The Breeding of Asil "Grades"
by Edwin Kubojiri
"Island Ronin Gamefarms"
 
 
    A question I get a lot from people is: "What are Asil Grades?" Well the answer is simple. An Asil "grade" is simply a battle cross using Asil or oriental blood.  Why even breed such a cross?  The answer to that unfortunately isn't so simple.  Asils are a strain of gamefowl that were developed in Asia.  They differ greatly in looks from the modern "western" gamefowl in that they have larger heads, shorter down turned tails, and have an almost prehistoric look to them.  They tend to be very tall in station, and are extremely hearty fowl.  Many of the modern strains of gamefowl carry a heavy dose of oriental blood, technically making them Asil grades.  A good example is the old time Allen Roundheads.  In fact, any strain that shows pea combs most certainly carry oriental blood in them, as the pea comb is a Maylay or oriental trait.

    There are as many strains of Asils or oriental fowl as there are western strains, but they can be categorized in two main groups, large (naked heel) and small (steel game).  I'll be talking about the latter, as the large Asils have very little value for grading onto American speed fowl.  The smaller Asils are often referred to as "Steel Game", because that is exactly what they are.  Asils were originally bred for naked heel combat, but also through selective breeding, not only were they bred to be able to take the shock of a steel heel, but they were downsized to fighting weight also (4.5 - 5.5lbs.).  Asils add endurance, intelligence, disease resistance, power, body, and above all accurate cutting to your battle crosses.  They are extremely hearty fowl, and are easy to raise because of it.  When breeding grades, they will pass this trait on to your Battle crosses. 

Step 1:

Start your grading with an Asil cock over an "American" speed type hen.  If there's one bad point to Asils, it's generally their speed.  I say generally, because there are a few families of Asils out there that are more than competent to compete in steel pure, but for the most part, they are slower than their western counterparts.  By breeding over a speed hen, the offspring will take more of their traits from their mother, hopefully making up for the speed lost from the oriental blood.  Fight all the stags, and chose the best of the bunch for breeding.


Step 2:

Breed the grade cock over a speed hen again. You can line breed him back to his mother, but it is not necessary to. Just make sure that the hen used is of the highest quality you have. These offspring will begin to lose many of the physical "oriental" traits, but should retain the smart defensive fighting style of the Asils. You will also notice that they will have good station, and solid compact bodies. Asils have heavy bones, and very dense muscle mass, making them hard to kill.  Once again, fight all the stags.  If you are not getting a high win percentage at this point, STOP. The "quarter grades" should be fighting well, and more than able to get the job done.  Continuing the cross at this point would be useless if they are not already winning for you. As with any cross, you are not guaranteed success your first time out.  


Step 3:

If the "quarter grades" do turn out to be aces, you could take the grading one step further.  This is where things change a little,  instead of using a grade cock for your breeding, select the best hen or pullet from the bunch. The reason for this once again, is the fact that the offspring will take more of their traits from their mother.  At this point, I believe that you stand the chance of losing too many of the Asil traits by once again breeding to an Asil grade cock.  By using a grade hen, you stand a better chance of retaining those traits. These battle cocks, if right, will have it all.  They should not show many oriental traits physically, but will still fight the trademark defensive style.  They should be fast, decisive cutters with power to spare. They will shine in the faster heels, (LK and long gaff) and many will win with only minor injuries.  

Asil Grades aren't for everyone. If you prefer spectacular, hard shuffling battle cocks, then Asil grades are definitely NOT for you.  They do not tend to be flashy and to the inexperienced eye, may even appear to spar poorly.  But they are deadly accurate with their hits, and waste little motion when throwing their shots. For the most part, when a grade fires a shot, he's hitting what he aims for.  They are strong and intelligent fighters. They condition themselves well and are extremely hard to kill.  I tend to think of them as the "purists" battle cock, one that shows function before style.  I love them, and will continue to have then for as long as I raise fowl.