Transylvanian Naked Neck Chicken

Ark of taste
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Transylvanian Naked Neck Chicken

Gat Golas de Transilvania

The countryside of Transylvania is one of Europe’s last medieval landscapes, where low intensity agriculture coexists with an abundance of flora and fauna. It has remained essentially unchanged for hundreds of years; the area is a traditionally managed landscape of meadow steppe grasslands, arable fields and woodlands that still present a medieval land use pattern, with forested ridges and gullies, pasture and hay meadows on gentler slopes and terraces, and arable land and smaller meadows on the flat valley bottoms near villages. Such landscapes have disappeared from most of modern Europe. Among Transylvanian Naked Neck chickens the following three breeds can be identified: Speckled Transylvanian Naked Neck, Black Transylvanian Naked Neck and White Transylvanian Naked Neck.The origin of these chicken breeds is not known exactly. Winkler (1921) and Bakoss (1931) assume that the progenitors of these birds were brought into the Carpathian basin from Asia by the Hungarian conquerors at the end of the 9th century. This ‘ancient Hungarian’ chicken must have later mixed with other breeds (mostly Oriental and Mediterranean). During the centuries of their development, these breeds have adapted well to the special climatic conditions and farming systems of the country, and thus became much appreciated in this part of Europe. Until the arrival of commercial chicken breeding in Romania, these breeds of various colors (yellow and mostly white, black and speckled naked neck breeds in Transylvania) were still bred.They were preferred not only for their relatively good egg production, but mostly for their excellent meat quality, due to the ‘seeking habit’ of these birds, who scratch for food regardless of hot or cold weather. They became strong, resistant to diseases and the costs of keeping them were very low.

Image: © Bert Reinders

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Breeds and animal husbandry

Nominated by:A.Reinders