The Cou-nu de Forez (Naked-neck from the Forez region) is France's most commercially important naked neck breed. It was developed in the late 1940's by Henri Calemard as an easily-pluckable meat breed which could also be used for eggs by crossing a traditional local naked neck chicken (assumed to date back to the 19th century in origin, when naked neck chickens were imported to France from Britain) with the large, white, Gâtinaise chicken. Cou-nu de Forez were developed in the Forez region of the Loire (hence the name). They are unusual as a naked neck breed as they have a bow-tie of feathers at the base of the neck.
Commercially they are mostly raised for meat, which is deemed good in terms of flavour and texture. They are valued, as the naked necks mean they have 30% fewer feathers to pluck. Though tall in appearance, with long legs they are classed as a medium-sized breed.
Types: Bantam, Largefowl
Varieties (Single Comb): White
Uses: Eggs, Meat
Weight: Largefowl: 2.3 - 3.5 kg
Personality: The Cou-nu du Forez is calm and hardy. A great first time breed.
Preferred climate: Any
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg production: Good (3/week)
Egg color: Cream
Egg size: Extra Large
What else you should know:
It should be noted that though accepted as a breed, the Cou-nu du Forez is actually heterozygote for the naked neck trait. When Cou-nu du Forez roosters and mated with Cou-nu du Forez hens one in four of the chicks will be normal feathered, one in four will be pure naked neck and two in four will have the Cou-nu du Forez characteristics (patch of feathers on an otherwise naked neck).
delicious meat, unusually heat tolerant, egg productivity, healthy breed
aesthetic look, peculiar look, strange naked neck
bizarre white giants, village style chickens
The Naked Neck
The first time we've ever owned a naked neck chicken was when I fell in love with the peculiar look of this breed of chicken. Their naked necks looked so out of the ordinary, that I decided to acquire at least one chicken of this breed to keep it mostly for the aesthetic look, and not for productivity, as I knew little to none about the characteristics of this breed.
Compared to the other chicken breed that I owned at the time, the one month old naked neck we named Lulu grew very fast. I could easily tell that it was a breed created both for the meat and for the egg productivity. However, while the other chicken breeds stopped altogether or laid very few eggs during the winter, the Naked Neck chicken continued to lay eggs throughout even the coldest periods in winter. From this point of view, this breed is superior to the others.
As for the attitude towards humans, the naked neck was very gentle and very friendly with other breeds. It can be easily trained and has a high tolerance to heat. They are a healthy breed, as they do not require too much medicine in order to survive and they don't catch diseases as fast as other breeds might do.
All in all, the Cou-nu du forez is a great breed, highly recommended to farmers who want a breed of chickens which can provide both eggs and delicious meat, but also one that does not require too much money and time spent on their health..
From Lillith Apr 4 2014 4:40PM
Senegalese Cou-nu de Forez
I first saw these chickens in the main market in Dakar, Senegal. You really could not miss them, amongst the red village chickens they looked like bizarre white giants. Bizarre because they have the naked neck trait and their necks are completely unfeathered apart from a 'bow tie' just above the crop.
It was only later that I found out that these chickens originated in France, but have subsequently been introduced into Senegal. They are medium-sized, growing up to about 3kg. They are also decent layers, producing large eggs (in common with many naked neck breeds).
Subsequently I had the opportunity to work with these birds and what follows is based on that experience.
Their naked necks means that they are unusually heat tolerant and are often preferred for meat rearing as there are 30% fewer feathers to pluck. In France they are often reared free-range and are excellent scratchers and foragers.
In the harsher conditions of Africa, though they can be reared as village style chickens, outside in the day and kept in coops over night for protection from predators they do need some supplemental food. Grain will work (they really love spent brewing grains), but commercial feed works best.
Despite being mainly a meat breed, they are quite prolific layers, producing large eggs all year round.
This is a calm and very hardy bird. They are also very easy to rear and look after even for the novice. Indeed, the French breed societies recommend them for beginner chicken breeders as backyard birds. They are also surprisingly active and the hens will spend almost the entire day scratching and pecking. They love insects and invertebrates if they can get hold of them and are a great way of clearing gardens of slugs and snails (but their scratching behaviour does mean that they are not safe around young plants).
Don't let the strange naked neck appearance put you off, this is definitely a breed that deserves to be more widely known..
From DLlE Oct 13 2012 8:19AM