By Casey Love – According to the APA’s American Standard of Perfection, the breed name is Naked Neck, but many of us also know them as Turkens. The Naked Neck chicken was developed from the desire for a smooth-skinned, dressed fowl. Their bare areas made plucking easier and quicker, as they have less than half the feathers of other comparable fowl.
They are good brown egg layers and tolerate cold climates well. Standard weights are 8-1/2 lbs. for cocks, 6-1/2 lbs. for hens, 7-1/2 lbs. for cockerels and 5-1/2 lbs. for pullets.
Naked Neck chickens are an unusual chicken breed but very great birds to handle, work with, and take to poultry shows. It’s again Naked Neck chicken time for me. My little ones arrived March 19th and 29th this year, and they are thriving very well and getting big.
Naked Neck chickens are an odd bird to look at, and many people are baffled when they see them. The origin of the Naked Neck chicken is fuzzy: they have been tracked to Europe where they are called Transylvania Naked Neck chickens. And that’s no fib; they are hatched with zero feathers on their necks and sparse on their vent (bottoms). As they grow, most of the males will grow “beards” mid neck and are quite impressive. The females can also grow these beards; I’ve had both sexes with these beards.
I am a member of the Rural Routers 4-H group and I raise Naked Neck chickens at my Papa and Grandma’s house. The photos in this article are from my 2006 first prize open class pen that consisted of a very large white, black and yellow rooster, and buff and purple/black hens.
When you work with these animals they always end up with names, and these were Big Boy, Blackie, and Buffy. This pen was unique, and I feel the judges saw how beautiful these birds were and how easy they were to handle, despite their size.
Like any chicken, the males can be very territorial about their girls. It’s best to have more hens than roosters with this breed. (One attacked my grandma! She’s okay though.)
Some things about my Naked Neck chickens are that they love sparkly things and adore my mom’s rings. They love to be burped at, meaning they make a noise when content and it sounds like buuurp, buuurp, buuurp.
They can get sunburned, so if you decide to get some make sure they have shelter from the sun! And they aren’t bad eating either. We had nice, big, roaster chickens and lots of delicious homemade chicken soup this winter!
Do you have stories/pictures to share of your Naked Neck chickens? Please share! We’d love to hear from you!
Originally published in the February/March, 2009 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.