Considering a Frizzle chicken can be a challenge. She appears shabby at first. More like a mess from a bad encounter with the wind. And you might even be wondering if this chicken offers anything more than a shaggy outlook.
Upon scrutiny, though, a Frizzle chicken is a pure work of art. Her fancy plumage is most pleasant to behold.
With feathers that curl outward rather than lie flat, the Frizzle chicken appears more flashy than your average chicken.
Many people generally breed the Frizzle chicken for shows.
But, if you’re looking for a lap chicken or just a backyard pet that’ll produce eggs occasionally, then you can’t go wrong with the Frizzle chicken.
Still, the Frizzle chicken isn’t a breed – at least not in the United States. Many of the bird’s features will therefore depend on her root breed.
So, you could end up with a Frizzle chicken that’s a utility bird, an egg-laying machine, or a meaty bird. It’s entirely up to you.
For most people, though, the Frizzle chicken serves as an eye candy that adds some flair to their flock. And it’s probably why you want one too!
History Of Frizzles
The first mention of the Frizzle chicken dates back to the 16th century. Ulisse Aldrovandus, an Italian naturalist first referred to the chicken in the early 1600s.
But, no one knows for sure where the first chicken with the frizzled gene came from.
Charles Darwin did refer to Frizzles in his writings.
He called them Caffie Fowls. And he claimed they’re to be found mostly in Indian states, although he had no means of verification. For, he never traveled directly to India.
So, like many popular breeds, enthusiasts are divided about the Frizzle chicken’s origin.
Still, the bird is largely believed to have originated from Asia.
Some say India is the place of origin. Others debunk this and point to China as the bird’s source.
Some enthusiasts also believe the bird first entered England in the mid1600s and from there, made its way into the rest of the Western world.
Whatever the case, the Frizzle chicken is gaining much prominence in the U.S. today. And she’s very popular among breeders that raise chickens purely for exhibition purposes.
Frizzle Breed Standards
Is there a breed standard for Frizzles? Not exactly!
Some countries recognize the Frizzle chicken as a breed. This includes France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
The APA, though, doesn’t recognize the bird as a breed of chicken. Rather, they consider her a version of any breed.
In other words, the APA simply considers frizzled feathers as a type of plumage in chicken breeds.
So, a Frizzle chicken can still compete in shows. What’s important, though, is that the bird must conform to the shape descriptions and plumage color of the root breed she comes from.
So, you can exhibit frizzled Marans chickens or Araucanas. But, only as specimens of the Marans chicken and Araucana breeds respectively.
For shows, though, most people prefer to exhibit the frizzled versions of Bantam Cochins, Polish chickens, and Plymouth Rock chickens.
What Exactly Is Frizzling?
‘Frizzling’ simply defines how rather than lying flat against the chicken’s body, the feathers curl upward and outward.
So, what causes the Frizzle chicken to look that way?
It’s because of an incomplete dominant ‘mf‘ gene that expresses itself in a phenotypical fashion. i.e. in an outward way that can be seen.
As an incomplete dominant gene, the Frizzle chicken just needs only a copy of it to have frizzled feathers.
At the same time, a chicken could have a copy of this gene without expressing it or without having frizzled feathers.
So, if you breed a Frizzle chicken – say a Frizzle Cochin – with a normal-feathered Cochin, 50% of your Cochin chicks are going to sport frizzled feathers. The rest of them are going to have normal feathers.
But, what if you breed a Frizzle chicken with another Frizzle chicken? You’re going to get 25% of their offspring having normal feathers. 50% of them, though, will have curly feathers.
So, what happens to the rest of the 25%?
Sadly, the rest of the 25% pose a significant problem.
The remaining 25% will have 2 copies of the frizzling gene. And this phenomenon has quite devastating consequences.
Known as Frazzle chickens, they look rather disheveled. And their frizzling is so extreme to the point where their feathers are very delicate and will break when you touch them.
They’re also prone to a host of other genetic issues and they generally don’t live long.
So, if you want Frizzle chickens, it’s important to breed a Frizzle hen together with a normal-feathered rooster or vice versa.
Typical Appearance Of The Frizzle Chicken
The Frizzle chicken has crisply curled feathers that look windswept. They protrude upwards and never lay flat.
In a chicken with normal feathers, the shaft lies flat, giving them that smooth and even look we are so often used to.
So, the Frizzle chicken will sport the same/similar size as any chicken of its breed. The only distinction, however, will be the marked difference in feathery looks.
How Big Are Frizzle Chickens?
The weight of a Frizzle chicken will largely depend on what breed of chicken she is. So, you might discover a lot of size variations here.
Generally, though, a standard Frizzle rooster should weigh anything from 7 to 8 lbs. Hens, on the other hand, should be about 5 to 6 1/2 lbs for the most part.
Bantam-sized Frizzle males are about 24 to 27 ounces. Their female counterparts usually weigh between 20 and 24 ounces.
Except for her distinct, ragged feathers, the Frizzle chicken will have the same body type as her parent breed.
However, she’ll look a lot fluffier and more puffed up than her normal-feathered counterparts of the same breed.
In countries that accept the Frizzle chicken as a breed though, the standard is for the bird to have a short, upright body. She should also appear broad and sport a rotund, full breast.
In the Frizzle chicken, the shaft of her feathers twists outward from the body, giving her the ragged look of a sweet gumball.
The bird’s curly feathers are of medium length and aren’t too broad. They curl upwards, and away from her body.
Some Frizzle chickens will have their plumage looking wild and messier than others. Still, they should never feel spiky when touched.
Because the Frizzle chicken should conform to the standard description of her breed, her plumage color will be in line with the recognized color varieties of her breed.
So, she’s likely to come in many colors including black, buff, cuckoo, white, red, blue, and a host of others.
Generally, the Frizzle chicken should sport clean legs.
But, this isn’t true for all Frizzle chickens. As we’ve mentioned before, the Frizzle chicken isn’t a breed.
So, if the root breed has feathered legs, she’ll also have the same and vice versa.
However, depending on her plumage color, the color of her legs will vary.
In Frizzle chickens that are white, buff, or red, legs should be yellow. In other color varieties, legs could either be yellow or willow.
Frizzle Chicken Temperament
The Frizzle chicken is one of the sweetest birds you could ever own. Generally, she’s an easy-going bird that’s easy to handle.
She’s hardly aggressive. And her male counterpart is generally well-tempered as well.
Of course, it isn’t a given that you’re going to find all Frizzle chickens well-behaved.
Personalities may vary from breed to breed and more especially, from chicken to chicken.
Frizzle Chickens As Pets
If you want a pet chicken – one that can be around the kids and still lay the occasional egg – then you need a breed that’s non-territorial.
The Frizzle chicken perfectly fits this mold.
Soft and affectionate, she’ll follow you around like a dog.
She’s eager to please. And she’s cuddly too – your ideal lap chicken. She’s simply a joy to be around.
So, if you’ve kids, you can bet she’s going to make an amazing family pet.
If you’re adding the Frizzle chicken to your flock of backyard chickens, don’t add her to a group that consistently shows signs of aggression and hostility to other members or newcomers.
The Frizzle chicken has a rather subdued nature; And chances are that she’ll be bullied by the more dominant breeds, especially if she’s a Bantam.
Care Guide And Tips For Raising Frizzle Chicken
It’s not difficult caring for the Frizzle chicken.
But, it may be quite demanding because of her unique feathering. And you may have to take extra steps to ensure that your bird is constantly at its best.
How Much Space Do Frizzle Chickens Need?
First of all, a coop built with concrete or cheap materials like wood/bamboo would be okay to house the Frizzle chicken.
It’s important, though, to structure the coop in such a way that it not only keeps the bird safe. But, it also complements the bird’s frailties.
More importantly, a space of about 4 to 6 square feet per bird will be okay. If your bird is Bantam-sized, a spacing of 2 to 3 square feet per bird will be just fine.
If you’re going to mix your Frizzle chicken(s) with different breeds, more space might be necessary.
That way, the more dominant and assertive breeds can have enough room to navigate without having to bully your Frizzle chicken(s) for space.
There should also be adequate roosting bars so your Frizzle chicken(s) can still find some solace even when they are picked on.
For roosting bars, they should afford space of about 8 inches for your Bantam-sized bird(s).
If your Frizzle chicken is large, allow for roosts that afford a foot space per bird.
Still, some chickens don’t like sitting very close to each other. So, more is always better when it comes to spacing.
Note that the Frizzle chicken cannot fly because of the nature of her feathers. Because of this, allow her perch to be as low to the ground as possible for easy access.
Not The Best Of Foragers
The Frizzle chicken will take well to foraging.
But, whether or not she thrives as a free ranger will largely depend on her breed. And it’ll affect how much space you afford your birds in the run.
For example, the Frizzle Cochin isn’t at all an excellent forager. Such a bird takes very well to confinement.
So, if you’re going to keep birds like those or for some reason cannot allow your birds to free-range, then you’ll need to afford them lots of run space.
You could also add distractions like flock blocks, leaf piles, and hay bales to keep them active.
However, if your birds are going to spend a lot of their time foraging, you might not need a bigger coop or large run space.
But, remember that the Frizzle chicken cannot fly. So, ensure your space can’t be readily accessed by predators.
For nesting boxes, a normal-sized Frizzle hen will do just fine in a box that’s 12 inches deep, wide, and tall.
For a Bantam-sized Frizzle hen, a smaller box of 10 inches deep, 12 inches wide, and 10 inches high will suffice.
The Frizzle chicken doesn’t require a diet that’s more special than those fed to other chickens. What’s important, though, is that you give her food that’s clean and of the highest quality.
Well-balanced commercial chicken feed should remain the mainstay in your Frizzle chicken’s diet. These come in three forms – crumbled, pellet, and mash.
If you’re planning to start with a Frizzle chick, a chick starter is what you should be feeding your bird. It contains 20% of protein – the highest protein percentage she’ll ever consume. And you may buy in medicated or unmedicated form.
When your Frizzle hen reaches 18 weeks of age, you should introduce her to layer feed containing 16% of protein. This feed has sufficient calcium to ensure that eggs laid have strong eggshells.
If you’re not raising your birds for eggs and have a flock with chickens of varying ages including roosters, additional calcium won’t be necessary.
For these, you’ll simply need an all-purpose feed.
If your Frizzle chicken is going to be free-ranging extensively, she’ll find enough weeds, insects, bugs, seeds, and grasses to keep her healthy. And you might not have to feed her as much with the commercial diet.
You may also treat her to some foods like rice and pasta. Or some fruits and veggies like bananas, cabbage, spinach, and broccoli.
But, you should do this occasionally so you don’t create problems for your bird.
Treats may require grit to aid in their digestion. Grit includes materials like sand, small stones, and ground-up shells.
If your Frizzle chicken will be thoroughly confined, you should supply them to your bird in a container separate from her feed.
Common Issues With Frizzles
The Frizzle chicken is generally healthy. The only problem with her is the nature of her feathers.
Because they curl and don’t lie flat, they’re unable to insulate the bird as do the normal-lying feathers of other chickens. Rains and snowfalls are the kryptonite of the Frizzle chicken.
So, the Frizzle chicken can have a great deal of a hard time during cold seasons. Generally, the feathers don’t do enough to keep the bird at room temperature.
So, very high temperatures will also not bode well for the bird. In such situations, adequate ventilation, plenty of shade, and cold water should help keep your bird cool.
Again, because the Frizzle chicken can be vulnerable to lice and mites, you should provide a dust bath containing fine sand, wood ash from a fireplace, and some fragrant herbs.
What’s more, the nature of her feathers makes it impossible for the Frizzle chicken to fly – even for brief periods – as normal chickens do.
The Frizzle chicken, therefore, is easily prone to predators. So, if you decide to free-range your Frizzle chickens, you might want to offer additional protection to keep predators at bay.
Egg & Meat Production
Most Frizzle chickens are bred for shows or for keeping as pets. So, you’ll largely come across Frizzle chickens that are Bantam-sized.
Bantam-sized Frizzle chickens definitely won’t give you a lot of meat because of how small they are. It’ll therefore not be economically wise to raise these for meat.
If you want to raise the Frizzle chicken for meat, you may have to go in for heavier chicken breeds like an Orpington or Plymouth Rock with frizzled feathers.
Frizzle hens aren’t typically kept to lay eggs. People usually keep them for companionship and flamboyant feathering.
That said, the laying habits of Frizzle hens will largely depend on their parent breed.
If your hen is Frizzle Plymouth Rock, you can expect about 200 eggs in a year.
If she’s a Japanese Bantam, then you’re going to get a little over 70 eggs every year. It all depends on your breed of Frizzle chicken.
Where Can I Buy The Frizzle Chicken?
You can get the Frizzle chicken from poultry farms or hatcheries. Frizzle chicks generally cost just under $5.00.
But, the difficulty with buying day-old chicks is that you can’t be too sure if all the chicks in your package will be frizzled.
Remember that when a Frizzle chicken is bred with a normal-feathered chicken, 50% of the chicks will be frizzled. The other 50% won’t be.
It’s therefore advisable to purchase adolescent birds as they’d have started showing their frizzling by then.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to the most common questions when it comes to Frizzle chickens.
Are Frizzles The Same As Sizzles?
Well, a Sizzle chicken is technically a Frizzle chicken. ‘Sizzle’ is a term that describes a Silkie chicken with frizzled feathers.
To produce a Sizzle chicken, a Frizzle rooster of whatever breed is bred with a Silkie hen or vice versa.
Their offspring, having a mix of both ‘silkie’ and ‘frizzle’ feather types, is called the Sizzle.
Still, the Sizzle chicken isn’t the same as a Frizzle. This is because the feathers of Frizzles possess barbicels. It’s just that the feathers curl outwards.
The feathers of Sizzles, on the other hand, lack these barbicels. So, in addition to curling outwards, the feathers of Sizzles have a furry appearance.
How Long Do Frizzle Chickens Live?
It isn’t exactly easy to predict the lifespan of the Frizzle chicken.
As we’ve made clear, the Frizzle chicken isn’t a breed. So, many of the characteristics of a Frizzle will depend on her breed.
Generally, though, Frizzle chickens – like most chickens – should live anywhere from 6 to 8 years.
This number isn’t a given, though. Normally, because of her feathers, the Frizzle chicken requires special care you wouldn’t ordinarily give to other chicken breeds.
So, to ensure your Frizzle chicken lives up to 6 years and above, you may have to be very thorough in caring for her.
Can Frizzle Chickens Eat Anything?
Frizzle chickens, like most other chicken breeds, are omnivores.
They will eat just about anything. Still, there are some foods you want to keep far away from your Frizzle chickens as they can be fatal when eaten in large quantities.
Some of these foods include raw beans, green potatoes or tomatoes, chocolate, and avocado.
Are Frizzle Chickens Noisy?
You shouldn’t expect a lot of noise from your Frizzle hen, of course. The occasional ‘cluck’ from her when a hen lays is to be expected.
For roosters, it’s a matter of relativity as they all crow.
Generally, though, the crow of a Frizzle rooster is lower-pitched. You should, therefore, not expect too much noise or rowdiness from your Frizzle chickens.
Do Frizzle Chickens Have Any Special Health Issues?
No! Frizzle chickens are generally healthy animals.
They could suffer from internal or external diseases just like any other chicken could.
Thus, there’s no special genetic trait within a Frizzle chicken that makes her predisposed to ailments.
Her feathers, however, cannot keep her at room temperature in extreme weather conditions. And that’s the one problem you might have with keeping the Frizzle chicken.
Can I Breed Two Frizzle Chickens?
Yes, you can. But, it’s not advisable.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, there’s a one in four chance that this union produces what is termed, a ‘Frazzle chicken.’
These birds are unsightly. They’re easily susceptible to the slightest change in weather conditions. And they’re loaded with genetic problems that ensure they don’t live long.
How Can I Tell If My Chick Is Frizzled?
Within the chick’s first 7 to 14 days out of its shell, you should be able to tell if it’s going to be frizzled!
Normally, around this time, the fluffy coat starts disappearing as it begins to give way to real feathers.
Usually, these feathers start growing on the tail and the tips of the wings.
All you have to do is to observe these areas within the first 7 to 14 days of your chick’s life.
If your birds are Frizzle chicks, you’ll notice their feathers sticking up and growing outwards rather than lying flat.
Pros And Cons Of Raising The Frizzle Chicken
- Unique feathering
- Easy to handle
- Makes for a good pet chicken
- Feather type makes Frizzle chicken susceptible to poor weather conditions
- Requires special attention because of plumage
- Easily prone to predators
The Frizzle chicken is quite the spectacle. She holds her own among a class of chickens whose ostentatious plumage makes them the visual delight of the poultry world.
What’s more, she’s such a sweet, gentle soul you’re bound to adore. And I don’t doubt she’s going to be such a great addition of warmth to your flock.
But, her beautiful plumage means you’re going to have to take extra care to ensure she’s well protected. But, we’re certain it’s going to be just a small price to pay for all the love you’re going to receive.