Thursday, February 22Food Security Matters

The Brown Red Gamefowl and Its Fighting Style

There are several bloodlines of pure Brown Red gamefowl especially today that many local breeders are crossing with different modern breeds.

The heritage breed of Brown Red games, however, traces its lineage to rural Alabama in the 1870s, where a local “cocker” imported a pure line of game fowl from Northern Ireland. Over the years he crossed these Irish birds into American gamefowl strains and produced what is now known as the Brown Red games. These beautiful, aggressive birds have slowly declined in number since cockfighting became illegal in all states when Louisiana banned the practice in 2008.

Wingate Brown Red bloodline history

Joe Wingate brought over from Northern Ireland a pure strain of chickens in 1870 into his Alabama farm. These birds were mostly brown-red in breast and feather color, with some showing ginger colors, but all showing dark legs and hazel eyes. The hens in particular were sharp and stylish looking, all of them dark brown or ginger and some showing straw neck feathers. The stock was medium stationed and many grew spurs.

brown-red-gamefowl
Brown Red Gamefowl

One of the Irish hens among his flock was Joe`s personal choice and he even had the chicken set up and mounted when she died as a memento of her best breeding days. This stuffed and preserved progenitor of the pure Brown Red bloodline is still on display but it looks nothing like the modern generation hens of the Wingate bloodline of Brown Reds.

The roosters of this family were not big cocks weighing in at 5.4 lbs. or under. Joe Wingate made the effort to improve the bloodline by crossing with an English hen, mahogany-colored and with dark legs, then line breeding to the original line to keep the stock intact and with new vigor. The line from this mix was brown feathered or ginger red-breasted and had dark legs and hazel eyes like the original Irish gamefowl is shipped in. They were broad-backed and not heavy, though strong-boned.

Brown Red gamefowl fighting style and further development

These fighters were quick off the drop, fast and strong in the mix-up; with the cocks just rushing at their enemy with wild-cutting attacks that don’t stop. They break for defense but don’t fly high.

The line-breeding with the English hen made for heavier fighters, around 6.2 lbs. Then, to further enhance the Wingate stock, Mr. Holly Chappell from Alabama took a winning fighting cock from one of his trips to the South and brought it back home to breed with hens that were north Britain and brown-red crosses. Friends with Joe Wingate, he lent Joe one cock from the cross and this was bred to a Brown Red hen from the mahogany chicken cross. After reducing the new cross a bit, Wingate bred the Chappell experiment into his Irish stock. The final offspring becomes the beloved Wingate Brown Red speed slasher we all know and love.

Joe Wingate passed on in 1924 and left behind a brooding fowl that many cockers still treasure as a purebred stock as well as a base for breeding better gamefowl.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gamefowls

Gamefowls, or gamecocks, are a specific breed of chickens that are often raised for cockfighting and sometimes for exhibition. If you’re interested in gamefowl or have questions about them, here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you better understand this practice:

What are gamefowls?

Gamefowls, or gamecocks, are a breed of chicken known for their aggressive and competitive nature. They are often raised for cockfighting or as exhibition birds.

Is raising gamefowls legal?

The legality of raising gamefowls varies by location. Cockfighting is illegal in many countries and states, so it’s important to be aware of local laws and regulations.

What are the common breeds of gamefowls?

Common gamefowl breeds include the American Gamefowl, Old English Game, Asil, and various strains like Hatch, Kelso, and Sweater.

What do gamefowls eat?

Gamefowls are typically fed a diet of grains, seeds, and high-quality poultry feed. Their diet may be supplemented with vitamins and minerals for optimal health and performance.

How do you care for the health of gamefowls?

Proper healthcare for gamefowls includes regular vaccinations, deworming, and disease prevention. It’s essential to provide clean and comfortable housing to prevent stress and disease.

What are the challenges in raising gamefowls?

Challenges include maintaining proper care, preventing disease outbreaks, and addressing the unique needs of gamefowls, such as their aggressive tendencies.

Is there a market for gamefowls?

The market for gamefowls is primarily driven by the demand for cockfighting purposes, which can be limited by legal restrictions. Exhibition and ornamental purposes can also contribute to the market.

Can I raise gamefowls as pets or for exhibition purposes?

Yes, some people raise gamefowls for exhibition or ornamental purposes, but it’s important to note that these birds have specific care requirements due to their fighting instincts.

What is the lifespan of gamefowls?

Gamefowls typically live for 6 to 8 years, but their lifespan can vary depending on their care and whether they are involved in cockfighting.

What is the history of cockfighting with gamefowls?

Cockfighting with gamefowls has a long history, with evidence of the practice dating back centuries. It has cultural and historical significance in some regions.

Is there a cultural or ethical debate surrounding cockfighting?

Yes, cockfighting is a controversial and ethically debated practice. Many animal rights groups oppose it, and laws against cockfighting are in place in many areas due to concerns about animal welfare.

Is there a specific season or age for cockfighting events?

Cockfighting events, if legal, may have specific seasons or age restrictions for participating birds. These regulations can vary by location.

Are there specific regulations for raising gamefowls in areas where cockfighting is legal?

In areas where cockfighting is legal, there may be specific regulations and licensing requirements for raising gamefowls. It’s important to comply with these regulations.

Can gamefowls be kept in groups or should they be solitary?

Gamefowls are often kept separately to prevent aggression and injury. They have a strong instinct for territorial and hierarchical behavior.

Are there alternative uses for gamefowls besides cockfighting?

Gamefowls can be kept for exhibition purposes, traditional ceremonies, and ornamental purposes, but their care requirements must still be met.

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