Chickens in the wild?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by andrew6d9, May 11, 2011.

  1. andrew6d9

    andrew6d9 Songster

    Has anyone ever breed chickens and let the extras out in the wild? I want to try this. I know most will get killed from wild animals but i would like to see how it works out. What do you think?

  2. Hippie Chicks Mom

    Hippie Chicks Mom Songster

    Jun 9, 2010
    Near Old Forge NY
    I have never tried this nor would I recommend it. It's never good for a balanced ecosystem to release non native plants/animals into an area. It can, over time, create new species that can do damage to native plants, animals. We live in an area that the DEC has added non native species into the woods and lakes with the thought it would some how balance things/. What a nightmare!!! I would not do it.
  3. chics in the sun

    chics in the sun Songster

    Apr 1, 2010
    Why would you want to do this? They are domestic chickens, not wild animals.
  4. terrilhb

    terrilhb Songster

    Dec 11, 2010
    I don't think that is a good idea. They are not wild. They need to be taken care of and protected. They look to us for everything. Please don't do that.

  5. wingsofglory

    wingsofglory Songster

    Feb 15, 2011
    Palmer Alaska
    There are wild chickens all over Hawaii. There were many around my house there. They roost in the trees at night. Heavy rain does not bother them. I watched two out my second story window in rainstorms - rain beads up and runs off their feathers. Are in good shape free ranging for their own food. Most have a lot of gamefowl in them. The hens hatch out a brood and are down to two or three in a week, down to none usually, or one or two second week. One or two is all they can protect from mongooses. The small Hawaiian hawk also takes chicks. The feral cats seem to prefer wild doves.
  6. wingsofglory

    wingsofglory Songster

    Feb 15, 2011
    Palmer Alaska
    Another odd thing in Hawaii (I was on the Big Island, Kona side) was hens marching down the shoulder of the busy highway on a mission to somewhere. I never saw a squished chicken. Did see hens with chicks scratching for food in the ditches, shoulder of the road, and up the sides of the ditch, ignoring the traffic.

    Traffic-wise chickens.

    Once a chicken is an adult there, it seems to do well. I saw the same feral adult chickens every day for several years, making the same rounds. The ones I saw worked the same four to six or so acres every day. Roosted in the same tree every night. This was organic coffee/macadamia/banana/avocado farms area.

    Another amazing thing was how tough the chicks were - following the hen around all day and scratching for food.
  7. mdbokc

    mdbokc Songster

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Our area has wild chickens. When I looked into getting chickens here, the powers that be sort of laughed and said just a few miles from us, there are lots of them and no one has ever been able to catch them. That said, I suspect the mortality rate of turning the ones loose that have been cared for by you up to that point will be extraordinarily high. It is not like being raised in the wild. I personally believe you can find a better purpose for them if you don't want them as they are "extras" for you. They might not be extras for someone else.

  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Various cities have problems with feral chickens. Mike Rowe had a segment on trying to catch them in Miami on Dirty Jobs. I've seen other bits in the news about them being considered a nuisance. It is not just the noise the roosters make or the damage they do to people's gardens or scattering trash and garbage. When they play in the streets, they can cause serious accidents. Some may become streetwise, but even humans occasionally get hit by traffic. You'd think humans would be streetwise too, but maybe not all of them are. And on country roads where people allow chickens to free range, chickens sometimes are hit.

    Some people think such actions are cute, but I consider them not a good idea. Do you really know what effects that will have on other people around you and the ecosystem? I would not release a new animal in an ecosystem. The experts usually get it wrong when they do that, and I don't know as much as the experts.
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:What you are considering I would refer to as feral rather than wild. At your latitude (in PA) where some predator pressure exists, I doubt a feral population can be established that can maintain itself through natural reproduction. Some breeds may come close if predator pressure not too heavy and suitable habitat available for raising chicks and avoiding temperature extremes. Another critical assumption is food availability during winter months. Not much snow cover required to choke off forage base. My American games used to be able to persist semi-feral in southern Indiana along fence rows but could not reproduce reliably and persisted well only when consistent supply of grain available during winter. Red jungle fowl, a wild relative, under same conditions could not persist despite not being as domesticated. Genetics a big factor.

    Feral populations of chickens more likely and realized at lower latitiudes where predator pressure is very light, as in examples already given, especially Hawaii on the Island Kauaii (spelling?). In other parts of world, such as southeast Asia, predator populations not as healthy as ours feral populations more common.

    I used to attempt this as a youth with our culls so writing from experience. I also have training as biologists that now helps understand obstacles to such feral populations.

  10. weeders n feeders

    weeders n feeders Chirping

    Apr 1, 2011
    Would you also turn out to the wild the litter of kittens or puppies that nobody wanted? Your chickens may not be pets but they are domesticated animals same as dogs and cats and should not be turned into the wild. No animal that you have kept as a pet or is domesticated should ever be turned out into the wild. It can screw up the whole ecosystem. This includes fish and reptiles, even plants can be a problem.
    Be responsible. If you don't want to care for more animals don't hatch so many.

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