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What Is a Turken (Turkin)? A Transylvanian Naked Neck Chicken

Updated on February 26, 2017

Chicken and Turkey?

This breed, also known as the Transylvanian Naked Neck, was first bred in Hungary, and later perfected in Germany. Contrary to what some folks believe, the Naked Neck is 100% chicken — not a cross between a turkey and a chicken. It’s from this misconception, however, that its name, “Turken,” sometimes spelled “Turkin,” has been derived. National Geographic has referred to it as a "churkey."

A number of the color varieties of the Naked Neck breed have been recognized by the American Poultry Association since 1965. The Standard of Perfection recognizes Buff, Red, and White for the large Turkens in the Miscellaneous or Continental class. But like most breeds, different colors and patterns exist. There are Turkens with both single combs and rose combs, although the Standard of Perfection only recognizes the single combs.

There is also a breed with naked necks in Australia that has pea combs and lays blue or green eggs.

Despite its recognition by the American Poultry Association, and its highly unusual appearance which would definitely draw attention to it, the breed is not really known as an exhibition bird.

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Breed Characteristics

The Naked Neck is a dual purpose bird. Because of this, the Naked neck is a very popular among homesteading families. It lays between 120-180 medium to large light brown eggs each year and has a meaty body usually weighing between 6-8 pounds. The Naked Neck has approximately half as many feathers as other chickens its size, making it much more tolerant of heat. They are also reasonably cold hardy despite this lack of plumage. It is this lack of plumage (making them easier to pluck) and their meaty bodies that has made them favorable for meat production. Turkens can be broody and make very good mothers.

Source

They are proficient foragers making them excellent free-range birds; however they do well in confinement as well. Because of their immunity to most diseases, they are a very hardy breed.

The neck and head of the Naked Neck often becomes a very bright red because of its exposure to the sun. This characteristic (its bare red turkey-like neck) is what makes a turkey come to mind when observing this chicken.

Source

It's what's on the inside that counts!

Despite some people’s instant aversion to this “ugly chicken”, many are won over by the chicken’s personality. In one of the chicken forums I read this interesting story. A mother shares, “A week ago, I went to the feed store to let my daughter pick out some chicks for her to raise for 4-H . And of course she picks out those ugly little turkins..I also let her pick out a few chicks out of several other breeds. So I have 30 little birds it my brooder. But I am beginning to like these ugly little guys. They have a personality all their own. They seem to be more active and high strung than the rest of our babies. When we let them out in our yard to play they are running back and forth chasing each other. My daughter says it looks like they are playing tag. One even caught a fly in midair!! I don't know how they will be when they are older but they are a riot right now. I do think I may even be the one picking out some next year!!”

Like ‘em or love ‘em, they’re still 100% chicken. No turkeys allowed.

Have you ever heard of a Turken before?

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    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      PDXKaraokeGuy - How funny! If you use that excuse, then a chicken that reminds you of both, such as the turken, would be considered doubly ugly and should be very easy to eat! LOL

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      so, one of the reasons I find myself able to eat chickens and turkeys is because they are exceedingly ugly. Your hub has only increased that belief :-)

    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      LOL davenmidtown. I have not heard that saying before. too funny.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      My dad had a dog once that someone said was so ugly it should hurt... he was pretty soar over that for weeks....

    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      They are not quite ugly enough to be cute. They are still ugly. Poor things is right.

      I'm glad you enjoyed this one. And I'm glad you were able to laugh at it. Poor things....

    • Hillbilly Zen profile image

      Hillbilly Zen 6 years ago from Kentucky

      Oh my goodness this made me laugh and feel sorry for the little things all at the same time. I still have the information on the Hub I did about sweaters for penguins - I wonder if those folks would consider knitting scarves for turkens....You do come up with the most interesting topics, Ms. hsb! Voted up and interesting and funny.

    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Augustine - they indeed are very bizarre looking chickens! Like an earlier commenter stated, they almost look ill. Thanks for stopping by.

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 6 years ago from Texas

      How bizarre! I never would have known these existed until now. I hate roosters, but now starting to like chikcens. Thank you for sharing!

    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      cmontijo - thanks for sharing that they are very nice. Many people have pet chickens, so chickens have to be nice over all. If I were going to have a pet chicken, it would have to be a silkie. I have written several silkie chicken articles and I've written a couple hubs about where I tortured my husband about wanting to get a silkie chicken. They really are cute. Those stories where I tortured my husband are the silkie chicken saga. I'm glad you stopped by to read about the turken. Thanks for stopping by!

    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      davenmidtown - If it did become the next small dog craze I would hope it would be one where they were crossed with the silkie chicken created by ShowMeSilkies. If you haven't read that hub on silkies and seen the Show-Me-Silkie, you need to read that hub. I just shared it for you if you are watching. You hve to read that one.

    • cmontijo profile image

      cmontijo 6 years ago from Somewhere in the World

      I had one of this they are very nice chickens and almost never get sick.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      OMG: I wonder if those are going to be the next "small dog" craze. This is a great hub. I loved the photos and the details about this chicken. I would have thought it was a cross.. glad it is all chicken... voted up and sharing

    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Thomas/ThoughtSandwiches - obviously I would be very pleased if you link to it. I have thought that an interesting link would be of all things to something vampirish. Kinda strange, but since they are known as the Transylvania Naked Necks, and their neck is naked and accessible, I can't help but have the thought. And yes there are chicken forums, and newsletters. Thanks for visitin'!

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

      ThoughtSandwiches 6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Homestead...

      Very disturbing bird you have here. Perhaps you will allow me to provide a link in an upcoming story I have planned? The best part...there are apparently 'chicken forums'?

      Great job!

      Thomas

    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Lookin' forward to seein' what you do with it, Alastar. Until then...

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Yes Ms. home, I was very happy to point that out. delightful bird and story. Quite the egg producer too. Hmm..generally a non-fiction writer but sure the Turken can be worked in somewhere down the chicken run:)

    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      No, not a DNA cloning attempt, Alastar Packer. I bet with a little bit of imagination, you could take this critter and do a lot with it in one of those tales you share.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Ah! How charming those Turkins. They are special; and its good to know they're not some freaky DNA cloning attempt. Your right homesteadbound, you can read this interesting and funny one before sleepy time! Thanks!

    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      I'm really glad you enjoyed it, Agnes. And you are right. Sometimes when you are less appealing you have to make up for it in other ways. But it's good to remember to never judge a book, or chicken, by its cover, or lack of feathers.

    • Agnes Penn profile image

      Maria del Pilar Perez 6 years ago from Nicholson, Pennsylvania, USA

      Too funny! I've different breeds in our coop, but none that look like these. Sometimes, the ones that are the ugliest compensate with personality. Interesting, funny and useful hub.

    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      You are correct. Poor thing is a bittle on the ugly side, as opposed to the silkies that I wrote about which are really on the cute side for a chicken. I like to learn new things too.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I have never heard of a Turken before, poor thing is a bit on the ugly side!

      I've enjoyed reading and learning something new, many thanks for sharing.

    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      jacqui-I'm glad you found the article interesting. Thank you for taking time to share a comment

    • jacqui2011 profile image

      jacqui2011 6 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

      Very interesting - I had never heard of a Turken before I read your article. Very informative. Thank you for sharing.

    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      QudsiaP1 - glad to help you. I always jokingly say when I learn something new, "Now I can go to sleep tonight. I have to learn something new every day." But they do look pretty pathetic, especially from the shoulders up.

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 6 years ago

      Had I seen these birds before reading them I would think them to be diseased. Thank you I have learned something new today.