Posts Tagged ‘asil


Manuel Reynolds’ Hyderabad Asils and Shamos

(As related to me by Billy Sumner and Carr Harris)

by Charles Everett

I had heard about this eccentric old gentleman chicken breeder from Virginia for years before I discovered that I actually possessed some of his blood on my yard. He died nearly 45 years ago: which means he was breeding Asil and Shamo before anyone on this site was even born. He had the most sought after Asil and Shamo on the eastern seaboard. The American cockfighters bought his birds to cross onto their American Gamefowl. None of these people bred them pure, however three young men from different backgrounds, and states, became the sole possessors of Manuel’s Asil and Shamo upon his death.

Manuel imported his Asil from Pakistan and his Shamo from Japan. His were not the first imports of these breeds into the United States, but they were considered to be the best in their day and the Asil are still viewed that way. The Shamo are another story that will be related further in this article.

Today, Manuel Reynolds’ Asil are sold as Hyderabad Asil in the United States. Whether that is because Manuel related to the sole inheritor of his Asil that they were indeed Hyderabad in origin, or whether the name was just attached to them, I cannot say with any degree of certainty. What I can tell you is that his Asil are different than any other Asil in America. Generally, the females come laced, whereas the males show no lacing. They are heavily beetle browed, around 5 to 7 lbs., and of excellent type and constitution. Of all the Asil I have kept, they are the gamest of the game. Unless raised together, the females fight like cocks, and cannot be kept with any other hens. If they are penned with other hens, the result will be death. This is not simply a pecking order thing I’m speaking of. I’m telling you they will kill the other hens.

Pure Manuel Reynolds' Asil hen: today refered to as a Hyderabad Asil
Pure Manuel Reynolds’ Asil hen: today refered to as a Hyderabad Asil

Hyderabad Asil cock.

Assuming Manuel Reynolds’ imported his Asil a century ago, and then there have only been 2 primary breeders of these birds during this time. These birds have not received any new blood during this time, but have been inbred with no disastrous results because of the vigor of the breed, and vast numbers hatched.

Manuel’s Shamo looked vastly different than the Shamo seen today. They did not possess the long legs of the Shamo of today. They had parrot beaks and big thick heads; the scales on the front of the legs are often lifted as if the bird had scale mites (which they do not) and was considered a very desirable trait. Also, they were not as upright as many of the Shamo seen in our shows in America. In there day, Manuel’s Shamo were the most sought after Shamo in America. Today, only one man possesses pure Manuel Reynolds’ Shamo blood: Billy Sumner, of North Carolina.

Recently, I had a conversation with Craig Russell, of Pennsylvania, concerning the Shamo. Craig is the foremost authority on chickens in America today in my opinion. I asked him which he considered to be the more correct Shamo type. Craig lived in Japan for several years during the 1970’s, as well as in other areas of Asia. He stated that when he traveled around to different areas of Japan, you would see birds that people were calling O Shamo with variable type. Some carried their bodies at, or around 45 degrees, while others carried them nearly horizontal. Carr Harris, who knew Manuel Reynolds agreed. Carr further added that the Shamo in America today show the influence of Thais. He stated that this could be seen in the ‘snake-headed’ feature of many Shamo. Both Carr Harris, and Craig Russell believe the head of Manuel Reynolds’ Shamo to be the more correct in type: thick all over, and without taper towards the front.

Billy Sumner still shows the Manuel Reynolds Shamo as they have been shown in America for nearly a century now. He seldom wins today because most exhibitors and judges aren’t even aware that standing in the cage before them is an old strain of fowl, that has been bred pure from imports, which came to our shore nearly a century ago. A breed of fowl kept by only two breeders in the United States in all that time, which in turn has been bred to look, and act, like Manuel Reynolds believed they should be.

This Shamo cock has 1/2 Manuel Reynolds blood. This can be seen most easily in the beak, head, length of leg and neck. Manuel’s pure Shamo stock were somewhat more upright than this bird, but not much.

Up and down the eastern seaboard, American cockers of the early twentieth century used the Asil, and Shamo bred by Manuel Reynolds to bring the added weight, and height to their American Gamefowl. If the actual histories of all the Roundhead breeds on the east coast could be told, I believe somewhere in their background would exist one of Manuel’s birds. He was the quintessential American breeder.

Read the comments below for additional information we have been finding out!


September Photo Contest

3rd place goes to Doc and his blue/red Asil .

2nd place goes to Stigy and his grey hen.

1st place goes to Cubakid for this wonderful pic of his Cubalaya flock!

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks for all the great pics that were submitted this month. If you want to enter your birds in our free monthly photo contest, just go to the Ultimate Fowl Forum, and sign up!


Charlotte – A chicken tale…

The old, rickety rocking chair on my back porch groaned with protest as I eased down into it for the evening. For early summer, it was already uncommonly hot. Sweat tricked down my temple as I reached into the old metal cooler behind me, which had more rust than green paint on it anymore, for a nice cold beer. I plunged my arthritic, swollen fingers into the icy cold depths, which at this point, felt almost as good as that first swallow of beer was going to taste… almost. As I cracked open the beer, cold water from the side of the can started running down my arm, sending shivers that went all the way up to the back of my neck. I leaned back in the chair, looked out into my back yard, and started what was probably going to be a fine drunk!

There was almost no breeze this evening, and the red squirrels were buzzing away, like they were having a contest to see who could be the loudest. The sun was nearing the treetops off to the west, casting an amber hue to the sky. What few clouds that were up there, were violet, with bright pink highlights on the bottom of them. I sat my beer down on the railing of the porch, and grabbed the half empty pack of cigarettes from my shirt pocket. I was supposed to be quitting, according to my old lady, but at my age, what’s the point, huh? I slid the book of matches from under the cellophane, struck one up, and breathed the cigarette to life. As I settled back, sweet smoke hanging in the air around me, I picked up my beer, and started to unwind from a long week at work.

I don’t know how long I had been sitting there, but there was now a couple of empty cans laying on the floor of the porch next to me, and the butt of a cigarette ground into a crack in the railing. At some point during this time, my best hen, Charlotte, came wandering into the backyard trailing a pack of fuzzy little black chicks that she just hatched a couple of weeks ago. They were just getting to the point they would wander away a little bit, but they still didn’t go too far from mom. Charlotte was still a little thin from brooding her chicks, so those tempting little black crickets she was scaring up, had her clucking like a pullet again! Some of the chicks couldn’t decide whether they wanted to hide up under mom’s protective shadow, or chase up some crickets themselves! Others were like little lawn mowers as they bit the tops off blades of grass, while scratching up whatever else the thick lawn had to offer. I looked down to get another beer when a shadow caught my attention from the corner of my eye. I looked up to see that Charlotte had all of the chicks up underneath her, with her neck stretched way out, and was clucking excitedly. I started to stand up, when streaking from the sky came a large Red Tail hawk. Its talons were stretched out in front of it, as it swooped down at Charlotte. I could see almost immediately, that I wasn’t going to be able to do anything to help her. All I could do was stand by and watch as Charlotte stood her ground, protecting her biddies, with the hawk nearly on top of her. I knew in my heart, my favorite hen was about to become a hungry Red Tail’s dinner, but just as the hawk was upon her, she lunged. Chicks went scattering everywhere, as Charlotte came straight at the diving raptor, her feet churning in front of her. The hawk was clearly taken by surprise by this, and started to veer off at the last second, but it was too late, Charlotte had him dead in her sights. (I know what you’re thinking, what does it matter if she is fighting back, she doesn’t stand a chance, right? Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret, Charlotte is a sweet little three year old ,Rampuri Asil hen, with a couple of half inch surprises growing out the back of her legs!) Charlotte hit the hawk like a sledgehammer, knocking them both to the ground in a rolling mass of fury and feathers. The hawk, wanting no part of a crazy chicken that fought back, was doing everything it could to get back in the air, but my little hen wasn’t having any of that. She had the hawk by the back of the head in her bill, and was tearing his backside to shreds! Somehow, with all the thrashing around, the hawk broke loose, and lept to the sky. Little red and white feathers floated down around Charlotte as the hawk went screeching into the distance. She started strutting around, with her feathers all fluffed out, calling to the hawk to come back, if he decided he wanted a little bit more!

By now, every rooster in my yard was throwing a ruckus! It sounded like the crack of dawn with all the crowing going on around me. I was so shocked by what I had just witnessed, I lept down the steps of my porch in one bound, without even thinking twice. The yard was in chaos around me, but all I could think about was Charlotte, and making sure she was OK. As I ran up to her, she started talking to me, telling me that I had better wait a minute while she gathered her chicks and calmed down some, or I might get something more than I bargained for! I may be a lot of things, but I ain’t no fool, so I backed off a little. She didn’t look any worse for wear, so I told her a couple of sweet nothings, and turned back towards the porch. As I did, by wife of 36 years stepped up to the screen door, “What the heck is all the commotion out here?” she said. “It sounds like world war three!”

“Oh nothing mother,” I replied, “Charlotte’s just teaching her chicks what to do when an uninvited guest comes a calling for dinner is all!”


February Photo Contest Winners

The standard breed contest winners are:

3rd place goes to Ja8edfyre for her sexlink x OEGB

2nd place goes to Alpha_K for his Indian red junglefowl stag

1st place goes to fowlafoot for her Spangled Russian Orloff Cockerel

For the Gamefowl side of the contest we have:

3rd place goes to johnv for his Asil cock

2nd place goes to tuzojoe

1st place goes to red beard for his pyle miner

Congratulations to all the winners! For the month of March, we are going to have a baby chick contest, as hatching season is here, so if you have some pictures of your little fuzzy butts, be sure to enter them at the March Photo Contest.


Raising Saipan Jungle Fowl

There is not a ton of information out there on this breed, so I thought I would share what I have learned.  If you have experience with these beautiful birds, feel free to leave a comment telling me what you know!  First off, about the only history I can find, I have posted on my wikipedia HERE.  The following is what I have observed over the last couple of years of raising them.

First off, let me say that I don’t have pure Saipans, and practically nobody can say they do either.  There are hatcheries that sell them, but they are mostly shamo, or malay crossed birds.  True Saipans are almost non-existent.  What I describe is what I have experienced with the fowl I have, which are the closest I have been able to come up with, I just wanted to be clear on that right up front.

The main thing that Saipans are known for are their sheer size.  Roosters can cock out nearly three foot tall, and closing in on 18 pounds!  Mine aren’t quite that big, but I am working on it.  Saipans are also very slow growing birds, it takes about 3 years for them to fully mature. These birds have a degree of gameness to them, but not known to be overly game.  If they have been raised together, even roosters have been known to be able to tolerate each other if they aren’t too cramped.  Saying that, if you separate them, including the hens, and try to put them back together again, expect the game to show up in them.  I have seen hens that were willing to fight to the death when new birds are introduced.  The roosters also have a reputation for being manfighters, but the hens are quite docile to people.

As far as laying and hatching, they lay medium sized, cream colored eggs in the spring to early summer, then pretty much quit laying after that.  They will go broody, but from what I have seen, aren’t the best for caring for chicks afterward.  Part of the problem is the chicks off these larger birds mature very slowly as well, and it takes quite a while for them to grow feathers.  I have seen many a baby rooster running around with all the yellow fuzz off him, and only a couple of wing feathers on his whole body!  Saying that, that is how you can easily sex these birds as the hens will feather out much faster than the roosters, so it is pretty easy to sex them once they start feathering out.  If you want any kind of success raising these birds, I recommend leaving them in a brooder for the first 8 weeks of their life minimum, because the feathering factor makes them quite delicate.

Feeding Saipans can be a challenge too as they are very susceptible to crop impactation, so whole grains need to be avoided.  You also need to watch your protein levels very carefully as too much protein can give you problems because of the size of the birds, and how slow they grow.  I know some people feed their Saipans, and other large Oriental breeds rice, and fish as their staple diet.  I haven’t had trouble using standard poultry feed, I just watch their body development, and adjust accordingly.

For more information, check out the Ultimate Fowl Forum!


Why raise gamefowl?

With all the new laws, and cockfighting being illegal in all 50 states now, why raise gamefowl?  To anyone who has ever owned these birds, the answer is obvious, but to people who have never experienced owning games themselves, it is unclear.  I get asked all the time, “Aren’t those fighting chickens?”.  I say, “Yes, they have been used for that by some”, but honestly, it goes much deeper than that to many people.  Thanks to animal rights factions, there has been a stigma attached to gamefowl, and the owners of them.  Many people already have opinions formed about games without ever experiencing them first hand.  To a lot of chicken enthusiasts, there is no breed more true to what a chicken should be than games.

Games are typically very hearty fowl, they lay decent, and are some of the best broodies around, but the big difference is that they have that edge of wildness to them.  You don’t need to fight chickens to appreciate this trait.  Most games exude an air of confidence that you just won’t see in other breeds.  They hold their heads high and proud, but can be some of the gentlest birds towards people.  When you get into the Oriental games, you will find some of the most intellegent birds out there period.

All in all, games are a joy to raise.  They take a little more effort, as you need to keep them separated, but the joy you will recieve from owning these birds will far offset the extra work needed to keep them.  If you decide to give games a try, I think you will find out what I have, they are some of the best birds to own, and with the current law changes, true games will become harder, and harder to find in the U.S., which is very unfortunate for the breed in my opinion.



By: John Kerr

Prior to the war, my grandfather was a missionary in India. During his time there, one of his achievements was the official recognition for improving the local fowl to become a more viable breed for egg, and table purposes. The common Indian fowl, or Moorgi, was not much use for either! Being very similar to the Red Jungle Fowl, it was decided to try to improve the common village fowl.

The first step was to remove all the native cock birds, and to keep only the largest of the hens and pullets. Then, pure bred cock birds were introduced. The next year, all the cross bred cock birds, and all the original hens were disposed of, and the best of the cross bred pullets were kept. The end of the second year, all cross bred cock birds, and all the first cross hens would be removed, leaving the second cross pullets, which would be run with a new batch of pure bred cock birds. The pure bred cock birds would be changed every two years. As several villages might be in one of these breeding schemes, the birds could be swapped between villages to cut down the cost of importing new stock. Within six, or seven years, the village birds would closely resemble pure bred fowl.
The actual cost of the program could be quite small, the main problems being to ensure that all cross bred cock birds were removed. Any missed birds could set the program back years. The breeds used were the Chittagong (Malay), Rhode Island Red, White Leghorn, or Minorca. Descriptions of these breeds taken from an 1948 Indian Poultry book are:
Malay / Chittagong : These birds are called Malay because they are natives of the Malay Peninsula, and Chittagong, because they are largely bred in Chittagong. They are also called Deang Fowls, as the best specimens are bred in a place in Chittagong called Deang. They are large birds, the cocks reaching two foot six inches from beak to toe, and weigh from 8 lbs – 10 lbs. The hens weigh from 6 lbs – 9 lbs. It should have a small pea-comb, like a soft lump covered with small warts. The head and neck should be long, the beak yellow, the wattles very small and red, and in the hen hardly visible, the ear-lobes small and red, sometimes with a little white, the eyes white or light yellow, eyebrows prominent and overhanging the eyes, making the head look very broad, the neck long and the breast broad and deep, the carriage very upright with broad shoulders, the back sloping gradually to the tail being slightly narrow at the loins. The wings carried high and projecting at the shoulders, the tail small and full, (in the cock it should droop) the legs yellow, straight, long and strong, without feathers, and the plumage very close, firm, short and glossy, with the feathers narrow. There is no fixed standard of colour.
The Minorcas: They are also known as the Red Faced Spanish, and are the in shape and appearance to the Black Spanish. It is possible that the races were originally one, and that the faces were red. The shape is like the Leghorn, but the comb is larger, and there is the red face and the white earlobes and the clean legs. There are two colors, the black and the whites, but the latter are rarley seen. As layers they are one of the best small breeds. weights, cocks 7 lbs hens 5 lbs.

The Leghorns: They are a most useful small breed, and a good layer of large white eggs. There are several varieties, such as whites brown, blacks, mottled buff, and others. Of these the best are the white and the brown, as they lay larger eggs. The comb of the Leghorn cock should be a single, large errect and evenly serrated with five or six wedge shaped spikes. The hens comb should be similar but carried but carried drooping to one side of the head. There are also rose combed Leghorns. The face should be red; the lobes pure white, and with all colours the legs yellow. Weights, 6 lbs hens 4 lbs.

The Rhode Island Red: These originated from a cross between the Brahama, or Langshan, the Chittagong, and the common farmyard fowls of Rhode Island. The mixture of breeds still shows itself in the different types found among these fowls. Some are single comb, and some are rose comb. Some are like the Wyandotte, and some like the Rock in type. The prevailing colour is red, but are also buffs, white, and brown. Their chief value is as prolific layers of large, dark shelled eggs. It is one of the best all round breeds combining both table, and egg laying qualities. They’re very hardy, withstand the damp well, and the chicks are easy to rear. The brighter red has given place to one of almost chocolate color, it seems impossible to get a red too dark. They are inclined to smuttiness in the under color. Smutty birds are necessary to breed from, but are of no use in the show pen. The birds are handsome, and keep their appearance better than most breeds. For the novice, they have much to recommend them as both old breeders, and novices stand a chance of breeding a winner, providing the stock birds are from a reliable source, and are properly mated. The reason for this is the breed is still in the making, and there still a tendency to throw backs. The body should be long, broad, and deep, with the breast carried well forward, and the back flat. Legs and feet should a deep yellow, and show some brown horn color. Color of the male is a rich dark red, with the breast as near top color as possible (both to be well glossed); tail black; wing when open, shows black in both primaries and secondaries. Female coloring should be a rich even shade of deep red throughout, about the color of the males breast; wing and tail markings as the male; neck hackles show a black marking at the base. Single, and rose combs are allowed, but singles are more popular. Lobes should be red, and eyes red. Weights, cocks 8 1/2 lbs hens 6 1/2 lbs.

The breeds recomended for use in India were:

*Largest and most weighty- Brahma, Lhangshan, Orpinton, Australorp, Rock, Chittagong, Wyandotte, Game, Cochin, Sussex, and Rhode Island Red.

*Most hardy – Braham, Langshan, Chittagong, AustraloFp, Wyandotte, Rock, Orpington, Leghorn, Sussex, eochia, Game, R.hode Island Red.
*Table fowl – Aseel, Chittagong, Langshan, Wyandotte, Rock, Orpington, Sussex, Rhode Island .Red.
Eggs – Minorcas, Leghorns, Rhode Island Red,

The eggs of the bantams and Hamburg though small are the best in flavour. Game, Aseels” Rocks, Brahmas~ Orpingtons, Rhode Islands, and the Wyandottes lay the darkest shelled eggs, while the Spanish, Polish and Minorcas are the whitest.

For all purpose fowl the Langshan, Orpington, Wyandotte, Chittagong, Rock, Brahma, Rhode Island Red, Australorp, Minorca, Leghom, and Sussex cannot be beaten.


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