thai gamefowl is a breed of domesticated fowl - ie chicken -
belonging to the asian, or oriental, gamefowl group, which also
includes the ga noi don breed of Vietnam, the burmese (aka.
pama) of Burma, the asil of the Middle East and India (arguably
the oldest of all asiatic gamefowl breeds), and the shamo of
As its name suggests, the thai gamefowl originated
in Thailand. Given Thailand's native name of Siam, the thai
gamefowl is also sometimes referred to as the siamese fowl.
The Thais, however, prefer their native term for this breed:
This breed is relatively common in Thailand and small flocks
of these birds can be found on most Thai rural farms, where
they are usually allowed to free range or to live as semi-feral
birds. These farmyard gaichon are often treated no differently
from the average egg or meat-breeds of chicken, both in terms
of their uses and their value. At the other, much smaller
end of this spectrum are the hyper-specialized game farms
that breed highly exclusive, pedigreed lineages of these birds.
As they are the product of many long years of careful breeding
and selection, these gaichon tend to be far more highly valued
than their farmyard cousins, with each young bird easily capable
of fetching prices of ten thousand baht or more.
Compared to other oriental game breeds, the thai gamefowl
can be considered a medium breed in terms of both size and
build. This breed tends to have a more robust build than the
burmese, which is probably the lightest of all the asian game
breeds, but is not as large or ponderous as the Indian asil.
When it comes to weight, fully grown thai roosters will range
from 6.5 to 8.5 lbs, with some outliers to either end. This
breed is built for speed, and, along with the burmese, is
among the quickest and most agile of all oriental game breeds.
Thai gamefowl tend to carry themselves slightly erect, with
the tail at about 45 degrees to the position of the body.
There are, however, many exceptions to this very general rule.
There is also a lot of variability when it comes to body proportions.
Some birds are stout, although most are relatively long-legged.
Some are thickly-set, while others are not. Some have long
necks and some have short necks. Even within the same family
line there could be a lot of variability with regard to body
Eye color for this breed may be light blue, pearl, yellow,
or orange. Beak and feet color can be slate, black, blue,
green, white, pearl, or yellow. Most thai gamefowl have peacombs,
although single combs and other comb styles are also present.
Some notable traits that certain thai gamefowl lineages carry
- Feathered Feet - Birds that express this trait will have
feathers growing out from between the scales of their feet.
- Hennie - Roosters that exhibit this trait will have a
plumage that resembles a hen's plumage.
The thai gamefowl has a wide variety of colors and plumage
patterns. There are spangles, speckleds, black, brown, gold,
white, gray, blue, and so on. Many of the main colors and
plumage patterns are uniquely named and are represented in
the Thai's standard of perfection for this breed.
Out of all the current recognized gaichon variants, the two
most prominent by far are the Pradu Hang Dam (Dark Black Tail)
and Leung Hang Khao (Yellow White Tail). Although their names
are color-oriented, the distinctions between many of these
variants often extend much deeper, as a number of them originate
from specific parts of Thailand and hold significant historical
and traditional importance in their places of origin. The
best example of this is the Leung Hang Khao variant of northern
Thailand, which is said to have descended from the very rooster
kept by King Naresuan.
There are currently many associations and clubs within Thailand
that are dedicated to promoting the thai gamefowl. Some of
these organizations are geared toward the fighting aspects
of this breed, while others are dedicated instead to its beauty
and contribute greatly to preserving pedigreed lineages and
to sponsoring exhibitions of these beautiful birds all across
its native land, the thai gamefowl is known as gaichon
(alt. spelling: kaichon). "Gai" means "chicken,"
while "chon" means "battle" or "fight."
- a testament to the heritage of this breed.
means "chicken coop" - which is why some thai
sites pertaining to these birds have "soom"
in their titles.
Today, this breed can be found in virtually all corners of
Southeast Asia. Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, and even
Vietnam and Indonesia have significant populations of thai
gamefowl. This breed has also been exported to places even
further away, including countries in the Middle East, South
America, and of course here in the United States.