What came to your mind when you came across a naked neck chicken the first time?
Some think, ‘oh this is a small turkey.’
Others think, ‘this chicken is sick and scary!’
Others claim that ‘something attacked the chicken and plucked out its feathers’ ( this is what I thought the first time I saw it. Lol)
Other people immediately fall in love with it because of its uniqueness. No doubt that it is attractive, but they are also the best breeds in the world. They lay eggs well, and they are suitable for meat, easy for keeping and brooding. Oh, you can’t stop keeping this chicken when you know how important and beneficial it is.
These birds are fabulous pets when tamed. But there are several things you need to know before you start keeping them. If you want to know more, then you are in the right place.
Keep reading to learn more.
What Are Naked Neck Chickens?
The naked neck chicken is a unique breed featherless on the neck, upper breast, and vent area. It originated from Romania, in Transylvania. Also, it was developed in Germany. In Britain, it was first introduced in the 1920s. But, the American Poultry Association recognized the chickens in 1965.
Naked Neck Other Names
The chicken has other names like Transylvanian naked neck, kaalnek, churkey (known in that name in the UK), and turken. Wait, why does it have a similar name to a turkey?
Well, the reason is that it has a turkey look on it. Some people assume that it is a cross between a chicken and a domestic turkey. Despite its chicken body, it has a head and neck that is long and pinkish-whiter looks like a turkey. But, when it is under the sun for a long time, the neck will turn dark reddish.
This featherless chicken results from a genetic mutation. The gene causes the excess production of a feather-blocking molecule called BMP12. The molecule affects the neck region because it is a more sensitive region. Also, some chickens have little feathers on their neck. These are heterozygous- this means that they inherited the genes from one parent.
So, homozygous is the entire naked gene. Moreover, other chickens have this gene. For example, the naked french chicken, Ga Don chicken you can find in Vietnam, and Malgache Gamefowl of Madagascar. These chickens live for 7-8 years when they are healthy.
Naked Neck Appearance, Colors, And Weight
You can recognize this chicken from far away. This is because they have few feathers compared to other chicken breeds. As we talk of comparison, naked neck chicken has only 50% feathers compared to the others.
Naked neck chickens have different colors like black, red, white, and buff colors in the US. The best thing I love about these chickens is that they are cold-hardy even if they lack feathers. These beautiful chickens have one comb, which is medium-sized. Also, both their wattles and earlobes are medium-sized. Their beaks can either be yellow or shanks while their eyes are reddish.
A standard male naked neck chicken weighs about 8.4 pounds, while a female chicken weighs about 6.5 pounds. These chickens are most preferred for meat production. The reason is; they are not only significant in body size. But also, have few feathers that make it easy to pluck them off when slaughtering.
Naked Neck Chicken Brooding
Naked neck chickens are the best layers in the world. Even if they grow faster than normal chickens, they do not use their energy to produce feathers. Instead, it will use that reserved energy during eggs and meat production. That’s why you will see them big in body size, and also, they are good layers.
Unlike other chickens, naked neck lays throughout the year, whether it is during winter or summer. The only thing you need to do during winter is to keep them in a warm place. Remember, they are not fully feathered!
For them to start laying, they need to be above 22 weeks old. In a week, they lay 3-4 eggs when you feed them well. The eggs can either be cream-colored, brown, or white. They don’t brood many eggs like other fully-feathered chickens.
Allow me to explain this. Whole feathered chickens will manage to sit on many eggs and cover them well. This is because of their many feathers. But for the naked neck, they might not brood many eggs at a go. The reason is; they can manage to cover them well with their few feathers. But despite that, they brood many times. They also love sitting on their eggs until they hatch.
An excellent thing about them is that they are calm, active, and easy to tame. Also, they are great mothers. Still, they can raise other chicks which are not theirs. Isn’t that great?
Up to now, I’m sure that you can now see the importance of this chicken.
How To Care For Naked Neck Chicken
Feed It Well
No human or animal remains healthy while feeding unhealthy. The same case goes for naked neck chicken. It is imperative to provide them with feeds that have the nutrients needed for proper growth.
As for the naked neck, they feed no special foods than the normal chickens feed. While providing them, you can buy particular poultry feeds according to their age. For petite chicks hatched, you can feed them with chick starter feeds. As they grow, feed them, growers. When they start laying eggs, feed them on layer feeds.
Besides the feeds, also give them veggies like kales, lettuce, and spinach. The better you feed your chickens, the more healthy and productive they will be. Also, don’t forget to give them water all the time.
Let The Naked Neck Live Comfortably
Will you be comfortable when you are in captivity? Obviously, no. The same case happens to naked neck chickens. They do need a secured open area where they can easily walk around. Most probably in your garden or backyard, where they can eat veggies and worms in the soil. In fact, with their unique beauty, your compound will appear more attractive.
In my neighborhood, people claim that the chickens are free brood faster than those in a closed area. I’m not sure how true it is, but I somehow agree with how people support it.
Also, you should take great care during the cold season, as we said above.
Common Diseases That Affect The Chicken And How To Control Them
These chickens are very resistant to diseases. But that does not mean that you should drop your guard. Keep on checking them frequently and practice cleanliness to avoid some diseases like;
These parasites are commonly known for feeding on chicken’s blood. They are caused by the infestation of the surrounding where your chickens are. When they attack them, you will note that your chickens have scabby spots on the body, esp the vent or face area. Also, you will see blood spots on the eggshells.
When you notice the above, you should immediately treat your environment. After that, do thorough research for the products to use. You can either use natural or chemical products according to your preference.
Chickens get coccidiosis by eating the oocysts, which are infected chickens shed in their droppings. When your chicken gets affected, they will lose appetite, have diarrhea, and have dehydration. They will also get pale skin, you will detect poor growth, and some might die when they are not attended to on time.
The solution to this is cleanliness. Keep their environment clean and dry. Also, remove the droppings all the time to avoid contact.
Over To You
Do you want to start naked neck chicken farming?
With the above information, you can be a great keeper. The first thing you should do is to buy healthy chicks for trustworthy sellers.
Even if mature chickens are available easily in the market, I would prefer you start with small chicks. You will watch them well as they grow. When you buy mature chickens, you don’t know about them and their brooding and healthy lives. So, if you are not an expert in keeping them, you will experience some challenges. Also, chickens are much cheaper than mature chickens.
The market for these chickens is very demanding. So when you brood many chickens, you can also start earning. That’s great! Follow the above and start keeping your naked neck chickens.