The other day my coworker asked if I wanted some baby chukars. I said yes. The next day he said that the original person they were giving them to said they did want them after all. So no chukars. Then today he sent me an email telling me that four more hatched between yesterday and today. Did I want them? Sure.
After work I picked them up. They eat baby chicken food. He feeds his adult chukars a combination of chicken food and wild bird seed. There were 10 eggs laying in the nest. He asked if I wanted those too. I know nothing about chukars but I'll take them.
When I got home I looked at the MurrayMcMurray site. Chukars cost about $4.00 each. Mine were free. They can be let loose to have game birds running around or kept caged. You can just look at them, harvest the eggs, or eat them. They are supposed to be good, tasting like pheasant. Delicious.
The babies are much smaller than day old chicks. They look more like the little baby birds that fall out of nests. I have them in a cardboard box with a wire screen on top. I put a heat lamp on top of the screen. They aren't chirping complaints so I guess they are warm enough. My coworker had the food thrown on the bottom of the box rather than in a feeder. I think they are too small for the chicken feeder so on the bottom of the box it is. He had water in a little plastic container in the corner. There wasn't any water in it and two of the babies had shoved themselves into the container, I suppose they were thinking it was a nest. I took that out. I put in a regular baby chicken water container. It's narrow enough that they will not be able to put their bodies into it but they will be able to drink just fine.
We have chicken eggs in the incubator. They are in an automatic turner, which is too large for these eggs. I'm going to take out the automatic turner and just put the eggs on the wire at the bottom. I can turn the eggs every day. Both the chickens and the chukars are supposed to be at 99.5 degrees. The chukars shouldn't be hatching for three more weeks and the chickens should start hatching anytime next week. I just have to figure out where I'm going to put the birds.
I was told if they grow up with the chicks they will get along fine but if they don't grow up together the adult hens will pick on the chukars. Chukars are about the same size as banty chickens. I only have one banty. My coop has two sides to it so it will be easy to turn one into a chukar cage and the other into the coop. This is going to be a fun new project. Who knows, if I can raise enough we can let some loose for wild game. Can't wait!