Chickens are normally covered in feathers and not hair. However, they have fine hair-like feathers on their bodies. You can easily notice this when preparing fresh chickens with the skin on. “The hairs” are known as filaments. They play a role in the regulation of a chicken’s temperature.
Do Chickens Have Hair or Feathers?
As stated earlier, chickens have feathers on their bodies but not hair. You can easily notice this by looking at them. However, you may not easily not that chickens have thousands of small hair-like feathers.
There are different types of feathers on a chicken’s body. Each type of feather has its specific function. A combination of all chicken feathers aids chickens in several ways, such as keeping them warm and nice, providing protection, and aiding flight.
Here are some of the feather types in chickens:
Down feathers are ‘fuzzy’ thin feathers that are common on young chickens and chicks. In mature chickens, they form a loose and thin layer, mostly around the stomach. They help in insulating them.
The contour feathers of any chicken refer to the common outer feathers that can be seen from a distance. They differ in appearance, shape, and color from one breed to another. They also lock together to create a smooth feel.
Semiplume feathers are a cross between the contour and down feathers. They feel and appear to be very soft. They help in the insulation of the chicken by adding an extra layer of insulation.
Filoplume feathers are often confused for the actual hair. They have a hair-like appearance. Most chicken enthusiasts believe that these feathers provide a decorative or sensory for chickens.
All of the above feathers cover various parts of chickens in different ways. Other feathers on chickens include hackle, saddle, sickle, and bristle feathers.
What is Chicken Hair Called?
Most people will refer to what looks like chicken hair as filament. Encyclopedia.com describes a filament as a slender threadlike fiber or object, especially ones found in plants or animals.
However, the little hairs that you might have seen on the wings of a chicken are more likely small underdeveloped feathers. They could also be filoplume feathers or parts of very small down feathers. In the true sense of the word, they are not hairs. It can be really hard for one to differentiate between hair-like feathers and hairs.
Is It Ok to Eat Chicken Hair on Chicken Wings?
The discussion on chicken hair may often come to a dinner table. Imagine a scenario when you want to take a bite of a chicken wing then you see some hairs sticking on it. Some people will find this not appetizing, while others will go ahead and take a bite without removing the hairs. So, is it ok for one to eat chicken hairs on chicken wings?
The answer to the question is YES; the hairs on a chicken wing are safe to eat. This makes sense; otherwise, it could be hard to see them that often. Most of the chicken hairs are plucked or singed off during preparation. With a total of about 5000 feathers, some small hairs may get missed during the preparation process. As a result, they may likely find their way to the dining table.
On the other hand, chicken feathers such as the large contour feathers should not be eaten. They are made from a protein known as keratin which also makes up the human hair and fingernails. The reproductive system of human beings can not digest this compound. Therefore, if a person had to eat feathers, then a stomach ache would be the least of their worries in the long run.
Which Breeds of Chicken Have Afros?
Chicken afros are commonly referred to as crest. Some breeds have fluffy crowns of crest feathers which gives them a unique looking. Some of the most popular chicken breeds that have afros or crests include:
- Appenzeller Spitzhauben
Chickens with crests are normally ornamental. They also have slightly different skull structures. It requires a little more maintenance as it may easily lead to some vision impairment. Apart from the afro, there is not much else different about chicken breeds with crests than non-crested ones.
Chickens With Feathered (Hairy) Legs and Feet
Some breeds of chickens have what is sometimes known as hairy legs and feet. However, this is essentially just feathered feet and legs. Some of the common breeds with feathers on their legs or feet include Faverolles, Cochins, Silkies, and Brahma. Because of not being the most practical, breeds with feathered legs are also ornamental for the larger part.
The extra feathers on chicken feet and legs come with several additional challenges. They can sometimes get muddy and require you to help clean them off. It can also increase the risk of your chickens being susceptible to frostbite when damp. In addition, they will make your birds more susceptible to scaly leg mites.
How To Take Off Hair From Chicken Wings
As discussed earlier, chicken hairs should not be a big deal when it comes to consuming them. However, if they bother you a lot, it is possible for you to remove them using tweezers or pick them off using a paper towel. You can also pick them off with a barbecue lighter or a cream blue torch.
You can remove the hairs before or after cooking your chicken meal. Most of them are usually removed during the cooking process. Most people may not notice the ones that may not be removed after cooking. That said, some individuals prefer removing the hairs after cooking. However, it is good to keep in mind that it is not possible for one to remove all the filaments on the chicken wings.
Here are some of the techniques that you can use to remove chicken hair on wings.
Using Rubber Gloves
You can pull out the hairs if they are thicker than pins. If you plan to clean a lot of wings, you will need to have a bowl of warm water near to dip your hands into in between each pluck.
Tweezers are not only useful for removing ear, eyebrow, or nose hair. You can also use them for other purposes, such as removing the chicken hair as well as removing fish bones. To make the plucking process easier, you should soak the wings in hot water. Some people use needle-nose pliers to remove the hairs from frozen or fresh-cut chicken wings.
Use a Torch
You can singe the small chicken hairs by the use of a creme brulee torch, a larger propane torch, or a barbecue lighter. Pass your torch over the chicken wings one at a time and in wide, wide swaths, singeing the skin.
To protect yourself from burns, you can use grilling gloves to hold the wings. You should avoid holding fire over the gloves for a long time to prevent your hand from burning. If you are using a smaller lighter or torch, you will still need a set of tweezers to pluck off the hairs.
Coat the Wings with Oil
Some people coat the hairs with cooking oil, canola oil, or olive oil to increase their chances of being singed during the cooking process.
Chickens have small hair-like feathers but not hairs. There are several types of feathers on the body of a chicken, and some are very small and can not be easily noticed. It is important to note that there is nothing wrong when it comes to eating tiny chicken hairs. They are common on the thighs, legs, and wings of chickens.