Fundadores / Founders:

Biólogo Ricardo Pedraglio - Perú

Ing. Pablo Jerves - Ecuador

Willem Van Ballekom - Holanda

Biólogo Lucio Lemos - Brasil

Dr. Leopoldo Luna Etchevertz - Argentina

Willy Coppens - Holanda

Werner Lamkemeyer - Alemania

Horts Schmudde - USA

Salvador Mayorga - Nicaragua

Checo y Chito Chen - Panamá



Hola amigo Ricardo,
I would be honoured to be part of the global directive. The combination of these old breeds is very interesting and it is a real challenge to provide good information and to improve communication between breeders of these Asil and OEG all around the world. For conservation purposes it is of utmost importance to establish proper breeding and selecting criteria. I will do the best I can to support this new initiative. I dont know if you are informed already but about one week ago I have created a new website especially for the Asil. Please visit the following link

International Asil Community   

I await your instructions. Let me know  if you have any special requests.

Warmest regards amigo, Willem

PS: you have designed an excellent logo !




Hola amigo Ricardo,
Sría un honor para mí ser parte de la directiva. La combinación de estas antiguas razas es muy interesante y es un verdadero desafío para proporcionar una buena información y mejorar la comunicación entre los criadores de estos Asil OEG y en todo el mundo. Para fines de conservación que es de suma importancia para establecer el mejoramiento y la adecuada selección de criterios. Haré lo mejor que pueda para apoyar esta nueva iniciativa. No sé si ya se informé, que desde hace una semana he creado una nueva página web sobre todo para los Asil. Por favor, visite el siguiente enlace:

Asil comunidad internacional http://agsglobal.tripod.com/asilmania/index.htm

Estoy a la espera de sus instrucciones. Quisiera saber si usted tiene alguna petición especial.

Saludos cordiales amigo, Willem

PS: usted ha diseñado un logotipo excelente!


Asil Community


Dear visitor, welcome to our website. The purpose of this initiative is to provide and share information, knowledge and expiriences about maybe the oldest gamefowl breed in the world, the Asil (also known as Aseel). Other goals are to improve communication between Asil breeders around the world, to develop breeding and conservation guidelines. And last but not least to stimulate the founding of international Asil breeder communities. This website whenever needed will also focuss on historical, cultural,geographical and language aspects as these factors all had or still have minor or major influence on Asil breeding and distribution of the breed to other countries. We thank you for your visit and hope that our information will be of any help to you.


To make this website work it is of utmost importance that every Asil (Aseel) breeder, fancier or breed enthusiuast as much as possible contributes to the website by posting or forwarding information about the Asil (Aseel) breed. Just bring it on. Every bit of information can be valuable to other Asil (Aseel) breeders. Incase you want to email some information please use the email address listed below. A big thank you in advance !













17th century Indian painting (Museum for Islamic Art - Berlin / Germany )


Reza Asil by Siran Deraniyagala (Sri Lanka - 1967)


Kikilia from Sri Lanka ( Ceylon ) by Herbert Atkinson ( United Kingdom )


Reza Asil by John van de Laan (Holland)


The Aseel
The Aseel is found on the Indian sub-continent and as mentioned earlier is the world oldest gamefowl breed. The oldest evidence of organized cockfighting is based on archeological finds which have been found in the Indus valley (today Pakistan but Indian territory till 1947). Understanding the Aseel is not that easy. The breeds is domestic to the Indian subcontinent. At present day this landmass consists of the following countries India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This huge landmass is home to an enormous variety of ethnic groups and cultures. Tracing back local names of varieties or expressions is a pure hell as India alone has 21 national languages and over 200 registered dialects. Sometimes information from the homeland is controversial. Therfor analysis and comparison of this information is a delicate matter. Aseel friends and experts worldwide contributed with valuable information. The project moves on with a persistent pace.
Names - Aseel, Asil or Asli ?
The name of the breed can be written in various ways as in India and neighbouring countries various (local) names excist. This of course caused by the complexity of the Indian languages. The names Asil or Aseel mean "purebred"or "from pure decent'. These are originally of Persian-Arabic origin. The Aseel was only known before in India under local names. How come they were called Asil, Aseel or Asli ? The answer lays in the history of India (including Pakistan and Bangladesh). In the 9th century the north of India (and Pakistan) slowly came under Islamic rule. This Islamic conquest of the northern part of India started with the invasions of the Turkish-Afghani Ghaznavids. This finally resulted in the founding of the great Islamic Mughal dynasty in 1707 ! In other parts of India the Aseel is most times known by their local names.
Breed Classification
In my opinion the Aseel family can devided into two main groups, the small Reza type (also known in some Western countries incorrectly known as -Rajah-type) and the large Aseel type (in western countries known as Kulang Aseel). As mentioned in the "Name"paragraph the information I have studied and implemented displayed on my website is for a great deal based on the information (whereunder local names) which has been forwared to me by a network of breeders and experts from countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Russia (Caucasus region) and former Soviet Central Asian republics (Uzbekistan, Dagestan, etc). Other ideas and Aseel classification systems excist.To me this is no problem at all. The reader after evaluation of all the information will decide for him or herself what classification is the most plausible or the most logical one. Note : some sources in and outside the Indian- subcontinent also speak of a third group, the so called mediumweight Aseel. As said a matter of personal view.
Aseel colours
The color names such as Sonatol, Jawa, Amir Ghan, Kaptan (Kalkatiya) are mainly used outside India and these expressions refer to the names used in the old kingdom of Oudh. The massive presenece of British troops and a loyal "Nawab"(local Muslim ruler) made this region very important. It was a stronghold for the British and stiff promotion of this region was made by good old Herbert Atkinson (see his publications) and his friends which were stationed as servicemen or administrators in this area. Today this former kingdom is known as Awadh and is situated in the state of Uttar Pradesh (with famous cities like Lucknow and Allahabad). Native Indians, Pakistani, Bangla and Sinhala people use colour names (for example Zardi = yellow, Lakha = red, Kala or Kali = black , Naila = blue, etcetera) or names which refer to a quality or specific features (for example Jangli = wild, Kalkatiya = black spurs) or even names of places (for example Amroha, Mianwali, Rampur, etcetera).
Reza Aseel
The Reza is a small Aseel with a weight not exceeding a weight of about 3 Kg (6.6 Lbs). This group of Aseel reached worldwide popularity due to books and articles written by the English gamefowl expert Herbert Atkinson. The Reza Aseel family is subdivided into following strains: (Amir) Ghan, Sonatol, (Siyah) Rampur, Kalkatiya (Kaptan) and Jawa. All these strains are indentified by their specific color. In chronological order: blackreds, lightreds, black, speckled reds and silver duckwings. In the old days (colonial times) other colors such as for example spangles were regarded as -inferior-. Weights max.3 Kg (6.6 Lbs). The English gamefowl authority Herbert Atkinson doubted the purity of any Aseel (regarding the above mentioned strains) exceeding a maximum weight of 3 Kg (6.6 Lbs). At present day the "classic" names given to us by Atkinson are more or less forgotten. The native people in India & Pakistan only know the Reza-type Aseel by their local names (see Names paragraph).
Kulang Aseel (North & South Indian)
The Kulang family when it comes to classification is has a tricky division. In the older Western gamefowl literature, for example Carlos Finsterbusch's "Cockfighting all over the World" (1938) following varieties are mentioned: Hyderabad, Calcutta and Madras. Aseel experts from the homelands use a more "modern" classification system. The large Aseel are divided into sub-varieties : North Indian, South Indian and Madras type. The North and South Indian varieties dont differ much. Only type of comb, shape of the beak and body shape are different. For example : Northern type = slender, Southern type = heavier build), the Madras Aseel however is significantly different. They have a lower station, are heavier build and stronger boned. This variety is found in the deep south of India, the Tamil Nadu state. In the homelands of the Kulang Asil the birds reach weights from about 4 to 6 Kg (8.8 to 13 Lbs). Kulang Aseel outside India and other homelands generally differ in weight as they get about 4,5 to 5,5 Kg (9.9 to 12.1 Lbs). Ofcourse exemptions to the rule are always possible as weight is influenced by various conditions.





I believe that the first poultry show was held in 1846, and from that time exhibitions of fowls have increased in popularity until they have assumed their present position, and have become an institution in most countries. Probably they have done much good in encouraging the importation and breeding of new varieties to the game fowl they have certainly done much harm.
When fanciers began breeding game fowls for show purposes they began to destroy their most valuable points, until at the present time the modern show game presents the curious anomaly of a game cock that is not game, and lacks all the attributes of a game fowl. It is not intended by this to decry the modern show production, but simply to state facts. Many, doubtless, admire the modern bird, and some of the old fanciers who have lived to see the game cock gradually resolved into the bird now seen sitting in the show pen- which, on being stirred up," rises, first on his hocks, then on his feet, then puts his head through the top of the pen, and stands up in all his beauty (?)-must indeed be gratified to know that they have improved the game cock to this, a caricature of the heron.
Verily they have their reward! Now let these fanciers who take up true game for exhibition purposes take warning by this. Do not, I pray you, try to improve the true game cock by adding, exaggerating, or making points which true specimens of-the breed do not already possess. It is, perhaps, less the fault of the breeders than the judges, since it is the judge who awards the prizes and it is to please him that the exhibitor must breed if he wishes to be successful. A judge should show no partiality for any particular breed or colour, so long as the colour is good of its kind, with eye, beak and leg to correspond. Nor should mere size be taken much into consideration; strength, activity, good handling properties, keenness, gameness of aspect, cleanness of feet and legs, smartness and purity of feather, should be the chief points. The true game cock will not vary from his proper shape if "fanciers" will rest satisfied with the king of birds as he is, and which the old breeders bred to such perfection that modern breeders can never hope to excel, if they ever equal them. The game cock as shown at poultry shows being so altered, as already mentioned, in all his chief and essential points, the game classes began to fall off, and ordinary visitors failed to be attracted by a bird which, to all but the eye accustomed to them, must be considered ungainly and practically useless; and about 1882 I fancy the general public believed the true game fowl to be a thing of fue past, and that he had ceased to exist in this country. Here let me say that it was solely among cock - fighters that he did still exist. Many of these had had the same breed for generations, and would neither sell birds nor eggs.
They were not led away by showing, or fashion, or money-making. Their requirements were purity of blood, courage, heel, activity, strength and soundness of constitution. About the year 1883, a class for the true or old English game fowls was given at Clayton Moor in Cumberland; then Aspatria followed suit, and Wigton provided classes. In 1887 the Old English Game Club was founded, and, although this club was given up about two years afterwards, it was soon started again, and is now in a flourishing condition, at the time of writing numbering all the principal breeders among its members, and is able to give valuable special prizes for the breed ; it has succeeded in assisting very considerably to bring Old English Game prominently before the public-notably, by the classes at Birmingham and the Dairy Show, which have been since continued and are well filled. The Club has for many years past held its Annual Show in December, at Oxford, where some three hundred fine specimens of the breed may be seen and valuable cups and money prizes are competed for, forming an additional attraction. The Royal Agricultural Society also gave classes about this time with such success that they are not only continued, but the prizes are now confined exc1usively to Old English; and at the present time all the principal shows provide classes for them. The old-fashioned birds are come quite to the front again in the shows; at the 1912 Palace show 259 specimens were exhibited, and many very grand birds among them. Our earnest hope now is that they will not be transformed, as their now distant cousins, the modern game have been. I think this a very necessary warning. Do let us rest satisfied with the game rack as he is and was two centuries ago. Some of the judges already show too much preference for the white-legged breeds, for wheaten hens, for more size, and encourage loose feather. For a common table fowl, and a table fowl only, the white leg is good, but it must be remembered that the game rack is something more than an ordinary barn-door fowl. And, as regards size, I have never seen a very large rack so perfectly symmetrical, active and smart as a medium-sized bird; nor is anything to be gained by such large birds either as game cocks or in the production of eggs and chickens. Poultry keepers, from even an ordinary point of view, should bear in mind that great frames and bone are unprofitable, and the fine quality and great proportion of meat, smallness of bone, and absence of offal are never combined with great frames, and great frames and great appetites go together, and that very large animal s or birds are never so prolific as those of ordinary size, and are also more liable to unsoundness. Wheaten hens, too, should certainly take a second place to the partridge-coloured as a mate for black -breasted reds or for showing.

Some answer and dudes are resolved in this paint (above) of 1908:

Can you see the "sumatra"? They are presents in some black OEG gamecock yards. This Sumatra was and are present in the Black Old English Game bloods. The cockers mantain this breed in his houses. What about the cross of Asil with OEG?. Dont forget that some breeders used the Asil and Malay to form the Indian Game, crosing with OEG. Them, some years later, Mr. Atkinson aquired some spanish cocks and hens from his friend (owner of the Cockpit in Sevilla, Spain). In a Letter, Mr. Atkinson, ask for a pair of Spanish gamefowl to import to England. In the letter, Mr. Atkinson asked and searched for cocks "with out withe feathers on the tail". The cuestion is: Mr Atkinson used this birds to crossed with his Old English Game? Maybe hi look and searched for some quality característics of the Spanish Games.




The list of breeds and colours here given may be considered absolutely reliable. It was published early in the present century, owing to a disagreement as to terms, etc., when the match bills were made out on the occasion of the main of T. Bourne against Flemming at the Cockpit Royal Flemming disregarding the provincial terms of the Cheltenham men. On the weighing night, at a supper given at the "Cock and Tabor," at which many experts were present (among others Nash (2), Varley, Woodcock, Clarke, Martin, Bourne and Flemming), the matter was discussed, and, to simplify matters, a uniform list of colours was drawn up, discarding provincial names and undesirable crosses, and fixing the originals. It is said that every proposition was assented to or negatived by a show of hands the only point in which the experts were entirely unanimous was in placing the Black red before all others in merit of purity of blood. The following is the list copied from the original MS. and sent me by a well-known authority on game fowls.



1. Black-breasted black red     -black eyes, beaks and legs, gipsy-faced.

2. Black-breasted dark red     --dark eyes, beaks and legs.

3. Black-breasted light red     -red, yellow or daw eyes, white, yellow or carp legs, secondaries when c1osed chestnut.

4. Streaky-breasted ginger red    -red, yellow or daw eyes, white, yellow or carp legs, wing secondaries ginger.

5. Brown-breasted brown red     --dark eyes, dark or bronzy legs




6. Black-breasted dark grey     -black eyes, beaks and legs, wing secondaries black.

7. Mealy-breasted mealy grey      -black eyes, beaks and legs.

8. Black-breasted birchen duckwings     -red or yellow eyes, yellow legs.

9. Black-breasted silver duckwings      -pearl or light eyes, white legs.

10. Brown-breasted yellow birchen       -yellow eyes, yellow legs.


11. Smock-breasted bloodwing pile   -red eyes, white legs.

12.  Streaky-breasted ginger pile    -red eyes, yellow legs.

13. Streaky-breasted custard pile      -red eyes, yellow or white legs.

14. Marble-breasted spangled pile   -red eyes, white legs.

15. Ginger-breasted yellow pile      -red or yellow eyes, yellow legs.


16. Dun-breasted dun   -dark eyes, dark legs.

17. Dun-breasted blue dun    -dark eyes, dark legs.

18. Streaky-breasted red dun     --dark eyes, dark legs.

19. Dun-breasted yellow dun      --dark eyes.



20. Black-breasted blacks   -black eyes, legs and beak, gipsy face.

21. Black -breasted brassy winged     -black or red eyes, bronzy legs.

22. Black -breasted furnaces       --dark eyes, dark legs.

23. Black-breasted polecat        --dark eyes, dark legs.



24. Smock-breasted smock, or pure white      -pearl eyes, white legs and beaks.

25. Smock-breasted white     -yellow or red eyes, yellow legs.

26. Cuckoo-breasted cuckoo       -red eyes, legs various.

27. Spangle-breasted spangled red       -red eyes, legs various.






28. Henny      -legs, eyes and beak to match plumage.

29. Muff         -legs, eyes and beak to match plumage.

30. Tassell      -legs, eyes and beak to match plumage.



I will now make some further remarks on the various breeds generally found at present, and will begin with the black -breasted light reds with white legs, as they seem the most popular at the present time with fanciers and at the poultry shows.



Since the last edition was printed, the standard has been revised and rendered more complete. No pains were spared, and the oldest and most experienced breeders consulted to tender it as clear as possible in describing the typical specimen of the breed.



HEAD. -Small, and taper, skin of face and throat flexible and loose. (See note A.)

BEAK   -Big, boxing, crooked or hawk-like, pointed, strong at the setting on. (See note B.)

EYES       -Large, bold, fiery and fearless.

COMB, WATTLES AND EAR-LOBES     - Of fine texture, small and thin, in undubbed chickens and hens.

NECK     -Large boned, round, strong, and of fair length, neck hackle covering the shoulders.

BACK    -Short, flat, broad at the shoulders, tapering to the tail.
BREAST.    -Broad, full, prominent, with large pectoral muscles, breast bone not deep, or pointed. (See note C.)

WINGS     -Large, long and powerful, with large strong quills, amply protecting the thighs. (See note D.)
TAIL.        -Large, up, and spread, main feathers and quills, large and strong. In the hen inclined to fan shape, and carried well up. (See note E.)

BELLY      -Small, and tight.

THIGHS     -Short, round, and muscular, following the line of the body or slightly curved.

LEGS.       -Strong, clean boned, sinewy, close scaled, not fat and gummy like other fowls, not stiffly upright, or too wide apart, and having a good bend, or angle at the hock. (See note F)

FEET.        - Toes, thin, long, straight and tapering, terminating in long, strong, curved nails, hind toe of good length, and strength, extending backwards in almost a straight line.

SPURS       -Hard, fine, set low on the leg.

PLUMAGE  -Hard, sound, resilient, smooth, glossy and sufficient, without much fluff.

CARRIAGE   -Proud, defiant, sprightly, active on rus feet, ready for any emergency, alert, agile, quick in his movements.

IN HAND    -Clever, well balanced, hard, yet light fleshed, corky, mellow, and warm, with strong contraction of wings and thighs to the body.

SERIOUS DEFECTS:  Thin thighs, or neck; flat -sided; deep keel, pointed, crooked or indented breast bone; thick insteps, or toes, duck feet; straight or stork legs, in-knees; soft flesh; broken, soft, or rotten plumage; bad carriage, or action; any indication of weakness of constitution.




(A.) -A loose skin to the throat, to enable the cock to breathe freely when distressed in a long battle.
(B.) - Boxing means, the upper mandible shutting tightly and closing over the lower one, a long under beak lacks holding power.
(c.) -An important point. Strong big pectoral muscles give to the cock power to fly with strength and force, and furnishes the maximum amount of breast meat for the table.
(D.) -Long and strong wings impart additional force to the blow when the cock strikes.
(E.) -A high strong tail acts as a rudder, supports and balances the cock when striking, or springing backwards, and indicates courage, the first act of a coward is to lower his tail.
(F.) -Legs, the bend of the hock, or rather the juncture of the metatarsal bone with the tibia, may be compared to the bent hocks and muscular thighs of the hare and kangaroo, in furnishing them with such wonderful propelling power. In cocks of this perfect conformation there is nothing wasted in these bones, which are constructed to enable him to move with force and velocity commensurate with their distance from the centre of action, this is the reason the stork-legged bird has no force in his blow; and the cock with legs set wide apart and straight thigh bones is dry heeled, his blows do not wound or kill his adversary.



Head (including beak and eyes) ………………...10
Neck ……………………………………………………..…………6
Body (including breast, back and belly)……...20
Thighs ……………………………………………………..……..8
Shanks, spurs and feet ………………………………..10
Plumage and colour …………………………………..……9
Handling (symmetry, c1evemess, hardness of flesh and feathers,
condition and constitution)……………………..15
Carriage, action and activity…………………………….9
TOTAL:                                                     100


I have recently seen frequently in show reports remarks about a bird standing well on his legs, and as there appears to be considerable misapprehension and mistaken ideas on the subject, I think it mar be well to put the matter plainly before your readers, and to further show it by the five figures of birds herewith. The Game cock should have a good bent or angle at his hock when viewed broadside on (fig. 6); it is this that gives power to his spring forward and his blow. An analogy among quadrupeds exists in the kangaroo, hare and greyhound, all of which have very powerful propelling power in their hind legs. A bird stands straight or stork-legged "(fig. 7), lacking power and strength in his blow and dash forward.
. When facing the spectator, the cock should appear as in fig. 5, or, as the old writers described it, c1ose­heeled," his legs following the line of his body when the bird is in hand, and such a formation of the thigh bone giving the requisite direction to the blow when the cock strikes, and the greatest amount of musc1e and strength. For a cock to stand straight from his shoulders to the ground is quite wrong (fig. 3), and such a bird is never dangerous with his heels; the hocks should not be too far apart, and the shanks only straight and parallel with each other.
To quote another authority: “Some cocks are wide and straddling in their walk, and as they walk they fly, but in the cone-shaped cock the heels are more inverted and narrow and terrible in their spur, menacing their rival's life at every stroke. The cock should be narrow behind, for his conformation and his long wings should meet within about an inch and a half at the ends under the tail. "



The Indians are fully alive to this, and their cocks have this conformation, though I have seen the birds bred in this country called Aseel winning prizes that were actually bow-legged and wider across the hips than at the shoulders. Such malformation should have at once cast them.
Respecting tails of Game cocks, I have never seen one with a tail too large, high and strong to support him in his battle or help his balance, and the first thing a coward does is to drop his tai!. Cocks with their tails set high have shorter backs than low-tailed birds, which often fall backwards when they strike and are less quick, and the high tail is usually indicative of high courage in the Old English Game cock.
The tail should have fourteen Valle feathers some weak-tailed birds we see have only twelve. Cocks have occasionally been bred with sixteen; fourteen, however, is normal and the number in the tail of "Gallus gallus," the wild jungle cock. The quills in both wings and tail should be large, hard and very strong and elastic, and the webs sound and perfect. I give drawings of a good wing (Fig. 1), and a bad one (Fig. 2). It will be seen that the long, sound, broad wing, coming close up to the body when extended, such as enables a cock to fly with great strength and force, while No. 2 is comparatively ineffectual the whole of the plumage should be sound, glossy, elastic and sufficient, with very little fluff or down.
The legs and toes should not be round and gummy, but the leg-bone, round in front and the sinew showing behind something like a blood horse's leg, the toes thin and tapering to the nails, not thick round like sausages, as we often see depicted.
Throughout the bird should be full of quality, "blood like," quick and agile in all his movements in his pen or on his walk, and, to quote an old writer, "full of that raging pride," which so aptly describes the spirited, alert, vigilant, confident carriage of a true bred one.


Trust I have written enough on the various breeds of game to afford my readers, who are not already conversant with them, some information as to their chief characteristics. There are many additional and provincial local names of the breeds here mentioned, but were 1 to add them it would only cause confusion, without effecting any useful purpose. It will be noted that the colour of the breast is always given. The reason was that in old times, when cocks were trimmed for the pit, the hackle, tail and other parts were cut or trimmed, but the breast was left intact. Hence the birds were described as black-breasted blacks or smock-breasted smocks, as the case might be.
A few further remarks on cock-fighting, as formerly carried on, are necessary; after which we will consider the useful qualities and general management, etc., of game fowls, which will doubtless be of more interest to the general reader. Yet a monograph on the breed would be incomplete without                                                      some description of the sport.           .
It has already been stated at what an early age cock-fighting was practised in Britain; it has been proved that the Romans followed the sport here, as metal spurs for cocks have been found, with other Roman remains, in Cornwall, at Silchester, and in London during excavations, and 1 believe that there is a specimen in the British Museum; and it is thought that the ancient British themselves practised the sport in some form previous to the Roman invasion. It has continued as one of our English sports up to the present time. Many cock-pits are still in existence that were built especially for the sport, though they are now turned to other purposes; one being a Dissenting Chapel, another a confectioner's factory, a third a theatre, and so on. "The Sod" has generally gone hand in hand with "The Turf." Newmarket was a great centre of cocking, and of course, London, Staffordshire, Lancashire, Worcestershire, Cumberland, Cheshire and Devon were also great counties for the sport; the cock-matches were noted equally with the faces, and "Hebor's List of Horse-races and Cock-matches" was published annually at Newmarket some eighty years ago. The faces were put on one side until the main of cocks had fought, while at the Quarter Sessions there was generally a main fought ere the magistrates returned to their homes, and such were the amounts staked that, at one main fought at Lincoln, the stakes were f l,OOO each battle, and f 5,OOO on the odds or main. Of gold pit is the largest in England, where it is said cocks were fought in spurs of silver and also of gold, it is a large amphitheatre, surrounded by tiers of seats cut out of the hill, now restored and used as a meeting place by Wesleyans.
Spurs were long ago known as gaffles or goblocks, and were made of iron, brass, or silver. 'The silver spurs used had a portion of copper in their composition, and were much stronger and more el as tic than the finest steel. There is no maker of silver spurs in England at the present time. All matches and mains of importance were fought in silver, they being not quite so immediately destructive as steel; there was time for the birds to show their powers of endurance and their gameness more fully. The shapes varied somewhat in their curves, etc., but the twisted heels, slashers (like a two­edged sword), and three-edged spurs, as used abroad, were not allowed under English rules; some objecting to drop sockets, that is, the blade starting below the socket, thus throwing the spur lower on the leg; but the law in reality simply said, "in lair reputed silver spurs. Foul spurs were sometimes made, that is, of steel, but with a thick coating of silver covering them, except at the point, which was only just thinly plated.
The art of heeling a cock consisted in setting the spur on a line with the outside of the hock, in the same direction as the natural spurs; if too far towards the outside the blows would be ineffectual, while if set too far in, it would cause the cock to cut his own throat. The spurs required to be padded firm at the socket, and tied on so tightly as not to move (since if they carne off in a fight they were not allowed to be replaced), at the same time if too tight they would cramp the cock.
In breeding birds for the pit several points had to be attended lo. Courage, of course, was of the greatest importance to fight to the death, but this alone was useless unless the cock was a good heeler; the piles and some other breeds were noted for having deadly heels. The cocks also required to have good mouths, for although they should not take hold with the beak early in the battle, when they are a little weary, it enabled them to give strength to the blow. Another requisite was that they should "come to every point," that is, that they should take hold and strike at any part of their opponent within reach, be it wing, tail, or any part; a hasty manner of fighting sometimes denotes a want of bottom or gameness. Shifty cocks, although they sometimes won, were not admired; the action in fighting should be rapid without hurrying, quick, but cautious and wary, to break well with his adversary that is, to parry or ward off the blow, and then hit, since when they both hit together a thigh or wing is often broken. A cock should always press his opponent when he has the advantage, never letting him rise when lie has him down.
Cocks varied much in weight in proportion to their size, some being heavy-fleshed, and their bones solid and heavy; while others, even larger, weighed much less from having lighter quality of bone, and being more corky and light in flesh, and these were generally preferred for marches, most cockers thinking a big cock to his weight desirable.
The cock must have been allowed to run as master for some time previous to fighting, and a good walk where he obtained plenty of exercise and could not be annoyed by other fowls was required, with not too many hens. Previous to fighting he was placed under the care of the "Feeder," in order to gel him in the best possible training and condition, as is now the case with human athletes, racehorses, or greyhounds, and quite as much art and experience are required in the one case as in the other; and such names as the Flemmings, Fisher, Wadling, Brarnley, Potter, Gilliver, ­Nash and Varley, with Parker, Woodcock, Martin and others, are remembered as adepts in the art. Nearly all these had systems peculiarly their own, and the directions for feeding and treating cocks in training are many and various. Extraordinary things were given them and most curious compounds.

Bread made of fine flour, oatmeal, and the whites of eggs, with a little cinnamon was perhaps the simplest; while some cock breads contained nearly a score of ingredients. Peameal was also used and pearl barley; while such things as barley-sugar, hempseed, aniseed, cirrawayseed, ginger, rhubarb, yeast, and senna were recommended as foods or drugs in various receipts. The following were the lines on which most birds were treated, although minor details differed in almost every case. The Feeder carefully examined each cork that was sent to him to see that he was in perfect health; he judged this by his looking red in the face, his crow being clear, and his feathers being glossy and tight, and his flesh feeling firm to the touch, and by the length and sharpness of his toe-nails, if he had been on a good walk. If considered fit his spurs were sawn off to about half an inch in length, his tail some-what shortened and he was placed in a pen. These pens were about two feet square, made of board, with two spars in front to admit light and air, and to enable the cock to put his head through to get at his food in the trough attached to each ; they were placed in rows about three feet from the ground. The cocks were then usually given some physic, such as rhubarb, or jalap, and covered up close, or sweated; they were then sparred, each pair of cocks having muffles, similar to pads or boxing gloves, tied over their short spurs to prevent injury; about two or three sparrings were usually given in the course of their training; this not only got them into practice, arid improved their wind, but also rendered them eager, so that they would commence fighting at once on being put down, since in a match a cock that walked round his opponent and crowed, etc., would probably be struck by the other cock before he had begun fighting. Too much sparring had a contrary effect, and would destroy their courage. They were fed sparingly on nourishing food for some eight or ten days, and were lightened of all superfluous flesh and weight by physic, feeding and exercise, and were weighed three days before the main. After weighing they were fed more liberally, and it was lawful to increase their weight again by any kind of feeding. Sometimes large cocks were reduced very much to fight within the articles of agreement, and after weighing were recovered by jelly, eggs, isinglass, and all kinds of strengthening foods. About fourteen to sixteen ounces is as much as any cock should lose, and some will require to gain rather than lose weight in their training. On the weighing day the match bills were compared, in which all the marks of the cocks, their colours and full description, were taken, together with their weights.
The following is an agreement for a cock match:­------

      Articles of agreement made the day of 18________between W. S.------ and J. C.______________

First, the said parties have agreed that each of them shall produce, shew, and weigh, at the ____________Cockpit            _______on the________day of________          next, beginning at the hour of________________
                     o'clock in the said morning________________ cocks, none to be less than three pounds six
ounces, nor more than tour pounds eight ounces, and as many of each parties' cocks as come within two ounces of the other parties' cocks shall fight for__________________________________________________ guineas a battle----that
is                               guineas each cock, in as equal divisions as the battle can be divided into as pits, or
day's play, at the cock pit aforesaid ; and that the parties' cocks that win the greatest number of battle matches out of the number aforesaid shall be entitled to the sum of__________________________                               guineas as odd battle
money, and the sum is to be made stakes into the hands of Mr.__________ before any cocks are pitted,
in equal shares between the parties aforesaid; and the parties further agree to produce, shew, and weigh, on the said weighing day____________________________               cocks for bye battles, subject to the same as the main
cocks before-mentioned, and those to be added to the number of main cocks unmatched; and as many ofthem as come within one ounce of each other shall fight for two guineas each battle, to be as equally divided as can be and added to each pit or day's play with the main of cocks; and it is also agreed that the balance of the battle money shall be raid at the end of each pit or day's play; and to fight in fair reputed silver spurs, and with fair hackles, and to be subject to all the usual mIes of cock-fighting as is practised in London and Newmarket; and the profit of the pit or day's play to be equally divided between the said parties, after all charges are raid and satisfied that usually are thereupon. Witness our hand this_day of__________181______.
Witness J.W

WS. le.

Our Greatest Game Artist at Home.
Mr. Herbert Atkinson of Ewelme, Wallingford.

From the 1928 Feathered World Yearbook.


The name of Atkinson is well-known round Wallingford. In 1848a Doctor Atkinson was given a Silver Loving Cup by the parish "As a mark of appreciation for his great work among the Poor in a plague of Malignant Fever.”This Clip is greatly treasured by his son-Mr. Herbert Atkinson-for it was entirely subscribed for by the villagers in copper coins, and it is given a prominent position on the sideboard at the old home at Ewelme, a pretty hamlet four miles from Wallingford.
This Doctor Atkinson was a great sportsman, fond of fishing, hunting and shooting, and his high dog-cart was a familiar object driven at a furious speed in the muddy Berkshire lanes until he was well over seventy. The same lave of an open-air life and an interest in animals of all descriptions characterizes the tastes of his son. But there is this important difference: whilst Doctor Atkinson did not paint and did not care much for the Game cock, these became the all-absorbing interests of his son.
Mr. Atkinson's dexterity with his fingers is indeed surprising: he can-or used to be able to cast a trout fly with either hand, and it is probably not realized that some of the beautiful paintings of Game cocks that have appeared in The Feathered World and elsewhere were painted with both hands-the left-hand side of the canvas being done with the left hand, and the right-hand side with the other.
Mr. Atkinson is a bachelor, and when he is at home he spends most of his time in his studio at one end of the quaint old house. Here he obtains plenty of light during an English summer, and not even the big Monkey-Puzzle tree, which takes up most of the lawn in front of the house, casts any shadows on his easel.
 This studio is interesting because it contains relics and mementos of practically every period of its owner's life. One of the first objects you encounter is a large plaster cast of a racehorse. This is St. Simon, one of the most famous sires in the history of the stud book; and, incidentally, this is the best model of the stallion that has ever been made, a1though there is another more famous, which in all probability was a copy.
Mr. Atkinson could model as well as he could paint, and in his younger days he had far more to do with racehorses than he had with Game cocks. He only gave it up because he found it took up too much of his time.

All sorts of things in that studio would excite the visitor's curiosity, and many of them have a story attached. In one corner jostling amongst fishing rods and hunting crops for Mr. Atkinson used to hunt with a great friend, who was Master of the Exmoor before he was killed in the war -you will find two heavy, brass-ended sticks, which were used by natives to beat an English manager to death on a Behar tea plantation. Then there is a wonderful old flintlock gun cheek by jowl with some quaint carvings from Malay. Paintings of all kinds catch the eye, and show how versatile is Mr. Atkinson's brush, On the easel is a recently completed study in oils of a tiger, giving a wonderful impression of the power of its forearms and the lithe grace of its loins. Close beside is another picture, which brings one quickly back from the contemplation of an Indian jungle to a view of the Thames on a cold December day, with a mallard in full plumage rising from the reeds.
The pictures on the walls show a wide range of subjects-boys bathing in an English river, a thoroughbred Arab mare accompanied by its Sais outside the Palace of an Indian Rajah, a charming peep through an archway at Ewelme Church, a portrait of a dusky Indian beauty, several sketches of Game cocks, and a fine impression of water buffalo in an Indian jungle.


Mr. Atkinson, I believe, likes painting scenes from jungle life best of all. There is nothing he likes more than to be alone by himself with a few native boys and some water-colours, and to make rough sketches, which he afterwards brings back to his Oxfordshire home to work up more elaborately into oils. There is a scene which he painted recently which, I feel, embodies much of his deep fascination for jungle life. It was sketched in Southem India in the heart of a forest at night. It shows native boys cooking the evening meal, with the flames of the camp- fire lighting up the gnarled and twisted trunks of the trees, and a greenish-blue wisp of smoke weaving its way up through the thick canopy of leafy branches.
It must not, however, be supposed that Mr. Atkinson is only an artist: he is a mighty hunter as well. And when he goes on his travels through the jungles he carries his paint brush in one hand and his rifle in the other. This explains the appearance on the front of his house of a wonderful pair of bison horns.









Copyright © Gallos Pedraglio 2006