BREED NAME: Aseel Chicken
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: The Aseel Chicken is an ancient breed. It has its origins in India and Pakistan near South Punjab as long ago as 1200-900 B.C., but has spread through the world and been foundation stock for several breeds.
They have a gamey look with a tall and muscular body and a long history as a fighting breed. Both roosters and hens can be aggressive to other poultry. Young chicks can be seen fighting at an early age.
There are several different types and sizes of Aseel including: Amroha, Kulang, Reza, Mainwali, Sonatol, Madaroo, Bhaingam, and there are muffed, tasseled and single combed varieties. In recent years a bantam variety has been established.
Aseel Chicken, The Facts:
Class: Heavy Gamefowl
Size: Standard (depending on variety) Male: 6-15 Ibs. / Standard Female: 4-11 Ibs. / Bantam Male: 1.6 lb / Bantam Female: 1 lb
Comb, Wattles & Earlobes: Red face, brow, lobes and comb – no wattles. Other than one variety with a straight comb, all have a pea comb.
Colors: Dark red, Light red, Black, Speckled Red, Duckwing, White, Spangle, Golden, Blue, Grey.
Place of Origin: India/Pakistan
Conservation Status: varied throughout the world and different types
Special Qualities: Though not prolific layers females are very good mothers; some lay 6 eggs per year, some 40. With strong brooding and protective instincts Aseel hens can make great foster mothers for other breeds. Male or female can be quite tame to their keepers though known for a feisty nature.
Mature roosters are known to fight with deadly results and are still bred for fighting in some countries. In India the Aseel chicken is seen in most states. In the US, the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy calls the breed status: Critical.
The Aseel was an important blood line in the creation of the Cornish in the UK and is often cross bred with meat breeds to improve size, though Aseel are slow growing.
With several different varieties or types it’s difficult to give a brief description of the breed. Aseel varieties are sometimes named after the region of their development. The Mainwali Aseel is from Pakistan and there is a red or wheaten color known as Sonatol. In the UK, the Reza variety has been standardized for exhibition.
A rare Aseel called: Madaroo is the only variety with hen-feathered cock birds. Besides hen coloring, roosters lack sickle and long saddle feathers.
Also rarely seen outside its native range, there are bearded Aseel called “muffed” and “tasseled” Aseel with tufts on their heads. The Bhaingam is the only variety to sport a large and single red comb, while aligning with all other common traits seen in the Aseel Chicken.
The Madras Aseel is the tallest often reaching 32”. Even with their large and muscular common type, the breed varies quite a bit, ie; the Kulang Asil to 30” tall, 11 – 15 lbs., the Reza Asil to 20” tall, 4 – 6 lbs., and the Sindhi Asil 3 – 8 lbs., as a few examples. Male or female, Asil or Aseel are a long legged breed with tight feathering giving them a near wild turkey stature.
Bantam Aseel chickens were first developed in the late 1800’s by an Englishman, Wm. F. Entwisle. His blood line lasted about 20 years and disappeared.
Almost 100 years later bantams were resurrected in the 1980’s. A Belgian, Willy Coppens, used Shamo, Indian Game and Reza Asil to recreate the Bantam Asil, which remains very popular today.
Fanciers of the Aseel chicken appreciate the hardiness of the breed in physical structure, strength and temperament. These long-lived qualities have spread, improved and helped create more modern game breeds around the world.
Outside India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, “new” countries like Thailand, Japan, Turkey, England, USA and several countries in South America have helped preserve these ancient Aseel genetics and fine-tuned them for different regions and purposes.
The breed was first admitted into the APA in 1981.