Last Updated on March 23, 2022 by Pauline G. Carter
Chickens have been around for many decades. At first, they were primarily found in the wild, but they have become the domesticated birds that we’ve come to know and love. However, the ever-present question remains, “where do chickens live in the wild?”
This article contains all of the information you need about chickens and where they live in the wild. Please read on.
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Where Do Wild Chickens Come From?
There is a wealth of exciting information on the origin of wild chickens. However, most research points to areas in Southeast Asia and Hawaii where wild chickens originate. In fact, till today, you can still find chickens roaming in the wild in Asia and the island of Kauai.
Another common place chickens are found in the wild is the remote island of Bermuda. You will also find broods of wild chicken in the United States. Areas like Califonia, Louisana, Texas, and Florida are peppered with chickens roaming the wild.
Can Chickens Live in the Wild?
The simple answer is yes; chickens can live in the wild. However, there is a distinction between chickens you see in the wild. Some may be domestic fowls that have strayed far from their home and made their peace in the wild. Others are feral birds that live in the wild; this category of birds has adapted to the conditions in the wild.
Wild chickens are more equipped to survive as they adapt to harsh conditions, unlike domesticated birds vulnerable to predators. Wild chickens are also great at foraging and fishing out food and water.
Where Do Chickens Live in the Wild?
While it is common knowledge that chickens didn’t start as domesticated birds, it is still quite hard to picture them as wild birds. Part of it is the bugging question of where they could live in the wild. You’ll find large pockets in Asia, Kauai, Bermuda, and occasionally in Midwest America.
Wild chickens are usually very colorful and easily attract the attention of predators. A prime example is the red jungle fowl native to South East Asia.
What are Feral Chickens?
You have most certainly heard or read about the term feral chicken. Simply put, feral chickens are similar to the domestic chicken known as Gallus gallusdomesticus.
Difference between Feral and Domestic Chickens
The significant difference is that while domestic fowls are more adapted to backyards and domestic surroundings, feral chickens are used to the wild.
Another difference between feral chickens and domestic chickens is that feral chickens can look after themselves. Without human help or intervention, feral chickens can survive in the forests and bushes just fine.
A popular chicken species that live in the wild is the Red Jungle fowl. It was first domesticated over 5,000 years ago and had a distinct look apart from other fowl breeds. I will let you in on a top-secret; most of the illustrations you see in books and TV are of the Red jungle fowl.
Do Wild Chickens Prefer the Forest?
Wild chickens like the Red jungle fowl are commonly found in thick bushes and forests in Asia. So, it is highly likely that they prefer these forests to backyards. Not just any forest, but disturbed forests that human activities have impacted.
If you want to observe a wild fowl, make your way to a disturbed or secondary forest. Look out for areas that have been planted and harvested. Most likely, you will find the red jungle fowl doing its thing there.
What Do Wild Chickens Eat?
Like domestic chickens, chickens in the wild will eat anything they see. That includes insects, wild crops, worms, seeds, wild grass, ticks, grubs, beetles, etc. They will thrive with any of the insectivorous and herbivorous food types.
How Long Do Wild Chickens Live?
On average, chickens in the wild can live for 12 to 14 years. Impressive, isn’t that? But of course, the chicken enjoys less protection from predators in the wild, so their lifespans may be abruptly cut short. To balance it out, feral chickens migrate to areas that have been disturbed by humans. That way, they have fewer predators to worry about.
Disturbed forests have fewer predators because most natural predators would have fled from human contact. Once the predators run, they are usually more hesitant to return to the forest, so; your chickens will have less to fear.
Can Wild Chickens be Tamed?
Yes, you can tame wild chickens. Proof of this is that the domesticated chickens we have today are descendants of wild chickens. That being said, wild chickens won’t respond positively to you at first. You’d need a whole load of patience to tame a wild chicken. Don’t be daunted if you have to repeat some actions repeatedly; they will yield great results with time.
You will get scratched and pecked in your attempt to tame the wild beast. So my advice is to keep disinfectant and a first aid kit handy.
Can A Domestic Chicken Survive In The Wild?
Yes, domestic chickens can survive in the wild. However, their survival is dependent on the level of domestication, the environment they are released into, and the level of breeding they have enjoyed. However, we must tell you that it is illegal to release domesticated fowls into the wild in some places.
While domesticated fowls can survive in the wild, we don’t recommend that you release them into the wild. The fact that these fowls have been pampered and nurtured by humans for extended periods means that they are not as equipped as wild chickens to survive in the wild.
Chickens in the wild are tougher than domesticated chickens. Part of the reason is that wild chickens have had to undergo adaptations that help them survive independently. If you would love to see chickens roam free in the wild, you can head over to South East Asia, Hawaii, and some parts of the USA.