The Turken, or Naked Neck Chicken, is one of the most recognizable chicken breeds in the world. Known for the lack of feathers around their necks, these chickens have so much more to offer than just showing a bit of extra skin. Let’s learn more about the Turken and how to care for them so you can welcome them to your small farm or backyard and enjoy these unique birds.


Quick Facts About Turken (Naked-Neck) Chickens

Breed Name:Transylvanian Naked Neck Chicken, Naked Neck Chicken, Turken or Kaalnek
Place of Origin:Transylvania
Uses:Meat and eggs
Rooster Size:8 – 8.5 pounds
Cow (Female) Size:6 – 6.5 pounds
Color:The coloration of feathers is normally black, white, red, or buff but the neck features red skin that appears pink without sunlight. The other body parts are yellow in coloring while the wattle and comb are red.
Lifespan:7 – 8 years
Climate Tolerance:Excel in warm climates but are adaptable to the cold
Care Level:Easy to care for
Production:100 eggs per year

Turken (Naked Neck) Chicken Origins

Upon first seeing the Turken, it is understandable some would be under the impression that the Transylvanian Naked Neck Chicken came into existence thanks to the breeding of a turkey and a chicken. This isn’t the case, but that doesn’t mean the origins of the Turken aren’t somewhat debated. Some experts believe these chickens came from Asia to Europe by the Hungarians as spoils of war. The more popular belief is that these hardy chickens came from Transylvania and then made their way to Germany where they were better developed and the naked neck gene identified.


Turken (Naked Neck) Chicken Characteristics

While they may look comical, the Turken is one of the hardiest and easy-to-care-for chicken breeds out there. The lack of feathers around the neck is the reason for their popularity as it makes it easier for plucking. This chicken breed is also quite calm and one of the easiest breeds to tame due to their friendliness. These are ideal birds to have in the backyard or as part of your small farm and take to confinement with ease.


Turkens are primarily used for meat and eggs. Their bodies are heavy, making them ideal for meat production. Having fewer feathers also makes plucking and preparation for meat easier.

As a dual-purpose chicken, Turkens are considered dependable egg layers. The legs they lay are of good size and look brown or light brown in color. One hen can lay roughly three eggs per week and easily produce up to 100 per year.

Appearance & Varieties

Turkens are best known for their lack of features around the neck. This is controlled by a specific gene. Many feel the appearance of these birds is what makes them so unique. Without feathers, their necks closely resemble those of a turkey. These hefty birds come in various colors such as black, red, buff, and white. The skin around their neck is normally red or may appear a pinkish color if they aren’t exposed to sunlight. The rest of these chicken’s bodies are yellow with the occasional slate blue leg appearing now and then in lighter feathered Turkens.

These chickens have one, red comb. Their wattles are thick and bulky in comparison to other naked neck breeds. They also have a single comb on their head, red earlobes, and reddish bay-colored eyes.

Distribution & Habitat

While Turkens are most popular in France, Germany, and South America, they can also be found on rare occasions in the United States. When it comes to habitat and caring for Turken, keep in mind that these chickens truly love being in a free-range environment. They should still be provided adequate housing to help them avoid predators and severe weather. Hens also need proper laying nests for eggs and young chicks.


Are Turkens (Naked Neck) Chickens Good for Small-Scale Farming?

Yes, Turkens are great for small-scale farms. These birds are quite hardy. While they do best in warm climates, they can easily be acclimated to colder areas. These birds are also quite easy to work with. They enjoy free-range living and can provide a small farm with substantial eggs for the family and meat when needed.

While the Turken or naked neck chickens may look different than other chickens in your coop, these hardy birds can be a perfect addition to any flock. If you’re in the market for a chicken breed that can provide for a small family, is docile, and can acclimate to your local weather, the Turken could be the birds for you.

Related chicken breed reads: 

Featured Image Credit: MLARANDA, Pixabay