Even the most ornery chicken is rarely thought of as being truly dangerous. After all, these little birds are mainly just a source of meat, eggs, and occasionally entertainment.
There is hardly an adult human that could be threatened by your average chicken.
That being said, some breeds are anything but average. Some chickens are infamous, even feared, for their hostility and most have the tools to back up the foul disposition in the form of razor-sharp beaks, spurs, and claws.
This can mean major problems for children, pets, and even other chickens if you have a dangerous breed around.
That begs the question: what is the most dangerous chicken breed?
The most dangerous chicken breed is the Malay. The Malaysian gamefowl has an infamous reputation for its aggressiveness, size, and strength, and is renowned for its ability to fight off predators in the wild with little difficulty.
Often bred for cockfighting, these massive chickens pack a punch…
If you’re looking for a flock to provide eggs and meat, or just a backyard bunch of chickens as a hobby, these monster birds are not the best choice.
Often the most dangerous chicken breeds were specifically bred over time for cockfighting, such as the Malay here, or remain mostly wild.
Read on to learn more about why you should skip out on owning these ferocious birds and some runners-up unless you know what you are in for.
Why are Malays So Dangerous?
Domesticated chickens all descended from the red junglefowl, a wild bird found in tropical forests throughout Asia.
Since then, selective breeding practices have produced all of the many different breeds of chicken we have with us today.
As in the wild, genetics are responsible for determining their baseline level of aggression and, by selecting for or against aggression, if we wind up with a gentle, docile bird or a murderous, feathered dinosaur.
The more closely related a breed is to their historical wild counterparts, the higher likelihood they will demonstrate aggressive tendencies.
In the case of the Malay, generation after generation of selective breeding for ferocity, size, and strength for cockfighting has made them arguably the most aggressive chicken breed out there today.
Combined with their talons, spurs, and beaks, they can inflict real injuries on people, and massacre smaller animals.
In most developed nations, cockfighting has been outlawed. Yet some underground areas and developing countries continue to clandestinely allow practice despite the inhumane nature of it.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, Malays have stuck around throughout history and still retain the fighting spirit and ability, despite most of them not being in the ring.
Malay Chicken Essential Characteristics
Malays were bred to fight, and are among the oldest “game” breeds out there. Their bodies certainly reflect that.
The Malay chicken is a centuries-old breed, originating in Malaysia over 1,000 years ago, and was exclusively selected for fighting.
Everything about these birds says “fighter”. Roosters can reach a magnificent height of nearly three feet tall, are heavily built, and possess huge, muscular thighs, long, sharp spurs, and a distinctively thick head and neck.
Possessing a powerful, muscular physique as well as the primal aggression of their wild counterparts, it is no wonder that Malays are considered one of the most formidable chicken breeds in existence.
All told, this is a breed only for experts! Malay chickens are still prized for cockfighting in some parts of the world, and even outside the arena are notorious for fighting off predators massing many times their weight.
Malays are known to have a hair-trigger temper and are lightning-quick.
This makes them extremely difficult to catch or restrain before they inflict major injuries on whoever or whatever has drawn their ire.
This is a major concern since they are known to harass and even kill Malay chicks and hens.
Runner-Up Aggressive Chicken Breeds
The more dangerous domesticated chicken breeds typically originate from a variety of old and established game fowls.
While usually mellowed somewhat, a truly peaceful nature was not a feature ancient breeders managed to develop.
Bred for centuries with thousands and thousands of generations in existence, it might prove impossible to repress their natural aggression.
But, take heart though troublesome the following breeds are a far cry from the colossal and deadly Malay.
All are distinguished by their nasty attitudes, willingness to press and continue a fight, and the higher likelihood of producing fiercely combative roosters compared to other breeds.
Notably, some breeds are infamous for exhibiting aggression towards other birds and animals, something that can come in handy when protecting the flock from predators or looking after chicks.
Still, when these chickens display aggressive behavior towards humans or other dissimilar chickens, it can pose a substantial risk.
American Game Chicken
Originating from English and Malaysian stock, the American game chicken is a breed developed towards the end of the 19th century and is a cousin to the Malay.
These birds are strong-bodied and genuinely aggressive, and as expected were originally bred for cockfighting.
In more recent times they have been raised for meat throughout the West, mostly in America, though their temperament has not changed!
American Game roosters are a special class of nuisance.
Though not as hateful as Malays, they are more aggressive than most other common breeds of chickens, even game breeds, and also notoriously strong flyers. This makes them difficult to contain or catch when they get loose.
They are also highly vocal and loud, meaning you and anyone living near you will have to put up with their racket.
But these are not purely bad birds: roosters and hens alike are both renowned for being devoted and caring parents to chicks, though their behavior can differ drastically when it comes to other members of the flock.
Roosters are mostly solitary, ruthlessly cutting out any and all competition while hens have no patience for newcomers in an already established flock, often killing or exiling late arrivals or strangers that you try to incorporate.
The Asil chicken, a heritage breed that hails from India, is known for its stunning looks and impressive size.
With their large eyes they enjoy incredible vision, and their long legs and great strength makes them surprisingly capable jumpers.
Asils are also known to be good flyers, so make sure you build a tall fence or covered run if you are raising them. Otherwise you will be getting them down from trees or off your roof!
Don’t let the regal, athletic appearance fool you, though: Asil chickens are tough, aggressive and vicious.
Roosters of the breed have been described as going on the attack even when outnumbered by multiple opponents in order to assert dominance.
Hens are less combative overall but are still known to be quite protective of their chicks and do not take kindly to strangers entering their space.
Still, Asils make amazing “watchdogs” with their keen eyesight and loud call alerting humans when predators or intruders are in the area.
Also interesting is that Asils are reported by some owners as showing great adoration towards their human familiars, even though they are generally hostile towards other animals, including chickens they weren’t raised with.
Though this may sound endearing, Asils should still only be kept by experienced chicken keepers.
Distinct from the mild-mannered Cornish Cross, the Cornish – formerly referred to as an Indian Game chicken – is a breed of old English poultry initially common in Cornwall.
It was specifically bred for meat production and developed through breeding local English birds with Malaysian gamefowl imported during the 1800s, making it another distant cousin to the Malay.
It is notable for being recognized today as one of the oldest game breeds still in common circulation.
The Cornish chicken is the jack-of-all-trades of poultry, at least among aggressive breeds, boasting a large and muscular physique that adds some brawn to your flock or sizeable cuts of meat to your plate.
Speaking of disposition, they are somewhat less fiery than most game breeds, but roosters are known to be quite aggressive in their mating behavior.
Hens tend to come unhinged over their chicks but are otherwise fair to other members of the flock so long as they are familiar.
Cornish hens are good mothers but may be prone to broodiness, and can put the hurting on you if you try to shift them, so watch out for that.
All in all the Cornish is an iconic breed with impressive strength and a great balance between gameness and production characteristics, making it ideal for keepers who want a little more excitement, but not too much.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.