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Well, it won't fly! As part of my dissertation I studied the metabolism,
cardiovascular performance, and thermoregulation of California Quail
(Callipepla californica). As part of the experimental procedure I
compared the metabolism of feathered birds with that of birds with the
feathers removed. In the thermoneutral zone the 2 were identical. As soon
as the ambient temperature fell below the lower critical temperature the
metabolism of the defeathered birds shot up rapidly and reached maximum
(equivalent to that in flying birds) are much higher temperatures than
feathered individuals. This means that the defeatherd birds were
compensating unsuccessfully for the loss of insulation.
The 'scaleless' mutant of chicken, which produced only scattered feathers
over its body also runs into energetic problems when temperature
stressed. On the other hand 'frizzle fowl', which produce only plumulose
feathers compensate for the loss of insulation by increased thyroid
hormone production. It can maintain body temperature at lower ambient
temperatures than can other mutants.
My read on the "Cahner's Red-skinned Chicken" is that the skin color
comes from the same anatomical/physiological background as that which
produces the colors of the comb and wattles. Chicken skin is normally
white or yellow (depending on the diet). This red is not a separate
pigment. It is due to the fact that the skin is transparent and the
capillaries lie close to the surface.
Your must all realize that this animal, according to some thinkers, is a
dinosaur! Are you ready for that?!?
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