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 and more convenient and efficient compared to the typical, everyday chicken we all know and love.
Interestingly, this strange breed is not genetically modified, but is the result of a 50-year effort, using natural breeding methods.
Not surprisingly, there are many people objecting 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 the 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 heath 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 in hot climates
- The breed is more ecofriendly, 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.
Featherless Chickens on British TV
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:
- 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%) is 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!
© 2011 Kofantom
Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania, now farming in 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!