Feral chickens

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by waterouzel, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. waterouzel

    waterouzel Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 19, 2008
    I'm trying to establish a flock of 12 or so hens that will free range on 6 acres of vineyard from dawn to dusk. Possible predators include foxes, hawks, bobcats, coyotes and weasels. So far Welsummers and Ameracaunas have survived the best. Minorcas, black stars, brahmas, wyandottes and catalanas have not made it. I had a orpington rooster but a fox got him right away and I'd rather not keep a rooster anyway. I'm getting several Egyptian Fayoumis next month but am interested to know what other breeds I might consider. Brown egg layers would be preferred but survival is the number one consideration.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. Redcap Farm

    Redcap Farm Derbyshire Redcap Fowl

    Feb 11, 2011
    Hi Ian
    Try Redcaps they are a very independent breed. [​IMG]

    Redcap Farm
  3. teamsunbelt

    teamsunbelt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2011
    Midland, NC
    Get a big game rooster for flock protection and maybe jersy giant hens. The size may deter attacks.
  4. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2011
    Foothills of NC
    Game breeds don't take much crap off predators and they can get away faster.
  5. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Although you're going to have a lot of difference responses, I'd say Araucanas. With their lack of tail, they actually escape predators much faster, especially for the fact that most predators on the ground go for the tail. Consider for the fact that they originated in small villages in Chile where life was survival of the fittest. They're very intelligent, have good natural instinct, are excellent free ranging foragers, and although small and agile, aren't a skinny breed. Plus they're rare and more people with them out there is always a plus, as well as the fact that they lay beautiful blue eggs.

    The big thing to remember though is that they are not available at hatcheries, feedstores, or through common, false craigslist ads. [​IMG]

    ETA - Gamefowl are another EXCELLENT choice.

    Edited again to add - Araucanas are also a good choice in that they are superb fliers, too. And if you're into true self sufficiency, not many breeds beat the broodiness and mothering skills of an Araucana. Gamefowl do though.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  6. flyingmonkeypoop

    flyingmonkeypoop Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 30, 2007
    Deer Park Washington
    I agree with Illia, the true araucanas are great at escaping predators/people. We had one white rumpless/tufted rooster go wild, he lived in the woods behind the house for 3 years before we were finally able to catch him, he survived many many predators that came through. We ended up baiting him into a pen and caught him.

    Another that Ive had good experience with are the sumatras. They lay a light brown/tan egg and are great free rangers. I just read over this and saw others mentioned game breeds which they could be considered a game type.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  7. waterouzel

    waterouzel Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 19, 2008
    Thanks for the excellent suggestions. Any thoughts on where I might find araucana pullets for sale in Northern California? I did find an araucana forum which I'm going to join. Anyone have experience with penedesenca as a survivor? They seem to have a reputation for being wild.

  8. Zaxby's2

    Zaxby's2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    a place
    From what I see it looks like your best option would be a araucana/game cross. [​IMG]
  9. gootziecat

    gootziecat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 27, 2007
    Hampshire Co, WV
    Hamburgs and Leghorns might be possibilities.
  10. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    Regardless of the breed you get, and Ilia has made some excellent suggestions, they are not going to be able to perpetuate themselves if they don't have some type of cover/safety in which to sit eggs.

    Domestic Chickens gone feral are very very very RARE in the States. Most that are called feral don't actually qualify: ie. Key West Chickens hang around humans and buildings for protection/food. Time and again, researchers have tried to 'produce' truly feral chickens and the results have always been the same: EXTINCTION.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by