Establishing Feral Chicken flock

Degalisto

In the Brooder
Nov 15, 2016
17
4
46
Here is another one..San Diego Zoo had Red Jungle fowl running wild for decades...I think the coyotes did eventually get them because as of 7 years ago they are no more...well I didn't see any and they used to be all over the place in 50-70 80s. Hatcheries still sell this strain.
 

TheFarm41

In the Brooder
Nov 14, 2018
29
47
45
A friend of mine came up with the idea of having a flock of feral chickens. which breeds would be the most likely to go feral and how would you get them to do that. Could they survive on their own? what would be the ideal place to establish one? any thoughts, suggestions, commments?
A portion of our flock naturally went wild/feral. We average between 50 and 100 birds, they free range in early spring, we use mobile coops with electric netting in the summer to keep them out of our gardens and flower beds. In the really wet rainy season we have a large run we confine them to so they do not destroy the pasture. Over a year ago, there was about a dozen hens and one roo that went rouge. They started roosting in the large cedar tree in our very farthest away pasture. I would shake them out of the tree and carry them back to the coop, after a few nights of this I gave up and decided to see what would happen. They thrived...for a while! They lived in the pasture for over a year with plenty to eat, drank water from the pigs water bucket, and ate scraps that the pigs missed. We would throw them a little grain when we fed the pigs especially when the ground was frozen or covered with snow. We set up an egg nest with fake eggs in the pig shelter. They laid their eggs there most of the time. Hawks picked off a couple, which they do with our regular flock too. All was well until one night last week a predator, got through the fence into the pasture and killed and ate every single one including the rooster. There was only puffs of feathers spread out over the pasture. So yes, chickens can forage and live well on their own, but they do not have much protection from predators.
 

catharineslover

Chirping
6 Years
Jun 20, 2013
11
18
94
Southwest
I live in the extremely rural farmlands of Tennessee and the vast majority around her have just barnyard birds. Mixed with everything under the sun. Yes, we will go to Tractor Supply and purchase a few different breeds every now and then to add some fresh blood or different traits. But for the most part we have mutts. The strong survive and pass on their genes. I’ve kept a coop of Production Reds or Barred Rocks before but around here we have a guy that’s come up with a breed that grows extremely fast and is a prolific layer of brown eggs! And there are several around her with similar birds. In my experience, a lot of the pure bred birds can’t hold a candle to some of the mixed breed yard birds when it come to dual purpose birds and they also require a LOT less since they are self sufficient or “feral” even.
That is good to know! I am also looking into growing some fodder
 

Don 27

Crowing
Aug 13, 2019
1,803
5,207
292
OH
What in the world is this person’s reason for purposefully releasing domesticated animals outside in the hopes that they survive? And if some do survive and lay eggs and hatch chicks it would become a feral colony so technically not your ’friend’s flock’. They would not ‘belong’ to this ‘person’ (and I use this term loosely because I can’t refer to him/her/it 🙄 in a more fitting way lest my post be deleted. Bottom line is there’s absolutely no intelligent (or even remotely intelligent) reason to do this. And anyone here who plays into this trolling post and provides suggestions is just as much a fool as the one who came up with this dumb idea.
I calmly disagree.. Having a wild-er flock of chickens that you could eat is good insurance. A friend of mine said that his grandfather in the 1930s had a self reliant flock that supplied their family with up to 10 birds a week and it didn't cut into the population to harshly. And those birds were the strongest birds you could find for that specific climate. This was because of selective breeding and adapting their climate. Most chicken breeds would not be able to survive in those kinda conditions but at the time the farmers only kept the strongest birds and over time this thinned out most of the weaker birds. Don't be just calling people fools for wanting a flock of birds that are more reliant and self sufficient then your average hobby flock keepers stock. Theirs a lot more important things you could be worrying about.
 
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Don 27

Crowing
Aug 13, 2019
1,803
5,207
292
OH
Feral flock may not be best term in this context if someone stocks them purposely and keeps tabs on them.
I would agree with you on that I wasn't sure what else to use. Maybe "semi feral" ?
 
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