Polish chickens have peculiar appearances. They have fascinating color combinations and enormous, circular crests that resemble feathered pom poms, giving them a Muppet-like appearance. These birds have existed for hundreds of years, possibly dating back to the Middle Ages and even before. Their fluffy crest is supported by a bony structure in the form of a hollow ping-pong ball. The front half of its dumbbell-shaped brain is likewise housed within it. The Netherlands is where breeders first developed the circular crests that are now characteristic of Polish hens. As long as you don’t approach them from behind, these amiable birds make ideal backyard friends.
Polish Chicken photos
Incredible Polish Chicken Facts
Polish chickens do not have geographic names like many other types of poultry.
Polish hens can handle all extremes of heat and cold, but they detest being wet.
These birds’ enormous crests frequently hide their facial features.
In addition to their crests, certain species of Polish chickens also have beards and muffs.
Polish chickens can produce 200 eggs annually, although they are primarily raised for display.
Because they are blind, birds of prey represent a major threat to Polish hens.
Where to Find Polish Chickens
Most Polish chickens reside in Europe, the US, and Australia. It is unclear where these European birds came from. Some reports claim that the majestically crested Polish chickens originated in Spain and were introduced to the Netherlands. According to some sources, they were originally from Asia and were introduced to Europe by the Mongols during the Middle Ages. In Europe, crested Polish-like hens have been shown in artwork for as long as six centuries. The modern iteration of these birds, according to experts, originated in the Netherlands. To produce the breed we know today, Dutch breeders worked to enhance the crests of Polish hens. Polish chickens had spread throughout Europe by the 18th century and were quite well-liked in both England and France.
The exporters sent around the time of the American Civil War, where it gained popularity until the 1850s. Breed to the United States. In 1874, the American Poultry Association included three Polish chicken types in their Standard of Perfection. Later, the association introduced further options. Unfortunately, the breed started to disappear as farmers preferred other chickens, such as the Leghorn, which produced better eggs. Polish chickens are still widely kept as pets and display birds, although their numbers are presently in decline. The Livestock Conservancy has added them to its watch list because of the population’s low density. Polish chicks can be purchased for as little as $4.00 per chick or as much as $15.00 for those looking to start or grow a flock. The hatchery and the bird’s pattern will affect the price per chick.
Polish chickens and domesticated chickens from other parts of the world have the same scientific designation. The scientific name of the Red Junglefowl, Gallus gallus, is the source of the current domestic chicken’s name, Gallus gallus domesticus. Linnaeus gave this bird its initial name in 1758.
Polish chickens may have gotten their popular name because of Poland, however the evidence does not support this. The Dutch word Pol, which meaning huge head, may have inspired the names Poland, Top Hat, or Paduan chickens. Due to their resemblance to the crested helmets worn by Polish troops, they may have also been known as Polish chickens.
Polish chickens are most often identified by their broad, rounded crests. It is one of more than a dozen recognized crested chicken breeds, along with the Sultan and Houdan breeds. However, the crest on the Polish chicken is arguably the roundest and fullest of all. Some people wear muffs and beards, which causes the bird’s feathers to envelop its head completely in fluff.
About 12 to 15 inches is the height range for this little breed. They range in weight from 4.5 to roughly 6 pounds. At maturity, the bantam species weighs just 26 to 30 ounces. Breeders created it by mating larger birds with smaller hens. Their physique is slim, and unless they have frizzled feathers, they have silky, sleek feathers. Their work is neat They carry their long sickle-shaped tails in a semi-upright position.
Polish chickens’ feathers frequently hide their facial features. While roosters have wild crests with pointed feathers, hens have beautifully rounded crests with individually rounded feathers. They feature red, spherical wattles and a tiny, V-shaped red comb. They also have huge, white nostrils on their beaks and white earlobes. They lack feathers on their gray feet and legs.
Polish chickens were among the fowl displayed in the first poultry show in London in 1845, according to the fowl Club of Great Britain. Polish birds in Gold, Silver Spangled, Black, and White were then permitted on the exhibition. By 1865, the breed had been standardized in Great Britain, which had also included divisions for the White-Crested Black, Golden, and Silver varieties. In both the large and bantam sizes, the American Poultry Association recognizes 10 different color patterns. Non-Bearded Black Crested White is a color that is only recognized in the large size. Bearded Buff Laced, Non-Bearded Buff Laced, Bearded Golden, Non-Bearded Golden, Bearded Silver, Non-Bearded Silver, Bearded White, Non-Bearded White, Non-Bearded White Crested Black, and Non-Bearded White Crested Blue are recognized by the organization in both sizes.
An Unusual Skull
On the top of their skulls, Polish hens have a sizable, rounded, bony protuberance. The crest of the chicken is supported by a structure that resembles a ping pong ball. The brain of the Polish chicken herniates into this bony cavity and bears the shape of a dumbbell or peanut. The Polish chicken’s brain has more cerebral matter and less cerebellum and medulla than other chickens of the same size, although having a similar overall size and weight.
Polish chickens are thought to be nice and sociable by their owners. They frequently follow their owners around and are said to like human interaction. The voices of their listeners are described as melodious. According to reports, even the roosters crow in a friendly, non-aggressive manner.
These energetic birds have excellent flight abilities, and one might see them feeding on the ground as well as lounging on a tree branch or other high perch. Because a flighty Polish chicken is unlikely to be contained by even high fences, owners may choose to create entirely enclosed runs. Polish hens are easily startled, primarily as a result of their huge crests that block their vision. Although it may sound like fun to sneak up on an unaware chicken, owners advise constantly conversing with the wary birds as you come closer they do not take flight.
Commercial chicken feed is what Polish chickens eat the most. To maintain the growth of their feathers and overall body, they require a diet rich in protein. For the hens to produce eggs, enough calcium is also necessary. This breed enjoys eating insects, larvae, worms, and other invertebrates and is skilled at foraging. If given the opportunity to hunt on the range, Polish chickens can move quickly and catch a lot of prey. Polish chickens like consuming seeds and other components of plants, just like other poultry.
Owners must take considerable effort to offer a hygienic dining area and clean drinking water. Alternative watering techniques may be advantageous to the birds because moist feathers around a Polish chicken’s face might lead to health issues. A nipple watering system that has been specially built may perform better polish chicken feathers are simply kept dry in a simple bowl or trough in the winter.
Every year, Polish hens produce 150–200 medium-sized, white eggs. Rarely do hens become broody, and when they do, they tend to their eggs poorly, frequently refusing to sit on them until they hatch. The eggs need to be incubated for roughly 21 days. By the age of roughly 20 weeks, chicks are fully mature.
The rounded protuberance on the Polish chick’s cranium makes them simple to recognize from other breeds. Long before the chick’s crest of adult feathers starts to fill up, it sticks up noticeably.
Predators & Threats
Polish chickens have excellent flying skills, making it easy for them to avoid the majority of frequent ground predators including foxes, raccoons, and weasels. But because of their distorted vision, they are seriously endangered by large birds of prey like owls, hawks, and eagles. Simply said, their enormous crests obscure their view of a swooping bird of prey. By providing enclosed spaces where Polish hens may safely spend time outdoors, owners can protect their flocks.
These chicks need safe coops for roosting at night. In addition to protecting the birds from the elements, a securely fastened coop aids in preventing snakes or other predators from preying on the nest.
Polish hens can handle heat and cold rather well, but they struggle in rainy conditions. as with other these hens, who have crests, are susceptible to eye infections and other ailments if their feathers become damp and hang down onto their faces.
Polish hens should not be allowed to peck at or remove feathers from one another, thus coops should be large enough to prevent this from happening. Lice, which frequently reside on the crests of these chickens, can be prevented from spreading by providing more room and hygienic living circumstances.
Polish hens typically live between six and eight years. Birds who are given the right care, with a focus on keeping them clean and dry, live longer than those who are not. This breed is included in the watch category of The Livestock Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List. Breeds of chicken in this group have less than 10,000 people globally. The long-term survival of the breed depends on sustained interest in it as a show and exhibition bird.
Polish Chicken FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What do Polish chickens look like?
Polish chickens are a petite breed distinguished by their numerous color patterns and big, rounded crests on their heads. Their physique is slim, and unless they are frizzled, their feathers appear silky and glossy. They carry their long sickle-shaped tails, which are beautifully placed, in an erect position. Polish chickens’ fluffy crests frequently hide their facial features. They feature red, spherical wattles and a tiny, V-shaped red comb. They also have huge, white nostrils on their beaks and white earlobes. They lack feathers on their gray feet and legs.
How big are Polish chickens?
Polish chickens are between 12 and 15 inches tall. They range in weight from 4.5 to roughly 6 pounds. At maturity, the bantam species weighs just 26 to 30 ounces. Breeders created it by mating larger birds with smaller hens.
How well do Polish chickens fly?
Polish hens can fly very well. They are small and have powerful wings. They feel as at ease sitting in a tree’s limbs as they do on the ground. They could favor perches that are high.
How many varieties of Polish chickens exist?
Polish chickens and all domesticated chickens worldwide are all members of the species Gallus gallus domesticus. There are numerous types of this breed, including bantam and huge sizes, beards and no beards, smooth and frizzled feathered chickens, and chickens with and without beards.
What makes Polish chickens special?
The high crest of the Polish chicken is held up by a spherical bony protrusion on the skull. The shape of this protrusion is that of a hollow ping pong ball. The chicken’s brain herniates into the hollow bone and has the shape of a dumbbell. Even Polish chicks that have just hatched are recognizable based on the substantial knot atop their heads.
Where did Polish chickens originate?
Polish chickens’ name would lead one to believe that they were first domesticated in Poland, but research disproves this. Uncertain origins exist for several European birds. According to certain sources, the majestically crested Polish chickens were imported to the Netherlands from Spain. According to some sources, they were originally from Asia and arrived in Europe during the Middle Ages via the Mongols. There have been six centuries of crested Polish-like chicken representations in art throughout Europe.
Do Polish chickens make good pets?
Polish hens make wonderful pets. They have a mellow, amiable, and gentle demeanor. They may be wary if approached from behind, although this is primarily because of the way their enormous crests block their view. These hens are curious and adorably affectionate, especially when their owners converse with them frequently.
What do Polish chickens eat?
Commercial chicken feed is the principal diet of Polish chickens. Hens require additional calcium to enhance egg production, and the diet should be high in protein to support their feathers. They are also particularly skilled foragers, and if given the chance to roam freely, they will consume small creatures like mice, lizards, and frogs as well as insects, larvae, worms, and other invertebrates. Polish chickens like consuming seeds and other components of plants, just like other poultry.
How many eggs do Polish chickens lay?
Every year, Polish chickens lay between 150 and 200 eggs. Rarely do hens go broody, and when they do, they typically won’t sit on their eggs until they hatch.
When do Polish chickens reach maturity?
Around 20 to 24 weeks old is when Polish chickens reach maturity. They start producing eggs a little earlier than some other breeds, around five months.
Are Polish chickens rare?
Polish chickens are regarded as being rather uncommon. This breed is included in the watch category of The Livestock Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List. Breeds of chicken in this group have less than 10,000 people globally. The long-term survival of the breed depends on sustained interest in it as a show and exhibition bird.