Most Hardy chicken breed for total free range ?

preventec47

Chirping
6 Years
May 3, 2013
11
1
75
I have a 3 acre fenced in area with a one acre pond with a variety of trees and
bushes and currently have about fifteen ducks that do well on their own.
I'd like to get some chickens to totally turn loose and fend for themselves
in Atlanta, Georgia and was wondering what breed is the most hardy and perhaps
pretty good fliers with a good sense of survival etc. To me I guess that might mean
they roost in the trees at night instead of on the ground. In my urban setting
I dont think coyotes or foxes are much of a problem but there are some racoons
that get a duck occasionally.
Which breed of chicken is the best natural forager with other hardy attributes ?
If I am being totally unrealistic in my expectations, please tell me. I had one friend
tell me to get guineas instead.
Dont get me wrong, I am not totally totally hands off, as I do feed the ducks on
cold winter nights by providing chicken scratch and would like to treat the
chickens the same.
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
May 3, 2009
117,455
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New Jersey
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Your best bet would be some variety of game fowl. Understand that whatever you get regardless of how predator savvy will be vulnerable to predation. In my experience GHO are probably the worst predators on roosting birds.
 

preventec47

Chirping
6 Years
May 3, 2013
11
1
75
I am trying to guess what GHO is.... Closest i can come is Ground Hog ? ? ?
no wait... Great Horned Owl..... yea thats better. My mind is slowing down.
 

Lanicus

In the Brooder
7 Years
Sep 9, 2012
59
4
43
Oklahoma
I would just research the most flighty,good foraging chickens out there. Modern games,Sumatras,Campines,ect. Just get smaller, good flying birds
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,370
17,707
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Holts Summit, Missouri
With a mixed flock of red jungle fowl and American Games, a great horned owl visiting nightly to take one bird on each visit preferentially took the red jungle fowl. Owl worked it way up size range. Dogs stopped process before games taken.

I have kept flocks of games with less love than you describe with success in southern Indiana. Main difference was 3 acres will not encompass the flocks ranging habits. A flock of 3 hens and cock would use nearly 20 acres but if supplementation of forages occurred then ranging habits would decrease to the 3 acres you have very quickly.

You have a lot of ducks and they have enough overlap in foraging habits with chickens to make so available forage for chickens is like to be poor in quality and quantity.
 
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preventec47

Chirping
6 Years
May 3, 2013
11
1
75
welcome-byc.gif
Your best bet would be some variety of game fowl. Understand that whatever you get regardless of how predator savvy will be vulnerable to predation. In my experience GHO are probably the worst predators on roosting birds.
Would you mind listing the most popular "varieties of Game Fowl" as I dont really know what that means.

Are we still talking about chickens ?
 

BGMatt

Songster
6 Years
Feb 28, 2013
2,031
485
208
Battle Ground, WA
Old English Game, American Game, Asil, Malay, Shamo are "popular" game fowl.

Sumatras, Campines, Hamburgs, Leghorns make my list of good active free rangers and foragers too.
 

Lutefisk

Chirping
6 Years
Feb 13, 2013
174
6
72
We have 5 hens who have been free range on about 3/4 fenced acre with a small a amount of supplemental feed and a LGD who keeps the coyotes and coons out. All are hatchery birds, 2 RIR, 2 EE and one Australorp. I'd say the Australorp is the least good at foraging but she is the fattest of the bunch. They're 2 years old this spring. We are introducing 5 more hatchery chicks, 2 SLW, 2 EE and a BR. 10 weeks old, just turned them loose today and they appear to be all doing very well, good instinct for staying close to cover and getting back to their roost for naps. There are lots of raptors in the area- red tails, baldies and goldens, all observed on or near our property but we haven't lost any to predators.
 

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