I kinda want to write a story similar to the Warriors series, but with chickens. I sat down with a pen and paper and then realized, I need a different animal. Chickens just can't survive in the wild. They're too domesticated. Of course, every animal was once wild, but for chickens it's too far back to make a difference.

So I need a new animal for my story. Here are the animal requirements:

  • lay eggs semi-regularly(females only)

  • able to fly, but not sustained flight(eventually ends, and gaining altitude is hard, if not impossible)

  • preferably lives in forested area, but if not, I can make something up about invasive species or whatever.

  • live in flocks/packs with pecking order or equivalent

  • lives in the wild, but sometimes has been domesticated as pets or farm animals(used to humans and not used to hunt/foraging much)

  • sleep on tree branches

  • is a bird

and that should do it. not sure if anything falls under all of those, but if you find one that follows most or all of them, let me know.

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    $\begingroup$ The ancestor of the chicken still lives in the wild: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_junglefowl. Is it an option? $\endgroup$
    – Century
    Jul 18, 2020 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Century, this seems like a very viable option. Thank you for the quick answer! $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2020 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ Glad to be of assistance. There are also other junglefowls that are slightly different than the red one. $\endgroup$
    – Century
    Jul 18, 2020 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ Chickens most definitely can survive perfectly well in the wild. There are numerous populations of feral chickens in the world. And, of course, true wild chickens are still extant and numerous; they look pretty much like ordinary domestic chickens. (And, since you are asking about Anatidae, wild geese are doing fine, and ordinary domestic geese are not at all far removed from them.) (And chicken are in the family Phasianidae.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jul 18, 2020 at 21:14
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    $\begingroup$ If you've ever been to Hawaii, there are domesticated chickens that reverted to being wild running around all over on Kawaii, and I'm guessing other islands. So it's not just the original wild chickens, either. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Jul 19, 2020 at 1:25

2 Answers 2


Pheasants meet most of your criteria.

lay eggs semi-regularly(females only)

Every year!

able to fly, but not sustained flight(eventually ends, and gaining altitude is hard, if not impossible)

I think this is true of every bird, but their flight definitely ends. More to what I think you're saying, pheasants generally fly low from cover to cover, never more than a couple hundred feet up and normally much less, to my knowledge.

preferably lives in foresty area, but if not i can make something up about invasive species or whatever.

These are invasive/introduced (pick your semantics) to the U.S., actually. While they definitely are comfortable in the plains, hunters know to look for them along strips of trees, where they shelter from wind (especially in winter) and predators. I think you could adapt them to a grassy forest environment or a woods with interspersed meadows rather easily. A hidden meadow in a vast forest could even be a sort of hunter-free utopia for them, which could be an interesting plot element.

live in flocks/packs with pecking order or equivilant

You'll definitely find them in groups, and fights between the males are about as epic as any bird fight on that scale.

lives in the wild, but sometimes has been domesticated as pets or farm animals(used to humans and not used to hunt/forageing much)

These do live in the wild and have been domesticated (often to be released on hunting preserves), but if you're strict on the hunting rule, this is probably the biggest drawback to pheasants, as they are heavily hunted. On the upside, you can easily set a clan of a species like this in a remote area where they aren't hunted much. I'm sure there are roosters in the back country of North Dakota that have rarely (if ever) heard a gunshot.

sleep on tree branches

Not super common, but it apparently does happen.

is a bird

Yep. Pheasants are in the same family as chickens, Phasianidae.

Bonus: Pheasants look awesome. Tell me a more full-feathered version of this coming head-on wouldn't look great on a book cover!

  • $\begingroup$ by (used to humans and not used to hunt/forageing much) i meant more like they didn't have to find their own food, as humans just dropped it in their pen or basically just gave it to them $\endgroup$ Jul 18, 2020 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ Laying eggs at least once a year probably also applies to nearly all other birds. $\endgroup$
    – notovny
    Jul 18, 2020 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ Pheasants do adapt well to forested areas with interspersed grassy meadows (AKA cow pastures). That was the sort of country I grew up in, and pheasant hunting was common. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jul 19, 2020 at 5:37

Turkeys may also work:

  • They are able to fly however tend not to as they feed on the ground
  • They sleep in trees at night
  • They breed and lay eggs annually
  • There are both domestic and wild versions




  • $\begingroup$ While I find the whole idea interesting, one of the reasons Warriors works (as far as having domestic cats, anyway) is because cats are companion animals. I think it would be much more challenging to pull off a dichotomy between wild and domestic turkeys, which are mostly factory-farmed. Geese of chickens living in small groups on family-run farms are probably more interesting, especially as they may even be free-range. $\endgroup$
    – Matthew
    Jul 19, 2020 at 16:01

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