. I have had this experience and I’ll bet most cockers with some breeding experience have also had this unpleasant realization.


Recognizing ‘diamonds in the rough’ is a challenge. If the breeder is starting with deep game cocks, he’ll have a great foundation and with some luck and intelligent breeding decisions, he’ll have something to be proud of. A breeder has to have patience and stick with it. He must breed as many as he can, cull them hard, keep accurate and detailed records, and spend as much time as possible just observing the fowl. Over time, some cockers even develop a ‘gut feel’ for mating individuals or crossing specific bloodlines. Regardless if you become a legendary breeder or stay down to earth on the backyard level, the point is to enjoy the process of creating extremely competitive, awe-inspiring, and absolutely beautiful feathered warriors.

 

 

For Your Information...



By Ritzelle Maria Q. Capili, DVM , posted on Sunday August 24, 2003

Gamefowl raisers always, if not most of the time, keep a watchful eye on every activity of their birds. However, there are certain important things that are sometimes overlooked. Therefore, here are some pointers that may help you to determine your gamefowl's health condition.


Observing your birds in cages to assess their general condition:




External manifestations:


Birds should have a well-rounded and bright eye; slightly oval eyes means that birds are not fully alert.

Any bird that spends all its time huddled in a corner, taking no notice of an observer, is near death.

Mostly, if not always, by the time one realizes that a bird is coming down with an infection, it is usually sick.

Twisting of the neck (torticollis), paddling (circling), paralysis and spasms may indicate Vit B or E deficiency, infectious disease or poisoning.





Character of the droppings


ALWAYS examine fresh droppings dark-colored central part from the rectum and off- white colored surrounding portion consisting mainly of urate crystals from the kidneys.

Blood in the droppings may come from the intestines, rectum, cloaca or oviduct: may indicate ulceration, bacterial, viral or protozoal infection of the gastrointestinal tract.

Yellow droppings may be associated with cholera or typhoid infection.





Breathing abnormalities


A dyspneic, gasping bird (difficulty in breathing) may not have a respiratory infection, but is certainly sick.

Blue discoloration (cyanosis) on the head region may indicate chronic viral respiratory infections.

Change in voice, which becomes harsh, or a change in pitch may indicate a problem in the upper respiratory tract.

Clicking or asthmatic noises (rales and wheezing) may be of viral, bacterial or fungal cause.





Physical examination of the restrained bird



Plumage (Feathers)


Should be free from external parasites like mites, lice





Eyes



Swelling just above the eye may be evidence of sinusitis.

Brown, crusty eruptions around the eyelids and beak may be due to Fowl Pox

Mareks disease can cause tumors in the pupil and iris of the eye.

Foaming of the eye is common with many viral mycoplasmal or parasitic infections.




Beak


Cracking of the beak may be due to trauma or Vit A deficiency.

Abnormal beak formation may be due to Vit D, Calcium, Biotin and Vit B-complex.




Body

Pectoral muscle should he symmetrical upon palpation.





On Tapeworms



Aim of satisfactory treatment: complete removal of both adult and larval stage

If destrobilization only occurred, the intact scolex is likely to regenerate another body in about 3 WEEKS.

Examination of the host's feces for tapeworm segments is advised at 3-4 weeks following initial drug treatment





Causes of diseases



INFECTIOUS: bacteria, virus, fungi parasite, protozoa

NON-INFECTIOUS: mechanical (trauma), thermal (chilling, heat stress), nutritional (vitamin deficiencies, nutritional imbalance), metabolic, genetic, toxic, neoplastic, immunologic, aging, idiopathic (unknown cause).






Common clinical signs of digestive problems



Innapatence: birds stop consuming feeds.

Diarrhea; normal digestion is disrupted (usually first seen as inflammation of the cloaca).

Dehydration

Uneven growth rate of flock: mixture of healthy and stunted birds due to varying immune competence.

Pale shanks, feather abnormalities, improper bone growth: result of inadequate absorption of vitamins and minerals.





On Coccidiosis



Young birds (2-4 weeks) are more susceptible; sick and recovered birds may shed infection and become a carrier.






On Salmonella infection



Can he acquired via eggs of infected hens.

Infected chicks via egg or hatchery die during the first few days of life (up to 2-3 weeks of age).





Common signs of respiratory disturbances



Quiet and less active birds

Snicking and clicking

Swelling of eyelids

Rales and coughing, watery discharges from eyes and nostrils caused by excess mucus in the trachea

Difficulty in breathing with necks extended and beak open





On Fowl Pox


Dry lesions: occur on skin, head, legs- enlarged and filled with fluid, may blend together and turn dark brown or black

Wet lesions: occur in the pharyngeal area and upper GIT-interfere with breathing

 

 

Artificial Insemination in Game Fowl Breeding



Artificial insemination is not widely used in game fowl breeding. The preference for natural mating may have to do with the belief that progeny produced through artificial insemination are not good as those produced through natural mating. In reality, however, artificial insemination does not affect fertility and hatchability of eggs and the quality of the chicks produced. Moreover, it accelerates flock improvement.

In bird reproduction, as long as the sperm is normal and healthy, it will be able to fertilize a follicle and cause the normal development of an embryo. With artificial insemination, semen is extended only with a saline solution that approximates its composition, and this does not harm the sperms at all.




Advantages of Artificial Insemination


A simple and cheap procedure contrary to what may be believed by many, artificial insemination can be successfully integrated in game fowl production, regardless of farm size. Its potential use in gem fowl breeding is enormous, particularly in maximizing the use of imported ace brood cocks.


Since quality semen is usually extended before insemination, multiplication of a line is made faster and use of a superior brood cock will have ample number of progeny to perpetuate it. It also results in a more uniform progeny because of the influence of a single brood cock to a number of hens.


With artificial insemination, injured superior cocks can still be used. Impaired superior battlecocks may just be corded or caged and used in semen collection, provided that the injury has not affected the birds’ reproductive ability.


Artificial insemination is useful when individual matings are recorded. If coupled with individual caging of brood hens, this procedure makes individual mating faster by several folds, since semen taken form a brood cock in a single collection can be used to inseminate up to 10 brood hens. This means 10 brood hens inseminated by a single brood cock in a single day. Being able to do this also means increasing the likelihood of being able to produce uniform progeny.


Scientists are on the verge of successfully freezing cock semen. If this happens, prized brood cocks can still be used long after its death. It may be used to influence the flock anytime its characteristics need to be reinjected into the flock.




Semen Collection and Insemination Gear


The semen collection and insemination gear consists of simple tools that can be found anywhere. For semen collection, a funnel connected to a vial by rubber tubing is most desirable. In its absence, any suitable container like medicine cup, measuring cup or coffee cup may be used as a semen collection vessel. The only requirement for a semen collection gear is that it has to be wide-mouthed to facilitate collection. A plastic laboratory washbottle is needed to contain and dispense semen extender, although any other vessel will do.


A two-ml disposable syringe attached to the tip of a medicine dropper with a rubber tubing or a tuberculin syringe with its tip removed and smoothened, can be used in inseminating hens.

                               









Gear for artificial insemination in poultry:( left to right ) vial, 2-ml syringe and plastic funnel.



Semen is extended using Ringer’s solution, a physiological saline which approximates the chemical composition of brood cock semen. Ideally, it is contained in a laboratory washbottle. The solution is warmed by putting laboratory wash bottle containing the extender in a bowl of hot water. The warm (lukewarm) temperature helps in prolonging the life of the cock semen. Since the semen is stored inside the fowl’s body, it is used to being in a 41oC temperature.

                                                 Composition of Ringer's Solution

 

             

 

 Training a Brood Cock for Semen Collection


A brood cock needs to be trained before semen can be collected from it. It has to be at least 6 months old, healthy and selected based on the breeder’s standards. It is very important that it has no genetically induced defects, since with artificial insemination, these will also be rapidly multiplied in the flock.


As much as possible, only one person should do the training, so that the brood cock will get used to his touch. Training should be done daily in mid afternoon, which is about the time actual semen collection and insemination are done. However, during summer, training and insemination may have to be done early in the morning if brood cocks are tie-corded in the teepees. Doing these in the afternoon may not yield good results, because the brood cocks are already heat stressed. After 5 to 7 days of training, the brood cock is ready for semen collection or “milking”.

The following procedure is undertaken:

1. Pluck the feathers surrounding the cloaca because these impede the flow of semen to the collecting vessel.

2. Holding the brood cock with one hand, stimulate it by gently stroking its back down to its tail a number of times. After about 10 strokes, squeeze its cloaca moderately with the thumb and the forefinger. Squeezing the cloaca too hard hurts the bird, and this may cause bleeding, which is a traumatic experience for it.

3. After a few training sessions, the brood cock responds to the stroking by stiffening its body, an indication that it is ready to ejaculate. The cloaca appears red and swollen when squeezed. Premilk the brood cock once (one training session) before actually using it for semen collection, to ascertain the quality and quantity of its semen.




Semen Collection


Two persons are needed in collecting semen: one to hold the bird and the other to collect semen. The brood cock is laid on a flat surface, its tail facing the collector. The collector stimulates the bird as described in the preceding section. When the bird shows signs of an impending ejaculation, he puts the collecting vessel at the lower side of the cloaca, squeezes the cloaca gently and catches the semen with the collecting vessel.


The semen volume ranges from 0.50 to 1.50 cc per brood cock. Its appearance varies form watery fluid (low sperm concentration) to an opaque white suspension (high sperm concentration).


The semen adhering to the sides of the collecting vessel maybe flushed with Ringer’s solution to let it settle at the bottom of the vessel. The semen may be used in its pure form or diluted with Ringer’s solution 5 to 10 times its original volume depending on its quality without any deleterious effect on fertility and hatchability.


A healthy cock should only be used for semen collection for a maximum of three times per week. Extensive use of the rooster will lower its fertilizing capacity.




Insemination


The collected semen should be inseminated right away, as avian sperms do not live long outside the bird’s body. They live only a maximum of one hour after collection.


Insemination is done in the afternoon, when most hens have already laid an egg. This ensures that no egg in the shell gland blocks the syringe during insemination. However, as mentioned earlier in this chapter, insemination may have to be done in the morning during summer. The inseminator just has to be careful not to break the egg that may already be in the shell gland. Hens are inseminated once a week, because eggs laid 7 days after insemination are still fertile. However, egg collection for hatching should start 3 days after the first insemination to make sure that the eggs are already fertile. This is because it is most likely that the hen has already ovulated at the time it is inseminated. It will ovulate the next day, and the follicle will be fertilized. This will develop into a complete egg on the third day.


Insemination is carried out by two persons: one to hold the bird, the other to inseminate. The hen is laid on a flat surface between them to avoid getting soiled whenever it spurts out dung in the process of insemination.


The one holding the hen gently presses its abdomen and tail with his two thumbs. The push towards the head of the bird everts its cloaca. This is the reason why only laying hens can be inseminated. The cloaca of a non-laying of hen cannot be everted. The inseminator inserts the syringe containing about 0.20 cc of semen one inch into the left oviduct, the tip of which is on the left side of the everted cloaca. The one on the right is the end part of the digestive tract. After insertion, the pressure on the cloaca is released, and the inseminator plunges the syringe. It is important to release pressure during insemination so that the semen does not flow back with the removal of the syringe.

 

                                            

                               Artificially inseminating a brood hen. Note the everted cloaca.
 

 

Lemon 84 Bloodline

 

    It is unfair to declare that these "Lemon 84's" only existed in the philippines! we must look back that these three way combos of Claret/Hatch/Butcher blood were bred in the yards of Duke Hulsey here in the United States....Only a partial of these blood were shipped to Paeng and he christened it as the L-84's...most of these blood that was bred by the late Duke went into the hands of his friends within his "circle of friends" meaning every breeder that has obtained the Hulsey blood from the late duke...not counting the very close people that fed, walked and conditioned fowls for Mr. Duke Hulsey...some of these individuals have obtained the same fowls which maybe to this very day...may have maintained the above blood just as they received or obtained it from the late Duke without any outside blood infusion! so, these Lemon Hackled blood that was shipped by the late Duke to the Philippines for Ka Paeng with most of it's brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousin's blood are still widely distributed here in the U.S. simply as the DUKE HULSEY FOWLS!!!

 

Lemon blood composition is a  Claret, Butcher & Hatch

How to select the best fighting cock

 
 
 
Things You’ll Need:
A clear eye
good sense of perception
gentle and caring hands


Step1

The Head. There are only 2 types of heads a cock possess. The small head which carries a pea-comb and the large headed straight comb cock. Most cockers and breeders prefer small heads for aesthetic purposes. It's up to you to choose according to your preference.

Step2

The Eyes. Any color of the eyes will do as long as it's clear, alert and bright, well-proportioned, and well-focused. Most cockers and breeders prefer red eyes since it connotes American blood in them.

Step3

The Beak. Big thick beaks show that the cock can execute firm billholds, long thin beaks are signs of speed and agility, and hooked beaks are good for billholding too. Whatever the type of beak you prefer, it should close and set well, and the upper and lower beaks should fit in tightly.

Step4

The Face. The skin on the face of the cock should have a smooth red face. Rough faced cocks are either old and/or bred haphazardly.

Step5

The Neck.
The neck should be well-proportioned with the body. Feathers around the neck must be full, shiny and smooth.

Step6


The Shoulders. Should be broad, muscular, and a bit wider in relation to the back and the rest of the body.

Step7


The Breast. Must be full of flesh and rounded barely noticing the bone feeling the meat and not the fat.

Step8
The Back. The broader the back, the more power it packs.

Step9


The Tail. The tail base should be thick but pliable. Generally, broad tail feathers connotes imported blood, while narrow feathers shows Oriental and/or native infusion.

Step10

The Wings. Long wings mean more shuffling is expected while short wings are meant for clipping in midair.

Step11

The Thighs. Must be longer than the shanks and must be full of supple muscles to create more power while hitting.

Step12

The Shanks.
Scaly parts of the feet (aka "Adidas") Big stubby shanks pack more power but a clear sign of slow-footedness, thin shanks are a clear indication of speed and agility.

Step13

The Toes. Smooth and small is always the desirable sign of speed

 

 

 

 

Histories of Game Strains

Clippers

There has been some discussion on the board, the last day or so about the Albany's and the Clippers and it looked like it might heat up some for awhile but looks as if it just fizzled out. With no one proving a thing except that both parties knew something about the breeds and their origins. That's about the way these discussions always go. The trouble is most of the information we have is second or third hand, that is until one of the relatives of the original breeder speaks up and they have the breeding records and are willing to share their knowledge. Then they can set the record straight about the breed. It's always interesting to read about the old breeds and how they were made and where they came from. So I thought I'd share some of the things that I've read on the Clippers, now it seems that there are two (could be more) breeds of Clippers, Law's (Yankee) Clippers and Coopers Clippers. The following is from Johnson's History of Game Strains. Clippers (Law) Two yards of the famous Yankee Clippers as bred by the late E. W. Law of Georgia and Florida are supposed to be a cross of Madigin Claret over the "Pine Albany" and "Old Albany" respectively from the O'Connells of Albany, N.Y. One version among some of the big time cockers is that Law sold some crossed fowl that turned out to be so good that he got them back and bred and fought them, as the Clippers but was never sure what blood was in them.(Am just giving it as I've often heard it; I express no opinion either way.) Cocks come light and dark red, Spangle, Pumpkin, and an occasional white. All are straight combed with white and yellow legs and occasionally one will come green legged. As with most other strains there were probably several different families, all called Clippers. Some were extremely good and dead game. The boys down in Albany, Ga. have some of these. Others were rank dunghills. I have known Mr. Law since I was just a kid until his death. I fought my first cock at a main between Law and my uncle, the late W. L. Johnson. Long before that Law had a yard of his fowl at Mr. Cliff Morgans who lived about three miles from my home. I walked a few cocks for Law about ten years ago. Our dealings were always satisfactory to both parties. Coopers Clippers In 1859 "Censor" the London correspondent of "Porters Sprit of the Times" presented Dr. J. W. Cooper two trios of Clippers. One of the cocks was breed by Mr. Cobden of Sussex. The hens with him were out of a brown red Nottingham cock, out of black breasted red hens from the celebrated jockey Frank Butler. The other cock was bred by Mr. Heathcote at Epsom Race Course, of which he was part owner. The hens with him were of famed Staffordshire stock. Although the two sets of hens were no kin, nor were they kin to the cocks, all the produce were called Clippers. They came black red and brown reds.

 


 

Concerning Clarets

The following must have been a letter written to the Editor of Grit and Steel. The Author's note following the letter could be Mr. Johnson's note but then it could be the Editior's note. As you can see there was a bit of confusion about the breeding of the Clarets even then. Some may have gotten the idea (as I have) that Madigin may have engineered the confusion. From Johnson's History of Game Strains Concerning Clarets By: C. C. Crenshaw I notice in Grit and Steel that many are advertising "pure Madigin Clarets" from many parts of the nation. There is a question in my mind now and has been for some time as to just where and when they got this blood. I am talking about the good old time blood now, as Mr. Madigin has said (I quote from the Oct., 1937 Grit and Steel)," I have many letters of inquiry concerning those who advertise Clarets. I have never sold a Claret. I have only given away a few cocks; no hens. I raise them all at Ft. Erie and there alone and the only way anyone has to get them is to steal them, of course, all who walk them for me have one half blood and if they inbreed them, can get them, but they are useless when inbred. I only want to give you an insight into the methods of those who profess to have pure Clarets." Author's note: Concerning above, it is now an established fact that Madigin did give away hens to several different men. As for what Mr. Madigin has to say about those walking cocks for him having only one half the Claret blood and not being able to get more except by inbreeding: If a man bred from a Claret stag or cock walked for Madigin and then bred the stags and pullets form him together that would be inbreeding but would not increase the percent of Claret blood. Madigin always asked me not to return blinkers or broke billed cocks, etc. I always killed these as I did not want to breed them and did not think I had a right to fight them. But anyone walking cocks for Madigin who wanted to breed them could breed said battered cock year after year back over his daughters until soon they would be seven/eighth or fifteen/sixteenth his blood (and likewise that percent of Claret blood). However this would be line breeding rather than inbreeding. A man could breed from a different stag or cock (from Madigin for purpose of walking) each year over the pullets out of the stag or cock bred the preceding year. Regardless of the definition you give inbreeding, you will realize that such a man can not possibly be inbreeding any closer that Madigin himself. R.L. Sanders bred from Madigin's Clarets until his are thirty/one thirty/second Claret blood. I can not understand a man having the great amount of intelligence required to become the success Mr. Madigin was making such a statement in writing as above.


 

The Albanys

Every time we read in a game journal or hear someone arguing about how a famous strain was bred, it used to make us smile. Now, after a lot of developing into the history of present day families of fowl, it makes us laugh right out loud. If any man ever hit the nail on the head, it was Henry Ford when he said, much to the disgust of our scholarly element, "History is the bunk!" Much of the history taught in our schools is just that, or at its best inaccurate reporting of past events, and all game fowl history is absolutely bunk. Ninety-five percent of us gamefowl breeders don't know how our own fowl are bred further than two or three generations back. A whole heck of a lot of us are not positive how last season's chicks were bred, and them right on our own yard at that. Sounds silly, but it's true. Let's take the Allen Roundheads as a well-known example. We know they were good. I can show you a man who claims to have letters from Allen in which he claims his strain was kept good by careful inbreeding. I can show you another who says he has letters to prove the best cocks Allen ever showed were crosses of Green's Japs; and still another who contends the best Allen ever fought, and this over a period of years, were not bred by Allen at all, but sent him each year by a New England saloon keeper. And, all three of these men claim to have positive proof of their contentions. What's the difference how they are or aren't bred, or who bred them? If they are good today, that's what you want and need. If they aren't good, a silly pedigree of long, pure breeding isn't going to improve them a particle. Recently, we talked to a well-known cocker and a competent man. We asked him about some fowl he had tried out for three years. He said, "I had to get rid of every drop of the blood. All the danged things would do is stand there like fence posts and take whatever the other cock handed them. Now, we happen to know a considerable amount of those fowl and their owner. He can write out the pedigree of any chicken on his yard and trace it right back to 1865 or '70; not another drop of outside blood in all those years. They are famous today among paper fighters. Yet, compared with today's best cocks, they are positively jokes. Keeping pedigrees of animals and birds was begun simply because it furnished (for future reference) a record in writing of how outstanding individuals were bred, who their fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, and the proper place for their pedigrees is in the trash can. In two different issues of the Warrior some time last summer, we gave you the history of the Albany fowl; one of today's winning strains of fowl. We had been much interested in these fowl for the past 9 or 10 years, or longer, ever since we saw some of them back in 1930 or '31. Since then, at every opportunity, we have tried to get a line on how they were originated and bred, up to today. Finally, we thought we had it right and gave in to you. On a recent trip to Troy, we found out it was only approximately correct, so, here it is again. If you are tired of reading our stuff on these fowl, we don't' blame you a bit, and promise this is our last word on the Albanys. Back years ago or more, Mr. Hatch of Long Island, N.Y., fought a main in Eastern New York. When we arrived home, he found someone had stolen three cocks from his shipping coops, the ones he had taken along for the main. Two of them were yellow legged and one a green leg. While the men who have us our information said they would take their oaths they didn't know who stole these cocks, they did know who eventually got them. The two yellow legs were bred and produced nothing worthwhile. "Army" Fox of Utica, N.Y. got the green leg. He was a large, straight comb, broad backed, dark red, with green legs. Army later talked with Mr. Hatch about having the cock, and he told him what he was, that all of that family were straight combs, etc. Army said he would send and get him. His friend told him the cock had died, and that he wasn't his type of chicken anyway. However, he had raised two or three stags from him , and a hen that was in breeding, Pogmore Whitehackle and Henny, and offered to send Army one of the stags. When he arrived, he was a beautiful, long feathered, large stag, black and red in color. He was bred to the Slade Roundhead hens and a dozen or so stags were produced. About half of them looked like Hennies, and while game, better than the Hennies, and that's about all that could be said of them. About this time and for some years previous, Tom Foley of Troy, N.Y., had a strain of extras good ginger colored fowl, and Army Fox sent to him and asked for a good cock to breed. Just about this time, an Albany crowned one of his Gingers, a spangle (and the only one out of 50 or so to come that color), to fight in the main. He was a big cock and didn't fall in (but in a hack after the main won a very classy battle), and was sent on to Army Fox for a brood cock. Army bred him to the pullets, or perhaps hens by then, that were sisters to the Henny stags that were out of the Hatch Pogmore Henny cock and Slade hens. This mating, for some unknown reason, produced all very small fowl, 4.0, 4.04, 4.06, etc., too small for practical purposes although they were exceptional fighters and very game. Practically all of them were given away. Shortly after this, Army met a friend of his in Albany, whom we must refer to as Mr. X. He had always had gamefowl, but a few years before had gotten into politics. At that time, he gave up the fowl. Army suggested he get back in the game again, that new blood was needed among the big shots, and especially new blood with a bankroll. He laughed and said perhaps he would, but where would he get good fowl? To make a long story short, he took the pullets or hens Army had that were bred from the Foley Ginger cock and hens that were ½ Slade Roundhead, ½ hatch-Pogmore Henny. He got, from the Hardy Bros. Of Niagara Falls, one of their Mahogany cocks known as "The Sneak" (due to a habit he had of ducking under his opponent) and bred them together. This mating produced what were known as the strait Albanys; very uniform, awfully game cocks, but not good enough to compete with the topnotchers. From here on, our previous writings on these fowl are correct. A Pine Spangle was bred tot he Albany hens and produced cocks that were invincible for five or six years. When he died, a Claret cock bred to the same hens and other Clarets down to Mr. X's "Caseys" of today were what he had. Offshoots of the family have proven awfully good. The Bradford fowl, Laws Clippers, Hard, Cox fowl, Keefer, and many more all contain the blood. In spite of the numerous and varied crosses that have been made, these fowl today are surprisingly uniform in looks and in action and winning qualities. We know of nothing better, not few as good.

 


 

The Miner Blues

 

by: Loyd B. Miner

Several months ago you asked me to write the history of my Miner Blues. I appreciated being favored with this request and promised you that I would write same, however, when yours of July 5th came asking if I had the history written, I had failed to have a single line. I consider myself very poor at writing anything and writing the history of my own fowl makes it all the more difficult for me, but i shall keep my promise and do the best I can. I will try and not say too much for my fowl and if I do, just remember ho much each real lover of the game cock thinks of his own strain. I have two strains of Blues, one a strictly straight comb strain, the other of all Roundhead blood. I shall give you the history of the straight comb strain first because they were the first fowl that I really bred. I owned my first game cock about 25 years ago. At that time the village of Cornell had some men who kept a few half-mile running horses, a few scrub game cock and boasted of one real 100-yard dash men. Every summer many covered wagon loads of Gypsies passed through Cornell; they made money trading horses, racing horses and fighting cocks. Professional foot racers traveled with them. We had saloons then and the little village was pretty sporty, would gamble on anything. I took in the horse races, foot races and cock fights. Several of us young fellows liked the game cocks very much, so we all bought cheap cocks and started in the game, fighting against each other, There were seven or eight of us started in the game at that time. A few years later I secured twenty subscribers to Derby Game Bird for a premium of Gregory gaffs. All of these boys finally quit the game except George Hasel and myself. George quit about three years ago and moved to South Bend, Ind., from there to Chicago and not long ago I received a letter from him in Denver, Colo., in which he said that he wanted a trio of the old straight comb Blues as soon as he got located where he could keep chickens. Am getting off my track so will go back to the time we were fighting chickens among ourselves. At that time I was working in my fathers store and a mon by the name of Ed Foley ran a hotel next door. He had a large back yard and one day I noticed a beautiful blue-red game cock running in this yard with some dunghill hens. I asked Foley what breed he was and what he would take for him and he replied that he was one of Nick Vipond's Blues and did not belong to him, that he was only walking him for Nick, but for me to go to Streator (which is 15 miles from Cornell) and see old Nick and he would perhaps sell me a cock, I got my best friend, George Hasel, and we went to Streator and looked up Nick. It was not hard to find him as he ran a saloon in the main part of the city. He took us to his home and showed us may fine cocks in pens. We each bought one and could hardly wait until we hot home to tackle some of the boys for a scrap. Next day both cocks were fought and both won. After that day both of us bothered old Nick quite often. We must have been an awful pest to him and I often wonder how he had the patience to fool with us. However, he seemed to take a liking to us and would let us watch him condition cocks up stairs over his saloon in the winter and at his home in his barn during the warmer months. He taught us how to hold a cock and how to work him and to this day I have never seen a man who could put a cock through his work and not break a feather as he could. He had a world of patience with a biting cock and his condition was good, but now I think that he pulled his cocks too low for them to be at their best. Nick traveled and fought his cocks and also fought mains against Col. Minton, George A. Fuller, the Red Hornet man, (at that time of Springfield, Ill.) and many others. Like most others Nick had other fowl besides his blues, some good and some bad, some of them belonging to other parties that he would condition and fight for them. Years have proven that his Blues were the best that he had and were the only ones that he kept when he got old. The straight comb Miner Blues that I breed today are direct descendants of the best and last brood yards of Nick Vipond's Blues. Just what blood these Blues are no one really knows. Many have asked Nick what blood they were and I have asked him where he got them, but he never would say, his reply being to all "they are my old Blues." However, Nick was born in Wales, He moved from Pennsylvania to Steator over 50 years ago, was a coal miner and later went into the saloon business. He brought with him from Pennsylvania some very dark blue fowl, dark eyes and dark legs. Some say that they were imported from Ireland and that Nick bought them from a man in the east who needed money badly, however, I don not know that this is true, and doubt if there is any one who does know, but I do know that the first fowl that I saw at his place were dark-blue. Later he had a very beautiful, white leg, red eyed, light-red cock over some blue hens and in a short time he had many white leg and yellow leg Blues of different shades of lighter blues, also many light-red with white or yellow legs. I asked him one day what the white leg red cock was and he said that he was just the same as the Blues and added that some of them came red. I bought a 4.14 white leg red cock of him that had won bottom weight in one of his mains and six dark blue hens. My friend Hasel bought a 5.04 dark blue, slip leg cock and two dark-blue hens. I had the pleasure of being in on the last three mains that Nick fought, my friend George Hasel was also in on one, these being fought against local parties. In two of the mains he won every fight but one and lost but one main, by the odd. After the last main, which he won, he told Hasel and I that he was going to give each of us a good cock that had won in the main and tell us how to breed them. We already had eight dark-blue hens, the dark-blue slip leg cock and the white leg 4.14 cock, then he gave Hasel the white leg red 6.02 cock. This cock was old, but did not show it, and had won quickly in the main. A year or two before Hasel had asked Nick to price this cock, but he would never do it. When Nick gave Hasel the cock he told him that sense he had always wanted him so badly that he would make him a present of the cock and told him to breed him over the pullets from the slip-leg blue. He then gave me a fine young 5.08 dark-blue cock that had won a sensational battle in the main and told me to breed him to the pullets from the 4.14 Red. I never got a picture of the slip-leg nor the old white leg red Hasel got, but I had a photographer take a picture of the 4.14 Red and I took a snap shot of the 5.08 Blue. The one I took is not clear, but I am sending both for you to print. Hasel and I bred these four cocks and eight hens just as we were told to do and exchanged stags and pullets each year and mated more yards. We could do this nicely with four yards to draw from. At about the same time that we got the last tow cocks from Nick a friend of mine named Harry Rucker (who lived in Cornell) bought a 3-time winner brown-red, white leg cock from Nick and bred him on some Dom hens he had and two years later Hasel bought this Vipond cock from Rucker and later bred him over daughters of the slip-leg. About ten years ago, Nick quit business and moved to Chicago, later moving to either Marion, Ohio or Indiana, I have forgotten which and finally came back to Streator where he died about three years age. When he moved to Chicago he sold all of his fowl except two large dark-blue hens and one large white leg hen. These he would not sell. He called on me just a short time before he left and brought these three hens and asked if I would keep them for him, said that his daughter was sick and that he and his wife must go and live with her and that they had no place to keep chickens. I kept the hens and bred them single mated. I have a letter that Nick wrote me sent from Chicago, about eleven years ago asking me to have his hens caught up as he would be after them soon. He never bred any more fowl, but came and took one of the blue hens for a friend and gave me the other, the white leg hen having died. My straight comb Miner Blues I breed today are direct descendants of the four cocks and the eight hens that Hasel and I got from Nick, the cock that Rucker got and the three hens that Nick left with me. I have many yards and believe that I can breed them indefinitely without a cross. I have mated them as I know that they must be mated and at the same time I have line-bred them to the most sensational fighting cocks that have been produced from time to time. For instance, Hasel, by mating a dark-blue stag that I gave him over one of his white leg red hens, produced a white leg blue-red stag that proved, in the brood yard, to be one of the best producers of all. He fought this stag against Sam Brazier in Chicago in 1919. Brazier had a wonderful stag and cut Hasel's stag blind in one eye and broke one wing in the first pitting but Hasel could hardly hold his stag during the rest period and when turned loose for the second pitting he went across like a flash, and with one eye and one wing gone he shuffled Brazier's stag to death. Hasel bred this stag that year and as a cock for two years. We called him old Blinker. He gave me one of his first stags from this cock, also one of his daughters and in 1922 traded me the old Blinker for a brood cock of mine that had won several times. I bred old Blinker until he died in the fall of 1924. He was a great producer and was line-bred from the start. Many of ny yard carry more or less of his blood on each side. I have bred many cocks that have won several battles but never have I found one that produced more winners that old Blinker did. Old White Leg, a four time winner that I raised is a grandson of the 4.14 and the old white leg Vipond cock. This strain of cocks have not been bred to color but have been to fight, however, in the last few years I have mated Red to Reds and Blues to Blues whenever I could do so and not sacrifice fighting qualities nor the proper mating. At the present time they average in color about 50% blue reds with white or yellow legs, 40% light reds with black or brown mottled breasts and white or yellow legs and about 10% come dark-blues with dark legs. I get more dark-blues in hens than in cocks. Are medium, low station and the cocks run in weight from 4.06 to 6.08 and the hens from 3 to 5 pounds. They are exceptionally game, extra good cutters and know how to fight. Just to give and example of the gameness of these Blues I am going to quote what a friend in Omaha Nebraska wrote me about one of these Blue cocks that fought in a main there in 1925. "Fourth fight we matched your straight comb Miner blue against a Harry Williams Warhorse cross from Covington, Ky. Warhorse coupled your Blue in first pitting and the fight dragged out to 68 pittings, 48 minutes of terrible give and take on both sides. In my opinion your blue was the best cock and his gameness was remarkable. He crossed the pit several times on his wings and shuffled whenever he could get a beak hold, only to be counted out in the 68th pitting, his opponent dying soon afterwards. Blue had two counts on Warhorse but could not see or stand on his feet, yet he always broke all counts except the 68th.." I call these Blues Miner Blues because most of them come blue and they have been bred by my method long enough to make them the type they are today. I have the same opinion as Mr. Ewing A. Walker has in calling his Mugs Walker Mugs. My friend Hasel advertised and sold some of these Blues that he bred and called his Hasel Blues. As he had bred them many years he felt that he had the right to call them Hasel Blurs. I have never spent much time in thinking up a name for my fowl as I feel sure that if cocks can fight they will make a name for themselves and if not a blood curdling name will not help them. While I have always kept these Blues pure that I got from Nick Vipond, I have also made some crosses. Most of us experiment some and I have always thought it best to make a cross when I had time to try them out than wait until I had to have a cross and trust to luck for a nick. I have made several crosses and fought them all to find out what I had and found that some were good and others were bad. Those that were good I bred back to my Blues and then fought the quarter bloods, then bred back again and fought the eighth bloods. I do not need a cross on my old Blues at this time, but if I ever do I now have on hand some good hens with one-half, one-quarter and one-eighth new blood that are sisters to cocks that have proven good and of which I breed a few each year. In 1917 D. H. Pierce loaned me a young Wisconsin Shuffler cock to breed. He was a dark eyed brown-red and an extra good one. I tried to buy him from Pr. Pierce but he would not sell him, so I returned him in good shape in the fall of 1918. I mated this Pierce cock to one of the old dark-blue hens that Nick left with me when he moved to Chicago and from this mating I got dark-blues and dark-brown reds. Fought the stags and refought them and only one lost his first battle. I then bred one of my Blue cocks over one of the half blood hens and the quarter-bloods win a good majority of their battles. I have two dark-blue hens today that are daughters of the Pierce cock. They are over nine years old and are strong and healthy brood hens yet. In 1923, Henry Flock sent me a blue-red, white leg, red eyed, straight comb cock from El Paso, Texas and wanted me to breed him. Said if I did not want him to just send him to his daughter at home and that she would care for him until he returned. Flock had won twice with him and had pronounced him a wonder. He said that Jas. G. Oakley had bred him out of a Smith Blue cock that he got off Smith Bros., that won in the Opelousas Tournament. I bred this cock single mated on one of my old Blue hens and he nicked well with my blood. I bred back to my Blues and the quarter bloods won a larger percent than did the half bloods. I am saving some of the quarter-blood hens. My friend Hasel made a cress several years ago with Gleezen Whitehackel on Blues, also a cross of a Shawlneck hen from Elmer B. Denham and both were good. I traded some of my Pierce cross and of the Oakley cock cross to Hasel for some of his Whitehackles and Shawlneck crosses and breed a few each year carrying this blood. This concludes the history of my straight comb blues.

 


 

Sheldon Nigger Roundheads

The original Sheldon Roundheads that Sam Wactor started with must have been heavy with oriental and or Asil blood as some of my Nigger Roundheads show the Asil look. The feather color of the Nigger Roundheads now are Black, Black Red, and Dark Red, the eye color is black or red, leg color has been dark but with the Sheldon Roundhead blood in them I am sure one day I will get some lighter legs out of them. But, when Sam Wactor first started breeding his Nigger Roundheads he got some BLUE feathered ones but sent them to another yard away from his main farm. And over the years he bred out the BLUE colors. However, in doing research on many breeds of fowl you will find that many had a blue in them some where. I obtained my Nigger Roundheads from Jack Wactor SR. The son of Sam Wactor, in the last few years Jack Wactor's son Jack Wactor Jr. sold some of his fowl in the Gamecock. I talked to Jack Wactor Sr. on the phone a few weeks ago and he said that he had given all the fowl to his handler. However, Jack Wactor SR. told me that he had sent me the best fowl he had and that the handler in fact did not have some of the Blood lines that he had sent me due to a problem with varmints and dogs. I will continue to raise and test the Nigger Roundheads as they cross very well with my other fowl. The following history was written by JACK WACTOR SR. and sent to me so I could share it with anyone who was interested. I hope you enjoy the history of the Nigger Roundheads as much as I did. "My father, Sam Wactor got started in the game chicken life at the tender age of 8 years old. Burnell Shelton had country walks near my father's farm and he began using him to help catch his chickens. Shelton gave him a yard of chickens that same year which he bred and kept pure for years. As much as he liked his Sheldon Roundheads he still was not dominating at the pits. He thought if he found a sure enough outstanding cock he would breed him over some of his roundhead hens. Charlie Knapp a New Orleans banker, close friend and supporters of Sam's told him if he ever saw the rooster he wanted he would buy it for him. In January 1921, while at a main in New Orleans, LA, a man named Grimme, who was a shoe cobbler from Yazoo City, MS, fought an absolutely awesome rooster. The rooster was fought twice that day and won both fights quickly. Sam knew he found what he had been searching for and as agreed Knapp bought the rooster and paid $100. The rooster was a dark brown-red with a dark face, eyes and legs. Sam bred the cock over 9 Sheldon Roundhead hens (some yellow legs and some white) and all the biddies came dark. He only bred the Grimme cock for one season because he was killed by his offspring and he never bred back to the Roundhead side. Out of this breeding he raised an outstanding rooster he called Trotter. Trotter proved to be such an exceptional rooster he continued to breed him over his daughters and then granddaughters and so on for twelve straight years and he always bred to the black side. No out-crossing was ever attempted. Fresh blood was added within the family using the dominant stag over the yard and Trotter in the brood pens. So the Nigger Roundheads are actually half Sheldon Roundhead and half Grimmie. They were originally called Black Trotters, Trotter Roundheads and Nigger Trotters. Eventually they picked up the name Nigger Roundheads and this name stuck with them over the years. My belief is the name Black Travelers is just a deviation of the Black Trotters. The Nigger Roundheads of Sam Wactor have been kept pure and have maintained their absolute gameness, body structure and feathers. No infusing of out side blood to date." {This is a direct quote from the letter sent to me by Jack Wactor (Sam Wactor's son)}. Jack L. Wactor also stated on the phone that Sam Wactor did in fact sell many of the "Nigger Roundheads" to William McRae and that they were sent to the Islands. In fact he sold William McRae a whole yard of Nigger Roundheads. In picture's that have been traded between Jack and I, I am of the belief that the Black McRae's are of mostly "Nigger Roundhead" blood with other strains of fowl being added to the Nigger Roundheads from time to time by William McRae. But that the Nigger Roundheads are the dominate strain of fowl used in the make up of the Black McRae's.


 

The Wingate Brown Reds

1924 Joe Wingate laid aside his life's work and joined his ancestors. From that time on the once great family of fighting cocks that he had built decined. Though many may boast of having them today, old timers know that the claims have little or no foundation. Back in 1870, Wingate brought over from north of Ireland a single comb strain of chickens, in color they were mostly brown red, some showing ginger color and all showing dark legs and hazel eyes, the hens were sharp and stylish looking a dark brown or ginger some showing straw neck feathers. They were medium stationed and many grew spurs. One of the Irish hens was a favorite of Joe`s. He had her set up and mounted when she died. This mounted hen is in existence today but looks nothing like the hens of the so-called Wingates you see in these later days. The cocks of this family were not big cocks being in condition 5.4 or under, brown or ginger red, dark legs and hazel eyes. Broad backed and not heavy, though strong boned. They were single stroked cocks fast and strong in the mix-up not high flyers, rushing wild hitting cocks they now want to call Wingates. Did Wingate add any new blood to the above family? Of course he did he added the blood of an English hen he brought over a mahogany colored hen with hazel eyes and dark lead colored legs. He bred this hen under the Irish cock and then bred some of those cross back into the original line. The infusion of the English hen's blood increased the poundage until off and on a cock would weigh 6.2 or 6.4. Holly Chappell enters the picture, Chappell while down in Alabama on one of his trips to the south got hold of a standout cock and brought him home. He bred him over his hens that were understood to be north Britain and brown red crosses. Wingate and Chappell were friends, Wingate got one of the cocks out of this cross and bred him over a brown red hen. After reducing the cross some more, he put the blood of the Chappell line into the Irish family. That is the layout of the Wingate Irish brown reds as the old-timers up here in the hills recall it.


 

The Kearney and Duryea fowl

There can be but little doubt in the minds of the students in the cocking fraternity that the gamest fowl in this country, not only today but as far back as any of us now living can remember, come and came from the vicinity of New York City. Lest some of the readers get gamest confused with best. Let us hasten to assure you we used the former. there isn't a doubt in the mind of this writer but what today or any day a main of cocks could be selected from most any part of the country and in long heels make the gamest fowl up there look very sick indeed. Ever in the short fast heels of today. We believe a main could be selected from among the better long heel fowl that could take the gamest fowl in or around New York. It`s a recognized fact among the more intelligent members of the clan that the gamer a family is the poorer fighters and cutters they seem to be. We won't go into the whys and wherefore of that statement just now. With hardly an exception the gamest families we can recall when their pedigree is traced back leads right to New York City. The few we can think of that were not descended from New York City were from not very far away and did a big share of their fighting against the New York crowd. Examples? yes, we can give you a few. The gamest fowl it has been this writers privilege to see in the past 25 years were the so-called Hardy mahoganies, the Hatch fowl the Albany's the Jim Thompson fowl and very few others that is which filled the bill as deep game fowl in our book. Let`s see where some of them came from. The Hardy's got their fowl from Jim Ford of Medina, New York. Ford got them through his brother who was a New York judge, he, in turn got them from John Madden of Kentucky, and Madden got them direct from Mike Kearney of Long Island, NY. The Albanys were half Hardy through a cock called "the sneak" and on the other side of Albany family there was some Hatch blood, Hatch too came from and lived all his life in or very near New York City. Jim Thompson lived at White Plains, NY about 20 miles from New York City. His fowl were said to have been the result of a cross between an Adam Schreiber, Albany,NY, hen that Thompson had a man name Squealer Murray steal for him, and some old game stock down near New York City. they were a very deep game family, and of course the hatch fowl were entirely New York stuff. There are plenty of winning fowl in both the North and South that seldom show bad factor, yet, we have not included then in our list of the gamest families. Those who are familiar with deep game fowl will understand why. And when deep game fowl and New York are mentioned, Mike Kearney sticks out like a sore thumb. Kearney is said to have arrived in this country from Ireland in about 1870. He brought fowl with him and in a comparatively short time, was in the midst of cocking activities in and around New York. Either at or soon after his arrival, the type of heels preferred in that section were what later came to be know as slow heels. They where a regulation heel with a blade, but, one and one-quarter inch long in length. The blade was thick with the point more or less blunt. The rules used were known as New York rules, ten tens required to count out a cock and peck would break the count at any time, under such conditions, deep game cocks were an absolute necessity and fighting ability and cutting ability were a secondary consideration, just the opposite, incidentally, from today with our modern rules and faster heel. The Mike Kearney whitehackles, brown reds and others were used to a certain extent as a standard to go by in measuring gameness, Mike Kearney has been dead for many years, yet even today most of our gamest fowl can be traced back to his fowl. during the years E. W. Rogers published the warrior, 1927-1935, its pages were constantly filled with stories of the Kearney and Duryea fowl. Nearly all of this was written by A.P. O`Conor, who contended Herman Duryea with whom Kearney was for years associated in cocking was the greatest gamefowl breeder of all times. The Duryea white hackles, the greatest family of gamefowl in this or any other country, that were according to O`Conor obtained by Duryea from a steamship agent in or near Boston and maintained in their purity by Duryea strictly by inbreeding for 30 years or more, during which time Duryea fought mains by the score and lost but one that one when his cocks took sick Mike Kearney was Duryea's feeder and caretaker,etc. In the past fifteen years we have at every opportunity questioned anyone we thought might have some information of this regard to either the Kearney or Duryea in the following we are going to tell you a few of the things we learned. Mike Kearney `s son Harry is still alive and while none of this information came to us directly from Harry, a considerable amount of it came from him indirectly. Several years a go in Troy, we met a Boston cocker who's name we have forgotten and who has since passed away. He was well-known on the game and was an ink salesman. Tom Kelly of Watertown knows who I mean. At any rate this man told me he visited Kearney on Long Island one time and told him he would like to see a pure Kearney white hackle, Mike reached in a peb and brought out a typical white hackle exept he had a round head and pea comb, he told mike he didn't know white hackles came pea comb. Mike said some of his did and offered no further explanation, it`s a well know fact the so-called Duryea fowl came both straight and pea comb. After Kearny`s association with Duryea when a pea comb cock was shown it was assumed by most men it was a Duryea cross, or a so-called straight Duryea. Today, Harry Kearney confirms the fact that their whitehackles came from Ireland with both pea and straight comb just as mike previously to the ink salesman. Further more and this came indirectly from Harry both him and his dad, Mike, preferred their brown reds to their white hackles, because they were gamer, stronger, and harder hitters, although the whitehackles were better cutters. They ran a saloon and had nowhere but a small back yard in which to breed and raise fowl. Until Mike hooked up with Duryea and took complete charge of the breeding and fighting of his fowl. Duryea had the fowl on his estate at Red Bank, New Jersey, and he, himself maintained a large racing and breeding stable in France. He spent considerable time there. Mike mated the yards at Red Bank and generally ran things with the fowl to suit himself. Duryea very much disliked a brown red chicken and forebode Mike to have any of then on the place. For that reason Kearny bred only a few and those few away from Duryea`s place, Duryea also had at Red Bank some fowl he got from Frank Collidge of Boston which we believe to be Boston round heads. They were oriental cross of some sort, according to Kearney they were very strong fowl good cutters and fighters but not bitter {game} enough to suit Kearney. However as Duryea liked them, they bred some and used them along with their white hackles and some crosses of the two. If the above is correct as we have every reason to believe it is, acutely there was never any such thing as a long inbred strain of Duryea fowl anywhere but in O`Conor's mind. O`Conor claimed Duryea lost but one main in thirty years while another writer in the warrior of that era contended Kearney probably lost more mains than any man that ever lived, in view of the above both men were wrong Duryea lost many mains and Kearney had a share in both the winning and the losing mains. As we stated above for a period of five or six years the warrior contained reams and reams about the Kearny and Duryea fowl. Gamest on earth, best winning family in history, etc. when probably the truth is the so-called Duryea fowl were nothing more than Kearney white hackles and some crosses of them on some jap or asil crosses from Frank Coolidge.


 

Blue Face fowl

Lum Gilmore got a cock from Ted McClean it was a small stationed cock ran around Gilmore's place for some time and there where no hens with him. He was said to be a hard hitter, and when cockers stopped by they sparred him to show how hard he could hit. When sparred or exerted in any way he turned blue in the face, hence the name blue face. Sweater Mcginnis was around Gilmore`s place at Bay City, TX at the time, he finally brought over one of his Madigin regular grey hens as company for the cock. Some stags and pullets were raised from that mating. Sometime before that two hens where stolen from Hatch on Long Island and given to Sweater, and, not long after that Sweater was inducted into the service. He put the two Hatch hens with E.W. Law to keep for him until he returned. When he got out, he immediately got in touch with Law to get the hens. Law told him one had died, but he sent Sweater the other one. One of the 1/2 grey 1/2 blue face cocks was bred to the stolen Hatch hen and the progeny of that mating where known as the blue face fowl.


 

The History of the Sid Taylor Log Cabins

The original strain of the chickens from which the Sid Taylor's of today were made goes back many years before the Civil War of 1861. These chickens were bred by Jim Shy of Lexington,Ky. Shy lived near the racetrack at Lexington and bred his chickens on the farm of Jim Price, who lived near Pinegrove, Ky. Their farm join the land owned by Mr. Gay on which he lived and bred his chickens. Price was interested in all kinds of sports events and he backed Shy`s cocks heavily Shy fought his cocks in Lexington and other places very successfully no one seems to know what these chickens were. The cocks came red, brown red ,pyle and blue red. with many of them having white feathers in their wings and tails. Mr. Gay had an uncle who lived near Pinegrove who remembered walking cocks for Prive and Shy in the fifties. Soon after the war of the sixties Sid Taylor got chickens from Shy. he told Mr. Gay that they were the first real good, dependable, winning, cocks he has ever had. Although he had been breeding and fighting cocks before that time. Mr. Taylor was closely associated with Shy until his death in 1892. Shy was said to be nighty years old when he died. He became blind eight or ten years before his death. When his eye sight became very bad he gave Mr. Taylor all of his gaffs and all his chickens. The first cross Mr. Taylor made on the Shy chickens was in the early seventies. In 1869, George Cadwallader gave Taylor 6 black importer Irish hens, of the 6 black Irish hens Taylor put a blue cock that came from Shy. Mr. Taylor was supplying cocks to Tom O`Neal and Wadle, he crossed the Wadle Irish [black cock with black eyes know as the blackberry eyes] into his chickens. The Wadle Irish came dark or mulberry color faces the hens were black cocks being dark red. This was about 1880 he also made a cross with O`Neal doms and established a yard of doms. Since that time Mr. Taylor had one yard of his chickens that showed dom color, and Mr. Gay had done the same thing since. The dom blood has never been bred into the other families and they never showed dom markings. The other families were bred into the dom family from time to time, the dom color had been kept up, but they do not always breed for color. Mr. Taylor`s cocks were dom, and with a brown red some of them showed white feathers in the tail and wings. The brown red family Mr. Gay developed himself. In 1912 Mr. Gay fought a brown red stag from the red family, that he liked so much that he bred to him and contented to breed to him until 1920 when he died. This cock was kept at a log cabin on the farm and he came to be know as "log cabin" and the children from him called "log cabin". Today the log cabin family are largely the blood of this first cock. Log cabin had 21 full brothers, nineteen of them won their first fights. Many won more. Log cabin was a 6 time winner. The progeny of log cabin have been largely responsible for the Sid Taylor winning the National Tournament at Orlando in 1922 and again in the 1924 tournament. There was one of log cabin`s sons that won the 6th fight in 1922 and the shake battle in 1924 tournament. Mr. Gay has used this cock for two seasons as a brood cock. The Sid Taylors are purely a Kentucky product, the foundation stock being old Shy chickens into the chickens Mr. Taylor put import Irish blood from Hudderson in the early seventies. In the early eighties Taylor again crossed import Irish blood from Wadle. These two infusions of imported Irish blood into Shy chickens made all the families of the Sid Taylors except the dom family which has the addition of O`Neal dom blood about 1870. There has been no other blood put into the Sid Taylors since these crosses where made by Taylor a period of over forty years. They have only been in the hands of two men, Taylor and Gay.


 

History of the Morgan Whitehackles

Col. William l Morgan of east Orange, NJ bred and perfected this strain of gamefowl, and it takes its name from him. As the Morgan fowl are practically pure Gilkerson North Britains, it is necessary to go somewhat into the history of that strain. About 1858, George Gilkerson, an English farmer living in Cortland County, NY, imported some fowl from Cumberland, England from a man named Lawman a relative of Billy Lawman of New York State. In this country they were known as North Britains and later known as Gilkerson whitehackles. North Britains contained duckwing red, brown red and pyle. On and before his death Gilkerson gave many of his fowl to Col. Morgan among these fowl was a little imported Scottish hen, which gilkerson prized most highly. Col. Morgan bred this hen with the old Gilkerson fowl and her blood is in all his fowl. Morgan did not know the history of this hen but expressed the opinion that she was nothing more or less than a Lawman hen that had been bred across the border in Scotland. All her stags looked and acted just like the Gilkerson fowl. The Morgan whitehackles became famous than the Gilkerson fowl had ever been. He whipped Kearney, the Eslins, Mahoney and many of a less note in many mains in the Pennsylvania coal mining district no man has ever approached this record in short heels, and the backbone of all these mains was pure Morgan whitehackles Col. Morgan never made but two permanent outcrosses in the straight strain. Morgan got a ginger hen from Perry Baldwin, and put her on the yard of Sonny Stone of Newark. He had Stone to bred her her grand-daughters and great grand-daughters under Morgan cocks. The resulting progeny had the bloody heel and fighting quality of the pure Morgan's and still retained some of the excessive courage of the ginger [newbold fowl]. Morgan finally took a fifteen-sixteenth Morgan and a sixteenth {ginger] newbold hen from Stone and bred her on his own yard. That is the blood in all Morgan fowl. About the beginning of the century John Hoy of Albany obtained possession of the fowl of Billy Lawman. Morgan and Hoy exchanged brood fowl freely and as the fowl were identical in general make-up and characteristics the offspring bred on as the pure strain. Morgan bred the lawman cock when reduced to one quarter in his favorite pens at the time of his death there was a small percentage of this blood in most of his fowl. In the early nineties Morgan gave a small pen of his fowl to a Col. in Virginia. The Col. inbred the fowl and on his death they fell into the hands of a professor at Georgetown university, who knew nothing about breeding or cock fighting. He kept the family pure breeding his favorite cock to the whole flock on hens. When he died the fowl were still inbred in NJ. Neither the family Morgan bred or the family that had been inbred had changed appearance or quality in twenty-five years. Although kept absolutely apart bred together the young cannot be told from the parents on either side except that they are larger and stronger that the offshoot family


 

Ed Pine, Frank Stryker and the Albany Combine

Ed Pine was born and lived all his life at South Cairo, New York in the foothills of the Catskill mountains. It was also home of Frank Stryker, another cocker, don't get Frank Stryker and Jack Stryker mixed up. Jack lived in New Jersey and had fowl of various kinds, including greys. They were not related and it`s doubtful if they were acquainted with one another. Frank Stryker eventually became a member of what some refereed to as the "Albany combine" that is Billy Lawman, John Hoy and others who controlled the Lawman whitehackles and muffs: considered by men living today, who saw them in their prime, as the greasiest fowl ever to land on these shores. They came to Billy Lawman at Schenectady, New York from his father in the north of England near the Scottish border, hence the name "north britains" which, I believe, was first applied to them in this country, in the early 1900`s, Frank Stryker was fighting a family of Charley Brown Shawlnecks that were very good fowl. This was in what cockers have always referred to as "eastern" New York State and the vicinity, which included South Cairo. Stryker was very successful with his Shawlnecks and was considered quite a cocker. Along about this time, John Hoy moved to Albany, N.Y. from Brooklyn,NJ, in short order, he became associated with Billy Lawman with his muffs and white hackles. Hoy was an outstanding cocker and feeder, and he and Lawman soon began going to town with their fowl, one of their early victims was Frank Stryker and his shawls. Friend`s of Frank tried to console him by saying he got some tough breaks, but he was too smart a cocker to swallow that. He said the cocks that beat him were the best he ever saw, that he would not only never try to beat them again, he was going to try to get in with Hoy and Lawman and get some. That is exactly what he did, he crossed them over his Charley Brown shawls and began going to town with the cross. They where outstanding fowl in every way Lawman and Hoy fought some of them and did equally well with them. They {the cross} became known as Stryker whitehackles. Shawlnecks and whitehackles have always been almost identical in appearance and the cross made a family outstanding, typical whitehackles. In referring to these fowl, I say the cross made the Stryker whitehackles, but I may be and probably am, in error there for this reason, after Stryker got in with Hoy and Lawman, he could get anything from them he wanted. Exactly how he bred from then on no one would know for sure, all that is known for certain is that the Stryker whitehackles were a combination of blood of Lawman whitehackle and Charley Brown shawl. Probaly, if the Lawman blood was as outstanding as it was claimed, he leaned in that direction with his breeding and put in more Lawman blood, cutting down on the shawl. The combine went to town to beat everyone as Billy lawman said, from New York City to Buffalo, NY it has been said they beat Kearney and Duryea five times out of six and Dennis Mahoney and many others old-timers. Mahoney died in 1907, so many of these mains must have been between 1902 and 1907 when Mahoney died. I believe John Hoy fed most of their mains. There were no tournaments or derbies in those days. Somewhere between 1902 and 1915 which is closer to the time Stryker died, Ed Pine, was a tall, gangly, young, fellow and helped Stryker work his cocks and also walked them, Stryker had been a butcher and it was said his wife was an Indian, or part Indian, who knew nothing about and cared less about her husband`s chickens. So when Stryker died suddenly, Ed Pine fell heir to all of the Stryker fowl. From then on, they were known as Ed Pine`s Strykers. Lawman decided somewhere between 1911 and 1920, and Hoy went along with his Lawman fowl and Pine with his Stryker fowl. Both did exceptionally well. Hoy died in 1929, but had been inactive several years previous due to old age. Pine, between 1915 and 1935 when for practical purposes quit the game. He probably fought more mains and won a larger majority than any cocker who ever lived in this county.


 

Claibornes

(History of Jim Sanford and the Claibornes)

Jim Sanford was an English man and ex-pugilist, who left the east following a prize fight which resulted fataly to his opponent. He was brought up in New Orleans, Louisiana, bred and pitted cocks for a number of years for judge Claiborne of that city. The judge was one of the greatest sportsmen of his time. In fighting a main in the old Spanish pit, an English earl derby lost by having a heel broke off is in his back. Jim, Sanford got the broken heel out and bred him to a Spanish hen, as Jim could see the good points in this cock, this cross proven to be equal, if not superior to anything wearing feathers in the chicken line at that time. Here, in a few simple words, we have the make-up of the smooth head Claibornes, bred and originated by Jim Sanford, and named in honor of judge Claiborne eighteen or twenty years before the war of the north and south. These smooth head Claibornes got into the handles of John Stone in this way. Stone and Saunders made a main to be fought in Richmond, Virginia. Stone took his Irish brown reds there to condition them about the same time judge Claiborne happen to be in Baltimore and saw the main advertised on the billboards of that city. So, the judge went to Richmond to witness that main. He was introduced to Stone and Saunders and expressed a desire to see the brown reds, he looked the cocks over, examined them, and said "these are as fine a lot of cocks as I have ever seen, but they are too beefy i think you will lose the main," they did. Mr.Stone was living on a farm, and the judge asked him if he would breed chickens for him. "If we can agree" said Stone. The agreement was that Stone was to kill all his pullets and ship the stags to judge Claiborne in New Orleans, which he did until after the war broke out. After the war began, stone could not hear from judge Claiborne as he had taken a bride who wished him to dispose of his games, Stone sold to John Mahar of Marblehead, Massachusetts the Jim Sanford smooth head Claiborne, that Mahar, should ship the stags to the judge as he had done. Mr.Stone also let John Daniel's have a trio and Tom Heathwood a pair. Mr.Mahar being a cocker they made a name and fame that will live for generations to come, all though the United States. Mr.Mahar had good success raising the first year. The next winter, he took a main of ten stags to Boston and won every fight, and fought four of them the second battle and won. The Boston cockers were amazed at their success, so he made another main with Mahar, to show thirteen stags, nine pair fell in. Boston had forty of the best to be found to pick from. Mahar won several straight battles. The other two were not fought as Boston had had enough.Boston then challenged Mahar to fight seven cocks, they were to name the weights Mahar accepted and Boston picked up a noted lot of winners. However, the great Claibornes were again victorious and won six out of seven battles. this established their well-earned reputation. Jim Sanford was also an admirer of the Baltimore top knots, a game and winning strain of bright reds which were originated in Maryland. They were almost invincible in long heel. Jim procured six full sister of the topknots and bred them to the same earl derby cock that he used on the Spanish hen. Jim bred both strains as long as he lived, the topknot cross proving to be as good as the smooth heads and a little stronger. A few years later, Louis Everett, Benton,Alabama. went to New Orleans and bought a stag and three pullets of the plain head. He sent them back to to Richard Harrison where Everett trained horses. Everett soon became interested in the topknots as Sanford was having as good success with the cross as the plain heads. However, the topknots Everett carried to Ben Grisset, Camden,Alabama, did not pan out satisfactorily so he sold them to major Felix Tait of Rock Wesy,Alabama. Tait with his brother, bred them as long as he lived, the remnants going to his daughter, Mrs.Tally Tait- Bragg of Camden,Alabama,we also note that Grissett,Everett and Tait crossed the plain or smooth heads on the topknots. Sanford and Everett bred together later in Mobile, Alabama, in Everett`s last years we find him at Joe pickins place in Sulphur Springs, Texas. with his smooth head where they were bred pure by Mr.Pickins, major Felix Tait said we got our first from Sanford then from Everett, who sent smooth heads and topknots. We have bred them together always. Both strains are beautiful fowl and both show white in wing and tail, with both strains showing some spangle, some having red breast and some black, yellow and white legs and beaks red and dawn eyes ranging from low set to medium. the Spanish showed some dark legs as one may crop out Everett called this nigger foot.


 

The “Sweaters"

article courtesy of sabong.com.PH

One of the breeds of gamefowl most in demand today are the “Sweaters”. There are several versions of how they originated. The following acccount of their origin is “straight from the horse’s mouth”. It comes from Johnny Jumper and another respected cocker who knew the parent fowl; when, where and by whom they were bred. The following is their version how the Sweaters originated.

Sweater McGinnis gave Walter Kelso a yellow legged Hatch cock whose bloodlines are thought to trace back to Harold Brown’s McLean Hatch. Mr. Kelso bred this cock to his Kelso hens and the offspring from the mating proved to be outstanding pit cocks.

Cecil Davis, who was a friend of Mr. Kelso, walked cocks for him and had access to Mr. Kelso’s best fowl. Cecil got one of the cocks which Mr. Kelso raised from the Sweater McGinnis Hatch cock and his own hens.

Cecil got this cock from Doc Robinson, who also walked cocks for Mr. Kelso. The cock was yellow legged and pea combed. Cecil bred him to five of his out-and-out Kelso hens. The offspring from this mating were the foundation of the Sweaters. They were called Sweaters because the Hatch cock from Sweater McGinnis was their grandfather. As the above indicates, in breeding, they would be ¾ Kelso-¼ yellow legged Hatch.

The original Sweaters were bred by Ira Parks, who was Johnny Jumper’s brother-in-law, a very fine man and an excellent breeder of gamefowl. Ira, Johnny and Cecil were at the hub of a group of cockers in northern Mississippi and Tennessee who were friends and cocking partners. Several of this group got Sweaters from the original mating. Some of these friends have bred the Sweaters without addition of outside blood and have them in their purity today. Other breeders have added infusions of other blood to their Sweaters.

The line of Sweaters which is bringing the breed such popularity today came from Roy Brady, who got some of the first mating of Sweaters, to Sonny Ware, to Odis Chappell, to Carol Nesmith and the Browns of Mississippi. Odis Chappell let a number of friends in addition to Carol, have his Sweaters, so the blood has been distributed rather widely in central Alabama in recent years. It has been excelent blood for all who got it. This line of Sweaters produces occasional green legged offspring, usually pullets. When asked about his, Roy Brady said that at one time some Hatch was bred into this line. This line is said also to carry small amount of Radio blood.

The Sweaters described in this article are typically orange-red to light red in color, with yellow legs and pea combs. Of interest, however, Dolan Owens of Booneville, Mississippi, acquired some of the early Sweaters and has bred them to come uniformly dark, wine red in color, straight comb and white legged. In looks, these two lines of Sweaters show almost no resemblance. This is an example of how a family of fowl can be bred toward different standards by different breeders and In a few generations the two lines will be like two different breeds.

Sonny Ware bred some Radio into the Sweaters making them pumpkin in color. Most people like this color better and breed to that end.