I enjoy writing on a wide variety of topics although I do have a preference for pets and animals in general!
Naked Chickens: Birds Without Feathers
Behold, the featherless chicken, a bizarre and terrifying breed of chicken created by researchers, led by Avigdor Cahaner at the genetics faculty of the Rehovot Agronomy Institute, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Also known as the naked chicken, the purpose behind this man-made monstrosity was to create a chicken that is cheaper, more convenient, and more efficient compared to the typical, everyday chicken we all know and love.
Why Are These Chickens Naked?
Interestingly, this strange breed is not genetically modified; these chickens are a result of a 50-year effort using natural breeding methods. Over the last several decades, scientists have been breeding naked neck chickens with traditional broiler chickens to eventually create this naturally featherless bird.
Not surprisingly, many people object to the use of this breed, reasoning that featherless chickens suffer more than normal ones (already) do. For instance, they are more susceptible to parasites, mosquito bites, and sunburns. On the other hand, the scientists behind this weird breed rebut by mentioning all the advantages naked chickens have over other, more "normal" breeds.
The Advantages of the Featherless Chicken
According to the research team that developed this breed, these featherless birds pose no danger to people’s health when consumed. More or less, they taste the same and have equal nutritional value. Furthermore, they come with certain advantages, including:
- Faster growth.
- Their meat is lower in fat.
- They are energy efficient and require less food to produce the same amount of meat.
- They can adapt better to hot climates.
- The breed is more eco-friendly, as there is no need for plucking, a process that contaminates large quantities of water with feathers and fat tissues.
Truth be told, all the above sound quite logical, considering that these birds produce no feathers.
Before moving to the disadvantages, let's see a video showing them in action. Jump to 1:40 if you are impatient.
The Disadvantages of the Featherless Chicken
Considering both the commercial and humane aspects, we can say that the naked chicken breed has the following disadvantages:
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- Naked chickens have a hard time surviving in cool and cold areas.
- Individuals are more prone to parasites, mosquitoes, and sunburns.
- Males sometimes fail to mate, as the feathers are required in certain mating rituals (flapping wings, showing them off, etc.).
- Females are routinely injured during mating by the rooster's nails and beak, as they have no feathers to protect their skin. For this reason, breeders commonly remove the male's nails.
So what do you think about the ethical implications arising from a more widespread use of this breed? Would it be for better or for worse?
Please take into consideration that the vast majority of chickens (about 75%) are grown in conditions that are light years away from being considered.. humane. The same is, of course, true for other animals that are intensively farmed, like cows and pigs.
Personally, I don't mind much, although I know many would disagree.
Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion!
Sources and Further Reading
- Featherless Chicken Keeps Cool, https://www.cabi.org/agbiotechnet/news/1365#:~:text=A%20featherless%20chicken%20has%20been,climates%20and%20cause%20less%20pollution.
- “Featherless Naked Chicken Breed Facts.” Chicken Heaven On Earth, https://www.chickenheavenonearth.com/featherless-naked-chicken-breed-facts.html.
- Israeli Scientists Breed Featherless Chicken | The Poultry Site, https://www.thepoultrysite.com/news/2011/11/israeli-scientists-breed-featherless-chicken.
© 2011 Kofantom
Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania to Minnesota on July 21, 2014:
Oh my! They are weirdos. Another example of selective breeding taking advantage of an otherwise undesirable trait. I like how the photo shows them running around outside, when you know they're probably getting sunburned. I'll stick with my feathery chickens!
Great hub though, very informative and unbiased.
RTalloni on March 17, 2011:
Oh my!!! Well, setting aside all pros and cons mentioned, I hope they are not too embarrassed!