Israeli scientists have bred a featherless chicken. Although featherless chickens look quite terrifying, poultry farm owners in many countries have shown keen interest in the birds because they will not need to be plucked.
According to the scientists who have bred the new species, these birds cause no harm to people’s heath. Moreover, they grow faster, and their meat is low fat. According to the head of the project, Professor Avigdor Cahaner, at the Agricultural Institute in Rehvot, Israel, such birds have more advantages because there will be no need to install air conditioners for them in warmer countries. However, the genetic scientist admits that the new species of chickens are unlikely to adapt to cold climates. Consequently, breeding bald chicken in Scandinavian countries or Russia would be quite difficult.
The opponents of the new species have accused the Israeli scientists of having created a genetically modified chicken. But the scientists dismiss these charges and insist that the new chicken comes from a natural breed. From the scientific standpoint, it’s an ordinary chicken except for the fact that it has no feathers. The new species has been bred through natural selection. The geneticists have spent a long time interbreeding broiler chickens with birds with fewer feathers.
Russian experts have found another serious drawback in the new species of chicken. The absence of feathers will create discomfort during mating, says Deputy Director of research at the Russian Veterinary Institute for Poultry Farming, Margarita Dmitrieva:
“When pairing the rooster may injure the hen with its nails and beak because it has no feathers on the head and the neck. Even now, the nails of two of the rooster’s fingers have to be cut off in order to prevent him from injuring the hen. But in the case of new breed, there will be scratches left on the hen’s skin, while the rooster will have nothing to hold on to with its beak. This can be quite dangerous for the hen because when other birds see an injured hen they start plucking her. This means that the hen would have to be isolated, treated or culled,” Margarita Dmitrieva said.
Moreover, the absence of feathers reduces the chickens’ resistance to many skin diseases. Birds will be consistently subjected to bacterial or fungal infections through skin injuries.
The Israeli geneticists agree with their Russian colleagues but continue to breed bald chickens. The team of researchers led by Avigdor Cahaner is carrying on the experiment. They weigh and measure the newly breed chickens, compare with the conventional breeds and monitor their population, feeding and growth. “The food prepared from bald chicken does not taste any different from those prepared from ordinary chicken,” say those who have just tasted the food prepared with bald chickens, as long as you haven’t seen those horrible creatures alive.