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Gross out? (Activities & Oddities).

TRY PUTTING THIS on your plate. Last May, geneticist Avigdor Cahaner of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, unveiled his coop of featherless chickens. He thinks the fluff-free breed, produced by his top-secret method of crossing a small bare-skinned bird with a regular broiler (raised for meat) chicken, could revolutionize the global poultry industry. "Feathers are a waste," Cahaner says. His no-pluck chickens can potentially reduce processing time, labor cost, and garbage.

Also, broiler chickens are bred to heft up quickly. "But in the process they generate a lot of heat," says Cahaner. Farmers keep broilers comfy by ventilating their environment to approximately 20[degrees]C (68[degrees]F). "Otherwise their internal body temperature will soar and they die."

In developing countries with hot climates, where air conditioning is costly, Cahaner thinks his featherless model could be highly cost-effective--the chickens keep cool and grow rapidly. "Obviously, these chickens aren't meant for the open fields of England in winter, says Cahaner." A naked bird may catch cold.
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Author:Chiang, Mona
Publication:Science World
Date:Sep 13, 2002
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