Grey Junglefowl Housing and Care

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by ST3PH3N, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. ST3PH3N

    ST3PH3N Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 6, 2013
    Before purchasing my first junglefowl I spent much time scouring the web and my library for information on their housing and care. After deciding to go ahead and branch into raising junglefowl I continued researching during the three years it took to procure my first pair. I've found much of the information available hard to locate, dated in cases, and often incorrect. I am writing this article to consolidate the information I have found combined with personal experience and illustrated with photographs of what I have done to provide a better understanding of the husbandry of these fascinating and beautiful birds.

    Junglefowl are the four species from the genus Gallus of the order Galliformes. While included in the subfamily Phasianinae, it is likely that junglefowl are not pheasants but rather share a basal ancestor. Research is readily available on the biology of these birds, my focus here is (Grey Junglefowl and) their care in captivity.

    Grey Junglefowl, male (8 months old)

    When I first received the birds their feather condition was very poor so I released them in a 7'x13' indoor room. They have remained inside for winter and will be moved outdoors come spring. Here is a short (shaky) clip of their room taken with my phone to give an overview of the layout and I will further describe it below.


    Housing Description


    My junglefowl have done very well in the room built for wintering cold sensitive birds but furnished specifically for them.
    These birds are very calm with the security that solid walls afford. Housing wild fowl in an open pen with little cover stresses the birds unnecessarily. Barriers should be installed around the perimeter to shield the birds from both aerial and terrestrial predators besides the natural cover provided throughout the pen.

    This insulated room is heated with an 8' electric baseboard heater, the thermostat on the back wall is visible right below the bird. Two 4' fluorescent fixtures with "full spectrum" tubes and a window in the West wall provide light. The two interior walls are made of recycled windows, all glass is covered with half inch netting. The roost perch is offers protection from harmful rodents by a fitted stovepipe sleeve. Other perches are made from natural branches or heavy rope. Elevated plywood boxes filled with sand or leaf litter provide more dimension.


    Here you can see one of the platforms became a table for seed and crickets. The spray bottle contains water for misting the plants, and occasionally the birds. Guinea pigs are housed with the pair to provide interaction, their introduction cage can be seen under the table (it has since been removed). Top left is the nesting box.



    I feed mostly live insects, greens, fruit and seeds with a little 23% turkey/gamebird crumble. Put the dish of feed inside a rubber horse bowl to catch spilled feed, this waste should be removed regularly. Effort should be made to prevent fecal contamination and feeding on a raised platform is recommended but double bowling this way has been effective. I raise mealworms and purchase crickets and waxworms from a pet store. Look into pre ordering your live food, I prepay and pick up the shipment the next week and it knocks the price down significantly. Releasing the crickets at night allows them to move around and hide so the birds have to find them providing habitat enrichment. I provide special care for the hen by giving her one "pinky" mouse monthly throughout the year and one weekly at the onset of the breading season. This ensures she has enough animal protein to produce strong viable embryos and remain in top condition. The mice are bought frozen from the pet store. Greens and fruit is fairly self explanatory, as treats boc choy and halved kohlrabi are enjoyed, pomegranate and dragonfruit are favoured. I'll throw a handful of mixed seed into the leaflitter - buckwheat, red and yellow millet, canary seed, safflower, oat groats, flax, whole wheat, keep in mind in the wild these birds don't have access to wheats and the like. The gamebird crumble is mixed with red and German millet, canary seed and canola seed, and top dressed with "egg food supplement" by Quiko. Oyster shells are offered, and some say to put in a little diatomaceous earth.


    Of course clean drinking water must always be available. I prefer the gallon founts so I can easily add medication, or in the case of the yellow water pictured, Poly-Tonine A complex (a premix of vitamins). Putting the fount on bricks helps keep it free of contaminating debris. I always add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract and also aerobic oxygen to the daily drinking water to help maintain immune function and good health.

    A basket keeps vegetables from becoming soiled.

    Raising Grey Junglefowl is not hard and is very rewarding. The birds are very intelligent and a joy to observe and work with. My pair is very calm and confident in their environment, I regularly bring visitors young and old into the room and the birds will eat mealworms from their hands. I figure if you spend a little extra money on good care you will be rewarded with many years of healthy birds.

    This was written in one session and I'm sure I've forgotten to include something. I may come back and edit this post and I will add to it as time progresses. Everything here is based on personal understanding and experiences and is by no means all encompassing. If you keep junglefowl and would like to add your experiences please do. I hope this is helpful, if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask,

  2. Coupe

    Coupe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2010
    Highland, NY
    They are beautiful! Great job on the setup and care guide!
  3. smoothmule

    smoothmule Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 12, 2008
    Buffalo, Missouri
    I'm so glad I found your posting. I just bought a pair of the Grey's and unbelievably, this pair overwintered outside here in SW Missouri where we had temps in the teens for most of the winter and many nights below zero!. This was before I got them and they were fed mostly scratch through the winter. I think my work is cut out for me getting them into breeding condition. I had been reading that some breeders put them into community pens that helped to alleviate some of the detrimental behaviours they would have alone in an open pen. I decided to try that and since they were already hardy to the lower temps, will keep mine outside.

    My coop building is a 10 by 5 with an "open" doorway and a 10 by 10 outside pen (chain link panels with wire on top and in any areas that might allow escape. The floor in both areas are dirt with straw at this time, they have 5 young Araucana cross chicks that are about 6 months old now, in the pen with them as well as one 3 yr old bantam Araucana cross hen. I did hang a red heat lamp inside the building that is on continuous till the temps warm up a white heat lamp on a timer and I put plastic over the doorway down to a foot from the bottom so they still come and go as they please and they seem to really like the pen but I'm not done yet. They have roosts near the top of the building, inside roosts only so they don't try to roost outside at night. I'm putting in a small raised bed for greens that will have a wire cover allowing them to eat the tips but not scratch out the roots. I'm working on an idea for an insect box inside that will have tall enough sides on it to keep crickets in but they will be able to get in it and scratch around to find the treats.

    I was concerned at the start that these guys were kept outside all winter and I do mean outside all winter. The pen was smallish, a small 5 by 3 building totally open on one side to the south with a "yard" on the front in wire. The breeder was getting out of this breed and needed the indoor space for another breed so I think he wasn't concerned if they lived or not because he commented to me that even if they die, they're worth about the same for the capes. I bought the last of his pairs.

    I recalled a friend who had an outside aviary for parakeets and had loads of them the first year. Wrapped and heated the aviary the first winter and still lost most of the birds but following that, the remaining birds were quite hardy and through selection, bred and continued to thrive through the winter with the shelter provided. I understand the jungle fowl can be sensitive to cold, to poultry disease etc. But what if, they could be bred to be more hardy? Mine are never going to be back in a jungle setting so I want mine to thrive where I live, in SW Missouri where we have all ranges of hot to cold. I don't think I would feel that brave if this pair had not already proven themselves so tough but I plan to work to develop my line to be more hardy and resistant than previously thought. I also keep a variety of other birds (so did the previous owner) including a pair of heritage turkeys that free range as well as guineas and other poultry. There is a ruckus here and this pair of JF seem to have adapted quickly with no enclosed walls and seem to have bonded well with the juvenile Araucana's in their pen, roosting alongside them and following them around when I feed. Those chicks are very quiet busybodies and come running for attention when I come in the pen so I think the JF are following their lead. I had even read that pheasants, quail and even guinea pigs were great pen mates and neurotic "caged" behaviour was lessened by having this "community.

    There are 3 nest boxes on the wall in the building and I put one of those plastic wall mounted boxes on the wall at ground level and the little bantam hen is already laying in that one. I'm anxious to see how adaptable these fowl can be and working now to feed and care for them to bring them into good breeding condition by next month. I would expect them to breed/lay later this spring, considering the winter. I am still working on design and function for them but so far, they are thriving. I was told that they are fairly easy to get them to breed/lay/incubate but rearing the young is the challenge. I have Serama's and hope to be able to coordinate hatching so the Serama chicks can help teach the JF chicks what they need to know too.

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