Chicken Breed Focus - Aseel/Asil

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by sumi, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    The Asil or Aseel is a breed of chicken originating from the South Punjab/Sindh area of Pakistan and India. Asils were first used for sport, but are gaining popularity in the exhibition world. The breed is generally unstandardised in South Asia and India, but popularity has increased in the western world in recent times with the breed standardised in the British, Australian and American standards.

    Asils are not recommend for beginner chicken keepers as they can be "a handful". They are known to be very aggressive towards other chickens, the chicks often fight when they are just a few weeks old and mature roosters will fight each other to death. Hens can also be very aggressive towards each other and it is advised that they be kept separated. Towards humans Asils are generally very tame though.

    The hens are not good layers, but make excellent broodies. Egg production depends on the Asil variety, the small Asil are known to be very poor layers, sometimes laying just 6 eggs a year, whereas larger Asil can lay around 40 eggs a year.

    Details:

    Breed purpose: Ornamental
    Comb: Pea
    Broodiness: Frequent, excellent mothers
    Climate Tolerance: All
    Egg Production: Poor
    Breed Colours/Varieties:
    Black breasted red, wheaten, dark, spangled, and white, duckwing, blue breasted red, and black.


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    Pic by @Blueface

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    Pic by @varidgerunner

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    Pic by @varidgerunner


    BYC Breed Reviews:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/products/aseel

    Breed Discussion Threads:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/802866/asil-aseel-thread/0_30
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/551251/everything-asil-thread-show-off-those-asil/0_30


    Do you own Aseels? Are you an Aseel breeder? If so, please reply to this thread with the your thoughts and experiences, including:

    · What made you decide to get this breed?
    · Do you own them for fun? Breeding? Some other purpose?
    · What are your favorite characteristics about this breed?
    · Post some pics of your birds; male/female, chicks, eggs, etc!


    Please note, from the BYC Rules/TOS

    14. No discussions about animal rights organizations or Cock fighting
     
  2. random1449

    random1449 Out Of The Brooder

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    My Uncle has a flock of around 20. But he keeps them in pairs as males will kill each other if not raised together when they were young. He has blue and white pair of aseels. A mottled pair (Beautiful colors!) And the rest are brown or red breasted and so forth. I can't wait to hatch out his aseels for next spring as he rely's on me to hatch them for him. [​IMG] They have also gone broody he said and hatched around in average 8-10 chicks at a time. And are great mothers. They love the babies as much as they love eating food! LOL [​IMG] They are also not loud and females don't seemed to do an egg song after they lay. Since they are Game fowl. They can weigh in around 7.5-8 lbs for females alone. And males up to 10-12 lbs. But don't eat them as you can just sell them for a good amount of money. And if you do they are so muscular that the meat is very hard. My uncle also said that they are both hardy in winter and summer. :)
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Thank you @random1449 I love this breed and I would like to get some myself, for eye candy and possibly showing, but friend of mine that breeds Aseels warned me that they are a bit difficult. I heard they are "the best" mothers though [​IMG]
     
  4. Uzair Ahmed

    Uzair Ahmed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are not difficult at all. They are a bit aggressive towards other hens.so just keep them separated (adults only)
    Otherwise the chicks will learn to live.together if you keep them together after hatching
    And.if you want them to be very active, hatch them under a aseel hen. They're good mothers. I've hatched some Silkie chicks under it and they are no less than aseels. :D
     
  5. varidgerunner

    varidgerunner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I raised American Games for several years. Every time I saw Asil I swore that I would never have those silly looking things. After keeping them awhile, I really can't imagine life without Asil. I have run into a lot of other people that share this experience.

    There is a lot of confusing information about Asil. First, their are a lot of names. Asil is a much broader term than just the APA definition, there are many varieties of Asil. All of them originated from the Indian subcontinent, but there are what we might call landrace strains, like the fleshy faced little Boricua Asil, from Puerto Rico. Some strains are named for points of origin, the Madras for instance. Sonatals are named after the word that means "gold", not for their color, but because someone paid for the strains matriarch with his weight in gold. Their was a Cobra strain, their line coming from a clutch of chicks found near a dead hen laying next to the cobra she had killed. Probably no relation to the American cobras, who have had American game added. Amir Ghans are named after the phrase that translated means "mighty hammer". The Rajah Murgh, another fleshy faced Asil, has a name that would suggest ties to royalty. The Kulang, which gets almost turkey sized has a place name. The Bihangam is another named after a place, and is a rule breaker, having a huge straight comb. There are bearded strains, as well. Reza is just a broad term meaning small. Many are named after people with English sounding names, these are just strains that were bred by people who imported them, some of them have some American, Spanish or English Game ( refereed to as 'Bankiva') blood added. Color can just about run the full spectrum of chicken colors.

    Hope this makes things clear as mud, more to come.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  6. varidgerunner

    varidgerunner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some people like to say, based on a statement by an early fancier named Atkinson, (who has a strain named after him) that the breed has been referenced in the "Code of Manu" a text some three thousand years old. Most likely not the word "Murgh" just means a cock bird in that language and has no easily proven connection to the Rajah Murgh Asils. They have undoubtedly been around for a long time, however. Some have theorized that the Asil, along with his similar oriental game cousins, were descended from a different proposed proto chicken, gallus giganticus, although modern DNA evidence does not prove this theory. They have impacted a lot of breeds, notably the Cornish, but if some theories are true, the Malay is a strain of Asil, so that would put Asil in an awful lot of chicken breeds. To sum up the history of what Asil were bred for, hopefully without breaking any rules here, it can be said that while other gamefowl were bred for speed, the Asil is bred for endurance. The important point from this is that, in their pure form, they are a very hardy and sturdily built bird. Asil is a word meaning "of long pedigree" in Arabic, and is used on Arabian horses as well. The Arabic people that pushed into the Indian subcontinent brought much of their culture and most likely, the asil, with them. They must have had a keen eye for breeding for endurance.

    Asil have their quirks but I find they have their place on the homestead. The traits that make a male fierce seem to transform to extreme maternal traits in the hen. You simply won't find a better broody hen. They are equal to the American or Old English games that raise multiple decent clutches, fiercely protect their chicks, teach them to be alert foragers, and don't tend to go broody at times of the year that chicks have a hard time with. The thing that I think makes them better than an American Game, is that the Asil hen won't suddenly decide to take your replacement layer flock that she hatched out for you sixty feet in a tree. They roost, but at more manageable heights. So, they are the ultimate off-grid incubator system for preppers.

    An Asil cockbird serves the role of flock protector quite well.I have found them to be very gentlemanly. In fact, I find it good to rotate penned birds with the layer flock to keep them from getting too fat, they will stay nice and trim by giving all of their food to their hens. An Asil cock's warbling trill will convince even the fattest, coop sour laying hen to venture to fresh ground for worms and bugs instead of lay pellets. You just have to watch him around any young stags that he might not deem worthy of carrying on his line.

    The main drawbacks are that you absolutely must have solid bottomed pens separating them. I don't find this much of a problem for hens that stay broody most of the year and need their own space anyway. Nobody could keep 50 Asil without major pennage, for this reason most people keep just a few. I find that the hatching abilities make it completely worth a few extra pens, to keep an ancient breed from going by the wayside. The cocks are just so darn friendly, that is the thing I still can't get over. I have birds that will go for rides with me, like a dog. Over the centuries, or possibly millennia, human aggression has been substantially bred out of them. I have heard some breeders hypothesize that cock aggression and human aggression have an inverse relationship. Maybe not, but I've been flogged in the leg by a lot of breeds and Asil ain't one of them.
     
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  7. cubalaya

    cubalaya Overrun With Chickens

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    an ancient breed of chicken that is too important to let go. I got these for a grading project for my cubalayas. i liked them so much that i started breeding them. they were more intelligent than most chickens, tame towards humans, great broody hens, super healthy and vigorous, but extremely game towards other asils. chicks can kill each other at an early age. if they fight, it is to the death. my strain is the old manuel Reynolds asils from the Virginia masterbreeder; carr harris. they carry some indian and viper blood from texas masterbreeder; Nasser saab. after breeding them and raising them for a few years now, they are my second favorite breed with cubalayas being my favorite. some of the hens are fairly decent layers for orientals, others not so good. I have tried to help them as a breed by making sure the right people get some good ones and keeping enough here to have a decent breeding program. when deciding on which birds to keep and breed it would be best to get some help from an experienced breeder at first. in the wrong hands, the breed could be ruined for the next generations by making bad selections. here are some pics of mine;
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    for experienced chicken people only
     
  8. varidgerunner

    varidgerunner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think the 20 eggs a year rating is a low estimate. I seem to get a few eggs through the fall and winter. But if they were left to their own devices, they would lay ten or fifteen and then set on them. raise the chicks for four to six weeks and do it again. Once fall hits they don't seem to have any interest in brooding until spring. Which is a good thing, in my opinion some of the breeds considered good broodies lack some instincts. No point in hatching chicks that aren't going to have a good shot of survival. On egg production, a fifteen year old Asil will probably lay more eggs than a fifteen year old Leghorn.

    They aren't as cold hardy as the American Games, who will be fine forty feet in a tree in a blizzard, but the Asil don't have comb and wattles to worry about. If they can roost of the wind and stay dry, they appear to do fine with below zero temperatures.

    This is not the chicken to order hatching eggs and shove in an incubator with a huge batch of other chicks. They hatch as Asil, and will command the respect of an Asil from the start. All chicks will have pecking order disputes, but without a hen that understands Asil chicks, these can do serious harm to each other. I suspect that if you shoved a bunch of day olds, that were real Asil, in a box and shipped them hatchery style, the buyer would end up with a box of confetti. The hen is necessary to keep the peace. If they have lots of room, the hen will kick them out when she gets ready to brood again. They will go through a period of re-establishing pecking order at this time, and it can get pretty intense. Most people go ahead and give them their own pen at this time. Stags that are left together after six months are ticking time bombs, and while seeming to get along, this can change in an instant. As stated, not the breed for beginners, but a very special breed.

    I sometimes go to farm educational events. I have found other breeds to sometimes get a little rattled when taken to a strange place and charged by a bus load of small children. The Asil seem to enjoy it, even the ones that haven't had much exposure. I know that there are a lot of people that do therapy with animals, either with the elderly or special needs children, I think Asil would really shine at that. They don't mind being separated from the flock, they don't spook easily, they seem to genuinely enjoy human interaction and they are sturdy enough to withstand some excited little hands. They are definitely my personal therapy birds.
     
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  9. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Thank you for all the wonderful info @varidgerunner ! I'm enjoying learning more about this fascinating breed.
     
  10. JRNash

    JRNash Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG]This is "Lucky" a Raja asil.Out of 12eBay eggs he was the only survivor after a incubator malfunction. He was Lucky to survive,and as Luck would have it...he has become a pet..an inside pet. Lucky,is destined to mix his blood with my Dark Cornish. He is super intelligent,words I never thought to use describing a chicken. All attempts at introducing others into HIS space have been met with extreme violence,he is very territorial and does not like other chickens getting around me. He is a wonderful bird,with lot's of personality.
     

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