New to game birds!.......Please help!

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Newby123, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. Newby123

    Newby123 Just Hatched

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    Hello I acquired some gamebirds today thinking I was getting just regular chickens to add to my flock. The guy I purchased them from was moving out of state and needed to sell them. Being fairly new to chickens I wasn't aware of all the breeds and was unable to find information on this specific one. He stated they are "red legged hatch" but I'm not sure that even exists as I have found zero information! We currently have a few RIR, barred rocks, and a rooster who is a Wyandotte. All of these birds grew up together and the rooster is definitely in charge. We separated the gamebirds. We have a pallet pen that we're using on a temporary basis for them as we didn't want to integrate them into our flock and have anything happen. There is a mother hen who I was told is about a year old and 7 chicks who are 4 months old. The guy told me that the mother hatch them all out herself and is very protective of them. She did allow us to pick her up and them without any problem but they are all very skittish. I don't believe they were ever really handled or socialized. We went to feed them but they literally, well all but 2 would not touch the tray....they instead scratched around the pine shavings looking for food so we sprinkled it on the ground and they seemed to like that better. They also wouldn't touch the waterer either which will be a problem if they refuse to drink. We were told that at least one of them is a rooster but since they all have those fan tails we can't really tell. So as you can imagine I have loads of questions and need help. We wanted to add to our flock to get eggs to eat. We have a large family and go through a bunch of eggs. We have no desire to breed or get hatch eggs. So firstly how do these birds differ from the others we have? Can we integrate them into our flock or should they be kept in a separate coop? We mostly free range our birds, can we do so with these ones as well? Is there any risk of disease or anything that a gamebird may have that "regular" chickens don't? Can we even eat their eggs? If needed to cull a rooster, can we then eat it? Do the game hens need a nesting box and privacy just like the other birds? If needed I can take and post pictures of them tomorrow. They are all on the small side, even the hen is very thin to be about a year in comparison with our other birds. Any and all help or answers would be so great! Any additional information would also be greatly appreciated! Thank you for reading this super long message and for trying to help in any way you can!
     
  2. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Game chickens are basically the polar opposite of your heavy laying breeds. If you are looking to add birds for backyard egg production. I'd rehome the Games and find some heavy laying breeds right now. Like Sexlinks, Rocks, Australorps, etc.

    They do not like being touched or really near people for the most part. They do tolerate being penned somewhat. Any little disturbance near their pen will send them straight up into the roof however. Games are not the best layers and lay small eggs, and tend to go broody constantly. If they aren't raising chicks they are setting eggs usually. They won't tolerate being held, if you can catch them. They don't free range well, often will range very far in a day "not good if you have close neighbors". They will often leave or disappear for days and might return, roost high in the trees, and hide in any small place they can find and set or hide their eggs. Nothing against Game chickens at all, I personally have some myself. But they don't sound like they are going to be the breed for your situation.

    Every breeds eggs can be eaten, just some a smaller than others. And every breed of chicken can be eaten, just some are smaller than others.

    Red Legged Hatch refers to the blood line of the games. Other common ones are Roundhead, Butcher, Kelso, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  3. Double Barrel

    Double Barrel Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 17, 2017
    I agree with with Gray Farms, you may be better suited sticking to big stock. If you do try to introduce the game hens/pullets into your flock, best keep an eye on them. Some game hens will fight till death. So they may beat up on your flock.
    I've never heard of "Red legged" Hatch. Maybe they meant yellow legged, Red hatch. ..or Green legged, Red Hatch? Also, there are several different lines of Hatch chickens. Most are known for power and bottom end.
    As was stated, game hens do go broody once they've lay'd a clutch of eggs. You may want to keep a couple just to use for setting and raising chicks, as they make excellent mothers.
    Yes, you can eat the eggs and the meat. No special diseases concerning games vs others that I'm aware of.
    If you do have young roosters, they may be fine with a group. ..for a time. Once they begin to mature, they have to be kept seperated. Pen or tie cord. It comes on pretty quick, so you'll need to keep an eye on them, so that you don't end up with a bunch of beat up birds.
    Good luck with them, whatever you decide to do.
    DB
     
  4. Bantambird

    Bantambird Overrun With Chickens

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    Game birds were originally bred to create fighting cocks, so use caution with the cocks and cockerels, especially around any roosters you may have. They can be very beautiful, however, I've always admired pumpkin hulseys.
     
  5. Newby123

    Newby123 Just Hatched

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    Thank you so much everyone for all the information! I actually learned the hard way this morning as the mother hen got spooked and actually flew up over the gate and into the trees! (I didn't even know they could do that) Needless to say we spent quite some time trying to get her but it was no use....I doubt she will come back either as she had only been here for one day. I found a breeder online who was able to tell me that I had a t least one rooster. I'm not sure if any of the others are or not. I'm going to attach pictures. I would love to keep them if I can take care of them properly but they may be out of my league
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  6. Newby123

    Newby123 Just Hatched

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  7. Newby123

    Newby123 Just Hatched

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  8. Newby123

    Newby123 Just Hatched

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  9. Bantambird

    Bantambird Overrun With Chickens

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  10. Newby123

    Newby123 Just Hatched

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