American Game Bantams

Average User Rating:
  • Breed Purpose:
    Egg Productivity:
    Egg Size:
    Egg Color:
    White to Ivory
    Breed Size:
    APA/ABA Class:
    Game Bantam
    Unlike many of the bantams you may see listed here, American Game Bantams (AGBs) are distinct from their namesake large fowl counterparts in that the bantams are an accepted breed by the major breed organizations while the large fowl counterparts are not. AGBs owe this to the work of Frank Gary of New Jersey, who worked with the ABA in the 1940s to develop a standard breed predominantly using bantam game birds (now referred to as either "pit bantams" or "mini-games") with Red Jungle Fowl bred in to improve hackle and saddle feather length and other show qualities. Thus the original variety of AGB was the Black Breasted Red (BBR). Unfortunately, it does not appear that the AGBs available today are descended from Frank Gary's lines.

    Currently, there are 12 accepted varieties of AGBs, but two of these are only accepted by the ABA. Varieties currently accepted by the APA are Birchen, Black, BBR, Blue, Blue Red, Brown Red, Golden Duckwing, Red Pyle, Silver Duckwing, and White. Brassy Back and Wheaten are listed in the ABA only, although Quail was apparently accepted at one time, but no one seems to know how it was replaced by Brassy Back.

    My experience has been that these are very vigorous birds, forage well, and are good fliers. AGB hens tend to be much better layers than other game bantams, which is partly attributable to their greater weight compared to Old English Game Bantams (OEGBs) and Modern Game Bantams (MGBs). AGB cocks average 30 ounces and hens at 27 ounces and should have a more substantial feel to them. As with OEGBs and MGBs, they are required to be dubbed for show, but in manner similar to OEGBs (high dub) rather than MGBs.

    Males should be well feathered with long, wiry hackle and saddle feathers that spill out over the shoulders and back and should have a tail held at a 50 degree angle with long sickle feathers that form a semi-cardioid (half heart) shape - a defining characteristic of the breed! Tails should be well spread on females. Feathering should be hard in the manner of game fowl. The birds should have a graceful, upright stance and carry themselves with pride so they have, as close as possible, the shape and carriage of large fowl American Games (scaled down, of course).

    As many lines of AGBs have recent infusions of large fowl games, they are very aggressive towards other AGBs and other game breeds (but not humans), but can generally be kept in communal grow-out pens until six months. After that, males must be kept separate. Females can also be aggressive among themselves and may even have tiny spurs, but will generally accept other pullets/hens after they "work things out". They can go broody easily, but my experience is that they tend to want to stay on unhatched eggs rather take care of the chicks they've hatched.

    AGBs are listed as "Not Common" in the ABA standard, but I have trouble understanding why. They are everything you'd want in a bantam and then some: active, brave, disease resistant, good layers, graceful and beautiful. Consider keeping a trio.
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  • Chicken Breed Info:
    Breed Purpose: Show/ornamental

    Comb: Strait, 'high' dubbed in males

    Broodiness: Broody

    Climate Tolerance: Hardy when dubbed

    General Egg Info:
    Egg Productivity: Fair to good, 5/week but seasonal

    Egg Size: small

    Egg Color: white to ivory tinted

    Breed Temperament:
    Aggressive to other birds of the same gender, rarely aggressive to humans

    Breed Colors / Varieties:
    Official: Birchen, Black, Blue, Black Breasted Red, Blue Red, Brassy Back, Brown Red, Golden Duckwing, Red Pyle, Silver Duckwing, Wheaten, and White. Also known in Quale, Red Quill, and blue versions of standard varieties (Blue Golden Duckwings is featured on the back cover of Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds).

    Breed Details:

    Chicken Breed Photos:

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Recent User Reviews

  1. georgieboy11
    "Amazing Chickens!"
    Pros - very very sweet hens and good layers
    Cons - eggs are quite small (but i still love them)
    My first 4 chickens I got from the "assorted bantam bin" at Big R about 4 years ago now, still have them and 3 of them have grown into the sweetest little hens you will ever meet. 1 of them grew into the most handsome and fiesty little rooster. Until now I had no idea what breed they were until I saw a picture of a old english game bantam in the color silver duckwing and it looks just like em!
    BlackHackle likes this.
  2. Tacampbell1973
    "my first two hens, still have them"
    Pros - Super foragers, wonderful mothers, super hardy, independent
    Cons - cant find any
    I just wrote all about my first two Game bird Mix hens on the American Game breed heading, didn't realize that they weren't talking about bantam breed! I will try to repeat what i wrote there but have had these hens for almest 4 years now, they are still healthy and going strong. They raised their first brood of chicks together. Not their first but the first they had since coming to live with me.
    An excellent durable, loveable bird.
    BlackHackle likes this.
  3. amyschickens1
    "lovely birds but i never knew they were called..."
    Pros - great mums, lay quite alot of eggs, wide range of colour, great weeders, can be free range, great beginner chickens
    Cons - they can be flighty at first to pick up, rats/birds of prey/raccons might try and kill them, do not like dogs
    I own only 2 at the moment and they are silver Dutch bantams, we keep them in with our partridge pekin bantam cockerel. They have 2 chicks that are 6 weeks old now and they are a cross between dutch bantam and pekin bantams.

User Comments

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  1. LarryTX
    American Game Bantams are great for my situation. They are smaller than their larger games and easy keeping. All the AGB’s that I have known of have been very health and a lot more resistent to mites, coccidia, etc. Thanks to whoever made the original post!
  2. adrikeen
    I found one of these in a bunch of bantams I purchased at TSC. I thought I was getting an EE bantam but then wound up with a micro mini chicken. She is by far my favorite...teeny tiney bird with huge personality. Extremely friendly and will ride around on my shoulder. Not aggressive towards other birds (of course all my other hens are 3x her size!) at all as article mentions. Very "talkative" and I agree with the good flying part. I thought a few times she may take off!
  3. dekel18042
    Interesting you couldn't keep males together past six months of age. When I got my first bantams I had large fowl roosters and a game bantam and they all got along. Then I hatched more and they also got along. The only problem I had was when I added a young full grown rooster to the flock and the three bantam roosters would gang up on him. I solved that problem by quarantining the bantam boys for a week allowing the LF rooster to get to know the girls then when I let the bantam boys out again he stood up to them and they all got along. I did give one to someone who needed a bantam rooster then this past fall we had a hawk invasion and I lost one of the boys. Now I have two large fowl roosters and a bantam, who will be three this summer and they and the hens share one coop and get along.
    As far as pecking order goes the oldest rooster is #1, the Mouseketeer (bantam) #2 while the youngest rooster, not quite a year old is #3.
      Mathew23vs37 likes this.
  4. Miss Lydia
    I have 2 of these birds Roo and his grand daughter.[He doesn't know] They are in separable They are very self sufficient and make awesome broody's and parents. My Roo is going on 8yrs old and still as feisty and healthy as a 2 yr old I don't think he is fertile but that's okay I am introducing OEGB into my flock and my American game loves to hatch. He really isn't overly aggressive towards my Old English roo as long as they keep a fair distance from his girl. He is awesome protector of the flock I have seen him jump into the air trying to get a chicken hawk. [Have no idea what he would have done with it if he'd caught it. ] lol I give them a rating of 99% gotta love these birds if you like a chicken that is very simular to the Jungle fowl of old you'll love these.
  5. amyschickens1
    i do not know but all the pictures look like them
    ps i live in the uk
  6. froggiesheins
    Well Turk Rapheal, when you "spar" two birds there is no harm / no foul involved. BTW, my boy Pharow turns 6 years old in August!! Long live the pharow.
  7. Turk Raphael
    Very surprised you admitted to sparring and no one (until now) has taken exception to it. Good on you, I guess! lolol
  8. Turk Raphael
    Just curious...Are Dutch Bantams "GAME" ???
  9. sdm111
    Hello with all due respect 6mo is not enough time to give an accurate description of their disposition. They are still too young. I have been raising games for a while and a cock will be an adult at 2yrs. And most all of mine are very docile, friendly, and tame.
  10. hellbender
    Truly, America's schools are failing us.

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