naked neck chicken
Rikki’s Refuge / Flickr (Creative Commons)
  • Purpose: Eggs And Meat
  • Eggs: Light Brown
  • Egg Size: Medium
  • Color: Red, Blue, Buff, White, Black
  • Comb Type: Large Single Comb

Naked Neck chicken keepers will be the first to tell you that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Certainly, the sight of these scantily feathered chickens is something that causes the uninitiated to cry out, “What is that thing?”

In a world so concerned with looks and outward appearances, the Naked Neck bucks the system. Those concerned about what others think of them could take some inspiration from these march-to-their-own-beat birds. Their carefree nature and calm dispositions could care less if you think they are ugly or gross.

At the same time, they are certainly not a chicken for everyone. Truly, the only con that seems to stand out about these useful birds is that they look really, really strange. Even in the chicken community, there are few complaints to be found about Naked Neck Chickens. Check out the reviews for yourself and just see if these featherless fowl don’t start looking more appealing in the end.

Characteristics

Rising up from its seemingly normal body is the signature, red-skinned neck, totally devoid of feathers. Their disproportionately large-seeming head is topped with a large single comb and a comically small toupee of feathers. When the Naked Neck turns around, one might notice that it’s a little drafty around the vent as well! But like the moral to many a fable, there is far more to this bird than meets the eye.

Now, why would you want to pass over perfectly “normal-looking” chickens in favor of this bizarre bird? There are actually quite a few advantages to be found if you are willing to suspend your aesthetic inclinations! First off, this dual-purpose breed is a time-saver for those looking to prepare some birds for the freezer. With less than half the feathering of your typical chicken, preparing these birds for the dinner table is a breeze.

But, you might ask, wouldn’t that lack of feathers make them susceptible to catching a cold? Though walking about in the open air with little other than your birthday suit may be an uncomfortable idea for us humans, Naked Neck chickens are surprisingly weather-hardy.

They can withstand a cold winter fine enough as long as they have a nice, draft-free shelter, and they don’t mind hot climates where their large combs and airy plumage may keep them from getting overheated. Additionally, Naked Necks can also make a good choice for those trying to free-range chickens in a certain area.

Though they are happy to strut their weird stuff, they are not able or interested in trying to fly. Adding to the Naked Neck’s list of interesting attributes is the fact that they are naturally resistant to most chicken diseases.

What’s the Yield?

Naked Necks are dual-purpose birds, offering both ample flesh and enough eggs to keep you satisfied. Hens are fair layers, providing around two, light-brown, medium-sized eggs a week. After your effortless plucking of their feathers, you can expect full-grown hens to reach around 6.5 pounds and roosters to reach around 8.5 pounds.

If you’re more in the market for a somewhat-feathery friend, the Naked Neck has love to give. As a pet, this breed is known as one of the easiest to tame of them all. Like the Chinese Crested Dog or the Sphinx cat, they just need an owner who sees them as unique, rather than ugly! This calm, easily handled, and cool-under-pressure attribute is also an incredibly useful feature when it comes to showing your bare birds. In the show ring, they are sure to win “Miss Congeniality” every time!

No, There’s Nothing Wrong With Them!

When it comes to discussing Naked Neck chickens, the first thing to establish with your baffled onlookers is that there is nothing wrong with your chicken. The lack of feathers is actually caused by a genetic mutation specific to the breed. Interestingly, the gene that causes the odd look is dominant, meaning that any bird bred to a Naked Neck chicken will create offspring who also don’t mind showing off a little skin.

If you are curious about the mad-scientist implications of playing with your own flock’s genetics and you don’t mind some funny-looking birds, check out this fabulous write-up for more detailed information.

100% Chicken

Due to its unusual appearance, theories abound that the Naked Neck is actually a cross between a chicken and a turkey. Going so far as to colloquially call this breed a “Turken,” or “Churkey” certainly doesn’t help! In reality, these birds are all chicken and don’t have any other species of fowl in their family tree.

If you have any doubt, know that it is biologically impossible to pair a chicken and a turkey to produce offspring, even though folks have tried! The real origin story of the Naked Neck is somewhat shrouded in mystery. They have been documented as far back as hailing from Transylvania (leading to them sometimes being referred to as Transylvanian Naked Necks), but no one really knows for sure.

Photos of Naked Neck Chickens

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