Other name(s): Banatski gološijan;
Erdeljski golosijan, Erdelj Naked neck
Scientific name: Gallus gallus domesticus
Country / Place of origin: Serbia and Montenegro
History: The Banat Naked Neck is a very old breed of Naked Neck chicken and originates from when the Balkans were part of the Ottoman Empire. The breed is one of the first naked necks to arise in Europe. The population has been isolated for over a century and is now considered threatened. The Banat Naked Neck is a dual use breed that is very hardy and in villages is allowed to forage outside even in the depths of winter. It is said to derive from the Erdelj Naked Neck (the Serbian for the Transylvanian Naked Neck; Erdelj being a province of Transylvania) sometime during the 1800s by crossing Transylvanian Naked Neck chickens with local chickens. It is estimated that there is a total population in Serbia of about 1500 birds, of which 100 are now on national research farms and it is from these that the modern breed standard has been developed. Originally they were true naked neck birds, but they have been outbred with village chickens. This means that the modern standard is actually heterozygous for the naked neck trait (just like the French Cou-nu du Forez). Rather than having a true naked neck the breed is characterized by a 'bow tie' of feathers in the centre of the neck. Though accepted as a breed, the Banat Naked Neck has one naked neck gene and one normal feather gene. This means that when Banat Naked Neck roosters are mated with Banat Naked Neck hens one in four of the chicks will be normal feathered, one in four will be pure naked neck and two in four will have the Banat Naked Neck characteristics (patch of feathers on an otherwise naked neck). The bird is classed as medium-size working breed, though modern research breeding has yielded a bantam form (which is not yet accepted in the breed standard). Unlike the Transylvanian Naked Neck from which they are derived, the Banat Naked Neck is a boody hen and they make excellent mothers. Typically they lay 120 to 160 light brown eggs in a year with minimum egg size being 55g. This is known as an active and lively chicken that is hardy, disease resistant and an excellent forager.
Current Uses: Meat, Eggs
Appearance: Red and Black feathered varieties predominate and form the basis of the modern standard (the red form outnumbers black almost 3:1 and is larger), though white, brown and cuckoo plumages are also seen. The head is medium-sized and the neck is S-shaped and more in proportion to the body than many other naked neck breeds. Beaks are dark in dark-feathered birds and yellow in others. The comb is single, leafy, and distinctly serrated. Comb sizes are usually crimson-red (the same colour as the neck, wattles and earlobes) but pink variants are seen. The neck is naked, apart from a two tufts of feathers (sometimes known as a bow-tie) in the middle. The tufts are symmetrical and clearly separated in the middle. The body skin varies from pale yellow to pale pink and wattles are long. Behind the comb is a distinct cap of feathers, which are the same colour as the body. Eye colour is generally reddish-brown. Beaks, shanks and toes are yellow in the lighter-coloured varieties and the shanks are light grey in darker colour varieties (often with yellow regions between the toes).This breed has an upright form, with a cylindrical body that's slightly narrowed near the neck. The back is medium-long and angles downwards towards the tail, which is typically upright and sickled in the roosters, whilst hens have short, square, upright tails. Size: Hens 2.0 to 2.5kg;
Average weight: N/A
Lifespan: 0 - 12 years
Grooming: Banat Naked Necks are very active foragers. They are typically kept as backyard chickens, but can be more intensively reared. They can be left to forage for the entirety of their food, but like many naked necks they perform better if their feed is supplemented with grain. They also do well on commercial feed, particularly if rapid weight gain is required. Laying chickens should always have feed supplements as they require additional calcium and protein. Fresh, clean, water should always be provided.
Diet: Banat Naked Necks are very active foragers. They are typically kept as backyard chickens, but can be more intensively reared. They can be left to forage for the entirety of their food, but like many naked necks they perform better if their feed is supplemented with grain. They also do well on commercial feed, particularly if rapid weight gain is required. Laying chickens should always have feed supplements as they require additional calcium and protein. Fresh, clean, water should always be provided.
Housing: Traditionally Banat Naked Necks are allowed to roam freely to forage during the day and are housed indoors to protect from predators at night. If kept in coops, these need to provide at least 1.5m square per bird. Coops need a roof to protect from rain and excess sun but needs to be well ventilated. Chickens are perching birds and like to roost off the ground. Any housing should have plenty of perching spaces. If providing nesting boxes these need to be large enough for the chicken to enter easily and to turn around in them. They should have a fresh supply of straw and can be stacked three high. All chickens appreciate fresh straw for nesting and bedding, just remember to change the straw frequently, particularly around drinking areas as wet straw develops mould that can cause respiratory distress. Flooring can be concrete, wooden, rubber matting or natural (dirt or sand). All flooring needs to be regularly cleaned (concrete, wood and rubber matting can be hosed) and dirt flooring can be raked. For meat production they are typically kept large sheds whilst also being allowed outside to forage. Most Banat Naked Necks are kept using free range systems and are allowed to forage for the majority of their feed.
Health issues: Posessing hybrid genetics, Banat Naked Necks are known as tough, healthy and very disease resistant birds. Though their combs can get frost-bitten in winter their size typically shrinks from August and this is rare (this is a feature of many naked necks). Traditionally they are allowed to forage outside even in the depths of winter. They will actively forage for themselves all year round and as long as they have adequate housing, nutrition and disease prevention they will live and be productive for many years.
Behavior / Temperament / Activity level: The Banat Naked Necks are known as very active birds. They are typically always on the move, scratching and foraging for food as they roam. They require minimal management and are ideally suited for backyard and small-scale production. They are renowned for being easy to breed and the hens are excellent and broody mothers. During the day the hens are very active and will spend almost all their time scratching, digging and pecking. They are not naturally as tame as some other naked neck breeds, but do become readily used to being handled and become very tame if regularly interacted with.Written by Dyfed Lloyd Evans