Frizzle Feathered Chickens, Divas of the Chicken World

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 Cochin Frizzle. Cochin is her breed, bantam describes her miniature size and frizzle describes her unusual feathers.

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.

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.
Smooth feathered Polish pullet
This Polish pullet is smooth-feathered.
Frizzled Polish pullet
This Polish pullet is frizzled.
Rachel and her hatch mates and friends, Monica (black) and Phoebe (white) above are bantam Cochins with frizzled feathers.
Rachel and her hatch mates and friends, Monica (black) and Phoebe (white) above are bantam Cochins with frizzled feathers
Bertha is a large fowl Cochin with smooth feathers.
Bertha is a large fowl Cochin with smooth feathers

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.
Phoebe's frizzled feathers, re-growing after a normal molt. The feather shafts cause the curly effect.
Phoebe’s frizzled feathers, re-growing after a normal molt.
 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 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.

Bantam Cochin Frizzles Monica, Rachel & Phoebe at 6 weeks old.
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.
Bantam Cochin Frizzles Monica, Rachel & Phoebe at 6 weeks old.

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

Phoebe, my poster child for a bad molt.
Phoebe, my poster child for an ugly molt
Phoebe after molting.
Phoebe after molting

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Linda Graupner
Linda Graupner
1 year ago

Can you use feather sexing reliably on Frizzled Easter Eggers?

Marsha
Marsha
3 months ago

I have 5 frizzle chicks and they all have feathered feet. At some point in their lives should I clip the feathers off their feet?

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