This is Rachel. If you haven’t already made her acquaintance, she’s something of a hen icon on my Facebook page where she appears daily in all her puffy cuteness. Rachel is a Bantam Cochin Frizzle. Cochin is her breed, bantam describes her miniature size and frizzle describes her unusual feathers. Frizzles are the divas of the chicken world. The term frizzle refers to a gene that produces funky feathering.
|Rihanna, a Tolblunt Crested Polish Frizzle belonging to Kristin of 2Llamas and a Whole Lotta Drama.|
|This is a White Cochin (large fowl, not bantam) and a relative of Phoebe’s, above.|
Facts about frizzled chickens:
· Any breed can be bred to created frizzled chickens.
· Frizzled feathers curl out and away from the skin instead of laying flat against the skin.
· Frizzles are most commonly found in the following breeds: Polish, Cochin, Plymouth Rock, Japanese and Silkies (Silkie frizzles are affectionately referred to as Sizzles)
· Frizzles cannot fly and may find it difficult to roost if the roosts are positioned too high above the floor.
· Frizzled feathers provide less protection from the cold than normal feathers as it is difficult to trap warm air against their bodies with backwards-facing feathers.
· Frizzled genes are dominant. A smooth-feathered bird bred to a frizzled bird will result in 25% of the chicks possessing frizzled feathers.
· Breeding a frizzled bird to another frizzled bird is undesirable due to the chance that the mating may produce “curlies,” an over-frizzled bird with feathers that are weak, brittle and break easily. (think: chicken with a really bad perm)
For a in-depth discussion of frizzled genetics, visit the Polish Breeders Club.