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Written by Carole

Recently I came across the term “vulture hocks” while I was scanning posts on a forum that I frequent. What was mentioned is that the chicken should be culled from the flock because they had “vulture hocks”. It was a picture of a Dark Brahma chick about six weeks old. I thought it looked just like some I had in my stock so I’m wondering what is “vulture hocks”?

Since then I have done more research and found out what they were talking about. Here’s a picture of one of my Dark Brahmas with vulture hocks.

dark-brahma-pullets-5-month

Notice the difference in the legs of the pullet on the left compared to the one on the right? She has excessive amount of feathering as if she almost has wings coming off of her legs. This is vulture hocks.

Now for someone who is raising chickens for the purpose of eggs, meat, and/or enjoyment, this does not deter from that. In my opinion it makes her unique. When I first got her I noticed it immediately but thought nothing of it.

When I purchased these birds my reasoning was to have a flock of Dark Brahmas to sell their hatching eggs. In doing this I want to make sure I have quality livestock for those who may want to buy. Well a hen with vulture hocks is not a good quality to have in your breeding stock, at least in the Brahma breed. So I have her up for sale and hopefully she will go to a new home who enjoys her for the quality of her eggs and her sweet disposition.

There are some breeds that this trait of vulture hocks is desirable. I presently have Brahmas and Cochins with feather legs and in both of these breeds it is not desirable. I can’t remember from my readings what breeds it was desirable but I’m sure if you did a search of the internet you would find the information readily available.

Everyday I learn more and more about raising chickens and as I change my focus more to breeding flocks the more I have to learn about the desirable qualities of the different breeds of chickens I am raising. Brahmas, Cochins, Wyandottes, Orpingtons—good traits, bad traits, vulture hocks, desirable coloring, there is a lot to learn.

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One Response to “Vulture Hocks on a Chicken”

  1. Thank you very much for posting this! It was the first hit on google, and it answered my question about vulture hocks perfectly (whether or not you meant it to).
    Those are beautiful pullets in the picture, by the way.

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