The Modern Game is a breed of ornamental chicken which originated in England between 1850 and 1900. Purely an exhibition bird, Modern Game were developed to be most aesthetically pleasing and to epitomize the visual appeal of the gamecock or fighting cock.
After the outlawing of cockfighting in Britain in the mid-19th century, many cockfighting enthusiasts turned to breeding for shows as an alternative poultry hobby, and the Modern Game was developed from crosses of Old English Game and Malays. Despite being classified as game chickens (i.e. of cockfighting derivation) in breed standards, Modern Game were not bred to fight.
Today, the ideal show bird should have a body shaped like a flat iron when seen from above, a relatively short back, fine tail, hard feathering, and a very upright carriage. The breed appears in more than a dozen colour variations. The most common being black red, birchen, brown red, duckwing and pile. The colours can be broadly divided into two groups; those with willow-coloured legs and red eyes, and those with black legs and dark eyes. The colour of the skin, comb, and wattles varies from red to mulberry depending on variety, but all have a small single comb. Combs and wattles are required to be dubbed (cut off) to compete in showing in some countries, which reflects their descent from fighting birds.
As in many breeds, there are both standard and bantam sizes of Modern Game. According to the standard of the Poultry Club of Great Britain, standard-sized cocks weigh 3.20–4.10 kg and hens 2.25–3.20 kg, while bantams weigh 570–620 g and 450–510 g respectively. Today, the bantam version is the most popular among poultry fanciers.