Key Characteristics

Malay are slow maturing birds. Despite its slightly intimidating appearance the Malay can be a reasonably placid bird.  Males do not tolerate each other, but are generally not as aggressive as other Asian Game Fowl breeds. They are better kept in pairs or trios. They will become broody but their long legs and body weight can cause egg breakages when sitting.  Bantams are less clumsy sitters and mothers.  They are not suitable for confinement as they require space to roam. They are not suitable to be kept as a family pet.


  • One of the oldest breeds, the Malay arrived in the UK around 1830 and related to the Asil of the Indian Continent.
  • The birds were used for cock fighting in Asia but in their present form are kept purely for exhibition and ornamental purposes.
  • The black /red and white colours were standardised in 1865.
  • Early development took place all over Britain, but especially in Devon and Cornwall. 
  • At the turn of the 20th century the birds were bantamised and the bantam version briefly became more popular than the large fowl. They are large in comparison to other bantams, and it is difficult to reduce size further without losing the typical large fowl characteristics.
  • Today both the large fowl and the bantams are relatively rare in Britain.


  • The Malay is a very striking bird, with very long solid legs, a powerful stance, broad chest, very long neck, gaunt appearance and cruel expression.
  • It is the largest breed, characterised by three curves, those of the head, neck and tail.


They are very poor layers, depending on the strain, there could be upwards of 30 medium light brown eggs per year over a short laying period. The bantams are better layers.

Did you know?

Malays are the tallest chicken breed and are often 1m in height, with their long upright necks and long legs. 

Breed Societies

Asian Hardfeather Club