Naked Neck Chicken: All You Need To Know

A Naked Neck Chicken is sure to raise eyebrows.

These chickens have featherless necks and faces. This often gets them mistaken for turkeys, but do not be fooled by their appearance! Naked Necks are chickens to the core.

While they might not look conventional, they are a fantastic dual purpose breed.

Naked Necks are wonderful beginner chickens due to their gentle personalities.

Are you interested in keeping this unusual chicken? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this wonderful breed…

Naked Neck Chicken

Naked Neck Chicken Overview

The Naked Neck Chicken is not very popular so there is a lot to learn about this breed!

Because they have a featherless neck and face like turkeys, they have been given the nickname Turken.

These chickens tend to thrive in hot or tropical climates and have been found to have reduced levels of heat stress compared to other breeds. They have won over the hearts of many with their kind nature, friendly disposition, and ease of care.

Naked Neck Chickens will live for 8-10 years and weigh on average 6.5-8.5lbs.

You can expect them to lay large brown eggs roughly four times per week.

They come in many color varieties. Due to their lack of popularity in the United States, they only cost about $4 per chick.

From vast farms to backyards, they will adapt to just about anywhere.

Naked Neck Chicken
Beginner Friendly: Yes.
Lifespan: 8-10 years.
Weight: Hen (6.5lb) and Rooster (8.5lb).
Color: Black, buff, red, white, cuckoo.
Egg Production: 4 per week.
Egg Color: Brown.
Known For Broodiness: No.
Good With Children: Yes.
Cost of Chicken: $4 per chick.

Why Do Naked Neck Chickens Have Naked Necks?

At first glance most people assume Naked Necks are mid-molt or sick due to their lack of feathers.

With any other breed, a chicken looking like this would be worrying. Now you might be wondering what makes the Naked Neck so special? The answer boils down to genetics.

Naked Necks have a gene known as BMP12 within their body.

This gene acts as a sort of “guard” against feather growth and is most active in their head and neck.

The BMP12 gene is able to prevent feather growth by suppressing the expression of feather growing DNA due to its over-expression. When this gene is expressed it suppresses feather growth in certain parts of the body. In Naked Neck Chickens, this manifests in the absence of all feathers on the neck and head.

This gene is still active in the rest of their body, and this is why this breed has so few feathers compared to other chickens.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Thrive in hot climates
  • Comes in many colors including black, buff, red, white, cuckoo
  • Beginner friendly
  • Great feed efficiency

Cons:

  • Cannot handle cold temperatures
  • Are sometimes loud and chatty
  • Can get bullied by other breeds

Appearance

Naked Neck

The Transylvanian Naked Neck Chicken’s most notable feature is their signature naked neck and head.

This causes lots of people to think they are actually a turkey!

In colder climates their neck is a lighter pink color, whereas in hot or tropical climates their necks will be a red or dark red tone as they are exposed to higher amounts of sunlight.

They are a large breed and have a yellow beak and shanks.

Naked Necks should be one solid color and have reddish-pink skin apart from the head and neck.

When it comes to feathering there is a wide range of colors. This includes black, buff, red, white, cuckoo, and even some Andalusian varieties. No matter the color, they should have a red, single comb. Their feathers should be loosely packed and have a very light density all over the bird.

Naked Neck roosters and hens will have similar feather color.

The key to telling the roosters from the hens is their size. Naked Neck Roosters will usually be larger than their hen counterparts. Roosters will also crow, which is one of the best indicators. Roosters will have a larger comb and wattle, as well as sharp sickle feathers on their tail.

Size and Weight

This breed is considered to be a large chicken.

Most Naked Necks should grow to be between 2 to 2.5 feet tall.

Roosters should weigh approximately 8.5 lbs and hens should weigh in at about 6.5 lbs.

Color Varieties

This breed is known for their incredible color variation.

The American Poultry Association recognizes black, buff, red and white.

However you can also find them in cuckoo, blue, golden-salmon, and Mille-Fleur.

Different breeders and hatcheries will have different color varieties so make sure to shop around for your favorite.

What Is It Like To Own A Naked Neck Chicken?

Bald Neck Chicken

Naked Neck Chickens make sweet and hardworking companions on your homestead.

They are not exceptionally active and are able to handle confinement well because of this.

When it comes to free ranging, Naked Necks do well at avoiding predators and will be proactive about keeping themselves safe and sound.

As a dual purpose breed, they are feed efficient and are good layers.

They are very friendly and love kids and other chickens. If you already have an established flock then they will do well in a mixed flock environment due to their non-aggressive and kind temperament. They are unlikely to bully and are gentle with people as well.

Naked Necks love to be around people and are very social with both adults and children. If you are looking for a hen to form a close bond with, a Naked Neck is a great choice to consider.

Personality

Despite their turkey-like appearance, they act quite the opposite.

Naked Necks are well known for their docile demeanor and gentle temperament. These chickens are very tolerant and happy to interact with people and chickens alike.

Just like other gentle breeds though, it is important to keep an extra eye on them after flock integration, as they tend to fall lower on the pecking order and are more likely to get bullied by more assertive hens.

Egg Production

Naked Neck Chickens will start laying eggs at around six months of age. These chickens are good egg layers and should lay around 3-4 large brown eggs every week.

Some will lay more and others will lay less.

This is due to genetic variation within the breed.

As they thrive in tropical and hot climates, Bald Neck Chickens do not lay as well during the colder winter months.

You should have no problem collecting eggs from your Naked Necks. They are not known for broodiness, although it is possible for them to go broody from time to time. Incubating any Naked Neck eggs you wish to hatch is recommended due to their lack of broodiness.

Egg Production
Eggs Per Week: 3-4 Eggs.
Color: Brown.
Size: Large.

Noise Levels

Naked Necks are known for being very talkative and they can get loud at times.

If you enjoy talking to your chickens then you will love the Naked Neck. They will carry on any conversation with you or the rest of your flock. Due to their chatty behavior this breed is recommended for rural areas.

Naked Neck Chicken Care Guide

Naked Neck Chickens have fine genetics and are known for being hardy.

In hot climates they excel at beating the heat as long as they are provided with a reliable water source and plenty of feed.

In the colder climates they need some extra care and attention.

Because this breed has fewer feathers than most other chickens they can struggle in the cold.

You will need a chicken coop heater or indoor area to keep your Naked Necks warm. Their increased amount of exposed skin can make them vulnerable to frostbite, so you need to pay attention to this.

Overall, watch all of your flock in extreme weather and make sure to take action against heat stress and frostbite when needed.

Feeding

These dual purpose hens should be fed pellets with 16-20% protein.

This feed should be supplemented with grit and calcium if your hens are not able to consistently forage.

These chickens should have constant water access at all times. Keeping careful watch over them in hot climates is vital to make sure that they are healthy and content. Even though Naked Necks are more durable than other breeds in heat, they should be checked on regularly.

Coop Setup and Roaming

Naked Necks are a large breed.

This means they need a little more space than your average chicken.

Each Naked Neck Chicken will need six square feet inside their coop.

They will also need larger nesting boxes. These nest boxes should be 12 inches deep and tall as well as 14 inches wide. Approximately one nest box is needed for every three Naked Neck hens that you own.

When it comes to roosting, make sure that their perches are approximately 12 inches off the ground.

The bigger the run, the better.

A good rule of thumb is to have at least 15 square feet of space each.

Naked Necks handle confinement better than most breeds of chicken and make a good breed for those that cannot free range very often. If you are keeping them in a run then perches and vegetable scraps will help keep them entertained and reduce flock bullying.

Breed History

The Naked Neck breed is older than many other breeds.

In fact, they have existed for over a century.

The Naked Neck first appeared in 1918. The original creator of the breed is unknown but they first appeared in Transylvania, leading to one of their common nicknames; the “Transylvanian Naked Neck Chicken”.

After being introduced they gained popularity and appeared in homesteads all across Europe.

They were most popular in Romania at this time due to their docile temperament and strong heat resistance.

Sadly, this is where their story declines.

Unfortunately, as breeders shifted their focus towards creating industry birds and show birds, the popularity of the Naked Neck fell. They remained mistaken for a half-breed with turkeys and were commonly left out of shows because of this.

Although today they are not common in the United States, these chickens are common around the world in countries such as India and Nigeria, where chickens with heat tolerance help support the poultry economy.

Summary

If you live in a hot climate and are looking for a beginner friendly, sweet hen to join your flock, the Naked Neck should be high up on your list of candidates.

Some of the best features of this breed are:

  • Thrive in hot and tropical climates.
  • Docile and sweet birds who are great with people, children, and other chickens as well.
  • They lay around 200 large brown eggs per year.
  • This breed comes in a wide range of colors that will add plenty of variety to any flock.

What do you like best about this breed? Let us know in the comments section below…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and is interested in backyard chicken health and care.

1 Comment

  1. Hi, I was wondering if Naked Necks are able to breed with one another? I’m thinking the lack of neck feathers could make it hard for the rooster.

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