Naked Neck (Turken) Chicken: Not The Average Backyard Bird

By Chicken Fans Editorial Team

Prepare to be amazed when you lay eyes on the Turken/Naked Neck chicken. Is it a chicken? Is it a turkey? Perhaps a marvelous mix of both? Fear not; we’ll give you all information there is to know about this unusual naked neck breed.

Brace yourself; the Turken chicken is no ordinary fowl and would make a delightful addition to your backyard flock.

  • Naked Neck hens lay up to 3 eggs weekly
  • Heritage breed carrying a genetic mutation causing the lack of feathering
  • Friendly and docile nature
  • Becoming extremely popular on social media
EggsAround 160 eggs/year
Egg ColorLight Brown
Egg SizeMedium
Weight6 – 7 lbs
HardinessCold & Heat
ColorBlack, white, buff and red in the US as recognized colors


Once upon a time, folks believed these peculiar chickens were a turkey-chicken mix, but Naked Necks are a pure and proud heritage chicken breed. They also go by the name of ‘Turken’, because of the obvious looks they share with their larger cousins.

At first glance, Naked Necks can make you wonder if something is wrong with this chicken. But they’re doing more than ok. A genetic mutation causes the lack of feathering around their neck.

These chickens lack feathers not only on their necks but also on their bums, but they care less about their appearance. They do what they love – clucking and munching.

Despite their appearance, Turken chickens are one of a kind. They are loving and docile. Their calm and friendly nature can make them a valuable addition to your backyard.

Naked Necks have bright orange eyes with bright red wattle, comb, and ears. They have yellow beaks and shanks. Being a large fowl and broad back, they are a good source of meat production. They are medium-sized chickens, with males weighing around 7 pounds and females around 6 pounds.

If hit by direct sunlight, their neck becomes bright red, which is why they look like small-sized turkeys. Other than that, they have pale skin and clear yellow legs.

The Naked Neck rooster has a big and thick single comb and large wattles. They appear primarily red due to the high rate of sun exposure. Single-comb chickens with a big comb are prone to frostbite. Consequently, they need more care from their keepers. If your chickens have a small comb, they will be more frostbite-resistant. 

Naked Neck Genes

The unique appearance of Naked-Neck chickens is because of genetic mutation. This mutation creates an abundance of a feather deter called BMP12. This mischievous gene controls the production of feathers around the neck, thighs, and bottoms. 

The naked-neck trait of this breed is controlled by a specific gene. This allele has an incomplete dominance, meaning that if a chicken has either two copies of the dominant allele (Na/Na) or one dominant allele and one recessive allele (Na/na+), it will exhibit the naked-neck characteristic.

However, chickens with only one dominant allele will have less reduction in feathering compared to those with two dominant alleles. Chickens with two copies of the recessive allele (na+/na+) will not show any reduction in this feathering characteristic of the Naked Necks unless there is a mutation, and they will not be able to pass down this trait.

In short: if a chicken inherits the genes from both parents, it will acquire no feathers on its neck. Feather production is slightly more if the gene is passed on from one parent.

Naked-Neck chicks are born with bare necks; the feathers don’t fall off after hatching. This breed is not the only chicken breed that can carry the gene that causes a naked neck; you will find many bare-necked chickens carrying this gene.


These cute chickens must not be underestimated. Turkens are a social media sensation and, with alluring looks, can captivate anyone. They are capable of going viral just by flapping their feathers. 

Some find Turken chickens adorable and beautiful, while some find them less appealing. As they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they give a unique look to your backyard. Naked Neck chickens enjoy foraging and roaming around the yard, scratching their feet in the dirt.

They are not just bare-neck chicks; they have way more to offer. Being hardy, they can adapt to any weather quickly. Though they can survive the cold weather, by being a loving keeper, you should provide them with the necessary warm coop. They are cold-hardy, but because of their feather shortcoming, Turken chickens are not the best breed to keep in extremely cold environments. 

However, they are more heat-hardy than most other chicken breeds and can stand higher temperatures well. But keep in mind all animals need extra care during extreme weather conditions.

Naked Neck chickens are incredibly loving, friendly, and docile. They get along with human families and are exceptionally loving towards kids

They do not show signs of aggressiveness towards other breeds and are most likely lower in the pecking order. They are not bullies by nature and can get along with any breed. 

These birds love to be in a free-range environment. You will find them foraging in the backyard munching here and there. However, they still require proper chicken feed to keep them happy and healthy.

Egg Production

Turken chickens are not the best layers. They lay up to 160 eggs per year, up to three eggs per week. The egg is light brown in color and medium in size. They are mainly kept as ornamental chickens or for breeding purposes.

Naked Neck chickens are known to go broody quite easily; they make very good moms. If you have a broody Turken and want to hatch eggs, ensure not to put too many eggs under the hen. Her medium-sized body with less feathering is not suited for a large number of fertilized eggs.

They start laying eggs at around six months. 

Meat Production

Naked Neck chickens are dual-purpose breeds. Being bulky, they offer an ample amount of meat. Their protein needs are lower as compared to other species. In birds, protein is used to produce feathers. As they lack dense feathering, they can use their energy otherwise. 

Many breeders, especially those who do not have automatic pluckers, favor Turken chickens. They spend less time plucking, offer generous meat, and mature quickly. 

These bare neck chooks need proper housing to protect them from predators. Naked-Neck chickens are bulky and have fewer feathers which makes them flightless. No matter how much they flap, they can’t fly over any fence. 

Naked Neck Chicken Breed History

Their name sounds like a blend of turkey and chicken, but the Naked Neck or Turken is a chicken. With a unique trait, which on becoming dominated, Turken chickens have little or no hair on the neck, giving them a look similar to a turkey. 

People have mostly speculated about the origin of the Turken chicken. However, the most accepted belief is that Hungarian conquerors brought back this wonderful breed after World War II.

Naked Neck chickens were widely known in the Transylvania region, an area located in today’s Romania, from where they made their way to Germany. They were then better developed, and the bare neck gene was identified.

Later, they acquired many names, such as Naked-Neck, Turken, Kaalnek, and Transylvanian Naked-Neck chicken keepers, who highly appreciated their foraging ability, disease resistance, and economic value. The American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection recognized Transylvanian Naked-Neck chicken in 1965.

Many breeders incorporated the genes of Turken Chickens into other breeds very easily.  They are relatively rare in North America but quite popular in Europe. 


The Naked Neck chicken is truly a unique and lovable bird despite its lack of feathers. These almost featherless birds are judged by their appearance. 

Their unique genes distinguish them from other breeds in many aspects. Bare-neck chickens are healthy, disease-resistant, and bulky birds. 

Being quite hardy, they are go-to birdies if you live in a warmer climate region. They lay eggs all year round, although not the best egg layers, and source a hefty amount of meat. 

Related Questions

What is a Naked Neck chicken?

A Naked Neck chicken is a heritage breed often called Turken. They carry a genetic mutation causing reduced feathering around the neck, giving them a partially or complete bare neck.

What color eggs do Naked Neck hens lay?

Naked Neck hens lay light brown medium-sized eggs.

How many eggs do Naked Neck chickens lay?

Naked Neck chickens are not the best egg layers. They lay up to 100 eggs per year, that’s up to two eggs weekly.

Are Naked Neck chickens beginner friendly?

Yes, Naked Neck chickens are hardy, docile, and friendly, making them an excellent choice for beginners. They are also popular on social media.

Credits Featured Image: @brandy_l_m_ (IG)

Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The editorial team consists of 3rd generation chicken owners Kat, journalist, editor-in-chief, and Nick, working with illustrators and specialists in the field.