Are you looking to add some personality and beauty in your flock? Polish chicken might be what you are looking for. These chicken are quirky, fun, and friendly, making them a great addition to any flock. Is it just about the vibrant personality and beauty? Well, no, Polish chickens have more to offer.
The unique appearance of the polish chicken matches up to the benefits the bird brings to any flock. If you are considering adding one or two polish chicken, this guide can be resourceful. You will learn everything about polish chicken, including what they are good at and how to raise them.
The History of Polish Chicken
It is still not clear where exactly the breed might have originated from, but there are some tales of how the breed made its way into Europe. One common story is how the King of Poland was thrown out of power and left for France. In his luggage, he took his favorite polish chicken.
Another popular story is that immigrants brought the breed’s ancestors from Italy to Spain early in the 16th century. This and other stories could have some truth in them, but nothing shows where the breed originated.
There are lots of arguments on where the birds came from. Some people believe the chickens are Polish, while others think they might have been in a Polish territory or other countries like the Netherlands.
Well, the name suggests the bird must have been from Poland. However, this is not the case exactly. One theory states that the bird was named because of its large head, which in Dutch, the word pol means exactly that.
These chickens are known as some of the best egg layers in France. In the United States, however, most people are not aware of this and do not regard them as great egg layers. This is because, when they first made their way into the United States, people kept them for white eggs. Later on, their egg production was surpassed by other chicken like the White Leghorn, which is now one of the best layers.
The chickens have different names depending on the regions. They go by the name Poland, Tophat, Paduan Chicken, and Polish moniker.
Polish Chicken Appearance
Polish breed of chicken is unique in how it looks. The polish hen has a pop-pom hair design, which is fairly tidy and uniform. On the other hand, the polish rooster has an untidy hair design, which seems more like it has a bad hair day. For both sexes, the feathers grow up and extend over the head, sometimes covering the eyes.
The chickens feature a mix of brown, black, and white feathers, which gives them a unique, stunning pattern. Although the colors vary from one type to the other, you will most definitely recognize a polish chicken when you see one, thanks to the pop-pom hair.
One of the unique features other than the feathers is the protrusion of the crest of the head. It rises out of the skull bringing about the high-level head. Interestingly, Poland chickens can have beards, although some types are nonbearded.
Polish rooster is a little different than the hen. They feature V-shaped combs with white earlobes and red wattles. They have one thing in common; the legs are gray, and each foot has four toes. Overall, they are medium sizes and grow to about 6 pounds for roosters and about 4 pounds for hens. The skin, like most chicken breeds, is white.
The stylish head of the Polish breed of chicken might give an illusion of aggressive, rowdy behavior. But, this is not quite the case. Polish chickens are some of the calmest and gentlest birds. They are an excellent addition to any backyard animals and pets, hence suitable as family pets. They are so gentle that some people raise them indoors.
They are sweet and calm but tend to be a bit flighty. On this note, they can easily go up trees to roost or hide in places you can hardly reach. You can clip the wings, but this is not advisable if you plan to take your chicken in an exhibit. Some shows have standards that could disqualify your chicken if you clip the wings.
A great way to prevent flight is to provide restricted room to play and roam. That way, you prevent them from hiding in odd places. It is important to note that these birds can be a little nervous because they cannot see well beyond the feathers.
You might want to trim the feathers around the eyes to improve their vision and help reduce nervousness. This can also reduce the risks of developing eye infections that are common with this breed.
If you want to keep the beautiful feathers around the head, you can help ease the nervousness by whistling to your chicken. That will help it recognize your presence and alert it as you approach.
Since these birds are often kept as pets or for exhibitions, they rarely go broody. But, some types of the breed brood while some are more into laying eggs. Note that this breed can be quite curious and sometimes end up trapped somewhere.
This can happen when they disconnect from the flock, and you might need to help them get out of their hiding place. They are not noisy birds, but they tend to squawk loudly when lost until other members of the flock find them.
The calm personality and luxurious head feathers make these chickens low on the pecking order. However, they are good foragers and can find their food unassisted. Additionally, they will find their entertainment and play together, so you do not have to worry about that. Even so, a healthy feed once a day is advisable to meet the chicken’s nutritional requirements.
Egg Productions vs. Meat Production
Earlier on, Polish chickens were known for their incredible egg-laying ability. Unfortunately, despite some types of the breed doing exceptionally well, egg-laying is not consistent across the breed. While some lay a lot of white eggs, others do horribly, which depends on the type, environment, nutrition, etc.
On average, polish hens lay about 150 eggs annually. This is not as bad as some breeds of chicken but not enough a number to keep them for commercial egg production. Also, they rarely brood; therefore, there is not much evidence on whether they make good mothers or not.
All is not lost if you are trying to increase the productivity of your polish chicken. There are several things you can do to help them lay better.
- Use a false egg or a golf ball in the nest boxes.
- Provide many nest boxes; filled with clean and soft bedding
- Cover the nest box’s entrance with a curtain to enhance privacy
- Add calcium to the diet.
- Provide a safe and calm environment away from predators or aggressive flock members
Why would you keep such a beautiful chicken just to eat it later? Seriously though, even if you would want to enjoy the meat of Polish chicken, they are too small fr meat production. You will not get much meat from this breed and probably need to slaughter a number to feed your family.
On this note, you would be better off keeping them for eggs. Better still, they make wonderful pets, and if you are looking for some additional beauty in your garden, Polish chicken will work in your favor.
How to Breed Polish Chicken
Breeding your polish chicks can be tough not because they do not mate but because the hens can be unreliable to sit and hatch. On this note, the most appropriate way to hatch your own would be to remove the eggs and hatch in an incubator. Luckily, this is easy to do, and polish eggs remain fertile for a few days.
Another challenge in breeding Polish chickens is that roosters can be overly aggressive during mating. However, it is common for roosters to pull feathers out of the hen while mating, polish roosters can be too much. You might notice one hen receiving too much attention from roosters. In such a case, it is advisable to remove it from the breeding pen to a new location.
The good thing is that the polish chicken egg remains fertile after laying, so you can still collect them to hatch later. In situations where you cannot collect hatching eggs say, the zoning laws in your area do not allow keeping roosters; you can buy eggs online and incubate them at home.
The Best Conditions for Polish Chickens
Polish chickens are some of the breeds that do well in confinements. On this note, they do not need a ton of space, thanks to their small space and calm personality. You can keep them in a standard coop but ensure you provide nesting boxes. Also, ensure the coop has strong walls and small openings to the outside.
Polish chickens like to be close to one another. This, however, does not mean you can crowd them in a small coop. Ensure about two feet of space for each to provide room to roam and roost. If you intend to keep them indoors all through, ensure the coop is large enough for comfort.
They require dry pens to serve during the winter months as they are not the best for wet and cold weather. This is because the feathers on the head can easily get wet and freeze, which can take quite some time to dry.
As long as you provide a dry pen in extremely cold temperatures, they should adapt well. It is important to note that they do not like being wet; therefore, if they find themselves in a pool of water, you will need to help them dry the fluffy feathers. If the temperatures go extremely low, you could add a heat lamp in the coop to keep them warm.
When the weather is hot, these birds do well. But, you have to provide them with shade and ensure they have access to clean, freshwater. As mentioned, these birds tend to fly, so you should ensure they are confined. Remember, Polish chickens tend to be curious, so you might need to keep them within eyes reach.
Additionally, since they have eyesight problems, they may easily get into problems with other chicken or pets. But, as long as they have adequate space to roam and play, this should not be a major concern. If you are considering mixing polish chicken with other breeds, it is advisable to limit the breeds to ornamental or equally calm breeds. Some examples are leg bars, Austalorp, Golden Comets, Cochin, Silkie, Brahma, among others.
Raising Polish Chicken
Polish chickens are no particularly needy unless you are keeping some as show chicken. You only need to provide nutritionally complete feed, which you can find at any local feeds mill. Remember Polish chickens are good foragers, so the feed would be more of a supplement feed.
However, you should note that during the fall months, chickens need extra protein. Since this is around the time they molt, they will need extra nutrition to grow a new coat of feathers to prepare for winter. And, since polish chickens have extra feathers to grow, they may need more protein than other chickens.
On this note, you can choose a molt-specific feed or add supplements. Some good examples are mealworms, meat, and dairy products, chick feed, sprouts, nuts, and seeds.
When it comes to proving water, you will need to get special waterers during the winter. When drinking water from regular containers, they can easily get the feathers wet, which could lead to ice formation. Alternatively, you could trim feathers back to prevent them from dipping when drinking water.
Polish chicks should be in a brooder for at least six weeks. This will ensure they are safe from predators and bullying from older chickens. Chicks need at least one square foot of space to provide enough room to roam. Since polish chickens are not brood, keeping the chicks in the brooder will help them survive and stay comfortable.
Also, they will need a heat lamp, especially if the weather is colder than usual. Cover the brooder with pine shavings and ensure a clean supply of water and food. After about six weeks, the chicks will start growing feathers, which will replace the baby fluff. After feathering, they can now join adult Polish chicken in the coop.
What are the Benefits of Raising Polish Chicken?
Polish chickens are ornamental, which makes them great as show birds. Although they can be quite expensive to purchase on show-quality grounds, you can still find affordable ones that still meet the standard of perfection. The idea is to shop around first before making a decision.
Ornamental chickens take quite some work to raise, but it is not that much work for this breed. You can start at county fairs and advance your way to more complex fairs with a well-kept polish chicken.
The gentle and calm personality of polish chicken makes them some of the best breeds to keep around kids and pets. They like cuddling and can handle human attention. Additionally, they are fun to play with, and the fluffy feathers give them the soft cuddly feel.
Polish chickens are a great addition to any flock, thanks to their unique beauty. If you are building a flock with different breeds in your backyard, a polish chicken should be top of your considerations.
Polish chickens are somewhat reliable layers. Although they are not quite dependable for egg laying, you can get an egg here and a polish chicken in your flock. If you have a considerable number of Polish chicken, you might have adequate eggs for your family.
What are the Challenges of Raising Polish Chicken?
One of the main challenges is introducing this breed to a flock with other breeds of chicken. If you have assertive chickens, your new polish chicken will have a hard time adapting to the personalities. One, because it lies quite low in the pecking orders. And, because chickens pull feathers, your beautiful polish chicken would be a great target.
The fluffy plumage of Polish chicken is prone to lice and mites infestations. On this note, you will need to regularly inspect and treat them to prevent the spread of parasites to the rest of the flock. You can prevent and treat pest infestations by doing the following.
- Monitoring the chickens for signs of infestations
- Avoiding overcrowding the coop
- Cleaning the coop regularly
- Providing dust baths for all the chicken in your coop
- Sprinkling diatomaceous earth all over the coop
The Bottom Line
Polish chickens are a great addition to any flock. Not only are they beautiful and unique but also gentle and friendly. They are quite easy to raise and do well with other chicken breeds, pets, and kids. As long as you provide favorable living conditions and complete nutrition, raising a polish chicken breed will be quite a breeze.