Jubilee Game Fowl

The Jubilee Game fowl was created by Henry Hunt of Springfield Grange, Clifford's Mesne, Newent, Gloucestershire.

The breed was launched at the British Dairy Farmer's show, London in 1897 - Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Year.

The breed was developed by crossing a dark Indian Game hen with a red Aseel cock. The resulting female offspring were a deep cinnamon colour with pure white neck and tail feathers, but without any lacing. These females were then mated with a dark Indian Game male which produced the cinnamon laced white body colour in half of the offspring.

It seems the breed was not initially successful and Henry Hunt's own stock almost died out, but in 1916 he decided to breed up his stock again with the help of his friend Mr Nick Harris of Whitefield Court, Cheltenham. George V became interested and had some sent to Windsor. He and Henry Hunt exhibited them in Canada where a requirement of entry was that birds should be offered for sale. Not wanting to sell their stock both men put a prohibitive reserve on their birds - but they sold anyway!. By the 1930's there was a breed society, and the breed was of commercial use attracting interest as a meat breed as well as for exhibition.

In common with nearly all breeds of poultry the use of pure breeds for commercial use fell into decline in the 1950's. The Jubilee Game lasted longer than most and actually contributed to the make-up of some of the modern meat hybrids. It was favoured over the Dark Indian Game because it had pale feather stubs which didn't show up on the dressed carcass.

Today the Jubilee Game is a favoured exhibition breed and has a flourishing breed society in the name of the Indian Game Club. Jubilee Game may be found on the Continent, in the U.S.A. and as far afield as Australia. It has also given rise to two other breeds - the Wherwell and Ixworth. The farm where the breed was started is still in the same family, and Henry Hunt's daughter lived in a bungalow built in her father's old chicken-run on the spot where the Jubilee Game breed was founded (see illustration).

Rather unsuccessful efforts are being made at Hunts Court to further standardize the breed. A bonus of this effort has been an increase in the egg laying capability of the breed. The eggs are roundish, rather small, but extremely tasty and much sought after for the kitchen by those familiar with them.

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