An Evaluation Of Indian Red Junglefowl Releases In Baldwin County, Alabama

An intensive field study of the status and ecology of introduced Indian red junglefowl (Gallus gallus murghi Delacour) was conducted from March 22 to August 26, 1968 in Baldwin County, Alabama. A high incidence of junglefowl "hybrids", resulting from crossing with domestic chickens (Gallus sp.), was observed in six separate groups and eight broods. An average of 2.9 chicks per brood was observed from March 2 to August 22. A probable failure of junglefowl to establish a wild population is indicated. Two hatchery-reared groups of 30 junglefowl each were released during the study in varied habitat conditions to investigate factors influencing dispersal. Six hens were equipped with 27 megaHertz radio transmitters. Observations of these marked junglefowl, as well as of previously released birds, indicate that attempted establishment near farm sites was a result mainly of attractive edge conditions. A dense understory appeared to be a cover requirement. Formal sampling of vegetation was conducted in four plots selected on the basis of use by junglefowl. A junglefowl trap is described which uses a crowing cock as a decoy. Comparison of climatic conditions near the origin of the release stock in India and on the study area does not reveal a factor which would prevent their establishment. Several genetic and environmental factors are discussed which support the belief that the use of pen-reared junglefowl is the chief reason for their apparent failure to establish a wild population on the study area.

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