The Liege Fighter is one of the last Belgian breeds remaining. This fowl is true to its name. It is, indeed, a fighter. If your coop needs a modern-day knight, then the Liege Fighter might be the answer to your problem. With its size and intimidation, it makes predators hesitate in stepping into its territory.
The threat this fowl display is not only for show, and its foes seem to know that very well. The Liege Fighter will not go down without a fight. If any predator dares to disrupt the peace in the land of the Liege Fighter Chicken, then they ought to prepare for combat.
8 - 12 lbs
white to cream
Cost per Chick
This article will cover
- Background and History
- Breed Standard and Appearance
- Personality and Temperament
- Liege Fighter Egg Laying
- Health Issues and Care
- 3 Tips for Raising Liege Fighters
Background and History
The history of the Liege Fighter is definitely worth talking about, as it is one of the few remaining Belgian breeds for cockfighting. It fought its way – figuratively and literally – to be here and have its story told, after all.
The Liege Fighter got its name from its place of origin, which is the lovely city of Liège. Additionally, it is also known as Combattant de Liège and Luikse Vechter. This fowl fits its name perfectly. It was born to fight, and a fighter is what it is.
You could say cockfighting brought the Liege Fighter Chickens to life. This breed came about in an effort to enhance and refine the capabilities of the Brugse Vechter when it comes to the sport. For this purpose, the Brugse Vechter was crossed with oriental breeds until the Liege Fighter was born. However, the specifics regarding the Asian birds are still somewhat a mystery. Speculations say it is also a descendant of the Malay Chicken.
The cross-breeding was a success. Compared to its ancestors, the Liege Fighter displays a better form. Furthermore, it is more aggressive, which is a quality desired among game birds.
There are only three remaining Belgian breeds for cockfighting, the Luikse Vechter (Liege Fighter), Brugse Vechter, and Tiense Vechter. All the said breeds are now on the list of endangered chickens, with the Liege Fighter being the least threatened among the three.
Despite being the least endangered among its comrades, it is a fact not to be celebrated. In a census done almost a decade ago, there were less than three hundred Liege Fighters left in existence. Efforts are in place to keep them from going extinct.
Breed Standard and Appearance
The Liege Fighter Chicken is a recognized breed of the Entente Européenne d’Aviculture et de Cuniculture.
The Liege Fighter Chicken is on the larger side. It weighs around 8 pounds, with the possibility of reaching 12 pounds!
Today, there seems to be a debate on how a Liege Fighter should look. Several disqualifying qualities from before are now accepted, and the Liege Fighter aficionados do not seem impressed at all. They are upset, and some have been very vocal about it.
For starters, the skin of most Liege Fighters today seems to be black. However, some would argue that the skin of a pure Liege Fighter is white and only white.
Furthermore, pigmentation in the comb, earlobe and wattle are frowned upon by some fans of these birds. They argue that the aforementioned parts are strictly red, and the difference in the hue is the only acceptable variation from one chicken to another.
Lastly, while the faces of these birds are now described as deeply pigmented, the Liege Fighter enthusiasts, again, argue that this is not a trait of a pure Liege Fighter Chicken.
Personality and Temperament
These birds are aggressive. You will see it in their stance, their look, in almost everything they do.
Aggressiveness has been widely considered an unfavorable trait in chickens. However, that is not the case with the Liege Fighters. Since they were bred for a combat sport, these fowls’ aggressiveness is desirable.
Furthermore, the Liege Fighter’s aggressiveness translates to gallantry and chivalry when it comes to predators. They do not simply back down. Some have claimed that these birds could fight and kill a hawk. Unfortunately, not much evidence is available to support these claims.
However, this breed could ward off trouble as vultures would prefer to swoop in for an easy target. Having to fight for a meal is not ideal, and flying with any injury is a failure for a predator. With the Liege Fighters looking like they are ready for a fight anytime and anywhere, predators would prefer to skip to the next coop.
On the other hand, these birds could be calm, quiet, and friendly with their handlers. Some can even tolerate children. Furthermore, there has been an instance where the Liege Fighter has been described as intelligent and able to follow commands.
Liege Fighter Egg Laying
Again, this is another topic of debate.
The Liege Fighter Chicken eggs are large and cream-colored. However, not much is known about the actual number of eggs these birds could produce. Some have claimed that the Liege Fighters are good egg layers. On the other hand, they have been described as poor layers. It could be that the egg production of the Liege Fighters varies from one bird to another.
Furthermore, as much as the Liege Fighter Rooster is known to be protective of its hen, it seems the hens are not good setters as they don’t tend to go broody.
Health Issues and Care
The Liege Fighter is undoubtedly one of the healthier breeds.
According to an expert, it seems you won’t even have to do much in terms of taking care of their physical health. These birds know how to take care of themselves.
You could say they are the chicken equivalent of an avid gym-goer always exercising. Liege Fighter Chickens are always moving around. They are either flapping their wings or simply picking things from the ground, similar to a muscle person always lifting weights.
Additionally, they decide how much they need to eat. Any effort to improve the Liege Fighter’s weight would be futile unless it decides that there is something to improve.
Furthermore, handlers would attest that they are more robust than other breeds in more ways than one. Aside from having powerful movements, these birds can withstand and endure many illnesses and ailments that could already be fatal for other breeds.
They are also known to be relatively hardy, so they require only the basics when the heat or the cold weather rolls around.
Overall, the Liege Fighter is a healthy breed, and you would most likely only need to worry about common health concerns and issues.
3 Tips for Raising Liege Fighters
Aside from their aggressiveness and natural-born instinct to fight and protect, the Liege Fighters are easy to handle. You could say they are quite an independent breed. However, here are a few tips to help you in raising your little raptors:
- Purity: If you want to adhere to the first breed standards released before, then be sure to check in with the hatchery you’re dealing with. Some have started to comply with the new standard. You might end up with a Liege Fighter you do not want.
- Space: Liege Fighters are large birds, and they are always moving around. If you are thinking of taking care of these birds, you need to give them lots of space for their large built and daily exercise.
- Company: You need to be careful in introducing new birds to the Liege Fighters. Being aggressive birds, it is to be expected that they are dominant as well. They could bully other breeds, or their instinct to fight might even kick in. Make sure to clarify who is a friend and who is a foe.
The Liege Fighter is one of the most magnificent chicken breeds out there. They look like gallant knights, and you can count on them to guard your flock. These birds are trustworthy barnyard companions, especially if you need help in fending off predators.
These birds have a lot of fight in them, and their fierce gaze makes this evident. Seeing these fowls on your field, predators would most likely pass by. However, if a vulture ever dares to target your flock, this bird will have no problem trying to take them on.
They are quite an independent breed. Despite their aggressiveness, they have proven to be an easy breed to handle. However, being endangered, we recommend you take extra good care of these little raptors to help in conserving and preserving their numbers. We don’t want these beauties to go extinct, after all.
They are one of the last breeds of Belgian game fowls and are living proofs of one of the important parts of chicken history. The Liege Fighters would be an amazing addition to a poultry enthusiasts’ flock that would wow onlookers.
Don’t let its intimidating look frighten you. We believe taking on these fowls would prove to be a rewarding experience.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch The Foundry.