Featherless chickens, a unique breed developed through selective breeding, offer a potential solution to combat the problem of overheating in commercial broiler chickens. These genetically enhanced birds, often referred to as “naked chickens,” gain weight rapidly but struggle with elevated body temperatures due to their fast metabolism. To address this issue, Israeli geneticist Avigdor Cahaner selectively crossed a breed with a naturally bare neck with a regular broiler chicken, resulting in the creation of featherless chickens.
Advocates of this breed claim several benefits, including lower feed consumption, faster growth, improved heat tolerance, and ease of plucking. However, featherless chickens face challenges. Their lack of feathers makes them vulnerable to parasites, mosquito bites, skin diseases, sunburns, and temperature fluctuations. Additionally, the males encounter difficulties in mating due to their imbalance without feathers for wing support.
Despite the potential advantages, the featherless chicken breed has struggled to gain mainstream acceptance since its development in the early 2000s. Critics argue against the breed’s “unnatural” appearance and question the ethics and potential health impacts of such genetic modifications. Consumer studies suggest that fear of hormonal usage, concerns about unusual animals, and worries about health effects hinder the breed’s widespread adoption.
While featherless chickens present an unconventional solution to combat overheating, their future as a mainstream poultry option remains uncertain, with public perception and ethical considerations playing significant roles in their limited acceptance.
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