Turkens: Birds of a Different Feather by Casey Love from the February/March, 2009 issue of Backyard Poultry
Birds of a Different Feather
By Casey Love
I am a member of the Rural Routers 4-H group. I raise a breed of chickens called Turkens at my Papa and Grandma’s house.
Turkens are an unusual breed but very great birds to handle, work with, and show. It’s again Turken time for me. My little ones arrived March 19th and 29th this year, and they are thriving very well and getting big.
Turkens are an odd bird to look at, and many people are baffled when they see them. Though their name is deceiving they aren’t any kind of turkey, they are all chicken. The origin of the Turken is fuzzy: they have been tracked to Europe where they are called Transylvania Naked Necks. And that’s no fib; they are hatched with zero feathers on their necks and sparse on their vent (bottoms). As they grow, most of the males will grow “beards” mid neck and are quite impressive. The females can also grow these beards; I’ve had both sexes with these beards.
The photos in this article are from my 2006 first prize open class pen that consisted of a very large white, black and yellow rooster, and buff and purple/black hens. When you work with these animals they always end up with names, and these were Big Boy, Blackie, and Buffy. This pen was unique, and I feel the judges saw how beautiful these birds were and how easy they were to handle, despite their size.
Like any chicken, the males can be very territorial about their girls. It’s best to have more hens than roosters with this breed. (One attacked my grandma! She’s okay though.)
Some things about my Turkens are that they love sparkly things and adore my mom’s rings. They love to be burped at, meaning they make a noise when content and it sounds like buuurp, buuurp, buuurp. They can get sunburned, so if you decide to get some make sure they have shelter from the sun! And they aren’t bad eating either. We had nice, big roaster chickens, and lots of delicious homemade chicken soup this winter!