The naked neck chicken is a fancy bird with a very unique appearance. These chooks are known to lack feathers around their necks and vent areas.
Naked necks are also known as turken chickens, the Transylvania naked necks or the Kaalnek. They look odd without butt feathers but oops! Goats too exist with naked butts just like baboons do.
These chickens are among the best hen chickens to include in your backyard. They make a good dual purpose chicken breed meaning they can offer both meat and eggs. Lol!
What do you know about turkins? I am going to take you through everything you need to know about these fancy chickens.
This will help you find out whether this is the right breed for you or not. So, can we roll?
History of the naked neck chicken
Naked neck chickens trace their ancestry from Romania and precisely Transylvania. This might be the main reason why they are dubbed Transylvania naked neck chicken.
Years back in the mythical era, people believed that these bizarre looking chickens were a cross between chickens and turkeys.
But this is just but a myth. Chickens and turkeys cannot breed even if they are raised together. This is why these chickens got the name turken from the belief that they were a hybrid between domestic turkeys and chickens.
The availability and distribution of these feathered friends has been greatly affected by climate. These large breed chickens tend to adapt and do well in warm climates than in cold.
A trait which characterizes this breed is controlled by an incomplete dominant allele located near the middle of chromosome 3.
Since naked neck chickens do not have feathers around the neck and butt area, they are prone to frostbites during winter weather. Therefore, they are widely kept in tropical and sub tropical climatic zones where the conditions are right for them.
Characteristics of naked neck chicken
These chickens are naturally devoid of feathers on the neck and around the vent region. This feature gives them a unique and funny appearance especially to those used to full feathered chickens.
The turken chicken has a single comb with well-marked peaks on it. This comb, wattles and earlobes are of a red color.
Additionally, the area around the neck and vent is deep red. This is mainly so because these areas are often exposed to direct sun heat or cold depending on the climate.
They have clean legs that are free from feathers with four well spaced toes on each foot. These legs and shanks are of a yellow color so is the skin. Eye color is mainly bay while the beak may range from yellow to horn.
Turkens are broad and exhibit wide and full breasts indicating that they make good meat birds. The body feathers are neither loose nor tightly packed but these chickens have a somewhat a game birdish appearance.
Despite having naked necks, the head supports a few feathers giving them a dashing hair do. In rare cases, they will have crested heads making them crested naked neck hens or roosters.
Naked neck chickens are available in different recognized color varieties like Buff, Black, White, Blue, Red and Cuckoo.
These chickens enjoy the recognition by the American Poultry Association as well as other poultry associations across the globe.
There exist bantam naked neck chickens although they are not very common. A bantam naked neck rooster weighs about 2.1 pounds while a hen weighs 1.9 pounds.
A standard mature naked neck rooster weighs 8.5 pounds while a hen weighs 6.6 pounds. This weight tells that these feathered friends can offer substantive amounts of meat enough for a big family.
Naked neck chicken temperament and Hardiness
Naked neck chickens are calm, docile and placid birds. This mellow nature makes them good chickens to keep as pets.
Male turken chickens are good with children and pose no threat to them. However not all rooster breeds are to be trusted with kids because they may differ in temperament. Most chicken roosters turn aggressive especially during the mating season and can peck anyone around them.
Female naked neck hens are not rowdy and will not bully your red hen breeds in the compound. They will often try to get close to you for tasty treats like cracked corn and those tasty mealworms from the tractor store.
Develop a habit of hand feeding your naked neck chicken pullets from your hand and they will get used to you as they grow. Often toss leftover peanuts, watermelon or brussel sprouts. Additionally, brand them nice chicken names and learn to call them.
Most people tend to believe that naked neck chickens are only suited for hot climates. These chickens will equally do well in cold climates.
However, care ought to be taken because they will easily suffer from frost bitten combs. Their naked butts and necks will also freeze under cold weather.
They are also immune to common chicken ailments therefore making raising them easy. Naked necks are also excellent at free ranging.
Roaming and ranging wide is among their best hobbies. They will scratch the ground looking for tasty grubs, seeds and munch on weeds and other small edible weeds.
Free ranging is good and will help bring down the cost of feeding them. Because naked necks are heavy chicken breeds, they will not roost on trees but will rather return to their coops before dusk.
These chickens are predator savvy and have mastered the art of evading chicken hawks, chicken eating possums, bears and other chicken predators. However, this does not mean that they are immune to predation and should be left unattended.
Naked neck chickens also do well when raised in confinement. Ensure they have ample space to move around freely when restrained.
Egg laying and Uses
Turkins chickens are good for eggs just as they are for meat. Naked neck pullets reach laying age when they are 6 months old.
They will frequently hang near nesting boxes and visit possible nesting areas. These chickens are faithful layers of about 3 medium eggs per week.
This translates to about a clutch of 150 per year. The egg shell color is between brown to light brown while the inside egg is white with a single yellow egg yolk.
Despite being faithful egg layers, turken hens do not get broody often. This makes them poor sitters and awful mothers.
Naked neck chicken and chicks for sale can be bought from reputable chicken hatcheries like Hoovers, Murray McMurray or any tractor supply store near you.
When it comes to meat production, these chickens are good meat birds. Naked neck cockerels and pullets have broad and wide breasts full of meat enough to feed a family of five.
Naked neck chicken lifespan
Your naked neck chicken pets can live between 5-8 years. However this period may lengthen when raised in a good way.
These chickens are hardy and very immune. In addition to this, they can easily adapt on every type of soil making it easy to raise them.
They require a well-rounded diet, proper shelter to keep elements and predators out. Naked neck chickens also require clean drinking water to keep their bodies well hydrated.
When raised in a good way, chickens can live for very long. There have been stories of some chicken owners saying their pet chickens like Silkies have been together for 20 years old.
Naked neck chicken is a healthy, robust and strong bird. It is known to be an immune breed that is not easily susceptible to common poultry diseases.
They are hardy and tolerate both hot and cold climates well. However, common chicken lice and scaly mites often infest these chickens.
These notorious external parasites will suck blood; damage both the skin and developing feathers. Infested chickens are weak, malnourished and have poor yields.
If not treated on time, these parasites can lead to poor health and even death. Using small amounts of diatomaceous earth powder in chicken dirt bath can help.
DE powder works by removing body oils and moisture from the parasites thus dehydrating them to death.
Chicken worms like gape and thread worms are another threat. To treat worms, seek advice from a qualified bird vet near you on the right dewormer to use.
Confining your hens will also help them from collecting worm eggs when free ranging. You can also keep them on raised chicken cages as an alternative.
During winter, these chickens will suffer from frostbitten combs. Smear Vaseline jelly on the neck, wattles and the combs to act as an insulation. Additionally, keep these chickens confined in a heated chicken coop to keep them warm.
On a hot summer day, the exposed parts on the neck and butts will suffer from the scorching sun. Ensure your naked neck roosters have plenty of shaded areas to take shelter.
Tips on raising naked neck chickens
Naked neck chickens are not very different from other hen breeds. The big difference is a physical one where they have some parts featherless.
So, what do you need to raise a happy flock of naked neck pullets and cockerels?
These feathered chooks require a good shelter. A good chicken coop will offer security and keep them free from harsh elements.
Ensure that the coop is large enough depending on the number of birds you have. This will help minimize congestion, reduce cases of bullying and feather picking.
Put roost bars for chickens to perch on. Unlike ducks, chickens do not like to spend the night on straw but rather prefer to sleep on roost bars.
Your laying hens will require nesting boxes. A number of them will give each hen its own place to lay her eggs and sit if she happens to go broody.
Ventilation is key. This ensures that there is free movement of air in and out of the chicken run. Ventilations also allow plenty of light inside the rooster coop keeping it well illuminated.
A good hen coop is properly latched or well-locked to keep chickens safe. An automatic chicken coop door is a good way to ensure they are secure.
2 Feed them well
Food is very basic to chickens just as it is to you and me. These birds require a well-balanced diet to get all the nutrients they need for growth, making eggs and to build up those huge breasts.
For the chicks, ensure they get the right chick starter feeds. They are protein rich and helps then feather up, develop healthy bones and body tissues.
Pullets and cockerels will require a growers feed. These types are less in protein and calcium but have all the other nutrients required for healthy growth.
Laying hens require to be fed a layers feed. This type is rich in calcium to help then lay eggs with strong shells.
All the three growth stages need chicken grit. These are small pebbles, crushed oyster shells and sand. They aid in the digestion of food in the chicken gizzard where they act like teeth grinding the food.
To supplement their diets, hens, roosters, cockerels and pullets can be fed on healthy treats. These are things like table scraps, leftover vegetables like carrots and some fruits like mango and cherries.
Treats are good for your flock except chicks. They should be fed sparingly and in moderation to help add some extra minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
Water will help keep your naked neck chickens cool and hydrated. If you deny them drinking water they will die of dehydration.
Put their water in clean chicken drinkers. This way, the water will remain clean and fresh throughout. Have multiple waterers or drinking troughs if you have many birds.
During winter, use heated chicken waterers to keep the water ice free. This will also keep it a few degrees warmer making it easier for them to drink.
The naked neck chicken is a good bird to keep. They look a bit odd raising many questions from your neighbors and friends.
These birds are good when raised in small backyard flocks. Free ranging is a hobby to them and they will roam on your backyard collecting insects, seeds and tasty bugs.
Naked necks are hardy, friendly and mellow. They are harmless to chicken and make good pets for chicken hobbyists.
Do you have turken chicken? Waiting to hear from you.
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