The Nigerian naked-neck local chicken is the second commonest kind of fowl in Nigeria, comprising only 1.5% of the total population (with an estimated 190 000 000 domestic fowl in the country). They are slightly more common in the south of the country than the north.
So-called native or 'village' chickens are remarkable in that they can survive with minimal, or almost no management. They scavenge for all their food and produce eggs year-round. Hatchability for the eggs of the naked-neck local chicken is just over 54%. The native African chicken breeds tend to be more flavoursome but have tougher meat than introduced breeds and the eggs have bright yolks. They are more suited to slower West African stew and soup cooking techniques (where the meat of introduced breeds breaks down and falls off the bone). As a result the local breeds are still preferred over introduced breeds.
As it's name suggest the naked-neck local chicken is characterized by having no feathers at all on the head and neck. In other respects the birds look like the normal-feathered birds of Nigeria. Recent genetic evidence suggests that the naked-neck is the most ancient of Nigeria's common chicken breeds and that the loss of feathers on the neck is an adaptation to heat that allows these chickens to mature and breed earlier.
Like almost all the world's chickens, Africa's fowl are descended from the red junglefowl of the Indus valley. It seems that chickens first arrived in Africa about 1900 years ago. But there have been several waves of introduction. They first entered the continent via Egypt then Indian traders brought in the birds as did Arabic invaders and traders. As a result a large number of local or so-called 'Village' breeds have been developed based on the interbreeding of these successive waves of arrivals along with European chickens introduced in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the main these local or native chickens live autonomously on scraps, with each household owning a few chickens. Outside South Africa there has been almost no interest in native chickens until the 1980s and it's only with the use of molecular genetic and evolutionary techniques that the various chicken types have been sorted into groups that might be considered 'breeds'. As, in their own areas, the local chicken is simply called a 'chicken' this has meant that long and cumbersome names tend to be used to describe these chickens in the agricultural and scientific literature. As well as the naked-neck type, Nigeria also has the normal-feather and frizzle feathered types of village chicken. In terms of type the naked-neck local chicken is defined as 'NN'.
Varieties (Single Comb): Any color
Uses: Eggs, Meat, Brooding
Weight: 2 - 3 lbs
Personality: Easy tamed, but alert enough to make an excellent forager
Preferred climate: Warm
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg production: Poor
Egg color: Tinted
Egg size: Medium
What else you should know:
Of all the indigenous breeds, the naked-neck type matures and breeds the earliest. This breed also gains weight the fastest. Though these positive attributes are offset by lower egg hatchability. There is currently considerable interest in this breed because of its disease resistance and heat tolerance.
local chicken, naked neck trait, village chickens
Naked neck Chicken: What a chicken
Naked-neck chicken has it dominance in Nigeria. It is found almost in all regions in Nigeria. The first time I saw this local breed of chicken in Nigeria, I was scared thinking it was a mutated or a sacred chicken so to say. It is just the genetic makeup of the birds. Their look makes me smile because of the featherless neck they possess. I later familiarize myself with them when my neighbor got some of them to raise (Subsistence production). From my personal study, I am able to deduce some of their potentials and flaws.
I found out that this breed of chicken is very hardy and has high scavenging potentials (they survived even when they are not fed). They are best raised in free-range management system (it is in their nature to move about). Disease resistance is part of their economic potentials. They take good care of their chicks and they protect them from predators. The mortality rate of chicks is very low because hen (mother) is alert to any danger that the chicks may face. The cocks are very strong and very active. As usual, roosting is part of them. Not to forget, the cocks are just like a clock that helps you to predict time of the day (when the cocks do their normal thing). They hatch 97% of their eggs naturally. They are also good companion because they flock around their breeder/owner. They are also used for recreational purpose in some part of Nigeria.
They are very small in size even when they are fed more than enough. They lay small-sized eggs and have low feed conversion ratio. They also have low market price; that is why they are not raised for commercial purpose..
From NIcky Sep 13 2013 5:06PM
Nigerian Naked Neck Chicken, an Overlooked Breed
Naked Neck chickens are found across West Africa, but are most common in Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso (where they are known as Cou-nou). They are part of the village chicken population and in Nigeria they are most common in the southern, coastal regions.
Because they have excellent thermal resistance they are now classed as a separate breed of local chicken (along with normal feather and frizzled types) and are being bred as a separate population to keep as a nucleus stock for breed improvement purposes.
They look truly bizarre, having necks that are completely naked down to the crops and it's hardly surprising that the first Europeans who saw them thought they were some bizarre cross between turkey and chicken. There is a separate breed of naked neck in South Africa.
Naked necks are valued because they produce larger eggs than other village chickens and their resistance to heat means that more of them survive to adulthood. They also require 30% less food to reach the same weight as other chickens (this may be directly related to their having 30% fewer feathers).
The first time I saw one of these chickens I thought someone had part-plucked them as a joke. Only when I started looking into the genetics and origins did I become fascinated with the breed. In Europe, all naked necks derived from the Transylvanian naked neck, which probably originates from the Madagascar Naked Neck gamefowl crossed with an Eastern European local chicken. All European naked necks are related and belong to the Eastern European chicken family.
West African naked necks have a different origin and even in the different West African countries where they are found there are enough size and other differences between to class them separately as distinct breeds.
In one way, the naked necks are so ugly that they cannot help but grow on you. The village forms are typically kept in a semi-wild state and only approach when they are fed scraps. However, the town versions are around more people all the time and can be very tame indeed. The children love them because they are so bizarre. When chased they tend to flatten themselves down into the dust as if trying to hide. But they calm themselves once picked up.
They need almost no care and can live entirely off what they can forage. They are also extremely hardy and healthy and it looks like the naked neck trait even gives them a boosted immune system compared with other chicken breeds.
Their calm nature and their strange appearance won me over. Now that I know more about their genetics and how they can be used to improve chicken quality and survivability in West Africa I am even more of a fan of these strange-looking chickens..
From DLlE Oct 2 2012 1:58PM