I'm new to this site, but this topic was really interesting to me. I have been doing this on the side at our farm for about 5 years now and I literally have a large flock of WILD Chickens.
Started out with three game hens and a buff orpington rogue rooster that just roamed the farm.
We have a laying flock that is composed of Barred Rocks, RIR, Buffs, and Golden Comets, but these stay in our mobile egg mobile. Even if they do get out and mingle with the WILD crew they just don't have the same instincts as these WILD chickens do.
Maybe I should describe more of how these chickens are WILD. They free range the entire farm, but just saying free range doesn't give the full picture. There are covies of these birds out in the woods that live in their own little areas. Sometimes I see groups (not just individuals, but groups) of birds that I have never seen before. They breed, lay, incubate, and hatch their own young because they have the game hen blood in them. Why is that important, because only the strong gene/instinct chickens are reproducing. Occasionally I'll find a nest in a not so well hidden place where the weather or some critter has gotten to them. I don't do anything about this, because that ensures that the dumb hen that thought she would lay and hatch young there isn't passing on her genes. This circle has been going on now for years and I am now to the point that I would love to have an organized flock of these birds to produce eggs for our farm and our customers, but catching them and taming them has proved to be too much. I have caught some hens and tried to keep them in an enclosed coop, but they don't do well and just fuss and yell all day.
These hens are very prolific and sometimes have clutches of 12 - 15 chicks at a time. They also hatch chicks out almost year round except maybe in December and January. That must mean they are still laying quite a few eggs all the way into the colder weather. My plans for these chickens are to start next spring catching as many day old (usually 3 - 4 by the time I see them) as I can and raise those in my brooder to start up my domesticated flock of this line. I'm not sure however that I will ever be able to have them be in a free range set up like I do my current laying hens because they will have a tendency to go rogue again and join back up with the WILD flocks.
This is something that I figured I was the only crazo that was doing something like this, but your post has encouraged me to continue in seeing what I can do with this strain of egg layers that are totally localized to my farm and I look forward to what that will do for our farm in the future.
I will try to snap a couple of pictures of these guys and gals for you to see. They all pretty much look homo genius now, with just some minor variations. They do still lay a brown egg although it is much lighter in color than the buff. They have a bigger body frame than the game chicken, but still not quite as large as the buff. They roosters do make pretty good size stew chickens though. LOL Because you know if you have this many chickens running around there are always more than a fair share of roosters. These we eat ourselves, but they are totally free to me. The only grain they ever get is stuff that has fallen on the ground or left over by other animals on the farm.
Anyways I hope that this is interesting to someone out there. Just thought I would share my experience as well.