Any Experience With Jungle Fowl?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by Oldhat, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Oldhat

    Oldhat Well-Known Member

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    I ordered some Black Breasted Red Jungle Fowl Standard Old English and some Silver Duckwing Jungle Fowl Standard Old English chicks from a hatchery. They will be delivered in the next day or so.

    Is there anyone out there that has experience with these chickens?

    I purchased them since I free range my chickens and want a superior free-range bird. Seems over the last few years I've had a lot of luck with Silver DucKwing Old English Game Bantams. A lot of luck in the sense that they don't get knocked off to predators as often as your run of the mill chickens do.

    Seems my chickens can fend for themselves outside of stray dogs. I live in an area with at least a few thousand acres of woods around me and maybe only 6 homes in a mile in any direction. My chickens typically do fine on their own besides for the occasional hawk and stray dog loss. I am hoping that these chickens will fly up onto a tree limb like my bantams to escape the occasional dog.

    Again, any experience out there with these breeds from the good folks on here? Are the roosters more aggressive like the "game" breeds? Any info or experience anyone has out there with Jungle Fowl" would be appreciated.
     
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  2. ijon1

    ijon1 Active Member

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    I had a Saipan jungle foul rooster for a while. Mean to the bone.
     
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  3. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    Jungle Fowl and Old English are not the same thing. What hatchery? Exactly what did you order?
     
  4. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

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    Cackle carries these. None of them are jungle fowl. The saipan was never a jungle fowl, and there aren't any real saipans left in this country. The saipans that are advertised are composites made to look like a saipan, using Shamo and who knows what else.

    Jungle fowl are hard to come by, expensive, and not incredibly hardy in some instances. Green jungle fowl are extremely delicate. There is no such thing as a jungle fowl that is silver duckwing.

    Cackle, years ago, sold American Game chickens, had their own breeding stock. It is my belief that they kept these strains and simply changed the name to what was at the time the more socially acceptable term "Old English Game", also more eligible to showing. It is also my belief, that like many hatchery chickens, they aren't incredibly pure. The ones I had laid a little more and had more meat on them than their pure counterparts. The Junglefowl they sell are just a different strain that they kept that they already had a strain of in the same color. Their used to be reference lists so that people knew what actual strain was in their catalog. I remember that the Black "OEG" was actually a "hatchery enhanced" Black Sid Taylor game. The bird in my avatar is an example of such.

    These will be outstanding chickens for anyone wanting to throw their incubator and brooder away, and just harvest feral chickens as they come out of the woodworks, PROVIDED, you have a diversified enterprise with enough variation and disturbance in your landscape for these birds to find ample food and cover. You can also catch them broody and put "respectable", and marketable "heritage" breed chicken's eggs under them.

    Overall, I wasn't really happy with them, and replaced them with with pure games. They were kind of hit or miss compared to pure games, things like number of broods per year, and just overall instinct. But they were still far superior to most things sold at a hatchery to raise in a semi-feral manner.

    You will have to separate out stags when they come of age, and either harvest for meat or raise replacement breeders in confinement. Otherwise, they will harvest each other when they get 6 or 8 months old.

    Old English Game Bantams are not even related to Old English or American Games, and while very broody, they are not as hardy, but roosters get along way better. For me, the bantams just don't set as many large eggs, and don't range as well and aren't as effectively protective of chicks.

    Enjoy them, they should be very productive in certain management situations. Just remember that if you run into hardcore jungle fowl breeders, they will likely be insulted if you call them jungle fowl, because they are not, outside of marketing.
     
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  5. ijon1

    ijon1 Active Member

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    That is how the breeder from South Carolina advertised them as.
     
  6. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    Personally, I would avoid a breeder who doesn't even know what they have.
     
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  7. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

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    Oh sure, everybody that had saipans advertised them as saipan jungle fowl. It all started with the guy that "discovered" them. He was in the military in world war two. Found them on an island that had just been abandoned by Japanese. Could have been Shamo from Japan, but were more likely there before the Japanese got there.

    There were all sorts of oriental gamefowl, the people from each litle island with their own strain. As Europeans came across them they gave them a new name. A lot of them were named after the port the ship left that brought them to England. That's how the Malay came about. The malays and the Saipans were just some indigenous variety of Asil, very similar to the Kulang Asil of southern India.

    The guy that brought back Saipans invented a story to sell his birds. Said they were descended from a different ancestor, or were living examples of it. DNA evidence suggests otherwise. Anyone with any knowledge of oriental gamefowl would know full well that they could easily go feral in such a suitable place. None of their traits are all that unique compared to other oriental gamefowl strains.

    The last known "pure" examples of these birds were owned by an old lady in Lousiana. Maybe as late as the early eighties. She was funny about selling anything, and in her later years, they pretty much went extinct. Anything on the market since then was just a recreation, which is not that hard since they are not particularly unique. There are many strains of Malay that are such re-creations, but there are still strains of "pure" Malay that go back to the first European imports that were given the name Malay in Europe.

    Pure jungle fowl of any kind are becoming increasingly hard to find, even in the wild, due to the fact that they have been crossed with village chickens that go feral in most of their range.

    The oriental games are very different from most chickens, they seem to have less natural fear of humans, they don't have hollow bones, and their unique posture would make it easy to assume that they had a different ancestor, one that came to be on an island free from terrestrial predators, with little need for flight. DNA evidence available at this time does not indicate this is the case, however.
     
  8. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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  9. ijon1

    ijon1 Active Member

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    I didn't mean to start a dispute. I just was relaying my experience.
     
  10. Oldhat

    Oldhat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the responses. I've ordered these from Cackle Hatchery and here is the links for both breeds (of which I named in the original post the same as Cackle lists them).

    https://www.cacklehatchery.com/black-breasted-red-jungle-fowl-old-english-standard.html

    https://www.cacklehatchery.com/silver-duckwing-junglefowl-standard-old-english.html

    Barnbilder- Thanks for your wealth of info. I do plan on separating out the cockerels with potentially a hen for a breeding pair. I plan on building them their own coop and fencing off 1/8 acre for them an area to "free range in". If I d not like any of the cockerels then I'll either trade them off of make stew. I've got 2 Silver Duckwing Roosters. They poster each other all the time but never fight. One is 4 years old and the other is just over a year old. The older one is meaner than crap with anyone outside of me. He's a watch dog, if anyone is in the yard he'll challenge them. He challenges me about twice a month and I let them out of the coop every morn about 2 hours after daylight and put them up every eve, so it's only occasionally that we go round. I am hoping that these supposed "Jungle Fowl" will have the same temperament. I also enjoy the bantam hens and their broodiness. They typically end up underneath the coop floor and baby chicks just appear from time to time.

    I would like to create a somewhat feral group of chicks. Is appears that you are a wealth of information and if you have any suggestions on what breed I should try to let go feral, then i am all ears and will try them on the next go-round.
     
  11. Oldhat

    Oldhat Well-Known Member

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    Oh, and my habitat around the place should support plenty of chickens. I keep around 4-5 acres of "treed yard" cut aruond the place. Coop and location of chickens is about 100 yards fro the house with a nice spring fed creek with waterfalls, really thick and brushed in 20 yards from coop, lot of honeysuckle and thick stuff. And I am south of Nashville about 30 miles so our weather permits us to have plenty of bugs. There is about and acre of yard that runs up a slope out back to the chicken coop, I tend to only cut it twice a year and let it actually get about knee deep for my chickens to frolic around in.
     
  12. ijon1

    ijon1 Active Member

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    Do you have any predators?
     
  13. Oldhat

    Oldhat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link. I looked over it briefly and will def b reading it.
     
  14. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

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    I am sorry ijon1, I did not mean to be so adversarial. If you got your birds from SC, and it was a good while ago, there is a good chance they could have been some of the original birds smuggled back as eggs from Saipan Island. They were floating around for awhile. Very special birds, and unique in their own right. The point I was trying to make was that even though they were special and unique, they are not that much different than a lot of birds that originated in that area, which are also special and unique. And while easily adapting to a feral lifestyle, not junglefowl.

    I have conversed many people that were familiar with the original Saipans, and they all agreed that the recent attempts to remix the breed by hatcheries were an insult to the original birds. I have also heard from people that had gone to the trouble of procuring real jungle fowl, as in the Red, Grey, Green, and went to the trouble of caring for them, the last two being especially difficult, (I haven't heard of anyone outside of a zoo having any Ceylons) and they were pretty non-plussed at the notion that people with Saipan games insisted on referring to them as jungle fowl, especially if they were commercial hatchery Saipans. They are not real pleased with the hatchery red junglefowl either. But these are people that are really into what they do, and have spent a lot of money doing it.
     
  15. Oldhat

    Oldhat Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but it seems they stay at bay around here besides for the occasional stray dog and hawk. We have possums, armadillos, coons, weasels, fox, bobcat, hawks, owls, and coyotes. I keep two free-range dogs here at the house and they tend to keep most predators away during the day. My Australian Shepherd leaves the front porch at least 3 times a night and makes the rounds around the place. My chickens return to their coop each night and I close them up. Out of 20 or so that have fallen to predators most were to stray dogs (one came in an got 6 in 15 mins or so) and the occasional hawk loss.
     
  16. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for posting that, I had read that before but had lost it. Will enjoy going back and reading over it. There was another piece that I had bookmarked but it got yanked from the interwebs at some point. It was very interesting, following the dawn of man, cattle and chickens, and their path to domestication and civilization.Couldn't swear that it wasn't the same writer.

    This bird that we sometimes spend too much money acquiring housing and feeding (first step to dealing with a problem is admitting there is a problem:cool:) has had a long history, and if we look closely enough we will see the history of us.

    This was a bony 4 pound jungle bird, that laid less than 20 eggs a year if you could find them. It was domesticated in a place near oceans teaming with seafood, with forests teaming with fruit, shorebirds nesting on rocks with thousands of eggs, and hosts of other protein sources. Yet we carried this bird all over the world, long before it was developed into the quick growing egg machine we have now. I can only think that a fascination with chickens is a genetic predisposition in some humans. Watching a hen scratch for her chicks or hearing a rooster challenge the darkness into submission probably brought the same satisfaction to our ancestors as we can find today.
     
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  17. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    Interesting. No such breeds exist. I'm assuming they are some kind of games that the hatchery attached a name to just to make them sound exotic.
     
  18. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

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    I seldom lose a game to predators. I either pen them up if it's one that is vital to my breeding program, or I let them make their own way. The games that I let mature out on free range usually gravitate to some trees that overhang the boar hog's pen or above the hound kennels. Some of them will pick the tree right outside the bedroom window, and if they are hens I am OK with it. When game roosters start to crow, it's time for penning or eating, and the ones that pick the bedroom window tree are the first to get sorted out.

    I have had a tiny four pound hen that beat a skunk into submission when it dug into a pen with her chicks. Her father spurred a possum that wandered into his pen. Have had them attack snakes. Have heard of them killing hawks. A hen with chicks is pretty good for training a young pup not to mess with chickens, the pup has to be young though.

    They are really instinctive, when the hen or rooster says freeze, everybody ducks. The hens lay an egg or two in several spots. The spot that doesn't get disturbed she will lay a clutch in and set. They have a real knack for figuring out a safe spot. Raccoons are bad for nesting hens, but I don't have them here around the dogs, and it almost seems like the hens know it, they stay tight to those dogs and like to nest in that area in the woods. Sometimes one will have a chick wander into the kennels, and the dogs usually try to hide until it figures out how to get out and hope the hen doesn't get in (they have bad memories of a hen like that.)
     
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  19. ijon1

    ijon1 Active Member

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    Now that is funny.
     
  20. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure exactly what your current roosters are, but I'm guessing a SDW OEG bantam. The birds you are getting from cackle will most likely not act in this manner. A four year old and a one year old male together would most likely end in mortal combat. You would end with one dead. Possibly two if they get too engaged to notice approaching predators. Another possible outcome is one dead and one missing one or both eyes.

    Using games, or jungle fowl type birds, is definitely workable, for a low input, sustainable chicken operation. But there are some rules you have to follow. Remember that show "The Highlander", they had a rule, "there can only be one". This is the most important rule, when it comes to males.

    Anything adult male needs to be separated from anything else adult or nearing adult male. By separated, there needs to be a physical barrier and for the bottom two feet a visual barrier. You will see damages from fighting through a pen that are much worse than if they were just loose. Missing prop toes (the back toe) is most common, but they can do much worse, they hurt themselves kicking the wire. As young stags come of age, everything will likely be fine, until one day. Sometimes it will be after a rain, they won't recognize their brothers with wet feathers, and then you have a mess. So you have to anticipate that day.

    The smaller game stags I usually utilize for dog food, they do have nice big breasts that are very tasty, although a little tougher than broilers. Along the same lines as most of your heritage breed chickens that have to get fairly old before being big enough to harvest. I like to go young and just breast them out and let the dogs have the rest. Like pheasant or grouse at that point, very flavorful, yet tougher than chicken nuggets.

    For a while, I had some remote chicken colonies, over where I keep some other livestock. One of them did good, the other was too remote, it was getting hawks coyotes and raccoons all the time, did not increase beyond original stocking rate, so I discontinued them. The other one did well, too well in fact, they started invading a neighbors property, they dumped out scraps and had chickens pooping everywhere so I quit doing them. They actually increased, if I managed them right. Had some places hens were going to nest that the chicks couldn't leave, so I had to fix that. Their purpose was to scratch in animal manure, eat bugs, clean up waste feed (competing with rodents which don't amuse me) and amuse me when I went to check the stock. I just liked looking at them. It was my experience that solid black fowl survived better, and I believe it was because they looked like crows which are hard to catch and sometimes fight with hawks. Hawks were the main predator of concern at this location.

    Now, I keep games in pens that I want to breed, when they hatch out I usually turn the hen loose to raise the chicks free range here at the house. The stags I don't want to consider raising in confinement for future breeding stock get eaten at the appropriate time, and I leave the pullets loose. I usually have a conventional rooster running loose with the egg flock, these pullets mate with him, if I'm lucky enough to find their nest, I will slip eggs from the conventional egg flock under them, if not they raise half breed meat mutts of which I sometimes sell some pullets to someone looking for a good broody hen. A pullet is not worthy of going into a breeding pen until she has raised several broods successfully. Males must be an exemplary specimen of their kind to earn pen space, and be of a specific breeding. My entire egg flock is replenished by pullets earning their right to eat my bugs.

    I have switched to a more oriental game flock, because I just like them better. They don't fly as high in trees. The American games I had would sometimes go 40 feet up. Your only good method of capture is catching them off the roost, hard to do when they are up there. Orientals stay about 12 feet and under, and are super tame and not as flighty, set bigger clutches and have more meat when you go to butcher. A problem the American game hens had, with my management and use of them, when they set regular chicken eggs, they think those are game chicks, so at 4 weeks old they are calling them up in the trees. A barred rock or whatever cannot perch all night in a tree at that age, they fall, and if it is cool, they chill and die. Game chicks do fine. The orientals stay on the ground with their chicks for a bit longer. Only drawback to the orientals is they aren't as cold hardy, and sometimes the hens can be rather combative, so you really have to watch them to make sure two aren't trying to nest too close to each other.

    My biggest enemy in my strategy is me, I have to make sure and make all my watering devices resistant to chick drowning. They really don't need much water, chicks will get most of what they need from dew and a leaky spigot here and there if they are traveling far enough. I have very little problem with coccidia when rearing this way, and the constant struggle of power cords and brooders and incubators is non existent. I have solar powered incubators and self cleaning brooders. Buy very little starter, those old biddies will look at starter feed and say, "come on junior, let's go find some proper chick food", and they go stir up my compost for me.