Australian Pit Game

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Pic of a muffed cock from Victoria, Australia.
Pic of a muffed cock from Victoria, Australia.
Australian Pit Game hen from Victoria, Australia.
Australian Pit Game hen from Victoria, Australia.

Contents

History

The Australian Pit Games were developed from the crosses of American Game, Old English Game, Asil, Malay, and possibly Sumatra gamefowl by the British Army personnel that were stationed in the colony of New South Wales. The British made this breed in hopes of having a gamefowl that would fight in the air, be light and fast, as well as have deadly power for quick battles, unlike other places. They were originally shown in short metal spurs until American Servicemen introduced the long gaff, though that has changed now once cockfighting was outlawed.

The Australian Pit Games come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, some lines are heavily in Old English blood which is why many are single combed with shorter legs, and longer feathers while some come leggier, pea combed, and sparser feathering with them being more heavily into the Oriental Game blood.

The important points in Pit Games are good eyes and keen sight, strong head and powerful beak, wide strong shoulders and strong legs and feet. They must have a cone shaped body, with strong muscular breast and thighs, strong shanks with sound feet and toes. The chicks can be quite aggressive at a very early age and great care is needed to prevent mortalities due them fighting amongst themselves in the brooder. With the comb shape, coloring and feather type quality next.

They appear in both a large and bantam form, with some varieties possessing muffs, tassels, and hen-feathering. Most are found in the Black Breasted Red and Black variety. However like most games they may come just about any color.

Australian Standard

As their name suggests, Australian Pit Game were developed from fighting fowls that were brought here in the nineteenth century. Their origin rests mainly with English Pit fowls crossed with the Malay and the Asil. Consequently, the outward appearance of the birds may vary to some degree depending on their origins. The standard that follows was produced in 1936 after protracted controversy amongst devotees of the breed. It seeks only to preserve the fundamental pit characteristics of these birds. Pit Game may be big or small, single or pea combed, and colour whatever, cockfeathered, henfeathered, muffed or tasseled. Australian Pit Game Bantams have become popular since World War Two and are bred to a high standard.

Male Characteristics

CARRIAGE - Proud, defiant and aggressive looking, with movements quick and graceful, ready for any emergency, vigorous, alert, agile.

HEAD - Powerful, medium in length, skin of face and throat smooth and fine in texture, loose and flexibile at throat but not flabby.

COMB (a) single comb variety - Small, erect, firm, straight and evenly serrated; (b) pea or triple comb variety - small, the center division being slightly higher and longer. Ear-lobes and wattles smooth and close fitting, Dubbing is permitted. Beak Stout and strong at the base, well curved and pointed, the upper and lower mandibles locking together like a vice when closed.

EYES large, bold, fiery and fearless.

NECK - Fair length, strong boned and slightly arched, well developed at junction with body.

BODY - Heart shaped.

BACK fairly short and flat, broad at shoulders, with deltoid muscles well developed but maintaining the shoulder width across the back from thigh to thigh, tapering to a fine stern at set of the tail, the body on top shaped like a flat-iron with full and well rounded sides. Shoulders well braced, high and prominent, without any tendency to hollowness between.

BREAST broad, prominent and full with pectoral muscles strongly developed, curving under sharply to show well defined junctions of the thighs.

BELLY - Compact and tight, free as possible from fluff feathers, with clean run behind from back of thighs to the vent, not full or baggy - this is most important.

WINGS - Fairly long and powerful, wing bows well rounded, wing butts stout and prominent, secondaries and primaries with strong quills, well webbed and folded tightly, the secondaries completely covering the primaries when wings are closed.

TAIL - Medium length, carriage moderately elevated not drooped or squirrel, but to be governed by the character of the fowl.

PLUMAGE - Hackles, true tail, sickles and side-hangers to be of moderate length and fullness according to the character of the fowl, the whole plumage throughout to be hard, sound, resilient, smooth and lustrous.

HANDLING - Body well balanced, hard, firm, yet somewhat light fleshed, corky, mellow and warm, with strong contraction of wings and thighs to body when in hand.

LEGS AND FEET - Neither stilty nor stubby, medium in length to suit the character of the fowl, and so placed as to ensure movements of forced and activity -

THIGHS medium in length, set fairly well apart, well developed and muscular, curved at junction with the body and tapering off to clean bone and sinew immediately above the hock joint to ensure movements of force and activity.

HOCKS slightly bent, but not to such an extent as to give the bird a crouched appearance.

SHANKS & FEET clean, fine and strong boned, medium length, round in front and flat on all sides with wiry tendons showing. Even and close fitting scales.

TOES four, well spread apart, medium length with powerful toe-nails, hind toe carried well back from the leg and nearly flat on the ground, and showing no tendency to duck heel.

SPURS hard, set low on the leg - cutting permitted.

Female Characteristics

The hen of each variety should resemble the male in each essential respect, making due allowance for sexual differences.

Colours And Varieties

Colour: immaterial, Muffs, Tassels and henfeathers are eligible for competition.

Weights

The following system of classification by weight, which is in the tradition of the pit, is that generally approved wherever Australian Pit Game have a strong following.


STANDARDS

Heavy Male over 2.7 kg (6 lb)

Heavy Female over 2.0 kg (4 1/2lb)

Light Male under 2.7 kg (6 lb)

Light Female under 2.0 kg (4 1/2lb)


BANTAMS

Male under 1360g (48 oz)

Female under 1135 g (40 oz)

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