As the name suggests, the Naked Neck is a very quirky chicken! There is no doubt that it’s one of the most unique breeds out there. But there’s much more to this beautiful bird than just its awesome appearance, as they can also be a pleasure to keep.
Here we’ll give you everything you need to know about the Naked Neck chicken. This includes looking at what it’s used for, how to care for it, and much more. Read on to check out our complete guide to the Naked Neck chicken.
History and Origin of Naked Neck Chicken
The Naked Neck chicken isn’t a new breed of chicken, nor is it particularly old. For roughly 100 years, we actually have no record of who created this breed. What we do know is that they were first found in Transylvania.
Soon the breed was spread around Europe, and eventually to the United States. While they are a fairly good dual-purpose breed, many loved them for their quirky looks and curious personalities.
However, the desire for show birds has dropped in recent decades and the Naked Neck chicken is no exception. Many breeders either moved to more productive chickens for egg and meat needs, or fancier chickens for shows and exhibitions.
While their numbers have declined, many still love this beautiful bird. They are still popular enough for them to be widely available at an affordable rate.
Physical Characteristics of Naked Neck Chicken
Let’s start with the obvious. These are called Naked Neck chickens because, well, they have naked necks! This lack of neck feathers sets them apart from almost every other chicken breed.
Due to this reason, many people confuse them with turkeys, but they aren’t related at all. While turkeys do have a naked neck, they are generally much larger, have longer tail feathers and the males have a fleshy growth called a snood that droops over their beak.
Aside from their lack of neck feathers, the Naked Neck chicken is standard in appearance when compared with other chicken breeds. They have a normal posture and no other dramatic distinguishing features.
They are larger in size when compared to other chickens and generally have yellow beaks and legs. Along with this, they have a large upright comb and a medium-sized wattle, with both of them being bright light red in color.
You’ll also find the Naked Neck chicken in a variety of different colors. Perhaps the most striking is the ones found with buff coloring, which is a golden light brown. Along with this, they can also be found in black, white, and red.
Uses of a Naked Neck Chicken
So we know a little bit about the Naked Neck chicken, but what is it used for? Here we’ll take a closer look at its suitability for meat and eggs, while also seeing whether it’s a good fit as a backyard pet.
The Naked Neck chicken is a dual-purpose bird, which means that it can commonly be used for both eggs and meat. While not seen as broiler chicken, they can be raised for their meat which is known to be tasty along with having a fine texture.
If you’re thinking of breeding Naked Neck chickens, then it can be a great idea to use them for this purpose. The most common thing to do is slaughter any roosters that you get, along with any excess hens.
Along with their tasty meat, there is another reason that many like the Naked Neck as a meat bird. It’s obvious if you think about it, as they are incredibly easy to pluck! With their lack of feathers, it cuts down on preparation time.
The age you should slaughter Naked Neck chickens is around two to three months. Feeding them after this point isn’t cost-effective, but you can still kill chickens up to around ten months old before their meat starts to get a little tough.
If you just want to keep a small flock of hens, you will get a plentiful supply of eggs. Chickens are best kept in a group of at least three. If you had three Naked Neck hens, you would likely get just under two eggs per day on average.
One hen on its own will lay three to four eggs per week, which will work out to roughly 150 to 200 per year. Not only are they frequent layers, but their eggs are large too! But that’s not the only thing that makes them great layers.
They also aren’t broody, which means the hens have little interest in sitting on their eggs. Therefore, you can happily take them with no issues. The only downside is that the hens don’t lay well in the winter months, but this can be helped with a coop heater.
However, it’s important to note that egg-laying shouldn’t be the sole reason for getting a Naked Neck chicken. That’s because there are much more productive chickens out there which can lay nearly one egg per day. But if you love the look of these chickens, their eggs can be a great bonus.
- Eggs per Year: 200
- Eggs per Week: 4
- Size: Large
- Color: Brown
We’ve found out that the Naked Neck chicken is great for eggs and meat, but do they make good pets? Absolutely! If you’re planning to create a small backyard coop that you and/or your kids will love, the Naked Neck is a great choice.
They have a kind nature, so you’ll never need to worry about being pecked. Kids may be a little hesitant with these friendly chickens at first due to their size and appearance, but there is nothing to worry about on that front.
As well as being friendly, they have quite a long lifespan of 8 to 10 years, which is around twice as long as many of the great egg-producing hybrids. In terms of size, most hens will be a little under 7 lbs.
But the reasons to own them don’t end there! They are easy to care for and handle confinement quite well, making them a great choice for beginners. As an added bonus, Naked Neck chicks are quite cheap to buy.
They also aren’t very cold hardy so if you live in an area with bitter winters, you should either be prepared to invest in a robust coop heating system or look elsewhere.
Feeding and Housing Naked Neck Chickens
As we mentioned there, these chickens aren’t the best in cold conditions. The reason is obvious due to their lack of feathers. They simply don’t have the same level of insulation as other breeds.
While they struggle with freezing temperatures, those lack of feathers means they can handle hot weather very well. On those blistering days, all you need to do is make sure they have access to fresh water.
Now we know how they cope in different environments, let’s see their coop and feeding requirements.
While the Naked Neck does cope well with confinement, they are big chickens and need adequate space to move around. The recommended minimum is to have six square feet per chicken but if you can manage 10, that’d be perfect.
Along with this, you’ll want a nice large run for them to move around during the day. You can have them out exploring as free range, but you’ll need to ensure you have adequate perimeter fencing to keep the birds in and any predators out.
Along with the coop space, you’ll want sizable nesting boxes, so they are comfortable laying eggs. These should be around 12 to 14 inches tall and wide. You’ll only need one nesting box for every three hens but there’s no problem in having more nesting boxes. Just make sure to keep them clean.
The Naked Neck chicken is easy to feed and doesn’t have any special requirements. The easiest way to feed them is with pellets. As they are dual-purpose breeds, they need quite a large amount of protein. Make sure the protein content is between 16-20%.
While pellets can ensure a balanced diet, the Naked Neck chicken loves to forage. They will happily go out and find their own food if given the space to do so. They will eat any plants they can find, along with worms and insects.
If they aren’t able to forage, then their feed should include some with grit and calcium. If you have them as free-range, then it’s important to note that they aren’t great fliers and aren’t quick, so they can be easy prey.
There are no known common health issues associated with the Naked Neck chicken. They are quite tolerant to disease and can be kept in a wide range of different conditions. This helps to keep them low maintenance and is good for beginners.
Reasons to Keep Naked Neck Chicken
Should you keep the Naked Neck chicken? If you’re not sure, here’s a round-up of all the reasons why you should!
- Something Different – Yes, you can keep a classic breed of chicken but why not do something a little different? These are curious chickens that are sure to be a talking point when anyone comes to your home.
- Heat Hardy – If you live somewhere hot, then you won’t need to worry about your naked neck chickens. Their lack of feathers makes them highly tolerant of hot summer days.
- Don’t Go Broody – You don’t need to worry about aggressive or protective behavior towards their eggs. They are not broody and will happily let you take them away.
- Great for Sustainability – If you want to live more sustainability, then the Naked Neck chicken is a great choice. Whether it’s meat and eggs, or just eggs, your chickens will help you live more naturally.
- Flightless – The Naked Neck chicken is more or less flightless. It means you can let them be free-range without needing to worry about high fences.
- High Feed Efficiency – Having a high efficiency basically means you don’t need to buy them as much food as with other chickens. They also love foraging, which can help cut down on your food costs.
Reasons to Not Keep Naked Neck Chicken
While those are all great reasons to keep a Naked Neck chicken, there are a few downsides to be aware of. Let’s see what they are.
- Quite Noisy – If you live in a built-up area surrounded by other homes, then their constant clucking may be a nuisance. If you think sound may be an issue, then the Naked Neck probably isn’t for you.
- Can Be Bullied – Hoping to have a backyard coop with a beautiful mix of chicken breeds? If so, you need to be aware that the Naked Neck can get bullied by other large chickens.
- Not Cold Hardy – For those that live in colder climates, Naked Neck chickens can be harder to keep. They’ll need access to a reliable heater on the coldest of days.
- Not Exceptional Layers – They are good, but not great layers. If all you wanted was eggs, there are breeds out there which can produce nearly double the number that Naked Neck hens can.
We love the Naked Neck chicken! They have curious personalities and look a little different from other breeds. Added to their peculiar appearance is the fact they tick all the right boxes in what you’d want from a chicken.
Whether you’re looking for meat, eggs, or a friendly backyard companion, you’ll love the Naked Neck chicken. All you need to do now is build a coop and find a local chicken breeder.