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Raising chukar partridge?

Posts: 521
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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First off, I know they're not chickens.  Maybe more closely related to guineas, but that's not exactly a vibrant forum.

We raise a variety of table poultry for market: heritage breed chickens processed at different ages, Pekin and Muscovy ducks (tried a batch of Rouen last year too), guineas, heritage turkeys, and geese.  I'm interested in adding something else to the mix, and chukar partridges caught my eye.

I'm wondering if anyone has any information (preferably first-hand) on raising chukars.  I've got an 80's-era University of California Extension publication on my computer that covers a lot of the important information, but, like most "official" publications, lacks the nitty gritty of what it's like to raise them in the real world or with alternative techniques.

It is said that chukars don't do well in wet/humid environments if "ground-raised" (as opposed to cage raised), readily succumbing to disease.  They're a dry-land bird, after all.  The Missouri Ozarks is nothing if not humid in the summertime, so on that count I should probably just pass (unless I'm comfortable raising them in cages).  But I can't help thinking that there could be a significant difference raising birds with the option to move about at will rather than being confined to covered runs (the latter being the expected "ground-raised" method).

I don't expect that they'd show much inclination to regularly return to a shelter at night, but I wonder if I could raise them with a batch of chickens or guineas as a way of imprinting?  The guinea, too, is a dry-land bird, and they thrive here.

Mostly I'm just brainstorming here, as I'll likely start a batch of about 100 chukars regardless, perhaps raising half with guineas and half in cages (I've got a couple quail cages I could retrofit for the larger birds) for comparison purposes.  I figure that'll give me about 50 birds to sell, to recoup some of the costs--if not break even--if the other half die.  But I'd love to hear from folks with any experience--or maybe even with ideas for a better alternative (as long as it isn't quail)!
Posts: 4538
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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A local hunting club raises and releases chukars. Some of them escape. The escaped birds lack the self-preservation habits of wild birds. And not just a little!!! Seems to me that imprinting might be useful.
gardener & author
Posts: 1659
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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Chukars are native in Ladakh, but local people don't consider them domesticatable. It is indeed a very dry climate. They run a lot, love to run along the ground.
Posts: 48
Location: FEMA District III
duck forest garden chicken
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I've raised Chukars for 5 years now. young chukar do best when raised by Silkies. When they are raised by guineas they will pick up some of their habits, like chasing other birds around. I live in Southern WV. March-Nov they live outside in a flight cage, during the winter months. Dec-Feb  They have a smaller cage in the barn with the chickens, guineas and duck. (Chicken and Chukars live in cages, Duck and Guineas run free) If you have any smaller chickens like Old English Bantam they are the best to hatch under. Silkies will work, but some eggs may break. But, as soon as they hatch I always have Silkies raise all Chukars.

I've raised Chicken for over 15 years, Guineas for 10, Chukars and Ducks for 5+.


@Mavis Farmacy and Ecological Lab in Southern WV
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