A Brief History
Is that a roadrunner? A pheasant, possibly? No, believe it or not, it IS a chicken. Bred from fighting breeds in the past, the Modern Game has a spunky personality and will happily strut its stuff in the show room. Moderns originated in Great Britain when breeders of Pit Games decided to change their focus to exhibition poultry. They are known as the "ultra fanciers' creation", and come in many stunning varieties. Moderns were featured in the first Standard of Perfection in 1874 and have dominated the shows, residing in the top 10 most popular breeds.
Moderns in Your Flock
Because of their delicate characteristics, Moderns require a little more care than other breeds. They are not the kind of
chicken you just throw into your flock. During cold winter nights, they may freeze to death because they are unable to keep themselves warm, their long legs make them more likely to suffer from tendonitis, breaks, and splays, and when they get sick, they usually die. Naturally, they live shorter lives than other breeds (a healthy, well-treated chicken can live for about 7-15 years, some varieties of Modern Game only live for 3-4 years); however, this is dependent on the individual strain. Production is poor, both in meat and eggs. A single Modern egg is about half the size of your average egg from the grocery store, and if you're lucky, you may be able to pick off a chicken nugget's worth of meat from a Modern Game. If given proper care, they can make excellent pets, but keep in mind that cocks can become quite aggressive during the breeding season because of their Pit Game lineage. They integrate well with other established flocks. Hens are not the best mothers simply because they do not possess the body to brood a good-sized batch of eggs or chicks. They are easy to take care of if you provide them with a proper coop (one that can be completely closed off to prevent drafts and chilly breezes from getting inside the coop in the winter) perches, and room to exercise their gamey nature.
It is particularly important that Moderns be trained to pose on command. In tough competition a Grand Champion Modern Game, as opposed to the Reserve Champion Modern Game, can come down to something as simple as who poses and who doesn't. They should pose erect, with heads held high and alert and tails straight outward. Cocks must be dubbed in order to be shown. Common problems in show Moderns include: over-lacing, high tail, legs too short, feathers lacking in "springiness" (otherwise known as soft feathering), improper coloring on faces, incorrect or incomplete dubbing of cocks (wattles, comb, and earlobes must all be dubbed) etc.
I currently breed Modern Game Bantams in:
Brown Red and Lemon Blue can be bred together. Both varieties share the same pattern, "Crow Wing". Brown Red is considered intense and Lemon Blue is considered dilute. When crossed together (this applies to all intense and dilute varieties) generation 1 will hatch 50% intense and 50% dilute. Generation 2, when bred from Generation 1, will produce 50% splash, 25% intense, and 25% dilute.
Disease Resistance: strong when cared for properly, susceptible to Marek's Disease
Cold Tolerance: poor, hard feathered, anything below 35˚ F is too cold
Purpose: ornamental, exhibition
Productivity: EGGS – fair MEAT – poor
Personality: curious, flighty, arrogant, playful, affectionate
Cage Tolerance: poor, needs large cage
Egg Shell Color: tinted
Class: ABA – Modern Game, APA – Game Bantam
Recognized: yes, both clubs
Varieties: Brown Red, Birchen, Black, White, Lemon Blue, Silver Blue, Blue, BBRed, Blue Red, Golden Duckwing, Red Pyle
Weight: C – 22 oz. H – 20 oz. K – 20 oz. P – 18 oz.
Temperament to Other Chickens: aggressive, selfish, will integrate
Brown Red Cockerel
Lemon Blue Cockerel
Birchen (left) and Brown Red Pullets, plus one Black Cochin :)
Brown Red Hen
Click on any of the above images for a larger view!