Some may say that the Naked Neck chicken, also called Turken chicken, is hardly the ‘best-looking’ chicken in the world. We agree with this! It isn’t a bird that is particularly known for its good looks, but more the fact that the whole chicken looks very unique.
First, we want to point out that many people are often using the names Naked Neck and Turken chicken interchangeably when talking about the same chicken breed. You will see why it is also called Turken chicken in a short while.
So, without further ado, let’s look into the Naked Neck chicken in a bit more depth, shall we?
Turken Chicken Facts at a Glance
|Eggs||200 per year|
|Use||Meat (but the hens are excellent layers)|
|Comb Type||Single comb type|
|Weight||Male Standard: 8.5 lb (4 kg) |
Male Bantam: 34 oz (965 g)
Female Standard: 6.5 lb (3 kg)
Female bantam: 30 oz (850 kg)
|Temperament||Friendly, but can be aggressive to other birds.|
|Country of origin||Romania|
The Origins of the Naked Neck Chicken and the Name Turken
The Naked Neck chicken is a bird that started to be developed in Transylvania (i.e. in Romania). But it wasn’t long before the bulk of the development of the breed hopped on over to Germany. This is where the bulk of breeding takes place to this very day.
This breed is more popular by the name Turken chicken, because people initially thought that this breed was developed by cross breeding chickens with a domestic turkey. But, this is not true, of course.
We do not know the initial breeds that the Naked Neck chicken was developed from.
However, we know that you can ‘technically’ make any breed of chicken a Naked Neck chicken, assuming you breed it with an actual Naked Neck.
This is not going to create a chicken that lives up to the breed standard (it won’t be a real Turken chicken), but it will share many of the similar features.
It is exceedingly uncommon to find this bird outside of Europe. The chances are pretty high that if you find the Naked Neck chicken outside of Europe, it is not actually a Naked Neck but, instead, one of the hybrid breeds.
They were first admitted to the APA in 1965.
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The Look of the Turken Chicken
As the name suggests, this chicken has a ‘naked neck’, it is also known as Truken chicken because it reminds of a domestic turkey. There are absolutely no feathers on their neck.
This can create quite an odd look, but it is certainly unique in the world of chickens. This naked neck is caused by a genetic mutation. This genetic mutation is quite dominant. This is why we are easily able to breed other chickens to have naked necks.
Due to this gene, the breast size on the Naked Neck chicken is a bit larger than average. They have a single comb, and their head is a bright red color. It is quite a striking look.
The Naked Neck chicken is available in a variety of different colors. The colors available will be dependent on the country. For example; the UK has a ton of Naked Neck chickens, but they tend to be different colors to the ones that can be found in Germany.
The Naked Neck Chicken for Breeding
This isn’t normally a section we write on this website, but we do want to point out the main use of the Naked Neck Chicken. This is for breeding with other chickens.
Studies have shown that introducing Naked Neck chicken genes into a bird’s gene pool helps them to produce far better meat, and to create a hardier bird.
The Naked Neck tends to require a lot less food than other birds of a similar size too. This means you will be able to create a quality bird without the expenses normally involved in raising a meat bird.
The Turken Chicken as a Show Bird
You would think that a bird that looks as unique as this and is often used for breeding, is going to be a regular show chicken breed. It isn’t.
While it is a popular bird, it is very rare that you will find a bird show that exhibits them. We are not quite sure why this is, and it doesn’t really seem that there is a drive towards creating bird shows either.
It seems that people are (mostly) raising these birds because they want something that can be used for practical purposes as opposed to anything else.
The Naked Neck as an Egg-Laying Chicken
The Turken chicken is incredibly prolific as an egg-laying chicken breed. You should be able to get a good couple of hundred medium-sized eggs from this chicken each and every year, which certainly isn’t too shabby!
This chicken can be quite broody too, which means that it should be easy to use your Naked Neck chickens to raise their own offspring, or even raise the eggs of chickens that are a little bit less broody.
Raising The Naked Neck as a Meat Chicken
The main purpose of the Naked Neck chicken nowadays is as a meat chicken. This is a chicken that grows fast, but not so fast that there are going to be health issues.
The meat of this bird is delicious, and once the bird is slaughtered, you should be able to get a decent amount of meat from it.
In fact, the Turken chicken is regarded as one of the meatier chicken breeds available. To us, it is odd that it never really managed to break the commercial chicken industry.
It is used there, but only to a small extent. Although, to be honest with you, many of the chickens that are raised commercially may have some of the Naked Neck chicken genes bred into it.
Due to the low number of feathers on this bird, this bird is suited for the meat industry as it is far, far easier to clean the carcass. After all, there will be fewer feathers that need to be plucked from the body!
Owning a Turken Chicken
One of the true joys of owning this breed is the fact that it is going to be exceedingly simple to rear. It doesn’t take much in the way of looking after, beyond feeding and giving water. Although, this is how the breed was designed.
This is a bird that loves to forage, so if you do raise this bird, then you will want to ensure that they have a lot of space to roam about in so that they can accomplish this.
This really isn’t a bird that is going to do too well being cooped up for long periods of time. But they are great as free range chickens, trust us on that one.
This bird is not really susceptible to many diseases. It can be raised in both hot and cold climates (despite the lack of feathers). This means it can be suitable for a huge array of different purposes.