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 Post subject: Indian Game profile
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:39 pm 
BREED: Indian Game, also known as Cornish.

ORIGIN: Cornwall, England.

HISTORY: The Indian game was originally bred by the Cornish miners as a fighting bird. The local fighting birds were used in its development and the new arrivals from the East were added to them. These new arrivals were such birds derived from India and very noticeable in their physical appearance for example the Asil or Aseel.

After cock fighting was banned in England, the Indian Games were then selected for attributes of meat quality. In the early years it was specifically used to make crosses to the local breeds of the day such as the Sussex and Dorking, to produce table birds. The commercial broiler industry found the genetics ideal and based its worldwide, multibillion dollar commercial ventures on it, thus creating poultry meat cheap to mass produce and affordable for all, not just a treat for special occasions.

However the Indian Game today has suffered badly in the hands of the exhibition breeders, changing it from an active agile bird to a bird that is incapable of breeding properly. However some enthusiasts still struggle to produce a bird that could be accepted as a game bird and not a defective artificial Frankenstein like monster.

COLOURS: In Australia the Indian Game comes in dark (or cornish), jubilee, white and blue. In other countries it comes in a kaleidoscope of colours like buff, cuckoo, columbian, mottle, black and so on.

EGGS: Tinted brown and tend to be more ball shaped than other breeds.

COST: This I am unable to say. The large fowl are not fast breeders and it takes skill, time, space and money to produce an adult bird. Supply and demand has a lot to do with the price. However, unwillingness by buyers to pay a reasonable price will make them rarer and thus if not more expensive, harder to find.

EXHIBITION: I shall quote from the Australian standards, which is the same as the British standards, the carriage description of the Indian game:

Upright, commanding and courageous, the back sloping downwards towards the tail. A powerful broad bird. Very active, sprightly and vigorous.

You can wonder like me, when you look at some of the modern illustrations, photos and exhibition birds if we are talking about the same bird.

I find the Indian game a very easy bird to exhibit if you have the right facilities. The Indian revels in freedom and the elements. Rain seems to just run off them leaving them gleaming like well oiled metal, the green sheen glinting and easily caught on camera. With plenty of green grass, corn and (if you have volcanic red soil) red dirt the skin, legs and beak becomes a bright yellow that stands out to any admirer. The feathers do not need any shampooing, perhaps just a wipe over with a damp cloth and some very dilute kerosene or insecticide like maldison. If the scales of the legs are dirty an old soft toothbrush with lots of soapy water will help clean them leaving them brilliant yellow. Wash the face and comb with a warm wet washer and if necessary on the older birds a cotton bud into the grooves of the comb and ears. Old leg scales are easily removed after the legs are washed and soaked in warm soapy water. A touch of oil to the legs and face when penning on show day will give the last touches.

Over penning can be a problem with Indians as they quickly become bored and unresponsive. Hence keep pen training to a minimum and try to keep the bird interested in what is going on otherwise they tend to droop and not respond to prompting.

SUITABILITY: Other than exhibition, the Indian is mostly bred for its meat. Both bantam and large fowl are ideal meat birds. The bantam can dress out at 2 kgs at 5 to 6 months of age and makes an excellent meal for a family of 4 and leaves generous left overs for a family of 2. It surpasses the average sussex, plymouth rock or any other utility bird in the meat qualities. Any cross to an Indian Game produces a better laying bird than the pure Indian and by far a better quality carcass than the host cross.

Unfortunately the large Indian Game does not produce a large quantity of eggs. And neither is the size of them large. On the other hand the Indian bantam when selected for more utility purposes, the shorter and wider the better. It is an excellent layer, producing eggs much the same size as its larger peer. Both large and bantams are extremely broody orientated and very stubborn to get off the cluck. Some will scale fences to get back to nests and any nest will often do if her own is removed, or she is removed.

The bantam can be a very good mother and if her nest is adequatly filled with bedding, will set on a good number of eggs. The larger bird however can be very clumsy, breaking eggs or squashing chickens. However both are very protective mothers. The crosses to a soft feather make extreme mothers, able to cover large numbers of eggs and very protective of young.

SELECTING BIRDS: When selecting Indians, do not go for show birds if you have any intention of breeding them. Select young birds around 6 months old. Choose leggy birds and if you want shorter legged progeny then you must choose a shorter legged hen rather than the rooster.

Indians are not normally bred in separate pullet and cockerel breeding pens for lacing and I find it a waste of time to try. Both exhibition quality birds can be bred from the one pen. Some detail needs to be paid to lacing but also type is important. The overall bird must be observed rather than just one trait. I find selecting for lacing on the hen that is not so good in type one must ensure the cockerel excels in broadness and thickness of leg. Always choose healthy birds. Observe them under some stress so they do not go dark in the face. Observe them walking. Indians have a typical short gait but they must not limp or throw out one leg. Toes must be straight and comb must be triple being small in the wattles and the comb making some allowances for sexual differences. The comb must be pea comb with 3 longitudinal ridges, where the middle ridge is slightly higher than the outer. The tail should be horizontal or drooping slightly, if this is not possible in one bird it must be in the other. Try to have the back sloping backwards. Read the standards and interpret them literally, do not see a show bird or a diagram in some book and think it should be shaped like a Muscovy duck. You want your birds to breed naturally and live a few active, fertile years.

BREEDING: I DON'T BELIEVE IN ARTIFICIALLY INSEMINATION OF INDIAN GAME SO I WILL LEAVE THAT TO OTHERS. When selecting breeding birds you want a bit of leg in your roosters (quoting some elderly breeder friends of mine). This is important so a rooster can tread a hen effectively and be able to catch her if she is uncooperative.

Plenty of fresh greens and exercise for your breeders is paramount. Overweight birds are useless. Scattering feed through deep litter or around the large pens encourages the birds to dig and fossick. This takes time for them to eat and gives them exercise, rather than sitting beside a feed dish and then going off to sleep. Good nutritious food is important for all breeding birds and exceptionally so for Indian game. Whole quality grains like sunflower seed and whole corn as additional forage is relished and sort after. I find mice are eaten with extreme greed if they are taught about the delicacy, and are the way to any Indians trust.

A good quality high protein diet is important for growing chicks. Chicks should be encouraged to be active early before bad habits set in. On the large indian chicks, foster mothers like pekin crosses are excellent and teach chicks to be active but have the added benefit of being low in stature where small chicks can crawl under them to keep warm. The pekin crosses are not as active as the Indian mother (be she large or bantam) which can be a little excessive in activity in the early days after the chick hatches.

Be familiar with the breed standards.

FEEDING: As stated before, good quality feed, whole grains, plenty of greens and lots of exercise are what is good feeding for Indians. Diets need to be limited for the older birds. Adlib feeding is not a good idea. I feel birds must have to search and dig for their food. I feel there should be no excess food left around for the morning. This means observing what your birds are eating. The crops of Indians are easily discernible. If they are sticking out heaps then they have had plenty. If you cannot see the crop then they are hungry. A laying bantam hen does need plenty of feed, especially if she is laying an egg every day. If you are fattening birds for the table then limiting the feeds does help too as when you do feed them they gobble up the food quickly. 3 good feeds a day will fatten any Indian.

OTHER IMPORTANT NOTES: Indians should not be allowed to perch high due to leg and hip injury. Being a chicken in mind but somewhat modified in body the normal chicken desires are still there and so the desire to perch high. When a bird is young it is not such an issue however it does not take long and sometimes it can happen in young birds when coming down from a perch causes major injury. This injury is usually to the hips but is obvious by the bird limping or unable to walk. Some may recover and many recover with permanent disability. One injury often will not teach the birds of its folly hence further injury. It is necessary to keep perches low. Some birds may not even be able to use a perch after a year or 2. Use of wide boards as perches is important and best being only a couple of inches above the ground.

Effective mating can be a problem with exhibition birds. It is often best to use cockerels in the breeding pen. Keep only one male bird per pen as the other bird may prevent effective mating by knocking the other off the hen. If necessary keep birds locked in a small pen until later in the morning so the rooster can catch the hens. Some hens can be very unco-operative and are difficult for the rooster to catch.

Ensure plenty of nesting material and plenty of nests to prevent squabbling over nests and broken eggs. Use dummy eggs in nests to encourage birds to use different nests. Use of nests that the birds walk into, not jump into also reduce egg breakage.

WARNING: Never hold Indian Game or catch the birds by the legs this will cause injury. Cradle birds with your hand on their breast. At all costs protect the birds legs and hips, learn how to handle Indian Game correctly. They handle differently to other breeds of fowl.

Also Indian Game have very flat backs and if they are rolled onto their backs they will die very quickly if not rescued because they cannot roll over. This can happen, usually due to fighting even with the littlest pekin bantam rooster or the flimsiest aussie bantam cockerel. They can be found on their backs for no known reason, this is not common (or more so in a particular bird) but something to be aware of.

After all this I hope I have not put anyone off the Indian Game. It tends to be garden friendly and low fences will keep it in or out. It tends to be relatively water resistant. It is very tasty to eat, not to mention the amounts of meat. It is a great mother if managed properly. The roosters are not excessively noisy, enjoying their sleep in, especially as they get older. They are not very aggressive contrary to their origins and like nothing better than to lie around. They do enjoy digging in their youth but age wearies them. Apart from a mother with chicks they are not too destructive. They look beautiful. Their genetic basis is ideal to upgrade the meat producing capabilities of other breeds. The large fowl need support in preservation as a true and rare breed and the bantams are an excellent all-rounder for a small family with a small amount of space.


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Above: Dark or cornish indian game hens.


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Above: Jubilee large indian game pullets:


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Above: The Dark/Cornish rooster is a different colour to the hen.


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Above: The Jubilee rooster.


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Above: Head shot of a large jubilee hen.


If you register as a member you can get to see all the photos in the gallery.

Enjoy,

k


Last edited by ruff on Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 8:43 pm 
i am still working on this so it will change a little as i add photos etc.

k


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 9:05 pm 
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Showy Hen
Showy Hen

Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 11:35 pm
Posts: 213
Location: S/E QLD
great info :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 5:36 am 
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Wise Wyandotte
Wise Wyandotte

Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:58 am
Posts: 4234
Location: Plainland, SEQ
Ruff, thank you so much for that!
I've been thinking of breeding Indian bantam for a while and I'd like to get started as soon as I'll have enough room for a couple of pens. Since, yet, I'm not experienced at all in breeding I'm very glad you're providing all these informations.
Do you think Indian bantams still would be a good idea for novice breeders? I'm not interested in breeding show birds but I'd like to breed meat birds.
Unfortunately, I think I might find it difficult to find a couple of birds to get started...


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 7:05 am 
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Flock Master
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Joined: Sat May 24, 2008 9:35 am
Posts: 2042
Location: padthaway, sth east , sth aust, 5271
That is probably the best description of any breed i have ever read, well done. Some of the stuff you read is pages and pages long ushally written 2000 years ago and is hard to follow due to the language of the time. I have liked indians for a long time, as a malay breeder i feel a connection between the two breeds and you have nearly inspired me to give them a go. I saw them at canberra this year and thought it was a very good line up for the breed. I had never seen the large blue laced before, but they are very attractive. Out of the colors what would you start with if looking to get into them? i have always liked the jubilee but when i saw the blues i nearly changed my mind. Apart from yourself up north who are some trustworthy breeders in southern aust that would be worth contacting? could you please PM me if you get time.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:20 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:27 pm
Posts: 7486
Location: Blue Mountains NSW
Wow...that is excellent information.
Thank you.
I too have admired Indians from afar.
One day I hope to keep them too.
I would like to think that I could grow them for meat but I doubt that will ever happen.
I'm too chicken :oops:

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Lucy C and The Blue Mountains Menagerie
1 God, 1 husband, 2 Teens, 2 Dogs, 7 Sussex, 3 Wyandottes, 11 Silkies, 1 Barnevelder, 3 Budgies & 3 Goats


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 8:04 am 
here is a link to a discussion on chicken colour:

viewto ... sc&start=0

k


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:50 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
Fiesty Fowl

Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:05 am
Posts: 1141
Location: Melbourne
Thats a fantastic profile...

I have just added another breed to my wanted list :lol:

Thankyou, they are beautiful birds!


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 Post subject: Indian Game Hens
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:41 pm 
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Gallant Game
Gallant Game
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Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:28 pm
Posts: 471
Location: Clybucca NSW
Hi Ruff

I like your India Game hens and the profile.

My pullets still have to grow a bit more.


Image


regards
Juergen


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:54 pm 
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Wise One
Wise One

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:36 pm
Posts: 2721
Juergen

Wonderful, rich even looking colouring.

Nice

And that jubilee up the top would have made a great breeding bird, just look at the leg.

Regards

rollyard


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:14 pm 
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Phoenix
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Location: In Transit
Ruff you mentioned high protein food for chicks just wondering what you feed yours-thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Indian Game profile
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:20 pm 
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Dapper Duck
Dapper Duck

Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:46 pm
Posts: 74
Location: rockhampton
:catch: very helpful :biggrin:


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 Post subject: Re: Indian Game profile
PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:38 pm 
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Champion Bird
Champion Bird

Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:13 pm
Posts: 841
Location: The Riverina, New South Wales
How does a large Indian Game dress out at 5-6mths?

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 Post subject: Re: Indian Game profile
PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:44 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:50 am
Posts: 163
Location: Junortoun: Suburb of Bendigo,Vic,Australia
:biggrin: i like the big fat juicy legs :lol: on them but other then that they look stunning 8) :D

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 Post subject: Re: Indian Game profile
PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:54 pm 
5 to 6 months is good. they are smaller but the skin is not tough. the flesh is a little lighter in colour.

at all ages you can expect well fleshed birds. 5-6 months is proberbly the best age but by about 8 months they start getting really huge. to look at you might not think so when you compare then to say a sussex who looks bigger and towers over them but you pick them up and you can feel the difference. dress them out and put them side by side and the difference is huge. the breast meat of the indian protrudes out from the bone, the sussex well it is non existant. put some indian blood into the sussex and you will see the difference, instead of having to wait till the bird is 10 months old you can kill it at 6....and not have to lock it up to fatten it.

k


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