Monday, October 25News That Matters

The Brown Red Gamefowl and its Fighting Style

There are several bloodlines of Brown Reds especially today that many local breeders are crossing with different modern breeds.

The heritage breed of Brown Red games, however, trace their lineage to rural Alabama in the 1870s, where a local “cocker” imported a pure line of game fowl from Northern Ireland. Over the years he crossed these Irish birds into American gamefowl strains and produced what is now known as the Brown Red games. These beautiful, aggressive birds are slowly declining in number since cockfighting became illegal in all states when Louisiana banned the practice in 2008.

Wingate Brown Red bloodline history

Joe Wingate brought over from Northern Ireland a pure strain of chickens in 1870 into his Alabama farm. These birds were mostly brown-red in breast and feather color, with some showing ginger colors, but all showing dark legs and hazel eyes. The hens in particular were sharp and stylish looking, all of them dark brown or ginger and some showing straw neck feathers. The stock was medium stationed and many grew spurs.

One of the Irish hens among his flock was Joe`s personal choice and he even had the chicken set up and mounted when she died as a memento of her best breeding days. This stuffed and preserved progenitors of the Brown Red bloodline is still on display but it looks nothing like the modern generation hens of the Wingate bloodline of Brown Reds. The roosters of this family were not big cocks weighing in at 5.4 lbs. or under. Joe Wingate made the effort to improve the bloodline by crossing with an English hen, mahogany-colored and with dark legs, then line breeding to the original line to keep the stock intact and with new vigor. The line from this mix was brown feathered or ginger red-breasted had dark legs and hazel eyes like the original Irish gamefowl he shipped in. They were broad-backed and not heavy, though strong-boned.

Brown Red fighting style and further development

These fighters were quick off the drop, fast and strong in the mix-up; with the cocks just rushing at their enemy with wild cutting attacks that don’t stop. They break for defense but don’t fly high.

The line-breeding with the English hen made for heavier fighters, around 6.2 lbs. Then, to further enhance the Wingate stock, Mr. Holly Chappell from Alabama took a winning fighting cock from one of his trips to the South and brought it back home to breed with hens that were north Britain and brown-red crosses. Friends with Joe Wingate, he lent Joe one cock from the cross and this was bred to a Brown Red hen from the mahogany chicken cross. After reducing the new cross a bit, Wingate bred the Chappell experiment into his own Irish stock. The final offspring becoming the beloved Wingate Brown Red speed slasher we all know and love.

Joe Wingate passed on in 1924 and left behind a brooding fowl that many cockers still treasure as a purebred stock as well as a base for breeding a better gamefowl.

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