Other common names: Kaalnekke
The Naked Neck (also known as the Kaalnekke in Afrikaans) is one of South Africa's five recognized breeds of native chickens (the others being the Venda, Ovambo, Potchefstroom Koekoek and Natal Game). They are the traditional village chicken kept in rural chickens and are ideal for a free-range environment with minimal care.
The origins of chickens in South Africa are shrouded in mystery. It used to be thought that chickens came to Africa some 2500 years ago, via Egypt. However, recent studies have shown fowl bones to be present in Southern Africa that have been dated to 3,000 years ago. Whatever the origins, the base population of African chickens is of the domestic variety. However, the naked neck trait first originated in hard-feathered, gamefowl breeds of the Malayoid type that are native to Southeast Asia and Indonesia (and it's believed that the trait first appeared in Malaysia). From historical research it is believed that ships of the Dutch East India company brought the first naked neck chickens chickens to South Africa during the 17th century. On their voyages from the spice islands they would stop in Malaysia to re-provision and there they took on board naked neck chickens. They then voyaged to the Bay of Bengal, the Island of Madagascar and South Africa before making their way home to Europe. In all these stop-off points there are native naked neck chickens.
The naked neck gamefowl were either cross-bred with local domestic chickens in South Africa (or cross-bred naturally) and the naked neck trait entered the local population. As the trait affords protection from heat it quickly spread and the the current South African naked neck chicken was born.
Varieties (Single Comb): Any color
Uses: Eggs, Meat
Weight: Small - Medium Sized
Personality: Friendly and easy going. However, some hens will become aggressive when brooding.
Preferred climate: Any
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg production: Good (3/week)
Egg color: Brown
Egg size: Large
What else you should know:
These chickens reach maximum weight gain at 8.2 weeks, they reach adult weight at 20 weeks and are sexually mature at 155 days.
Purebred naked neck chickens have a completely unfeathered neck, due to possessing the partially dominant Naked Neck (Na phenotype). The trait is associated with increased heat resistance and improved egg hatchability.
Naked neck chickens in South Africa are not a large breed, but they are ideal for village-style farming practices. They require 20% less feed than other chickens to reach mature weight, are very heat tolerant and having 30% fewer feathers (due to their naked necks) are easier to pluck