Frizzles are the result of one mutated gene and can be of any breed. One copy of the incomplete dominant frizzle gene causes all feathers on a fowl’s body to curl up, giving the bird a ‘frizzled’ appearance. Two copies of the frizzle gene are usually fatal and the embryo will die during incubation. In the rare cases where such a chick hatches, its feathers are not much more than a shaft with very few barbs and the chick is likely to die from being cold.
To breed frizzle birds, only one parent should carry the frizzle gene. Half the chicks will inherit the frizzle gene from their frizzle parent. The fluffy breeds like Pekin and Orpington yield a more attractive frizzled variation than hard feathered breeds. Mixing Silkie plumage with the frizzle gene results in ‘sizzle’ – a very delicate feather condition indeed.
Frizzle plumage is not waterproof and frizzle birds need to have good shelter and a warm coop all year round. Most Frizzles are purely bred for exhibition or for personal enjoyment as their problems with keeping warm mean that they hardly ever are remarkable layers.