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Saipan Jungle Fowl Thread

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Gresh, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Gresh

    Gresh Songster

    Jul 9, 2011
    North Carolina
    Hey all! Here's a new thread for discussing a breed and displaying pictures: the Saipan "Jungle Fowl" thread!!! I don't actually own Saipans myself, but in the meantime, I noticed their wasn't a Saipan thread, so if anyone has any pics or experience with this rare and magnificent breed, please post here! [​IMG]

    For those who are not very familiar with the Saipan, it is a very tall bird with a stance and frame that screams game bloodlines. Its legs and neck are exceptionally long, and its tail is rather short, even for a gamebird. Many colors have been created from Saipan bloodlines and called "Saipans", but in my opinion a bird that truly has Saipan blood will have a color pattern similar to BBR but with a golden orange/yellow to replace the red. Saipans are not true Jungle Fowl, which compose a family of about four smallish birds in Southeast Asia, but rather, more accurately, "Plains Fowl". They generally reach a maximum weight of 13 pounds in males and 9 pounds in females.

    The Saipanese Chicken (as it should more accurately be dubbed) originated on the island of Saipan in the Pacific, as its name implies. A Mr. B.W. Saylor first brought the breed to the USA in the aftermath of WWII. By then, the pure Saipanese chicken had almost become extinct by mingling with various chicken breeds brought to the island by the Japanese, but Saylor was able to salvage five chicks with pure blood just in time. He theorized that the true Saipan chicken never had a comb (most "Saipans" have a pea comb today), and that offspring with flat or absent combs were closer to the actual Saipan than the pea-combed variety. Saylor also believed that the Saipanese chicken and the Red Jungle Fowl composed two very different families of chickens: Saipans, from whence we get our gamefowl like the Asils and Shamos; and the Junglefowl, from whence we get most of the other breeds. He based this theory on the extreme difficulties he encountered in crossing the Saipan and the Red Junglefowl. If I remember correctly, in the article "The Saipan Jungle Fowl" that he wrote in the 1970s, he said that, out of thirty settings of pure Saipan cross pure Red Junglefowl, he only got one live chick.

    I have read elsewhere that pure Saipanese chickens are virtually extinct: excessive inbreeding and various attempts to reproduce the breed have ultimately led to its destruction. Hatcheries would be more honest to say that they sell Saipan crosses instead of pure Saipans; however, some hatcheries might sell the flat-combed variety of the Saipan, implying that they might have purer bloodlines than those with pea-combs. I personally only regard the BBG (black-breasted gold) flat-combed variety as the true descendant of the Saipan.

    If anyone has anything they'd like to add to this, or if a breeder of the Saipan would wish to inform me of anything I have erred in writing, I'd appreciate it. I will post Saylor's article some time this weekend or next week to give you a better idea of his opinions.

    One thing I'd like to add: Saylor was an evolutionist and probable atheist, and I do not agree with those views, so I don't agree with his "millions of years ago" statements in the article. However, even a creationist like myself cannot deny the concept of species adaption.

    God bless,
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
    1 person likes this.

  2. Gresh

    Gresh Songster

    Jul 9, 2011
    North Carolina
    Not that this thread is even being reviewed, but here's that article by Saylor:

    THE SAIPAN JUNGLE FOWL- by B.W. Saylor (1977)

    "The writer spent four years in the U.S. Navy and was all over the South Sea Islands. Most of the islands had wild chickens; the island of Ulitha, close to the Philipines, had some little black chickens that could fly up and over the tree tops like quail, and they were about the size of a quail. One day I saw a six foot lizzard grab one and "chomped" twice and swallowed it whole, live and still kicking. The best fowl I found were on the island of Saipan. These had long legs and necks, the cocks stood tails low, head high. They were black reds with grayisn, platinum, red cock hackles, tail feathers were redish gold. Cocks weigh six pounds or more. The hens were white on breast with black and white lacing on the upper part of the body. These chickens were game and would strike without a bill hold. They had small peacombs and some had no comb at all; not wattles. They had a big dew-lap in the center of the throat. A cock would have a certain area to run over and would have several hens scattered in this area. If another cock crowed in the vicinity, he would come charging out like a mad bull. There would be about four or five hundred yards between each cock's area and in this no-man's land, the bull stags would run. I have seen as many as two dozen together, and they would run like this until they were about two years old. Then one of them would challenge some old cock and take his hens and area. I questioned all the jap prisoners, and they said the wild chickens were there when they came on the island. I then went to the old Native Polynesian Chief and he said his ancestors brought the wild chickens with them when they first came to the island two or three thousand years ago. Most scientists think all domesticated fowl came from the straight comb Red Jungle Fowl - I say they are wrong and I think I can prove it. I brought back five baby chicks from Saipan in 1945. Three of these had no comb and some even to this day have no comb. After 30 years of breeding and studying them, I believe the pure ones never had a comb. So I am going to start breeding the no-comb to no-comb to see if I can not get them back pure again. Now for the proof I referred to -Everyone knows you can not cross a cow and a horse. No doubt they come from the same ancestors, but it is too far back, perhaps a billion years. A cow and buffalo will cross, so their ancestors branched apart just a few million years ago no doubt. Now the Saipans and the Red Jungle Fowl are extremely hard to cross; out of three setting of 30 eggs, I got one chicken, so I would say their ancerstors branched apart before the cow and buffalo did. The Guinea fowl are more kin to the Saipan than the Red Jungle Fowl. I have an 8-month Saipan stag running with five Guinea hens and I saw the stag mating with them so I set 10 eggs and hatched five chicks; all were fertile but some died in the shell. I think if the stag had ben older all would have hatched. They look like a turkey and a voice like a peacock. No comb and center wattle like the Saipan and are larger than either parent. I believe there were two strains of chickens; the Red Jungle fowl that took to trees and the Saipan that took to the plains. Finsterbusch and others thought there must be such a wild breed of fowl they called Gallus Gigantus but that don't quite fit the Saipans so I'll just call them Saipan because that's the last place on earth that they run wild. They do get some bigger when fed commercial feeds. No one knows where the Polynesian natives picked these fowl up - probably Samoa or some island on the way. It would have to be a place without trees and low grass as they developed their long legs from running and the long neck from looking over the grass, and if they ever had a comb, it would have got hung in the grass and got caught. The ones without a comb ould have got away to breed more. They being a plain fowl, they won't roost in trees. Some will sit lenghtwise on a 2x4 roost, will not roost on damp ground if there is a log or shelf in the pen they will get on it. They can hear much better than other fowl. They wil recognize my step before they can see me, and if a stranger approaches they will hide. I would say all our domesticated chickens have some Saipan blood - some more, some less. I think the straight comb fowl would have more Red Jungle blood and the peacomb more Saipan blood. All game chickens will cross easily with the Saipan, so they would all have to have Saipan blood. Only the pure Red Jungle Fowl won't cross, or they are extremely hard to cross. The Japs had let loose thousands of chickens on the islands - all kinds, some games, white leghorns, etc., you name it they had it. These crossed the wild chicken out. When I left Saipan in 1945, I doubt there were more than a dozen pure wild ones left and one more year would have been the end of them. So what I have, I would say are the only pure wild ones on earth. I do not have any Saipans for sale and if and when I do, will advertise in The Gamecock. I have only sold three pair of these fowl...." (The original article continued with some personal info, and under the timely suggestion of Vcomb I have left that part out.) [​IMG]

    God bless!
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  3. Vcomb

    Vcomb Songster

    Aug 19, 2008
    South Dakota
    My Coop
    good post Gresh, but you'll want to edit out the part of the article from "Boles was the only...." to the mention of Copper State to keep your thread open on this site.

    If I get near a scanner I have a an old magazine with that article as part of an ad which has a photo of a Saipan. I'll try to get the photo scanned.
  4. Gresh

    Gresh Songster

    Jul 9, 2011
    North Carolina
    Quote:Thank you for pointing that out! [​IMG] I've edited it now. Are you a Saipan fan as well?
  5. saladin

    saladin Songster

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    Just so you'll know: (and this is not meant to be offensive, but only to give another perspective)

    There are plenty of us that have raised Orientals for years that NEVER bought the Saylor story. If it sounds like a hoax then it probably is! When did a GI in the midst of WWII have time to send chickens home? Isn't it interesting that NOW there are no chickens on Saipan that look like Saipans (even as Saylor related). What happen to them all?
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Very cool article above but I must also question some of the assertions used to support Siapans being a different species. I make hybrids all the time between species, sometimes of different genera, and many such crosses are viable and often to various degrees fertile. It is possble crosses between very closely related taxa (populations or species) are blocked by some mechanism but not blocked between more distantly related taxa of same grouping.

    The behavioral observations seem on mark for feral populations of even games. The hypothesis that Siapans were in process of becoming extirpated (extinction) at time of Saylors departure very plausible. I have witnessed extinction of populations much larger and with greater ranges than what could possibly have existed on island of Siapan.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  7. gallorojo

    gallorojo Songster

    Oct 15, 2009
    Gresh-just a note on your signature line- Shamo are in the APA SOP-have been for over 20 years...The rest could be added if enough (many!) people got interested. [​IMG]

  8. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Quote:Also the "Russian Orloff" /Russian I believe is in the ABA Standard.

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  9. OSUman


    Apr 17, 2009
    Central Illinois
    Quote:You just need 5 people that breed them for 5 years, a standard, and money to get them accepted [​IMG]
  10. Gresh

    Gresh Songster

    Jul 9, 2011
    North Carolina
    Quote:Hm...I guess that's a pretty good point...I never gave that much thought. I suppose I just automatically presumed he was correct. But, like you said, a GI wouldn't really have the time to pick up a few chickens [​IMG] I wonder where the Saipans came from then? Probably just a variant of the Malay or Thai....

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