American Game Chickens Easy Guide

American Game Chickens, often simply referred to as “Gamefowl,” are a unique and historically significant breed of poultry with a legacy deeply rooted in American history. Renowned for their tenacity, fighting spirit, and striking appearance, these chickens have a storied heritage that continues to captivate enthusiasts and breeders worldwide. In this blog post, we’ll explore the fascinating world of American Game Chickens, their history, characteristics, and their place in contemporary poultry culture.

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A Brief History of American Game Chickens

The history of American Game Chickens can be traced back to the early days of European settlement in North America. European settlers brought various breeds of chickens with them, and over time, these chickens interbred with fowl brought by Asian immigrants, resulting in the development of distinctive American Gamefowl strains.

American Game Chickens
A closeup vertical shot of a white rooster.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, American Game Chickens gained popularity for their incredible endurance and fighting abilities. Cockfighting, a brutal and controversial bloodsport, became a prominent pastime in many regions of the United States, leading to the development of specialized Gamefowl strains for this purpose.

In the 19th century, the American Pit Game emerged as a prominent breed within the Gamefowl category, known for its stamina and fighting prowess. However, as attitudes toward cockfighting evolved and laws prohibiting the sport were enacted, the focus shifted from fighting to preservation and exhibition.

Today, American Game Chickens are valued not only for their historical significance but also for their unique and attractive appearance, which has led to their continued popularity in the world of ornamental and heritage poultry breeds.

Characteristics of American Game Chickens

American Game Chickens are known for their distinctive features, which set them apart from other poultry breeds:

1. Tenacity:

These chickens are renowned for their toughness and determination, which historically made them formidable opponents in cockfighting.

2. Stature:

American Game Chickens are typically of medium size, with muscular bodies and long, graceful necks. They have a strong, upright posture and confident demeanor.

3. Plumage:

They come in a wide range of plumage colors and patterns, including black, brown, red, and white. Their feathers are often shiny and well-groomed.

4. Comb and Wattles:

Gamefowl typically have distinctively large, single combs and wattles that are bright red in color.

American Game chickens

5. Personality:

These chickens are known for their alertness and active behavior. They are intelligent birds with strong foraging instincts.

Contemporary Uses and Preservation Efforts

While the days of cockfighting have largely passed in the United States due to legal prohibitions, American Game Chickens continue to be valued for their historical significance, attractive appearance, and unique genetic traits.

Today, many dedicated breeders and enthusiasts work to preserve and promote American Game Chickens as part of the heritage poultry movement. Efforts are made to maintain the breed’s genetic diversity and ensure its continued existence for future generations.


American Game Chickens are more than just a breed; they represent a slice of American history, deeply intertwined with the nation’s past. While their fighting days are behind them, they continue to capture the hearts of poultry enthusiasts and heritage breed advocates. These chickens serve as a reminder of the remarkable journey from their origins as tenacious fighters to their modern role as cherished members of the poultry community, celebrated for their unique traits and historical significance.

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