Saturday, 29 January 2011

The featherless chicken

Image showing a featherless rooster and hen
Featherless chickens
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Genus: Gallus
Species: Gallus Gallus
Common Name(s): Featherless chicken, Naked Chicken

The featherless chicken is a unique breed of chicken, created by a team of researchers, led by Avigdor Cahaner, at the genetics faculty of the Rehovot Agronomy Institute near Tel Aviv, Israel.

The naked chicken has not been genetically altered but instead is the result of selective breeding. According to the scientists behind it, the lack of feathers gives this breed several "advantages", over conventional chickens, including:
  • Faster growth
  • They are energy efficient and require less food 
  • They can adapt and survive better in hot climates 
  • They are ecofriendly, since the procedure of plucking contaminates large quantities of water with feathers and fats. This is not the case with the featherless chicken.

    Creator of the featherless chicken, Professor Avigdor Cahaner,
    talks about the breed 

On the other hand, not having feathers does come with certain drawbacks:
  • Males have a hard time mating since they can't flap their wings and do other wing-related mating rituals
  • They are susceptible to parasites, mosquitoes and sunburns
  • They can't survive in cool or cold climates
  • When pairing, the rooster may injure the hen with its nails and beak, as the hen has no feathers to protect itself. To prevent this, the nails of two of the rooster's fingers have to be cut off.

There are many opponents of the featherless chicken, considering it to be a prime result of "bad" science, solely created to benefit our consumption needs. What's your opinion on the matter?

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References & Further Reading
- Azoulay Y, Druyan S, Yadgary L, Hadad Y, & Cahaner A (2011). The viability and performance under hot conditions of featherless broilers versus fully feathered broilers. Poultry science, 90 (1), 19-29 PMID: 21177439
- Cahaner A, Ajuh JA, Siegmund-Schultze M, Azoulay Y, Druyan S, & Zárate AV (2008). Effects of the genetically reduced feather coverage in naked neck and featherless broilers on their performance under hot conditions. Poultry science, 87 (12), 2517-27 PMID: 19038808


  1. this animal is very very strange. i think my class mates will be interested

  2. That's sick! This is barf worthy!!!!!!!!! In fact, BLAGHHHH! I did not know this existed!

    1. ur parents are barf worthy fgt

  3. flap their winds?

  4. I want some naked chickens. They are cute.