The Polish Chicken, or the Crested Dutch Chicken, is an ornamental fowl that has a surprising appearance.
These beautiful birds are distinguished by an explosive topknot of feathers, usually in a contrasting color to their body
color, which accents their plumage. Though these are not the only crested Chickens, they are perhaps the best known of all
other crested breeds.
Polish Chickens do not sit on their eggs. They are rather prized for their beauty and for the pure
white color of their eggshells than for their laying qualities. It is important not to startle Polish Chickens because their
crests restrict their vision, so it may be easy to sneak up upon them without intending to. Under normal circumstances, however,
Polish Chickens may be calmer than other chickens because their crest restricts vision much in the way a hood might. It is
important to allow them plenty of space to prevent them from picking out each other's topknots. Polish Chickens are active,
however, and because of their beautiful appearance they can be fun to watch!
All Polish Chickens have large nostrils and a topknot of feathers. The topknot emerges from a protuberance
atop the chicken's skull. By maturity, a standard cock weighs about six pounds and a standard hen weighs about four and a
half pounds. All Polish Chickens have tight feathering, white skin, and lay white eggs; however, the resemblance ends here.
These chickens are available in a variety of types. A few recognized colors include White Crested Black or Blue, Golden or
Silver Laced, Bearded White, Bearded Golden, Bearded Silver, Bearded Buff Laced. All of the bearded varieties are also available
in non-bearded varieties.
Mentioned in literature as early as the sixteenth century, Polish Chickens are a very old breed.
They were probably imported from Eastern Europe to England, where they became known as Poland Fowls. Continental Europeans
often refer to these and to all crested breeds as Paduans or Padoues. Polish Chickens have been praised for years as beautiful
birds for exhibition.
Polish Chickens should be allowed plenty of room to spread out, since overcrowding can cause crest
plucking between chickens. It is important, in cooler weather, to keep Polish Chickens relatively warm. Often ice can form
in their crests when they drink water, and this can cause problems for the birds. Some Polish Chickens can experience hernias
due to the deformity in their skulls that causes their topknots to grow.
It is advised to keep Polish Chickens in small groups to avoid having their crest feathers pulled
out. For this same reasons it is also suggested that these chickens not be kept with other breeds.
Polish chickens are non setters (most hens will not go broody) and for this reason they are hard
to propagate without an incubator. Polish Chickens lay eggs with white shells. Juveniles usually do not develop adult coloration
until they are sexually mature. The skull formation (knob) is visable from the time they hatch. The characteristic crest is
usually completely developed by the time Polish Chickens are about four weeks old.