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+ What is Game Fowl Farming?

- Game Fowl Farming is the breeding and raising and conditioning of Fighting Roosters for either the purpose of sports, hobby or business. It is for the serious sportsman, the serious hobbyist or the serious businessman. We used the word “serious” because to start a Game Fowl Farm you need to consider so many factors from the time you start by having adequate resources and financial capability and to use the proven technologies and scientific techniques to produce very competitive Fighting Cocks. The objective is to continually improve and maintain what good results you could have in the process.

+ Starting a Successful Game Fowl Farm...

- Whether it is a sports hobby or for business especially for those who want to go into serious game fowl production for the cockpit or for sale, many considerations and serious thought have to be done. Your broodstocks should come from reliable breeders who produce good proven bloodlines with a high percentage of winnings. This is a major element of success to start with better chances of your game fowls winning in cockpits.


 A breeder should first afford the initial and maintenance expenses and should have the scientific techniques to properly breed, raise and condition healthy cocks for fights.


 The size initially depends on how much you can afford. The number of stags and cocks on the cords measures the size of a game fowl farm. This should always be in the mind of a beginner in planning his project.


 Land area is important and choice recommendations are that it should be far from highly populated areas. Pollution is one of the worst enemies of your game fowls health. The range area should be grassland with a least 2 square meters per bird while the bigger the area, the better.  Water supply, environmental temperature, soil type and room for expansion are to be carefully looked at. When ambient temperatures rise to 32 degrees C or higher, care should be taken to regulate body temperature & moisture.


 Security not to lose valued game fowls is to be considered too. Your efforts gone to waste from thieves are the worst nightmare you could have.  Good fencing is recommended to deter thieves. Keeping guard dogs may also help in securing a farm. Most of all only trusted persons should manage the farm to avoid serious inside-job robberies.


 Your Farm Facilities depends upon what you want, particularly in conditioning stags and cocks as long as you are within the industry’s practice.

In every game fowl farm you have to provide for all the needs of breeding, raising and training game fowls as follows:


·        Incubators

·        Brooders

·        Range Area

·        Running Pens

·        Hardening Pens

·        Flying Pens

·        Teepees

·        Ts

·        Training Pits

·        Scratching Pens

·        Resting Pens or Cage

·        Water System

·        Feeders

·        Waterers


 In addition, the manpower required depends upon how big a farm is. Practically it is necessary to have a minimum one regular person to take care of a farm with at least 100 game fowls. Add another regular assistant as your quantities grow per one hundred. This also all depends on how experienced is your main caretaker and assistants. The main caretaker could be your Conditioner too, but be sure that those being maintained are not left behind. This maintains the good health and well-being of your game fowls and would be easy for selection for a coming fight schedule or are always ready for buyers when they come. The assistant can do all general maintenance works like cleaning, repairs and assist the conditioner as needed.


 The caretaker should also be aware of the veterinary needs of you gamefowl and must do records of regular schedule vaccinations, vitamins intake, prevention and treatment as necessary.


+ Understanding Bloodlines

- Our fowls, in common with fowl of other countries, had the origin of different bloodlines.  Being unable to give the relative connections make the following information somewhat unlinked. The word “pure” is normally a misconception as to my belief, no fowl is pure now because of the many infuses even from the people who started to breed in the US during the early days. For the information of everyone we will post here below the names of the breeds and their originators based from researches from the US as follows: (You decide now if the word “Pure Breed” is still available)

 ARKANSAS TRAVELER:  Originator, Col. Jim Rodgers of North Carolina. Bloodlines:  Arrington fowl.  Description:  Blue, red, grey, pea and straight comb, red eyes, yellow legs.  Shows definite relationship to old Sumatra.  The Traveler in his own right has a very marked and imperative quality to success, i.e. agility.

 ROUNDHEADS:  The Roundheads originated by crossing Jap & Asil Orientals with Straight Comb Bankava Mediterranean fowl such as English and American Straight Combs.  This began long years ago and is currently practiced (1966).  The product is Allen Roundheads, Bostons, Saunders, Sheltons, Lacey’s, Hulseys, Perkins, Killers, Claret Roundheads, Negros, Mayberry, Cowan, Lundy, etc.  Allen made his first Roundheads from Grist-Gradys fowl by breeding to the Oriental side around 1900.  A second Allen Family was an importation from Massachusetts of Dr. Saunders Roundheads in the early 1920’s.

 LACEY ROUNDHEAD hen.  Originated by the late Judge Lacey of Alabama. Smart, one-stroke clippers who seldom had body contact with opponent.  Often stayed sound and unscratched to an old age.  Judge Lacey was a master breeder and like Mr. Allen believed in the invincible.  After Mr. Allen, Judge Lacey’s Fowl dominated the field and for years after his death.  Perhaps as important was the Judge’s influence in preventing his associates from using lesser fowl.

 ASEEL:  Originator - an Oriental graded by Graves, McCoy, Rampour, Vizzard, Clark and others in U.S.A.  Description:  general, dark red.  Caginess and superb constitution, native, and imperative to success.

 JAP (SHAMO):  Origination:  Oriental, Malay.  Description:  of Oriental grades and order of degree; example (1) Malay, (2) Jap, (3) Aseel, (4) Boston R. H., (5) Allen R. H., (6) Claret R. H., etc.  Description:  mostly large, powerful, cagy, unlimited endurance, light colored legs and eyes, high station, great feet.

 BARNETT WONDERS:  Originator, J. E. Barnett.  Bloodlines:  Derby, Everett, Claiborne, John Stone Roundhead Claiborne.  Description:  Red eyes, white and yellow legs, Claiborne color.

 BEE MARTINS:  Originator, Charlie Morre, S. C.   Bloodlines:  Means Red Cuban, Hopkins Warhorse.  Description:  Dark and red eyes, dark legs; black, black red, some spangle and brass back.

 BLACK HACKLES:  Originator:  Jarvis Ellis, Penn.  Description:  Dark and black red, black hackle, dark legs.

 BLACK HAWKS:  Originator:  E. Perigo, Thompson, MO.  Bloodlines:  Gordon Cock, Bacon-Hopkinson Warhorse.

 BROWN RED PANTHERS:  Originator:  Geo Scliffet, 1930.  Penna.  Bloodlines: Half Fowler Brown, red quarter Snyder Warhorse, quarter Carpenter Gull. Description:  Cocks dark brown, dark legs,  straight comb.

 MINER BLUES:  Perpetuator, Loyd Miller, Ill.  Bloodlines:  Nick Vipond Blues. Description:  Blue red, light reds, dark blue, white, yellow, and darks legs.

 BLUE BOONES:  Originator, Alva Campbell, KY.  Description:  Blue red and Dom.

 BLUE JEWS:  Originator, Capt. Mayberry, Ala.  Description:  Blue shades; dark and red eyes, dark and yellow legs, straight. and pea comb.

 CAROLINA BLUES:  Originator, W. S. Church, N. C.   Description:  Blue, blue red, Pyle.

 KNOB COMB BLUES:  Originator, B. Shelton, Miss.  Bloodlines:  Cripple Tony R. H., Sledge and Hanna Traveler.  Description:  Blue, pea comb, yellow legs.

 TYPEWRITER  BLUES:  Originator, Judge Wilkins, Texas.  Description:  Blue shades.

 DARCY BLUES:  Originator, B. F. Anderson, Ohio.  Bloodlines:  Blue Jews, Koppman Tassel Blues, Filipino Tassels.  Description:  Blue red, Pyle; red eyes, slate and willow legs.

 BUTCHER BOYS:  Originator, A. J. Street, Ind.  Description:  Black breasted, red, red eyes, yellow legs.

 BOYCE WHITE SOX:  Originator, W. W. Boyce, N. Y.  Bloodlines:  Gilkerson North Britton Whitehackle Cock X Gull Commodore, Claiborne hen.  Description:  Whitehackle appear.

 BROMLEY PYLES:  Originator, J. R. Bromley, Mich. Two strains - Gennett Ply, Quebec white Ply R. H.

 WILD CAT BLUES:  Originator, C. C. Lundy, Ga.  Bloodlines:  English Blue Cock X Knobcomb blue hens; possibly Lundy R. H. blood.  Description:  Blues, Pyles, green and yellow legs, red eyes.

 CALLAGHAN FOWL:  Originator, W. E. Callaghan, Mich., 19 Bloodlines:  Lowman Whitehackle vs. Roundhead, Claiborne, Grist Grady, Red Quill.

 EVERETT CLAIBORNE:  Originator, James Sanford, 1841.  Bloodlines:  Early Derby Cock X black Spanish hens X over daughters.  Description:  Smooth head, light and dark legs, white wing, and tail, some spangle.

 CASSIDY IRISH MUFFS:  Importer:  Tom Adir, 1910.  Bloodlines, Irish. Description:  Black red, brown red, heavy  muff.

 COPPERHEADS:  Originator, W. L. Matlock, Athens, Tenn.  Bloodlines: Arkansas Traveler, Bushwacker, Loving Blue, Irish Blood.

 DANGERFOOTS:  Originator, James Barnett, Knoxville, Tenn.  Bloodlines: Hedgefence hen X dark leg Allen R. H. Cock.  Description:  Dark red, blue shades, darks legs and eyes.

 GEE DOMS:  Originator, Dr. Gee, 1850.  Bloodlines:  not known (Experts on the question class Doms as related to the Sumatra).  Description:  Color dom, guinea red, orange, white, red eyes, yellow legs.  

 CASSIDY DOMS:  Originator, R. Cassidy, Iowa, 1913.  Bloodlines:  Minton, Harvey, Chappell Doms.  Description:  All colors dom, white and yellow legs, red eyes.

 HARVEY SHUFFLING DOMS:  Originator, W. L. Harvey, S. C.  Bloodlines: Huddleston Doms, Cuban Doms, Thompson White, Peas Soup Pyle, Arkansas Traveler, O’Neal Dom.  Description:  All dom shades, yellow legs, usually straight. comb.

 KENTUCKY DOMS:  Originator, J. B. Frymore, Ky.  Bloodlines:  O’Neal Dom, Norwood Doms, Mugwump, Dom & Grey, Grist Grady, Smoke Ball.  Description: Dom shades, white, white and yellow legs, straight. comb.

 O’NEAL DOMS:  Bred by, Tom O’Neal, Ky.  Description:  Light, dark and white,  white and yellow legs.

 SURE SHOT DOMS:  Originator, G. E. Robb, Mo.  Bloodlines:  Minton Dom, White Tail, Grist Champion.  Description:  Dom shades, white and yellow legs, red eyes, straight. and pea comb.

 DYER’S IRISH BROWN REDS:  Originator, Ireland, 1885, by Dyer.

 EMPIRE STATE REDS:  Originator, Stanton Townsend,  N. Y.  in ‘90’s.  Bloodlines:  Quarter, Claiborne, Shawlneck, Heathwood, Lowman Whitehackle.

 GREEN LEGGED TOPPIES:  Originator, Wilkins, Texas, 1890.  Bloodlines:  Grimmie, Tate Claiborne, Roundhead.  Description:  Red eye, green white and dark legs, usually topknot, and black-breasted reds, some spangle.

 GREY DRAGON MUFFS:  Originator, A. L. Shapmore, R. I.  Description:  90 percent Muff.

 GREY TORMENTORS:  Originator, R. R. Raines, Ky.  Bloodlines:  Four Greys, Grimble, Gordon, Ginn, Mortgage Lifter.

 GREY SPEEDERS:  Originator, E. E. Weller, N. Y.  Bloodlines:  Bohler Fair-Warhorse X Smoke Ball-Sangamingo Cock.

 GINN GREY:  Originator, S. A. Ginn, Ga.  Description:  Light silver grey to white, red eyes, white and yellow legs, straight. and pea comb, some Tassel.

 CHAMPION GREYS:  Originator, W. H. McCurdy, Ft. Payne, Ala., 1909. Bloodlines:  Dark Grey Cock X one Ginn Grey hen, Cock over daughters and inbred.  Description, Grey, dark eyes and legs, straight. comb.

 HOLLAND GREYS:  Originator, C. Holland, Vinemont, Ala.  Bloodlines:  Black Hennie Cock X Boone-Redmond hen and inbreeding.  Description:  Dark Grey, lead color legs, straight. and pea comb, grey and black eyes. 

 GRIMMIES:  Originator, Henry Grimme.  Bloodlines:  Williss Irish Reds, Coblin Irish, Huddleston and English Derby Greys.

 JOE HOWELL GREYS:  Origin:  England..  Bloodlines:  Tassel Grey Cock added 1900.  Description:  Light to dark grey.

 MISSOURI PACIFIC GREYS:  Originator, Jack Dycus, Mo., approx.  1907. Bloodlines:  Irish Grey, Joe Redmond Grey, Toppie Grey, Warhorse. Description: Dark grey, dark green legs.

 GRIST Champions:  Originator, Col. F. E. Grist, Ga.  Bloodlines:  Claiborne, Shawlneck, Warhorse, Red Quill.  Description:  Bright red, dark breast, some pumpkin, dark greenish legs, red eyes, straight. comb.

 GRIST GRADYS:  Originator, Col F. E. Grist, Ga.  Bloodlines:  Grist Champion, infused Spanish.

 HENNIES:  Bloodlines:  Heavy in Oriental blood.  Description:  Coal black, resemble hens.

 HAMMOND GORDON:  Originator, J. H. Hammond, S. C.  Bloodlines:  Bacon Warhorse, Aldrick Mugwump, infused Rood Warhorse.

 HEATHWOOD:  Originator, Wm. Walton, Brooklyn.  Bloodlines:  Walpool White hen X Earl Derby Cock by Woodruff.  Description:  Color bred, red.

 HINDMAN WILDCATS:  Originator, N. A. Hindman, W. Va.  Bloodlines:  Old Colonial fowl from Missouri, infused by Claiborne, Dangerfoot, Grey Speeders, Warhorse, Allen Roundhead.

 HOOSIER CYCLONES:  Originator, Dr. Brose Horne, Ind.  Bloodlines: Redmond, Traveler, Warhorse, Irish Tassel, Muff, Dom and unknown cock.

 HOPKINSON BLACK-GRAYS:  Originator, Walter Hopkinson.  Bloodlines:  Irish Grey cock and Warhorse hen.

 HURRICANE RED: Originator, Howard Benthiem, N. Y.  Bloodlines:  Valley Grey hen X R. H. Whitehackle Cock, producing half Whitehackle, Quarter R. H., eight Asil eight Claiborne.  Description:  Blackbreasted red, white in wings and tail, all tassels, most pea comb, white and yellow legs.

 JOE REDMONDS:  Originator, Col. Grist, approx 1780.  Bloodlines:  Color bred from Grist fowl or outside grey cock cross.

 LAWLER MUFFS:  Originator, Mile Lawler, N. Y., Penna., 1850.  Description:  Brown red, prominent muffs, dark eyes, green legs.

 MAHONEY GULL:  Originator, Dennis Mahoney, N. Y.  Bloodlines:  North Briton, Whitehackle Cock X over Canadian hens.  Description:  Cock usually black-breasted reds, straight comb, yellow legs and beak.

 LAW YANKEE CLIPPERS:  Originator, E. W. Law.  Bloodlines:  Madigin Claret, Old Albany.  Description:  Reds, some spangles, straight and occasional pea comb, white and yellow legs.

 MERCER BLACKS AND REDS:  Originator, Bob Mercer, Missouri, Mont.  Blacks by American blood, Reds by Asil infusion.

 MOUNTAIN EAGLES:  Originator, W. S. Church, N. C.  Bloodlines:  Blackhackle, Mugwump, Shawlneck, Cuban, others.  Description:  Blues, reds, greys.

 MUGWUMPS:  Originator, Col Alfred Aldridge, S. C.  Bloodlines:  Bacon Warhorse, Major Rhett B. B. Reds, a Baltimore cock, 1890.  Description:  Black, black red, dark legs, dark and red eyes.

 OLD DUTY MILLERS:  Originator, Peter Dunn, Ky.  Bloodlines:  Dom, Baltimore Top Knot.

 PILSON MUFFS:  Originator, Sheriff Robinson of Baltimore Co.  Bloodlines:  Irish Muff X Wellslager hens.

 MEANS RED CUBAN:  Originator, G. W. Means, N. C.  Bloodlines:  Spanish, American infusion.

 RACE HORSE:  Originator, Jim Curry, Ohio, approx. 1878.  Description:  Blue-reds, Cinnamon dark eyes, dark and green legs.

 RED QUILLS:  Originator, Elsins, Washington, D. C.  Bloodlines:  Red Horse, Winian fowl.  Description:  Light and dark ginger or pumpkin red, red quills in feathers, green or willow legs, dark eyes, straight. comb.  One of the all time great bloodlines.

 SHAWLNECKS:  Originator, Chas. Brown or Barclay or both.  Bloodlines, somewhat indefinite.  Description:  Light red, white and yellow legs, straight comb, Brown family smooth head, Barclay topknot.  One of the very few great strains. 

 SHENANDOAHS:  Origin - imported by Shenandoah.  Description:  Blue reds, ginger red.

 SID TAYLORS:  Originator, Sid Taylor, Ky.  Bloodlines:  Shy fowl, Irish fowl by Huddleston 1870, waddle Irish infusion.  Description:  Black to light brown red, dark eyes and legs.

 RED HORNETS:  Originator, George Fuller, Ill.  Bloodlines:  Quarter Dom, Warren Powell Black, Surrey Tassell, Bob Solomon Muff.  Description:  Cocks mahogany red.

 SMOKE BALLS:  Originator, Frymores (from Glover & Meroney).  Bloodlines: Shawlneck, Claiborne, Elsin Red Quill, Murphy Dougherty White Tail, Smoke Ball, Grady, Mugwump, Norwood Blue, Boone Red Shuffler.  Description:  Reds, blues.

 SHAMROCKS:  Originator, Col Geo. Julian, Ind.  Description:  Most black reds, some white feathers in wing and tail, dark or yellow legs, straight comb.

 SWAMP FOXES:  Originator, Dal Johnson,.S. C.  Bloodlines:  Warhorse X Rhett Morgan fowl, X Spanish strain.  Description:  All shades reds to jet black, some white plumage, some black and white spangles, some R. H. pea comb.

 SURRY TASSELS:  Origin:  England.  Description:  Red breasted, red or cinnamon brown, heavy tassel.

 VALLEY GREYS:  Originator, Howard Benthlem, N. Y.  Bloodlines:  Kearney Cock X half Tait Claiborne, half asil hen.  Description:  st. and pea comb, white and yellow legs.

 STRIKER STRAIN:  Originator, Erwin Aldrich, N. Y.  Bloodlines:  Dr Cooper’s Tartars, John Stone fowl, Chappel Dom, Robinson Blue, Whitehackle, Grimmie, Bacon Warhorse.  Description:  B. B. reds, grouse color, straw neck, white and yellow legs.

 THOMPSON WHITE:  Originator, Thompson, Okla.  Bloodlines:  White Dr. Hutchinson Cock X white Australian hens.

 TEXAS RANGERS:  Originator, Col J. H. Madigan.

 WHITE HORNETS:  Originator, Prof. J. A. Morre, Woodville, Miss.  Bloodlines: La. Cotton Ball, Thompson White, other blood.  Description:  white.

 BACON WARHORSE:  Originator, Col. Thomas Bacon, S. C., 1850’s. Bloodlines:  Baltimore cock X John Stone Irish Gilder hens.  Description:  Black, black with lemon hackle and saddle, st. comb, dark legs, daw or hazel eyes.

 HOPKINSON WARHORSE:  The Bacon Warhorse by Hopkinson.  Another of very few greatest strains.

 GILKERSON WHITEHACKLE:  Origin (North Britons) England.  Imported by Geo. Gilkerson, 1845.  Also bred by W. L. Morgan.  Description:  Light reds, much white in wings and tail, red eyes, white and yellow legs, white under hackle, some spangles.

 KEARNEY WHITEHACKLE:  Originator, Mike Kearney of N. Y.  Bloodlines:  Imported Irish Whitehackle, Brown Red Cock and Durea Boston R. H. Cock.  Description:  Black reds, brown reds, spangles, white and yellow legs, red eyes.  The White hackle is one of this country’s best all-time breed lines.

 WISCONSIN RED SHUFFLERS:  Originator, D. H. Pierce, Wisconsin.  Bloodlines:  Huddleston Irish Brown Red, Mahoney Gull, Newmacks.  Description:  Black reds, brown reds, dark legs and eyes.

 WISCONSIN RED SHUFFLERS:  Originator, D. H. Pierce, Wisconsin.  Bloodlines:  Huddleston Irish Brown Red, Mahoney Gull, Newmacks.  Description:  Black reds, brown reds, dark legs and eyes.

+ Pre-Fight Conditioning



 There are several good coop walks being published today. The main thing about coop walking is - Take good care of your fowl and be regular with their feeding time. Generally speaking, a mixture of 1/3 whole corn, 1/3 laying pellets, and 1/3 oats, that have been soaked overnight, is a good feed mixture. A little Calf Manna, a pinch of fresh meat or dog food, and plenty of fresh green stuff is always good for game fowl in confinement.

 The soaked oats is excellent for helping fowl retain their proper moisture balance. Fowl have a tendency to dry-out and become stale in confinement. The soaked oats will off set this tendency.


 Worming is very important. I use Donell-Blemel worming treatment. This consists of a level teaspoon of lye to a gallon of water. The water-lye solution is poured over the oats to the point that the oats are thoroughly covered. The oats are allowed to soak overnight and are fed to game fowl for three consecutive days each month, giving no other feed whatever. Give the fowl all the oats they will eat during this three day period.


I have found that my fowl cut better with the knives, right out of the fly pen. When fighting out of a small stall, it seems that the fowl don't cut nearly as well. Their movements are too restricted in a small stall, the same as ours would be if we were placed into a small closet several days before an important athletic event.

Fowl are brought in from the coop walk, where they have been scratched in deep litter, down to nearly their proper fighting weight. They are checked for any defects, muffed a short session, checked for lice, dusted, and given nothing to eat for at least 24 hours. Then; I give a "ZIP" tablet, followed by all the bread and milk they will eat.

After the fowl are cleaned out with the "ZIP" routine, I clean their pens and put in about 6 inches of fresh straw.

During the first week of the keep, I count out 6 grains of corn and toss them into the straw after each work session. The last week of the keep, no corn is tossed into the straw, as I want them to loosen up so that they will cut properly with the knives.

Fowl are muffed again after about a week in keep, to re-check for any defects I might have missed during the first muffing session. Water is left in front of the fowl at all times during this keep, unless otherwise specified.


Fowl in this keep are worked only once per day, early morning. It isn't necessary to work fowl any more than that, as it takes the sharp edge off them. Fowl should be only flirted. Under no condition should a cocker use a tail-pull pole, tilt table, or run fowl on the table. These exercise methods definitely retard a fowl's reach and cutting ability with the knives.

I have always used the "Rock-a-bye" system of working fowl. This is - stand up to the table with the fowl facing away from you, flirt him forward and backward, increasing daily the number of flirts and the speed. The faster you flirt your rooster, the faster he will fight. Flirting alternately forward and backward gives your rooster his proper "Battle Balance." Don't work at all the day before the battle. Just handle and pet your rooster gently on this day. He needs rest.

Gradually work up to a total of 30 flirts each morning. Some fowl are slow to take their work, so be patient and gentle in this matter. If a roster isn't in proper condition with 30 flirts, there isn't any use wasting your time with him, as he is a dub.


Bring your water to a brisk boil and put in a cup of pop corn (or hard flint corn) and a cup of brown rice. Let the boiling continue for 10 minutes, then; add a cup of "Quick" barley and a cup of raisins. Let this mixture boil for 10 more minutes, a total of minutes in all. (If; whole grain barley is used, this whole grain barley must be put into the hot water along with the corn and rice.)

After being boiled the prescribed 20 minutes, this feed mixture is drained immediately and allowed to cool overnight. Then; the next morning, a large can (13oz) of evaporated milk is added to this feed and stirred briskly, then; set into the refrigerator until used. (This feed can be kept for a week with no ill effects to fowl.)

The most desirable way to feed game fowl is twice a day. However; if a mans work holds him until ark, it is much better to feed fowl once early every morning just after they are worked. They shouldn't be bothered at all after sundown. Fowl begin sleeping and resting at that time.

You cannot clog or crop bind a roster with this feed mixture. Therefore you can feed your fowl all they will eat and throw. This isn't a fattening feed, as the milk and raisins keep a fowls intestines working constantly and the rooster will actually reduce down to his proper fighting weight with this feed.

My experience has been that stags will eat about three heaping Davis Measures of this feed per day, while cocks will only eat about two heaping measures. My recommendation would be to feed the fowl all they will eat and throw by the next morning, if; you want to show strong and bright fowl in the pit. Let me repeat - this is not a fattening feed. This is a reducing feed carrying words of strength and health.

This fed should be stirred every day so that the fowl retain their proper moisture, and also note that the top of the feed container should fit snug, so that the proper moisture is retained during refrigeration.


Put one cup of brown rice i not a pot of boiling water. Let boil for 10 minutes. Then; add one cup of "Quick" barley and let this mixture boil another 10 minutes, a total of 20 minutes in all. (If; whole grain barley is used, the whole grain barley should be boiled 20 minutes along with the rice.)

This pointing feed is drained immediately and set aside to cool overnight. When feed is thoroughly cooled, it is stirred well and then covered with evaporated milk. Drain immediately, for at least 20 minutes. Caution - Do not stir this feed before draining, or else the feed will pick up too much milk and ruin your pointing procedure.

No water is given on the battle day.


Upon arrival at the pit, on the battle day, give each fowl a level Davis Measure of the point feed, making a note of the time on a scratch pad. This is known as your first feed.

Exactly one hour from your first feed, and every hour thereafter, give each rooster a level teaspoon of this point feed, taking the feed off the top of the mixture. Remember - Don't stir this feed at all. Feed your fowl every hour until they are heeled for their battle.

You will notice that your fowl will begin hitting their peak sometime about the two hour mark, after their first feed. And; they will hold their peak as long as you continue with this procedure. It's very important that you make a note of every feed time, spacing them an hour apart, as they will throw this amount of feed. They should not be fed any more or less.


The point feed is wonderful after-battle feed. Just add some water and give your rooster a good feed after his battle. It is also and excellent travel-feed. Just give your fowl whatever water they want and about 1/2 as much point feed, as they normally get of the keep feed. Your fowl will retain their strength and will never go off keep. This feed is very cooling, nourishing, and a wonderful after-battle fever retardant.


This chart is the result of my long years fighting the game rooster. I always make it a point to arrive at the pit at least 3 hours before the battle. It takes that long for a cock to settle down in a new cockhouse, even if the rooster was brought only 100 yards away from his old cockhouse. Being in a new cockhouse will stir up a roster. It takes little time and some careful pointing to bring him to his proper battle peak.

Distance Traveled Time Required

Up to 100 miles 3 hours rest

100 to 200 miles 4 hours rest

200 to 300 miles 5 hours rest

300 to 400 miles 6 hours rest

400 to 500 miles 7 hours rest


I have made a good living and lifetime study of game fowl. It takes a good fighting roster and the very best of care and pointing in order to win in our pits today. The most important thing is to set every cock down equally sharp, which can be done if you follow this keep closely.

Always give an "IT" tablet on Friday night and another one on Saturday night, for Sunday battles. "IT" tablets are a blood coagulant-mild stimulant in a vitamin-mineral base. Your rooster will stop drinking water soon after the first "IT" tablet is given. He will begin to point himself and will fight much sharper than ever before.

Every small detail is important when working with game fowl. If; you will follow this keep right, you will be surprised at the sharpness of your fowl, and; you will also enjoy the winnings you take home.

- Mr. M.P.O.

Philippine Islands


Stag Derby Keep (by Roy "String King" Bingham)

No morning feed.

Spar and select stags, wipe heads and inside mouth with witch hazel. Do NOT trim feathers unless you know the derby will accept stags with feathers trimmed. Some do not.


Mix five tablespoons taxatine Epsom salts in one quart of water. No more than ten dips per stag.

Work will be 10 runs, 15 fly's and rub down up to 3 days before fight, morning and night.

Morning and night feed will be 2 tablespoons, heaping, for each stag, of the following mixture:

     2 cups hen scratch

     2 cups wild bird seed

     1 cup whole corn

     3 whole raw eggs

Mix and stir, let set and dry at least

10 hours before each feeding.

Place stags in sun coops or scratch pens at least 2 hours each day.

Five days before fight spar again. Select best stags for derby, wash face and inside mouth with witch hazel.

Three days before fight at night, (Friday) if you on Sunday, give stags orange juice in place of water after feeding. Also Saturday morning after feeding.

Place stags in dark stalls Friday night and rest until fight Sunday morning.

Give 2 dips water after Saturday night feed. Also give one gelatin capsule to each stag after Saturday night feed.

14 DAY KEEP BY (by Teddy Tanchanco)

 I. Feeding During The KEEP

 Let me reveal to you what some cockers call "secrets" in conditioning of gamecocks for the pit. For starters, let us talk about feeding.

 Some cockers say that the secret in the proper conditioning of gamecocks is feeding. It is undeniable that feeding plays a very important role in conditioning, but let us bear in mind that feeding should be considered in relation to other factors, a trainer must monitor while preparing his set of feathered warriors. With due respect to other trainers, please consider that what I am about to say here is only what I personally do.

 First of all, before going into a "14 days KEEP", we must select candidates. If you are to fight a 5-cock derby, simply multiply the number of cocks for an entry (say, 5) by three (3) to come up with the number of candidates you must choose (thus, 15). It is assumed that these cocks went through a pre-conditioning process where they are in good flesh, healthy and full breasted, but without gut fat or "sapola". It is best that they are about 200 grams higher than their best fighting weight observed during the pre-conditioning. It is better to lower a cock's weight during the KEEP rather than to increase it, which will take a lot more time, effort and uncertainty. Remember that we will do a 14-days KEEP, not 21 or 30.

Now, "what is the correct fighting weight?" you may ask. The best fighting weight is that weight where your cock fought best during the spars conducted while he is in the pre-conditioning. In the pre-conditioning stage, record each cock's weight before every spar. Grade his fight according to your preference. He might be good, very good, excellent or neutral during these sparring sessions. In at least five (5) sparring, you must be able to know his best fighting weight. Consider the weight where he fought best as his best fighting weight.

Give your candidates only bread soaked in milk as flushing feed on the day of your selection. Deworm them the usual way, and delouse by simply spraying on the feathers. Do not deep the cocks in water. Now they are all cleaned up, inside and out.

To avoid disease and other infections during the KEEP, I inject Combiotic (only 1cc. per bird) on the breast of each cock on the first day.

For the feeds during the KEEP, I try to maintain a 16% crude protein (C.P.) level from day one up to the eleventh (1-11). To achieve this, mix several ingredients as follows:

50% - whole corn

20% - red wheat

10% - whole oats or jockey oats

10% - Royal Pigeon Feed

10% - Pellets (16% C.P.)

Corn is the staple food of fowl which supplies a lot of carbohydrates and some proteins. I use red wheat instead of the white one because red wheat is easier to digest, and it has a higher protein level than the white. If you can't find Royal Pigeon Feed, you may substitute this with 5% green peas and 5% yellow peas in the ration. These feedstuffs supply most of the proteins in the cock's diet. The 10% Pellets indicated above may be Holding Ration Pellets or simply Pigeon Pellets. Just make sure that the pellets you use contain 16% crude protein. Look at the packaging for this information. The above proportions are measured in dry weight.

All grains are soaked in water for at least 9 hours. Right after each feeding, soak the grains you will need for the next. Soaking increases seed moisture and stimulates germination. Germinated grains produce more proteins. Legumes, like green peas and soybeans, must be heated or germinated to make their crude protein metabolizable. Otherwise, we cannot utilized the proteins from these grains. Mix the grains with the pellets only at feeding time. You now have what is called your base feed.

To this base feed, add some white of hard boiled eggs. Chop finely one (1) white of a hard boiled egg for every four or five cocks. This supplies some proteins and help retain moisture inside the cock's body during this time. Hard boiled egg is given to the cocks all throughout the KEEP (day 1 to 14).

Aside from hard boiled eggs, add bulk (fiber), and natural vitamins and minerals to your feed by mixing finely chopped tomatoes or cabbage or lettuce. These veggies should make up 20% of your feed mixture, while the other 80% is from the base feed with hard boiled eggs. We use volume measurements now, instead of weights. If we take one (1) tablespoon as 20%, then we can mix (1) heaping tablespoons of veggies to four (4) heaping tablespoons of the base feed to make a hundred percent (100%). This will be the final make up of your feed from day 1 to 11.

Provide the cocks a steady supply of grits from day 1 to 9 of the KEEP. Grits help the cocks digest the feed and keep the gizzard well-exercised. They remain in the gizzard for about a week. Thus, grits are withheld 5 days before the fight to empty the gizzard not only of feeds, but also grits, on fight day.

Feed the cocks on a regular basis. Always feed on the same exact time everyday. I give my morning feed at 7 a.m. and the afternoon feed at 4 p.m. Give each cock two (2) heaping tablespoons of the feed mixture mentioned above. This is about 30 to 40 grams of feed per cock. During the day, the cocks should be crop empty by 2 or 3 p.m. to show that their digestive systems functions well. It takes only six (6) to seven (7) hours for feeds to be digested in the body of the fowl. If one becomes crop-bound before the afternoon feed, take him out of the KEEP.

I like cocks which are voracious eaters and fast grinders. These show that their system is really at work. Picky cocks or those which leave feeds in their cups must be experiencing something unpleasant. They must be observed and treated for any disease, and sent back to pre-conditioning. Try always to observe the cocks in KEEP before, during and after feeding. If possible, observe them the whole day, everyday, and even during their sleep.

With this feeding system, we expect the cocks to loose that extra 200 grams off their weight in the beginning of the KEEP. Therefore, daily monitoring of weights is necessary. Weigh the cocks in the morning before feeding. A cock should lower his weight by as much as ten (10) to twenty (20) grams per day and arrive at his best fighting weight on the 11th day of the KEEP or on the last three (3) days before fight day. If one loses 50 or more grams within a span of 24 hours, the cock must be sick or incapable of bearing stress in the KEEP. Back to the pre-conditioning he goes. Three (3) days before the fight, we do the Carbo-Loading Technique.

II. Carbo - Loading Technique

Carbohydrates is the main source of energy for cocks in training. Like human athletes getting ready for competition, the gamecock must store enough energy in his body to be used during the fight for his life. The critical days in conditioning which are the last three (3) days before the fight, finds the trainer wanting to load up his gamecock with as much energy as possible to give him that power he will need. This is done by "Carbo-Loading".

Simply put, "Carbo-Loading" means the technique of increasing or "loading up" of carbohydrates in the diet of gamecocks during the last three (3) days of the Keep as a part of "pointing".

The objective here is to increase the available metabolizable energy (M.E.) in the cock's body that will be used during the actual fight. This is achieved by increasing the caloric content of the feeds given to the fowl. From the 16% crude protein base feed we have given from the first to the 11th day of the Keep, we gradually increase the amount of carbohydrates to 75% or 80% in the last 3 days. Gradually, so as not to upset the digestive system of the cocks.

To the base feed, for every 100 grams, add 10% corn, or an equivalent of 10 grams of corn on the 12th day, 20 grams on the 13th day, and 30 grams on the 14th, for a total of 80% corn in the ration on the 14th day. Thus, the total amount of protein decreases, while carbohydrates increases. The usual amount of two (2) tablespoonfuls of feed is given to the cocks daily, morning and afternoon.

Why use corn? First of all, feeding corn gives your gamecock that "snap" every time he hits his opponent. Just compare cocks fed with corn to those which are not. Gamecocks that have corn in their diet feel more fleshy or muscular although a bit heavier, while cocks with no corn feel loose to the touch.

Corn is my choice for carbo-loading because corn has the high amounts of carbohydrates (metabolized energy) compared to other feedstuff. The table below shows the amount of nutrients available from common feed ingredients found in grains used as conditioning feeds. We can see that oat groats (dehulled) has the highest metabolized energy (3400 Kilo calories) followed by corn with 3366 Kcal. However, oat groats is also high in crude fats. This will tend to bring about "sapola" or gut fat in the cock. Experience also tells me that feeding more oat groats turn the droppings very green and take away that "snap" from the cock's buckles. Thus I prefer corn which also has high metabolized energy, but low in fats. This metabolized energy is stored in the body of the fowl for at least 2 days before it is transformed into fats if not used during this time.

On the last 3 days before the fight, soaking of the grains is usually regulated. Moisture in the body of the cock is dictated by various conditions, both of the cock, and his environment. Because of these, water intake is managed during the last three (3) days of the Keep.





Green Peas

Oats (whole)

Oat Groats

Red Rice

Sunflower Seed

Wheat (trigo)



Protein %











Fat %










Crude Metabolized Energy












Carbohydrate Loading Keep (by Don Blansett)


 The sport of cockfighting has existed for hundreds of years, but like most sciences, more progress has been made in the past fifty than all those preceding years. The average cocks of today could defeat those cocks bred and fed in the 1920's. Why? For the same reasons human beings today are stronger, bigger and faster than their grandparents: breeding and feeding. Great strides have been made in genetics and nutrition in the past fifty, and particularly, the last twenty years. Consequently, average life expectancy, general health, and size have increased by leaps and bounds. In the animal world horses run faster, cows produce more milk and beef, hens lay more eggs, and so on.

 Cockers of today are more knowledgeable and generally better educated, with more available information, than ever before. But, while most cockers are great students of experience, as a rule, they do little to actually study genetics and nutrition with an eye toward improving the ability and performance of their fowl. This conditioning method is an attempt to enable many cockers to "catch up" with the latest scientific developments in nutrition and training.  The research, the studying, and the experimentation have been done for you. This keep can work for you.

 I have read dozens of keeps, and while I have not seen one written in the last ten years that would actually be detrimental to your fowl, most have been fairly similar as to feed and work. You will find that this keep is different in its approach, than any you have ever used. To be successful, you must follow this keep closely, in quantity of feed and work, and in type of feed and timing.

 This conditioning method is based on the latest studies concerning athletic competition, and what are cocks except athletes? The principle behind it is known as "carbohydrate loading". To understand fully how this keep works, you should know a little about nutrition and its effects. So you can understand the ideas involved, I will try to simplify them.

 The amount of energy that a muscle will be able to produce depends on the amount of "glycogen" stored in that muscle. Glycogen is a chemical that serves as fuel for the muscle. The more glycogen present in the muscle, the longer that muscle will be able to act effectively. Studies have shown that if glycogen stores are depleted by exercise and a low carbohydrate diet, then replaced by rest and a high carbohydrate diet, the muscle can store twice as much glycogen, or energy, as it had originally. No one needs to tell you what this means in practical terms: your cock will hit harder, and more importantly, will be able to do it much longer than he would have otherwise. He will maintain that deadly punch for a greater period of time. I will explain about carbohydrates, proteins and fats in more detail when we get to the subject of feed.

 Finally, let me say that this is the closest thing to a workingman's keep that you can find. It does not require 12 hours a day to be effective. The maximum time needed would be I to 2 hours in the morning and the same in the evening. The quantity of the time spent with your show of cocks is not as important as the quality of the time. Make sure that your time is well organized and efficient. This keep does require good cocks in good health cocks that are well bred and have been fed and cared for properly all their lives. There is no keep, and especially, no substance, that will make up for lack of care. So if you bought this keep because you have been lazy your cocks are in poor health from lack of care then you cannot expect this conditioning method, or any other, to do them any good.

Pre-Keep? What's That?

 My feeling on this subject is that our cocks should be in a pre-keep all their lives well fed, but at approximate fighting weights, worm free and deloused. I hope you don't have cocks that are any other way. I have fought cocks off strings, out of fly pens and out of holding pens with no appreciable difference in performance when this keep is used for the last fourteen days. The important thing to remember is that fowl are like people, in that they become bored with the same surroundings. Whenever possible, rotate cocks on a regular basis from fly pens to holding pens to string walks. This will keep the cocks active and alert and prevent them from becoming coop-stale. Handle your cocks often, except in molting season, to tame them and to determine their weights so that their feed rations can be adjusted accordingly.

 I cannot overemphasize the fact that you should put up only those cocks that are gentle and well mannered. Life is too short to fool with man-fighters besides, it is my belief that most man fighters are not truly game. However, don't confuse man fighters with nervous, high-strung fowl. Also, many otherwise gentle cocks will hit back if mishandled or when they are becoming sharp during the keep. Like boxers, cocks in training love to snap a few punches at an available target. In summary, just let me say that if a cock doesn't gentle down, doesn't stop hitting or pecking when picked up, after a week's gentle handling, don't consider him for a keep. Kill him, breed him (if you are a fool), but don't put him up to fight.

 Since I am on the subject, I'll attempt to give you a good all around feed routine, as well as a worming and delousing schedule. Your daily feed for fowl on your yard should consist of approximately 55% carbohydrates, 15% protein, and 30% fat. Since most laying mash is 12% to 15% protein, you will need to supplement the protein, unless you use the 20 to 30% protein lay pellets offered by some feed stores. A good all-around feed, and one that is as cheap as possible without sacrificing quality, is one part scratch (which consists of cracked corn and wheat), one part 20% laying pellets and one part soaked oats. For those cockers in the less temperate areas, substitute whole corn for scratch in the winter. Sure, you can buy more expensive feeds, but for a good sound all-purpose feed, this mixture can't be beaten. As for supplementing protein, in moderation, you can use "trout chow", fish meal, or even some high protein dog food such as Gaines. But always remember use these in moderation. Because, after all, you are feeding chickens, and the closer you stay to a natural diet, the better off you will be. A lot of fancy feeds will just upset a fowl's digestion. The opinions on amounts and times of feeds would fill a book much larger than this. Adjust your feed in accordance with the weight of the cock. Whether you feed once or twice daily depends on so many variables, I wouldn't even begin to try to dictate to you climate, types of pens, breeds of fowl. Go with what works best for you. One hint though, if you have rather severe winters, make sure your cocks are fed as close to dark as possible, the more corn the better, if this is a second feed. It has been my experience that a cock with a full crop can stand those cold nights much better than one that is empty.

 As for worming and delousing get on a regular schedule. If you have string walks, change the leg bands every Saturday or Sunday or whatever, just do it regularly. The same goes for worming and delousing. Fowl should be wormed and deloused every month. In fact, I often delouse and worm any time I have an occasion to catch one of my fowl running loose on the yard. Any number of good products are available for getting rid of lice. Several are advertised in your gamefowl journals and I have heard good comments about most all of them. Most farm and feed stores carry a brand of lice powder. I know some cockers who use Black Leaf 40 to delouse, often with a chemical dip, but I don't advise this. I know of one prominent cocker who completely submerged all his battle cocks in a delousing solution way over 100 of them. By the time he had finished the last one, he looked back, and the first ones were beginning to fall over. He lost every single treated cock that day, and although he is beginning to win again this year, it took him three years to regain his previous position. So I don't recommend dips, nor do I recommend Black Leaf 40 for the amateur.

 The only worm medicine I can recommend is the Wormal product from Salsbury Laboratories. If you follow directions on the bottle, Piperzine liquid wormer is okay too, especially for young fowl. But remember, Piperzine only kills one type of worm, the roundworm, while Wormal will kill three types of worms, including the roundworm. Don't be misled by sensational claims in the gamefowl journals advertising a revolutionary new worm medicine. If a more effective worm medicine had been discovered, believe me, the commercial poultry men would be using it. They're using Wormal, and so am I. Some worms hatch on 10-day cycles, so to be safe, worm on Saturday, and then 10 days later. After that, follow your monthly schedule to control worms. Just remember that worms, like lice, can never be completely eliminated, just controlled.

Vitamins: Myth or Magic?

 The truth about the effects of vitamins actually lies somewhere in between. I have had to rethink my position on vitamins recently. Three years ago, I, along with most scientists, doctors and nutritionists, felt that all the vitamins a person needed were contained in a well-balanced diet. 'Using vitamin and mineral supplements was just paying for expensive urine, the body's way of discarding unneeded vitamins. However, today most experts agree that extra vitamins can play an important role in any serious training program, as long as massive doses are not used. It is quite possible to die from overdoses of vitamins vitamin D, for example. Certain vitamins such as C and B-12 are water soluble, which means that the body does not absorb what it doesn't need, and one cannot receive an overdose from these vitamins. So, in conclusion, let me say that although vitamins and their effects are still not completely understood, it is clear that cocks under the physical strain of intensive conditioning can benefit from an extra vitamin and mineral supplement, such as we advise in this program.

Water, Water, Everywhere ...

 Every keep I have ever read mentions drying cocks out before they fight by limiting their water intake. Some of the directions are moderate and some are radical. Cockers thirty or forty years ago often gave their cocks no water for the last two days! In to-, day's fast-paced competition, I know of no surer way to get them killed. Cocks need moisture in their bodies to convert glycogen to energy. Exactly how much water a cock needs is determined by so many factors it is impossible to predict with any certainty but I will say this, give your cocks all the water they will drink during the keep. Believe me, the cocks are better judges of what they need than we are. In fact, in extremely cold weather, you may want to encourage cocks to drink by giving them warm water or warm water mixed with powdered milk. Always keep water by your cocks during the keep, up until 24 hours or so before the fight, when you want to regulate every bit of their feed and water intake. Consider this fact: when a cock loses 2% of his body weight in water, his ability to perform begins to deteriorate. In other words, he is riot fighting up to his potential. Two percent of a 5 pound cock's weight is 1.6 ounces, a little over one and a half ounces. SO, if you bring a cock into a fight with all the moisture he needs in his tissues, he has a much better chance. And that, my friend, is the name of the game.

 When pressed, most cockers will describe a cock on point" as a bundle of nerves, bobbing, clucking, moving a cocked gun. I define a cock on point as being a cock that is ready and at the peak of his health, strength and well-being. For years, I have corresponded with a prominent cocker who has continually pressed this idea on me: "Fight your cocks when they are ready, not when you are." This means taking cocks to the pit when they are at the peak of their mental and physical well-being.

 "Pointing" is a natural thing. It is the end result of several contributing factors: the cock is empty, he has been rested force rested, and he is sexually and physically frustrated from inactivity. As a result of all these factors, his blood sugar level is way up, his energy is at its peak and he is not only ready, he's anxious for an outlet, he wants to fight. Often a cock "on point" is described as "corky" to describe a cock that is light and bobs like a cork on water. There is really no way to describe a cock on point but I guarantee you'll know it when you feel him. This is not something to be taught, it must be experienced.


 Sparring can be a valuable tool for the cocker if done properly. First, it is a tool for selection it allows the cocker to get some idea of how a cock will fight. Secondly, a cock can learn some things during the course of a session, good habits as well as bad. Thirdly, sparring can be a valuable outlet for a cock's pent-up energy, allowing him to vent his rage and delay his coming on point too early.

 Some cockers use a catch cock and attempt to "teach" a cock to hit at a cock's tail even if he can't see his head. Also, some cockers tie a catch cock's legs to see if he will score on a down cock. I am doubtful if either of these practices does the slightest bit of good, because I think the aggressiveness of the cock is determined in the brood pen.

 However, cocks, to a certain degree, can be taught to score quickly. This is the way.  First, bill your cocks really well, flush them and set them down close together, close enough so they'll get at one another very fast. Let them have a good pitting, enough to make them really mad, but don't let them wallow and break feathers. After a 15 second rest, flush them and set them down about three feet apart. Now, here is the important part: when the cocks break, catch them immediately. Then without rest, set them down 5 feet apart, let them break and catch them. This time set them down 8 feet apart, let them break and catch them. Set them down again 8 feet apart and this time let them mix it up good. The purpose of this type of sparring is simple: the cocks will begin to score more quickly and break higher. Also, you are not giving them enough time to get tired and start ducking. If you let cocks spar until they are very tired, they will learn to duck really quickly, and this habit must be avoided.


 To attain maximum condition, a cock must be worked, and worked hard. Not all this work should be forced work, or hand-work-most of it should, in fact, be natural work, the kind a cock will do in a good fly pen with litter. He will scratch and fly up and down many times a day, complementing the handwork you give him. I feel that it is impossible to get a cock "muscle-bound" as some keeps would allow you to believe. It is quite possible to make a cock sore and stiff by overwork. That is why this method allows a cock to "rest up" from his conditioning program two full days before his fight. This "rest" period serves several purposes. First, if the cock has sore or stiff muscles, this time allows those muscles to regain their original elasticity, yet retain the strength that has been developed. Secondly, blood sugar begins to rise with the decrease in work, beginning the pointing process. Thirdly, it allows for the glycogen content in the muscles to increase.

 Some cocks will not be able to take the work of this conditioning program. That in itself should give you some idea as to whether your cocks are really quality fowl. It has been my experience that truly well bred cocks won't fold under the pressure of the work. Rather, they will rebound and thrive on such activity, eager to work.

 While realizing that volumes could be written on this subject alone, I think that it is sufficiently important to touch on at least the major points. In fact, I believe that the majority of 3-1 and 4-1 derby scores that you see can be attributed to the lack of attention that most cockers pay to this chore. After all, your derby show is only as good as your worst cock. If you approach the selection of your derby show with the attitude that "Well, this cock isn't so good, but maybe I'll get lucky and meet another weak cock," then you might as well stay at home. Always select the best cocks you have to condition.  Your first step in selecting is to examine the overall health of the cock. Eyes should be bright, feathers slick and oily, and he should just give off an impression of active vitality. Examine feet and legs for sores or bumbles, the breastbone for sores, and the mouth and head for blisters. Check to make sure the cock is lice-free. He should, in your judgment, be within two ounces of fighting weight. It would be difficult to take more than that off in two weeks without weakening the cock, or put more than two ounces on with a rigorous training schedule. Check for broken wing or tail feathers. Do not fight cocks with badly broken feathers. For a bent feather, where the shaft is bent but not broken, carefully straighten the shaft, and apply a small piece of tape to the feather. Usually, this will prevent further damage, at least temporarily.

 If, in your opinion, the cock is in good health and near his actual fighting weight, then set him aside as a definite possibility. After you have narrowed down your selections to a workable number, weigh them, match according to weights, and spar. This is where the real selection process takes place. The good selector will be able to separate the duds from the aces, or at least the good cocks from the poor ones.

 If possible, have two other people actually pit the cocks, so you can be free to observe. Watch how the cocks move, where they are aiming their licks, how accurate they are. Are they well balanced, do they land-.in position to hit again, do they have to have a bill-hold to hit, do they duck, are their licks delivered with snap? During the rest periods, how hard are they breathing? Is either rattling? The answers to these questions should determine your choices.

 How many cocks to actually put up is a decision you must make, although this may be determined by the number of your available cocks. I would personally hesitate to enter a conditioning program without at least two cocks more than were needed. For example, for a 5-cock derby, I would put up seven or eight. If you put in two hard weeks of work on a show of cocks, it is heartbreaking to have one of your cocks come down with a cold the day before the derby and have to miss it. Remember Murphy's Law: if anything can go wrong, it will, and at the worst possible moment! So, be prepared. I   can't tell you how many times this has happened to me. About three years ago I had up six stags for a 5 stag derby. The morning before the derby I went to load my stags, and lo and behold, one stag was beat up, slip-bill and bloody, and one other was missing! After much head scratching, I finally-figured it out. What happened was this: the evening before the derby, one stag had gotten out of his holding stall probably I hadn't latched it securely and immediately began to fight with the closest stag through the door. When darkness fell, the stag that was loose had stopped fighting and wandered outside (the door of the cockhouse was open for ventilation), into the woods-where he either died or was eaten by varmints. To make a long story short, determined to fight in the derby, I picked a stag off a string walk, loaded up and left. Know what happened? You guessed it. I won four and lost one the substitute! I still tied for the derby, but that one fight cost me about $3,000 in prize money. So don't let it happen to you put up enough cocks to make up for these emergencies.

Drugs and Supplements

 Most knowledgeable cockers will admit that there are many drugs and additives that can increase the performance level of your fowl IF, and this is the big if you know how to select the correct drug, administer the proper dosage, and give it at the proper time. A "drug", whether you realize it or not, can be simply defined as any substance that can alter any one of the thousands of chemical actions that take place in the body. Alcohol is a drug. So is aspirin. Since the use of drugs during the conditioning process requires so much knowledge and experience in dosage, timing and the effects of the drugs themselves I can only recommend the use of two drugs for the average cocker. These two drugs are testosterone (male hormone) and vitamin B-12. All the successful cockers I know use one or both of these, whether they will admit it or not.

 Testosterone, used in moderate and sensible doses, will help activate the pointing process by stimulating certain functions of the body that relate to physical and mental development of the male sex drive. Given in prolonged, massive doses (which you should never use), it will promote the growth process, causing accelerated muscle and bone growth.

 Vitamin B-12 is a good, all-around the therapeutic drug. It promotes good appetite and soothes the nervous system. You cannot overdose on B-12 because it is "water-soluble", meaning the body passes off what it cannot use. In fact, some people swear by B-12 as a sure cure for a hangover! B-12 is especially helpful in traveling cocks because it seems to calm them without any tranquilizing effect.

 The use of these two drugs with this conditioning method is completely optional. If you are unsure about administering them, then by all means, don't do it. Chances are, your cocks will do just as well without them, especially if you have doubts about their usage. As you become better acquainted with this method, you may want to try them later.

 If you decide to use these drugs, you must follow my directions on dosage and timing. This is very important. I believe you should never give more than ¼ cc of any drug to a cock in keep. Remember, a cock has a small body mass compared to humans, so dosages must be adjusted accordingly. Always use a small gauge needle to avoid bruising or otherwise harming the tissue of the cock. Give all injections in the breast muscle, not near a bone. The ideal needle seems to be the disposable type used by diabetics. Most drug stores carry it and you won't need a prescription to buy it. Just ask for insulin syringes. Never use one needle for two different drugs, and dispose of the syringe after three or four injections.

 One cautionary note on the use of testosterone (male hormone) prolonged or often use of this drug may cause the cock to be sterile later on. You see, by injecting the male hormone, the body's natural production of testosterone may be discouraged. In other words, if you use this drug on a cock in keep more than, say, four times a year, he won't lay eggs next year, but he might not be fertile when bred to hens. So, don't use it more than a couple of times a year on any cock you intend to breed. I don't usually breed battle cocks, so I don't have that problem.

 Since I don't want to promote anyone's products I won't recommend any particular supplier of testosterone or B-12. You can obtain either drug from advertisers in the gamefowl magazines or from a vet.

 As I said before, there are drugs that will produce incredibly sharp cocks, if given at the proper times with the proper dosage, but if you make one error in using drugs, you will have incredibly dull cocks at fight time. So, I think if you are a beginner and/or do not have a lot of experience and knowledge, you are better off without the drugs. Remember, consistency is the key to an 80% win average, and I guarantee consistency will be easier without the use of a number of drugs.

 At a later date, if the demand for such a book is sufficient, I will offer a complete guide to the use of drugs on gamefowl. 

Traveling Cocks Next Stop, Sunset?

 There are as many theories about transporting cocks from Point A (your cockhouse) to Point B (the pit), as there are Polish jokes. Common sense and a basic knowledge of fowl should be your guides. Gamefowl sleep from dark until dawn, (The exception being, of course, when your mother-in-law visits. Then they crow all night.) So, when you travel from Point A to Point B you want your fowl to obtain the maximum rest; in other words, to sleep through the trip if possible. The logical method, then, is to travel your cocks at night, allowing just enough traveling time to arrive at the pit when your cocks would normally be waking up at dawn. If you live within a four to six hour drive of the pit, and if that pit conducts its fights during the daytime, that's exactly what you want to do.

 If you insist on traveling your cocks to a pit more than 8 hours away, you must realize that you are facing a number of problems and you are placing yourself at a distinct disadvantage with the other, closer entries. If you really want to fight at Sunset and it's 1000 miles away, my advice is:

1. Condition at the pit.

2. Fly your cocks down on a chartered plane.

3. Move to Louisiana.

 If you plan to haul your cocks more than 8 hours at a stretch forget it. You are not going to compete on an equal basis with any local cocker at the pit, even if your cocks are better than his. Ever wonder why it's so tough to whip a guy on his own turf? Think about it. With the number of fine local pits in the country, it shouldn't be necessary for anyone to travel that far to enter a derby.

 If you fight at night, take heart. All the other entries do, too. Personally, I don't think you gain anything by moving your cocks to the pit a day early. The fact that the cocks are in strange surroundings will nullify any advantage you achieve by hauling them at night. The best you can do is hauling them as empty as possible and hope for the best. Let me add a piece of advice here. Whenever possible, haul cocks empty or at least when their crops have been emptied. If they are traveled with feed in their crops, they will not digest this feed and it will often sour.

The Keep Feed

    As was mentioned previously, the principle behind this conditioning method is "carbohydrate loading". To accomplish this, we must feed a low carbohydrate-high protein feed up until the last two days of the keep when the "loading" process begins. To "load" a cock, work will be dropped off and the cocks will be fed a high carbohydrate diet to increase the amount of glycogen in their muscles. Although this all sounds complicated, it really isn't as you'll see when we' get into the feed and work.

 The whole point of a keep is to put as much feed through a cock as possible without increasing his weight. We want to avoid upsetting the fowl's digestion at all cost, so we will only feed natural feed during the keep feed that is a regular part of a chicken's diet or feed specifically formulated for a chicken. To insure proper digestion, a fowl must have good, hard grit to help grind his feed'. Granite grit, not oyster shell, must be available to your cocks at all times. The best way to provide the grit is to keep  cup of it in your fly pens. You may even want to mix a handful in your cocks' feed during the first week of the keep.   Make sure all your feed is both fresh and clean. Musty and dusty feed will throw your cocks off completely, if necessary, wash the feed before mixing it.

Your regular keep feed should include the following:

     Oat groats (not whole oats, they will often constipate cocks).

     Corn (hard flint corn is best).

     Racing pigeon feed (the mixed feed, not Pigeon chow).

     Laying pellets (at least 20% protein, but 30% is better).

     Chopped boiled eggs (about one-third per cock).

     Buttermilk (unsalted is the best).

     Cottage cheese (unsalted if you can get it).

 To mix your feed, use a large bowl, shallow enough to stir the ingredients. Put in two parts pigeon feed, one part corn, one part oat groats and one part lay pellets. Mix well and add the correct amount of chopped hard-boiled eggs. Never feed raw eggs, the whites coat the intestinal tract and hamper digestive absorption. When this is thoroughly stirred, add enough buttermilk or cottage cheese to moisten the entire feed. Alternate between cottage cheese and buttermilk for moisture. Both are beneficial because they are high in protein and provide needed bacteria for digestion. Mix no more than one day's feed at a time and store in a refrigerator so that it will remain fresh. This is the feed you will use up until the last two days of the keep. For the last two days, you will use scratch grain (chopped corn and wheat), lightly moistened with water. Each feed, morning and evening, will consist of approximately 1 1/2 ounces of the mixture, except where noted. Remember treat all cocks as individuals. No two are alike. I can't emphasize this fact enough. This is especially true when it comes to the amounts of feed. The 11/2 ounces is merely a guide cocks should be weighed each morning and evening and feed adjusted accordingly. Weight control is something you must pay close attention to, and it is something you must learn by trial and error. It simply can't be taught. The best advice I can give you is this. Hold a cock in your hands and feel back toward the vent, between the end of the breastbone and the pelvic bones. The flesh there should be thin and firm. It should not bulge; if it does, the cock is fat. Don't hesitate to skip a feed or two if the cock doesn't show a good appetite and willingness to clean his feed cup. Don't be surprised if the cocks drop an ounce or so during the first few days of the keep. This is natural they should rebound soon and be trying to peck the bottoms out of their feed cups.

 After the feed is measured into the cups, I sprinkle a little vitamin supplement over the feed mixture. You can use any number of products for this Vitapol and Headstart are two products I have used with good success. Both are available from the gamefowl journals or most good feed stores. This supplement should be used up until the last two days.

The Work

 As I have stated before, there is no substitute for good, hard work in a training program. Handwork for the cocks will consist of "flys" to the board. Your work board should be approximately waist-high, lightly padded and out of view of the other cocks to keep them from being excited. To train a cock to the board, stand a couple of feet from the bench and lightly toss him to it. Rub him and repeat the process. Soon he will get the idea and will willingly fly to the board, even straining against your hands, from as far away as 8 feet. About six feet is the ideal distance to have the cock fly to the board. Just hold him under the wings, back up, and let him go. This is the work I refer to as "flys".

 After cocks are hand-worked and fed each morning, place in fly pens with clean litter. Make sure fresh water is always available to the cocks while they are in the flypens. In the evenings, bring the cocks into the cockhouse, work them, and then place them in their keep stalls. It is a good idea to always allow the cocks ten minutes or so to cool off before feeding. Allow cocks ample time to drink after feeding-up until the last day. 

Work and Feed Schedule

Day Actions

Day 1 - (Sunday) Morning: Spar cocks when empty, put in keep stalls. Evening: Worm and delouse. No feed today.

Day 2 - (Monday) Morning:  10 Flys       Evening:  10 Flys

Day 3 - (Tuesday) Morning:  20 Flys       Evening:  20 Flys

Day 4 - (Wednesday) Morning:  30 Flys       Evening:  30 Flys

Day 5 - (Thursday) Morning:  40 Flys       Evening:  40 Flys

Day 6 - (Friday) Morning:  50 Flys       Evening:  50 Flys

Day 7 - (Saturday) Morning:  60 Flys       Evening:  60 Flys

Day 8 - (Sunday) No work today. No morning feed. Spar about 10:00 a.m., then place in fly pens. No work in the evening. Regular feed. If you are using the drugs, give ¼ cc of testosterone and ¼ cc of B-12.

Day 9 - (Monday) Morning:  50 Flys       Evening:  50 Flys

Day 10 - (Tuesday) Morning:  60 Flys       Evening:  60 Flys

Day 11 - (Wednesday) Morning:  50 Flys       Evening:  50 Flys

Day 12 - (Thursday) Thursday Morning: No work. Feed scratch grain, moistened with water for next two days. Place in fly pens. Evening: No work. Same feed as morning.

Day 13 - (Friday) Morning: No work. Take cocks out of keep stalls, handle and rub, then return and feed. Darken stalls. Evening: If cocks are to be fought Saturday feed three-quarters of the regular amount. If fight is Saturday night, feed a full feed. Give ¼ cc of B-12 and ½ cc of testosterone.

Day 14 - (Fight Day) Morning: If fight is during the day, no feed. If the fight is at night, feed three-quarters of the regular amount.

During the last two days of the keep, you must begin to regulate moisture intake to insure the proper pointing process. Watch the droppings carefully they should be moist but firm, not dry.

D-Day at the Pit

 Your first chore upon arriving at the pit is to secure a cockhouse, preferably one that can be darkened completely. Clean out all stalls you intend to use and replace the old litter with fresh. After this is done, one by one put your cocks out in small (approximately 21 x 21) wire pens to stretch and empty out after their trip. Make sure the ground is swept clean under the pens. If the pit weighs in derby entries, take each cock and weigh him in before putting him in the cockhouse. To avoid searching, it is a good idea to write down the leg band number and/or weight on the door of each stall as the cock is placed in it. Completely darken the cockhouse, and avoid disturbing the cocks until it is time to heel.

 If the pit allows you to weigh and record your own weights, you can gamble some. Obviously, you want your cocks to meet the smallest (lightest) cocks possible so you can "under-weigh" your cocks as much as you dare. I have known cockers that would weigh their cocks in two ounces light, hoping they would lose that much between then and fight time. (I have also seen cockers have to cut every feather except wings and tail off the cock to meet weights, too). So, to be safe, record your cocks at least one-half ounce light on your sheet because the cocks will lose at least that much.

The End

 The most important thing you can learn when you are conditioning cocks is that each show represents a new set of difficulties, a different series of problems. Be flexible, use your common and "chicken" sense. But remember, above all, you must have good cocks to win. There is no substitute for quality fowl or for quality care. To be in the winner's circle, you must have both. If problems arise, you can email me and I will do my best to answer your questions.

- Don Blansett

+ Egg Incubation

- Many domestic bird owners incubate eggs to help sustain their flock over time. This fact sheet is designed to assist those who wish to incubate small numbers of domestic poultry eggs. The words "fertility" and "hatchability" are often used incorrectly by small producers. These terms are important and have very important meaning.

Percent Fertility is the percentage of fertile eggs of all eggs produced.

Percent Hatchability is the percentage of fertile eggs which actually hatch out as live young.

Care of Hatching Eggs

Before setting eggs in an incubator, you must obtain or produce quality fertile eggs from a well-managed, healthy flock which are fed properly balanced diets.

  1. Keep the nest full of clean, dry litter. Collect the eggs early in the morning and frequently during the day to prevent excessive chilling or heating of the eggs.
  1. DO NOT wash eggs unless necessary. If it is necessary to wash eggs always use a damp cloth with water warmer than the egg. This causes the egg to sweat the dirt out of the pores. Never use water cooler than the egg. Also, do not soak the eggs in water. If the egg is allowed to soak in water for a period of time, the temperature difference can equalize and bacteria has a greater chance of entering through the pores.

Be sure eggs are dry before storing. Never place damp or wet eggs in a Styrofoam carton for storage.

  1. Store the clean fertile eggs in an area which is kept at 55°- 60°F and 70-75% humidity. Never store eggs at temperatures about 75°F and at humidity's lower than 40%. These conditions can decrease hatchability dramatically in a very short period of time.

Slant or turn the fertile eggs daily while they are being stored. Store the eggs small end down and slanted at 30-45 degrees. Putting a piece of 2" x 4" under one end of the carton or storage container and changing it to the other end daily works well.

Do not store eggs for more than 10-14 days. After 14 days of storage, hatchability begins to decline significantly.

  1. Just before setting the eggs, allow them to warm to room temperature (70-80°F) and remove any cracked eggs.


Four factors are of major importance in incubating eggs artificially: temperature, humidity, ventilation and turning. Of these factors, temperature is the most critical. However, humidity tends to be overlooked and causes many hatching problems. Extensive research has shown that the optimum incubator temperature is 100°F when relative humidity is 60 percent. Concentrations of oxygen should be above 20 percent, carbon dioxide should be below 0.5 percent, and air movement past the egg should be 12 cubic feet per minute.

There are two types of incubators commonly used:

  1. Forced-air incubators which have a built in fan to circulate the air.
  2. Still-air incubators which have no fans, so the air is allowed to stratify.

The forced-air incubator should be set at 99-99.5°F and 60-65% relative humidity (83-88°F wet bulb). The advantage of the forced-air incubator is that it is easier to maintain humidity at a constant level because of air circulation.

Still air incubators are smaller and air flow is harder to manage. Set still-air incubators at 100 to 101°F at egg height. This is important since the air stratifies in these incubators. There can be as much as a 5° difference in temperature from the top to the bottom of some of the still-air incubators. Humidity should be 60-65% (80-90° wet bulb) during incubation and 70-75% (92-97° wet bulb) at hatching time. It is very easy to overheat the eggs in still-air incubators and difficult to maintain proper humidity.


During the warm-up period, the temperature should be adjusted to hold a constant 101°F for still air, 99°- 100°F for forced air. To obtain reliable readings, the bulb of the thermometer should be at the same height as the tops of the eggs and away from the source of heat. Using two thermometers is a good idea to ensure you are getting an accurate reading.

Incubator temperature should be maintained between 99° and 100°F. The acceptable range is 97° to 102°F. Mortality is seen if the temperature drops below 96°F or rises above 103°F for a number of hours. If the temperature stays at either extreme for several days, the eggs may not hatch. Overheating is more critical than under heating. Running the incubator at 105°F for 15 minutes will seriously affect the embryos, while running it at 95° for 3 or 4 hours will only slow the chick's metabolic rate.

An incubator should be operated in a location free from drafts and direct sunlight. An incubator should also be operated for several hours with water placed in a pan to stabilize its internal atmosphere before fertile eggs are set. Do not adjust the heat upward during the first 48 hours after eggs are set. This practice cooks many eggs. The eggs will take time to warm to incubator temperature and many times in small incubators the incubator temperature will drop below 98°F for the first 6-8 hours or until the egg warms to 99°-100°F.

In Case of Power Outage

If you experience a power failure, do not scrap the hatch. Most of the time the hatch can be saved. The key is to keep the eggs as warm as possible until the power returns.

This can be done by placing a large cardboard box or blankets over the top of small incubators for additional insulation. To warm the eggs, place candles in jars, light them and place the jars under the box that covers the incubator. Be careful not to put any flammable material closer than a foot from the top of the candles. The heat from the candles can easily keep the eggs above 90°F until the power returns.

Embryos have survived at temperatures below 90°F for up to 18 hours. You should continue to incubate the eggs after the outage; then candle them 4 to 6 days later to check for further development or signs of life. If, after 6 days, you do not see life or development in any of the eggs, then terminate incubation. Most of the time, a power outage will delay hatching by a few days and decrease the hatchability to 40-50 percent.


The relative humidity of the air within an incubator should be about 60 percent. During the last 3 days (the hatching period) the relative humidity should be nearer 65-70 percent. (Too much moisture in the incubator prevents normal evaporation and results in a decreased hatch, but excessive moisture is seldom a problem in small incubators.) Too little moisture results in excessive evaporation, causing chicks to stick to the shell, remain in the pipped shells, and sometimes hatch crippled.

The relative humidity in the incubator can also be varied by changing the size of the water pan or by putting a sponge in the pan to increase the evaporative surface. The pan should be checked regularly while the incubator is in use to be sure that there is always an adequate amount of water. Adding additional water pans to small still-air incubators is also helpful to increase humidity.

During the hatching period, the humidity in the incubator may be increased by using an atomizer to spray a small amount of water into the ventilating holes. (This is especially helpful when duck or goose eggs are hatching.)

Whenever you add water to an incubator, it should be about the same temperature as the incubator so you do not stress the eggs or the incubator. A good test is to add water just warm to the touch.

Using a wet-bulb thermometer is also a good way for determining relative humidity. The wet-bulb thermometer measures the evaporative cooling effect. If the wet and dry bulb read the same temperature, you would have 100 percent humidity. The greater the evaporation taking place, the lower the temperature reading on the wet-bulb thermometer and the larger the spread will be between the wet- and dry-bulb readings.

To make a wet-bulb thermometer, just add a cotton wick to the end of a thermometer. Then place the tail of the wick in water. The cotton then absorbs the water. As the water evaporates from the cotton it causes a cooling effect on the thermometer.

The table below (Relative Humidity) will enable you to calculate relative humidity using readings from a wet- bulb thermometer and the incubator thermometer.

Incubator Temperature

Wet Bulb Readings








Percent Relative







(From Egg to Chick, Northeast State Cooperative Extension Service)


The best hatching results are obtained with normal atmospheric air, which usually contains 20-21 percent oxygen. It is difficult to provide too much oxygen, but a deficiency is possible. Make sure that the ventilation holes are adjusted to allow a normal exchange of air.

This is critical on home-made incubators. It is possible to suffocate the eggs and chicks in an air-tight container. However, excessive ventilation removes humidity and makes it difficult to heat incubators properly.


Eggs set on their sides must be rotated 1/2 turn at least 3 times daily. Eggs set with the air cell end up should be tilted in the opposite direction 3 times daily. This keeps the embryo centered in the egg and prevents it from sticking to the shell membrane. If hand turning, to insure proper turning, mark each side of the egg with a pencil. Put an "x" on one side and an "o" on the opposite side.

Stop turning the eggs for the last three (3) days of the incubation cycle (at 18 days for chickens, 25 days for waterfowl, etc.) and do not open the incubator until the hatch is completed to insure that a desirable hatching humidity is maintained.

Hatch Time

Do not help the chicks from the shell at hatching time. If it doesn't hatch, there is usually a good reason. Also, prematurely helping the chick hatch could cripple or infect the chick. Humidity is critical at hatching time. Don't allow your curiosity to damage your hatch.

As soon as the chicks are dry and fluffy or 6 to 12 hours after hatching, remove the chicks from the incubator. It is good practice to remove all the chicks at once and destroy any late hatching eggs. Hatching time can be hereditary and you can control the uniformity of hatching by culling late hatchers. If you keep every chick which hatches late, in a few years each hatch could last 4 days or longer.

Sanitation of Incubator and Equipment

No matter what type of incubation you use, it is important that you thoroughly clean and disinfect the incubator before and after you use it. It is just as important that the incubation room and egg storage area are kept equally clean. The lack of sanitation will decrease hatchability.

Immediately after each hatch, thoroughly clean and disinfect all hatching trays, water pans and the floor of the hatchery. Scrape off all egg shells and adhering dirt. Wipe clean surfaces thoroughly with a cloth dampened in quaternary ammonium, Clorox or other disinfectant solution.

Incubation Periods of Other Species

One of the miracles of nature is the transformation of the egg into the chick. In a brief three weeks of incubation, a fully developed chick grows from a single cell and emerges from a seemingly lifeless egg.

Incubation Periods (species and days required to hatch)

Bobwhite Quail
Chukar Partridge
Coturnix Quail




Muscovy Duck