This is Rachel. If you haven’t already made her acquaintance, she’s something of a hen starlet on my Facebook page where she is featured daily in all her fluffy cuteness. Rachel is a bantam frizzled Cochin. Cochin is her breed, bantam describes her miniature size and frizzle describes her unusual feathers. Genetics cause frizzled feathers to grow out and curl away from the body instead of growing flat and smooth following the body contour. Frizzle is not a breed, it is a genetically programmed feather type.
FACTS ABOUT FRIZZLED CHICKENS:
- Frizzles are most commonly found in the following breeds: Polish, Cochin, Plymouth Rock, Japanese and Silkies (Silkie frizzles are referred to as Sizzles)
- Frizzled feathers curl out and away from the skin instead of laying flat against it.
- 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 smooth 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)
“The Frizzle gene (F) is incompletely dominant, with exhibition quality Frizzles usually with one dose only of the Frizzle gene (F/f+). But there is a frizzle modifying gene (mf) which is recessive. The mf gene when homozygous (two doses) is a strong modifier of the frizzle trait. Birds with one dose of the frizzle gene (F/f+) & two doses of the modifying gene (mf/mf) may appear predominantly smooth, & may be mistaken for non-frizzle (& not of exhibition quality). Frizzle birds homozygous for both F & mf (F/F mf/mf) may be mistaken for heterozygous F/f+ (one dose of Frizzle gene) with no modifiers (Mf+/Mf+). It is mentioned in the Hutt book that this mf gene is very common in non-frizzled breeds.” Poultry Genetics
For an in-depth discussion of frizzled genetics, visit the Polish Breeders Club.
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