IT'S OFFICIAL, CHICKS CAN NOW GROW BEARDS!
I love furry faces. In fact I imagine at least 70% of my Google search history would include beards, as I continue on in my quest to become the walking talking 'beardy wikipedia.' But if you are at all like me the thought of chicks growing their very own beard might leave you slightly shell shocked with a head full of confusion and questions, such as 'What if her beard is bigger than mine?' 'Does that mean we are going to have to fight over not only the mirror, but now my beard oil & balm as well??' the questions running through my mind are endless!
But worry not, as these sort of chicks cause you no concern for alarm, that is unless you are a farmer. As these feathered chickens are what I am actually referring to. As chickens can now grow out a rather impressive feathered style beard! When you are out at the local park feeding the ducks with your little ones you might spot the occasional duck who seems to be having a 'bad feather day' which displays a wedge of feathers on his head that doesn't want to play ball. Well, chickens have the same issue, only 7 out of 10 times their flurried feathers appear right where a beard might grow, implementing a rather eye catchingly impressive 'feathered beard'. Although bearded chickens have been around for a some years, it has never been all that clear as to what causes the 'feather-like beard' to grow out in the first place. Well, that is until now anyway...
A selected team of biologists believe they have the answer. And it isn't as straightforward as rustling up a few feathers, but instead the most likely cause is in fact down to the chickens (or ducks!) gene pool. When the team searched for genes that control development of beards in chickens they quickly found a small mutation in the gene pool that affects the chicken's skin cells. The mutation contributes to feather growth which often causes feathers to grow abnormally longer than they are needed, which then begin to curl under themselves to create the perfect 'feathered beard' look. It is also believed that now the gene mutation has been highlighted that people trained in the field could gently manipulate the chickens egg cell count to specifically produce 'bearded chickens' as a new found specific licenced breed.
So, you can relax for now Mr Beard. We won't be seeing any (Well, not many anyway) bearded beauties taking over the dancefloor anytime soon. That is unless you choose to visit your local southern fried chicken shop!
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