Thursday, February 22Food Security Matters

Regular Rooster vs Gamefowl: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to fighting roosters, a non-game regular rooster will be no match for a gamecock especially when the fighting would last for more than a minute and I am going to explain below.

Even before I started this blog, a lot of people who visit my backyard farm always ask me if my giant Black Australorp and monstrous Barred Plymouth Rock will not run away if any of them meet a fighting cock and I always tell them, “Yes, they will run away.”

Before anything else, let us know what are these birds and what are their differences.

What is a regular rooster?

A rooster, or specifically a regular rooster, is a male chicken raised and bred to mate with hens to reproduce. Farmers who raise rosters are those who want their flock multiple. In contrast, farmers who only raise chicken for eggs don’t raise rosters unless they produce and grow their checks to be used as future laters. Breeds of these rosters are usually included in the heritage breeds like Rhode Island Red, Barred Rock, Australorps, Susses, Orpingtons, Araucana, Brahma, and many others. These breeds are raised for both meat and egg production.

McLean Hatch

What is a gamefowl or a gamecock?

Black Australorp (heritage rooster) left, and McRae Cross (gamefowl) right

A gamecock, gamefowl, fighting cock, or battle cock, is a rooster that is bred, raised, and trained to fight against other rosters of its kind. These rosters have different characteristics, agility, attitude, and behaviors than heritage breed roosters. Aside from Asil and Shamo, most gamecocks are developed just for fighting.

Let’s put it this way.

  1. Companies like Hendrix Genetics and Tyson Foods spent decades of research and development to develop fast-growing broiler chickens.
  2. On the other side, companies like Dekalb Poultry Research spend the same amount of time developing chickens that can lay as many eggs as they can in one year with a longer production period.
  3. On another side, both early and current gamecock breeders like Johnnie Jumper, Walter Kelso, and many game farm owners and breeders in the Philippines are also spending decades developing the best gamecocks.

As you can see, all three categories above produce regular roosters. The first one is a broiler, the second is developed for laying hens, and the third is fighters. The first 2 categories will fall into “regular roosters”. If we let all three roosters fight, the result will be obvious.

The number 1 and 2 categories above are also similar to heritage breeds. Heritage breeds were both developed a long time ago for meat and eggs.

Rooster vs Gamecock, which one will win?

As mentioned above, each of these birds is developed differently. It’s like a whippet vs bulldog in a dog race where the former has a clear advantage. Although heritage breeds are bigger and heavier, they have no agility and instinct to fight while the trained and full-blooded fighting cock will fight to the death.

Cockfighting is not all about weight and size. It’s about stamina, agility, instinct, training, and the nature of the animals. Fighting cocks are extremely aggressive that they even attack their handlers that’s why most handlers who take care of dozens of gamefowls always wear long gloves.

Even without a gaff (knife used in cockfighting), a trained gamefowl can kill a heritage rooster if the latter has no place to run.

Are gamefowls effective in keeping away predators?

Although it is obvious that gamefowls are aggressive and will be the shit out of everyone trying to come closer to them, having a gamefowl in your flock of free-range chickens is not a good idea especially when you are breeding to multiply your flock. To protect your flock of 20 from hawks or small predators like weasels and foxes, you need to have multiple gamecocks. The problem is you can’t do this because they will fight against each other. Another issue is your gamefowl needs to be castrated/neutered to avoid crossing with your heritage hens.

There are heritage breeds that perform better against predators like Barred Rocks, Jersey Giants, Araucanas, and even Rhode Island Reds.

If you are farming poultry for meat and eggs, you should stay away from raising gamefowl.

Can broiler chicken rooster fight?

Here is another question that I take the opportunity to answer in this article. In 2012, I tried crossing a broiler with 2 of my native hens hoping to get bigger but virus-resistant offspring. I bought 4 live broilers and I let the rooster age. It did mate with my hens when it reached 7 months old. I was impressed with the result that I continued crossing until the very first offspring laid eggs.

My flock grew and the only rooster was that broiler. Since he became dominant, we tried him fight with one of our neighbor’s Rhode Island to see who was going to run away first, and after 4 to 6 shuffles, the broiler ran away. So to answer the question if the broiler rooster can fight, yes, they can, but they’ll just try and then run away.  All roosters can fight but they’ll run away.

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