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Re: what would happen if....?



Christopher Taylor wrote:
 
>     The chances of survival of ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys are all
> large - for a start, they all have sizable feral populations all around the
> world.

Hobby or homestead flocks of domestic ducks and geese are frequently
kept unfenced worldwide and might have a moderate chance of survival for
a few years. Unfortunately, domestic breeds are usually too heavy to fly
- a
definite problem when it comes to escaping predators or finding new food 
sources.

Chickens in third world countries have the best chance of surviving and
adapting to a completely wild state because they tend to be small,
thrifty, and already capable of flying into trees to roost - in short,
they are much like their jungle fowl ancestors.

Surely all the "wild" turkeys in New Zealand come from wild North
American (they're not that scarce) or transplanted European stock. A
wild turkey resembles a domestic turkey as Jar Jar Binks resembles Jabba
the Hutt. Domestic birds are so portly the males can scarcely mate
successfully and most hens are artificially inseminated. Okay, to be
fair, they only get that big when raised on a farm diet. But domestic
breeds wouldn't fair very well on their own and would probably be
eliminated in just one season by feral dogs.


>  I'm not so certain about the
> survival ability of the horse - most wild populations are very localised -
> but I could be wrong.

Herds of feral horses (and donkeys) have existed for hundreds of years
on marginal lands in western North America. They are so successful that
herds must be managed and culled to keep the populations (and the land)
healthy. Without the interference of fences and the artificial predation
by humans, equids would certainly reclaim the continent.



John Bois wrote:

> OK, then...how come no feral ostriches or emus in the US?

My understanding is that there may be some feral ostriches and emus
here. Novelty flocks of these birds have been around for only about
twenty five years. Initially, the birds were so valuable that any
escaped individuals were immediately rounded up. The fad lost steam when
a reliable way to market them failed to develop, and some birds were
turned loose to fend for themselves (so I heard). Of course, only birds
in the warmer parts of the country would survive for long. In the
absence of humans I don't know why they couldn't establish successful
populations. Otherwise, the problem is that these birds REALLY stand out -
and since every other person (and his dog) in this country has a gun...


- DONNA BRAGINETZ


P.S.  Sorry if I've repeated anything Morgan Churchill may have said - his
post was truncated.