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Puss - the ugliest chicken in the world?  RSS feed

 
Mother Tree
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In our bid to get hold of chickens that go broody, we've spent a fortune on buying, importing and incubating various fertile eggs.  We finally got a 'silkie'.  It's feathers are more moth-eaten than 'silky' in my opinion, and she has the sort of face that reminds you how closely birds are related to dinosaurs. 

So what do you guys think?  Is this really the ugliest chicken in the world?




Or should I reserve judgement on the grounds that 'handsome is as handsome does' and see if she goes broody anytime soon... 
 
pollinator
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Nope. Take a look at a turken.



http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/CGP/Turkens/BRKTurkens.html
 
Burra Maluca
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I used to think Turkens were really ugly too, but it turns out that Portugal has naked neck versions of its three major chicken breeds and I'm slowly being converted. 

Here are some of our young naked necks that we bought, along with a pretty, full feathered, honey-coloured home-bred one, called Melinda. 



They seem to cope better with our super-hot summers, so I'm beginning to not notice how ugly they are.  In fact, I'm almost at the stage I think they look rather handsome.  There are also rumours that they go broody, eventually.  Time will tell.  *Any* chicken that goes broody is beautiful in my opinion!

Now, I wonder what would happen if I crossed one of the naked-necks with the moth-eaten, slikie dinosaur chicken....   
 
steward
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Your silky has that look that tells me "Ain't nobody gonna mess with my chicks!"
 
                                
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The uglier they are, the less guilty you'll feel about slaughtering them. 
 
pollinator
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I got Silkies to brood eggs but the problem is the birds are so small, they can't sit on more than a few standard-sized eggs.  Ours have hatched a couple of their own babies, but not a large number and I'm not planning to replace them.  I've had good luck with Dark Cornish setting and raising chicks.
 
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what does it mean to go broody?
 
jacque greenleaf
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When a hen goes broody, she stops laying eggs and hanging out in the yard. Instead, she starts to sit on a clutch of eggs. If the eggs are fertile, this will result in chicks. For the hen, it's an altered state of consciousness.
 
Andrew Greaves
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are you kidding, jacque g?
 
jacque greenleaf
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No, I'm not kidding. Why do you think I might be?
 
Burra Maluca
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For some reason, a lot of people manage to convince themselves that chickens aren't conscious.  In fact, in some places men believe that women aren't conscious.  But that's patently absurd, of course women are conscious - it's the men that are in doubt   

But seriously, brain functions are controlled by neurotransmitters and hormones, some of which, like adrenaline, function as both.  Mens' hormones are generally more stable, testosterone rushes excepted, so they tend not to understand the huge alterations us women experience as our hormones cycle.  With chickens, broodiness is an all-encompassing desire to make those eggs hatch, and their whole outlook on life, and the way they experience and interpret things, changes as their hormones kick in. 

As we fall asleep, there is a whole cascade of hormone changes that alters which bits of our brain are active, whether or not to 'allow' sensory information through, allows memories from the last day or so to surface easily for further processing, shuts off (most of) the signals that make our limbs move so we don't go off sleep walking or kick our partners out of bed (too often) or talk too much.  Hormones are amazing things, when they work right, and I really have no reason to doubt that broody hens really do experience and altered state of consciousness.
 
Andrew Greaves
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jacque g wrote:
No, I'm not kidding. Why do you think I might be?


i guess that i never associate something as mundane as sitting on a clutch of eggs as being something that alters consciousness. it certainly never happens when i take care of my own children. as you can probably tell, i am new to country talk and i have never seen a chicken go broody, so i just assumed that they did it without an altered state of consciousness.
it would be like aliens who  come to live amongst us and they observe us eating and drinking and it looks  mundane so they assumethat we do it in an unaltered state of consciousness. of course when we drink alcohol, we dont do it unaltered, but they wouldn't know that.
 
steward
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After the initial clucky, hop on and off broody phase, when chooks are 'sitting tight',  they generally won't get off to eat for what seems like weeks. Sometimes the'll take a quick drink, often they don't even poo. I've seen some pretty impressive first poos after the clutch hatches
Not eating, drinking or shitting sure sounds like an altered state to me!
 
jacque greenleaf
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When I see a truly broody hen, the terms 'blissed out' or 'spaced out' leap immediately to mind. Showing my age here...unless people still use those terms?

Tawny, keep in mind that an active, chatty, social animal like a chicken can't think "OK now, I have to become sedentary and hide in the background for a month." She is operating on hormone-induced emotion, which compels her to alter her behavior profoundly. There is nothing mundane about it. In nature it is a very perilous time, and frankly, I am in awe of it.

And when you had your babies, wasn't your first reaction to them a profound change in your mental state?
 
Andrew Greaves
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chooks? i just looked at dictionary.com. slang for woman or its australian english for a hen. thats a good word to know.
 
gardener
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(rumors of my death have been seriously and greatly exaggerated but wholy believed by myself until a few days ago. Never get a 'double cold'... one on top of the other with different symptoms).

Silkies are about the best broody hen out there for raising chicks. If you breed them to something else (a different rooster) you will get a bigger chicken that still has that broody streak. So you breed up. Hybrid silkies are your best bet. Fugly is in the eye of the beholder but if it will sit eggs when you are working on your flock, it's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen.
 
pollinator
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a turken was by far the ugliest chicken i've ever had.
 
Burra Maluca
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Puss is no longer with us, but we do have a daughter!

Meet Fluffybutt.  She's five years and old the best chicken we've ever owned.



She seems to have inherited Puss' grumpy face, as well as his feathery black feet with extra toes.  She is an extraordinary sitter, and has survived five years of life on a predator infested patch of land.  I had to help her see off a fox a couple of years ago.  This photo was taken the day after a mongoose attack.  All the poultry were in a state of panic, we found some fluffy black feathers and Fluffybutt had disappeared.  We feared the worst, especially when she didn't show up for supper, or to be shut in that night.  But she appeared for breakfast the next morning and was rather disgruntled to be scooped up and brought triumphantly into the house to be fawned over and photographed. 

She does look rather grumpy, doesn't she...
 
pollinator
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Was that truly a silky, or a frizzled feathered hen of some other breed?  Frizzle feather is a genetic defect which can appear, or be bred into any type of chicken.  I love frizzle feathered chickens, just because they ARE so funny.  (I purposely bred for the defective gene, which is a little tricky as it requires a dominant gene with a recessive marker.). So while true silkies are a tiny breed with blue meat... you can get a frizzle feathered chicken of any size - I had a HUGE curly rooster.  Frizzle feathers tend to have brittle feathers and start to look pretty ratty after awhile.  And if you are in a cold climate, those tattered feathers may effect the hens ability to keep the eggs at a steady temp.

The problem i had here is that locals are superstitious of the frizzled chickens.  They are associated with witchcraft.  So it was very hard to sell my curly chickens.  I stopped purposely breeding them, but am always happy when the odd one still turns up.

Naked-neck chickens are also common here - again maybe it has to do with the climate.  Usually they have a little tuft of feathers on top, like a little hat.  I think they are kind of cute.  And yes I have seen naked-neck frizzled chickens. They look pretty funny...in a pathetic "I just escaped the electric chair AND the guillotine" sort of way.  Bummer I have no pictures.
 
pollinator
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We've had some fluffy bare necks - we called one Michael Jackson because he moon-walked, inbreeding did him in before long.

The bareneck/Marans chick is cute but she was not very pretty when she grew up.



This is "the look" from a sitting hen - watch those eyes !!





 
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Love this thread, we had turkens but a coon got them all, so now we have Black Copper Marans and will be adding a new flock of turkens this next spring if everything works out with our breeder.

I got the Marans because they are known to go broody and I picked out a super rooster who does his job with great diligence, the hens are still laying even though we finally got some low temperatures the past two days (teens).

ugly chickens? I think they are all beautiful regardless, they do so many things including providing entertainment.

Redhawk
 
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Ugly chickens?  Yes they are.  But still usefull.  As they say on the Red/Green show (a canadian show),  "if the women don't find you handsome, they danged sure better find you handy". 

I used to think that all baby humans were pretty, and most are, but I've seen one or two that I had to admit required the hormone induced changes of motherhood to be loved.  It's kind of funny how some things are nearly universally seen as "beautiful" and others as "ugly".  I suspect some sort of genetic programming.

I think there is also a hormone induced change for fathers, but not nearly as strong or immediate as motherhood.  I base this on my personal observations of myself and my wife with our own 9 kids.  (Not a large enough sampling to be scientifically acceptable, I realize, but a starting point).
 
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There are no ugly chickens.
 
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