Frizzle Chicken – What is this Breed?
The Frizzle chicken is quite an unusual looking bird. They are sure to turn some heads if you keep them in your backyard flock, and definitely stand out from the rest. These birds require a little bit of special love and care, but are generally loving and a friendly breed.
What is Frizzling?
First, let’s discuss what it means to frizzle. In a Frizzle chicken, the feathers don’t lay flat on the body like you see with many other breeds and varieties. Instead, the feathers curl upwards. This is caused by the shaft of the feather twisting and curling.
Frizzling is an incomplete dominant gene, so just one copy of the gene is enough to cause frizzling in a bird. In addition, there is an ‘mf’ gene that causes variation in the amount of frizzling you will see in the chick or bird.
In some countries, the Frizzle is a recognized breed. This is true in much of Europe, as is the case in the UK, Ireland, France, and Germany. However, the American Poultry Association does not recognize Frizzles as their own breed. Instead, they are a variety of other breeds.
In countries where these chickens are their own breed, they may be shown in exhibition under the category Frizzle. In the United States, these chickens are shown under the specimen of the breed, such as Polish, Orpington, or Cochin.
This is because the frizzling is really just a gene. To get a Frizzle chicken, breeders often mix a Frizzle with another breed, so the resulting bird is really a frizzle variety of the parent.
History of the Frizzle Chicken
Like many other breeds, the origin of the Frizzle is not clear. Many people believe the gene to have originated in Asia, as Frizzles first appeared there in the 18th century. They were mentioned in writing in Asia as far back as the mid 17th century. Charles Darwin found Frizzle chickens in the mid-1800’s in India.
These birds were brought to Europe and picked up quite the traction as they were unlike any chicken the Westerners had seen. Although they take a special breeding process and special care, they became popular in the 20th century throughout Europe.
Temperament and Characteristics
Frizzles tend to be sweet birds. They’re more docile and gentle than many other breeds, and can handle human interaction pretty well. Because of their unique appearance, they often become accustomed to being handled and interacting with humans from an early age.
One thing to consider is that these chickens are just exhibiting a gene. You may get a Frizzle chicken that exhibits characteristics of whatever breed her parents were.
Egg-Laying and Use
Frizzles are not known for their egg-laying abilities. They can lay up to 150 eggs a year, but it largely depends on their parent breeds. This isn’t a problem with the chickens not laying, it’s just how they are! Many people report their Frizzle chickens turning broody, but not horribly so.
In general, these chickens are used as show birds. Because of their unique appearance, they make great birds for exhibition. In different countries, there are different rules about showing these birds.
Care and Needs
Because of their feathering, these birds need a little special attention. They cannot fly, so perches should definitely be set lower than normal. If they’re out in the fields and free-ranging, they need to be 100% safe from predators. Unlike other birds, they cannot fly up into a tree to avoid an attack.
One other thing to note about Frizzles is that their feathers do not insulate quite as well as other birds. In cold, they may be prone to getting sick. Make sure your Frizzle has a warm place to sleep at night!