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Description Of The Jungle Fowl And Its Crosses

Many people including villagers themselves are confused about the differences between the pure jungle fowls, their crossbreds and even village fowls.  The cross-bred jungle fowls are kept by many villagers and these birds are obviously different from the jungle fowls.  I found, very few people keep pure jungle fowls, the majority keeps crossbreds that were probably the results of crosses between the jungle fowls, the Bantams and the village birds.  However, the crossbreds obtained by crossing a pure male jungle fowl and a high crossbred female jungle fowl may pose some problems in distinguishing between the two. Such high crossbreds are seldom kept by people firstly because of the difficulty of keeping a newly caught male jungle fowl alive for breeding and secondly because of the extreme susceptibility of the high cross chicks to the common domestic disease causing organisms.

I have trapped more than 200 jungle fowls, including adult males, females and younger birds of both sexes.  Except for seven males which had different colour pattern, the rest showed morphological characteristics of the true jungle fowl.  Five of the seven males had yellowish background colour with black streaks on the chest and vent and the wing feathers contain more yellowish golden colour as compared to the ordinary jungle fowl. The other two males both from Pahang, had strong whitish neck hackles, rump hackles and parts of the wing primary feathers. Other than this colour difference, the birds were almost morphologically similar to that of the pure red jungle fowl.  It is possible that the grandparents of these birds had been once crossed with the village fowls.  I suspected this strongly because all the seven birds were caught in small patches of secondary forests around which village birds from a close by village were seen scratching for food.  We have come across a villager in Ulu Langat, Selangor who caught a pair of birds behind his house.  These birds were obviously different from the jungle fowl because they were bigger in size and most of the feathers are yellowish in the male and the female was of a lighter brown.  These birds were semi-tame and were obviously a cross between the jungle fowl and the village chicken.

Other than the above, the jungle fowls I have examined do not vary much morphologically.  The colour pattern of the jungle fowls tends to be similar to the crossbreds and even at times to that of the village fowls.  However, there are some morphological features, the crowing patterns and some behavioural pattern that could be used to distinguish a pure jungle fowl from its crossbreds.