What are polish chickens?
The Polish or Poland is a European breed of chicken known for its crest of feathers. The oldest accounts of these birds come from The Netherlands; their exact origins are unknown. In addition to combs, they have large crests that nearly cover the whole of the head. This crest limits their vision, and as a result can affect their temperament. Though normally tame, they may be scared and easily spooked.
Polish chickens are bred primarily as a show bird, but were originally productive egg layers. Polish rarely go broody and lay white eggs. There are bearded, non-bearded and frizzle varieties. Having a broody polish is not totally unheard of though. My hen here did a fantastic job of raising her chicks.
Another broody polish. Pic courtesy of @granny hatchet
The origins of the breed's name are not known for sure. The breed could have been named after the country of Poland. Its name also could h'ave come from the Middle Dutch word pol, meaning "head", in reference to the Polish's dome-shaped skull. As you can see in the image below a vaulted or dome shaped skull at the top and non vaulted at the bottom.
The vaulted skull can cause problems in its own right. The vault can cause part of the brain to be exposed therefore increasing the chance of injury occurring. A bang or bump or even a peck from another bird can cause neurological problems. This can result in a condition known as wry neck/crook neck/star gazing. Please do check out this link for more information on this condition ~
The Polish has a small V-shaped comb, though it is often hidden by the large crest of feathers. The earlobes and wattles are small and may also be completely hidden by the crest and beard. The earlobes are white, the comb and wattles bright red.
Recognised instantly by its massive crest, the exhibition Poland is truly a sight to behold. Sprightly and erect, birds have a fairly long body, similar to a long ‘u’ with a full neat tail carried somewhat low.
The crest perches on a bony skull protuberance referred to as the top knot. The female crest feathers form a neat globular ball, while the male feathers fall like a shawl around his head. The distinctive horny nostrils are wide and cavernous. The white crested black is without muffling and the wattles are somewhat bigger, as opposed to the other colours which do possess muffs and usually have diminutive wattles.
Standard colours include chamois (buff laced), gold, silver, self white, self black, self blue, white crested black, white crested cuckoo and white crested blue.
Caring for polish.
Polish can be a high maintenance bird to keep, mainly due to their large crests. Crests can be a lovely home for lice and mites and need to be checked regular for any infestations. The large crests can also cause iritation to the eyes so being vigilant with your polish is paramount to their well being. As the crest can cause vision problems I recomend keeping feeders and drinkers in the same place so they can find them again. Crests can be trimmed if your not showing your birds but this rather defeats the object of having them for their fancy looks in the first place. Putting the crest up in a hair bobble is also an option in keeping the crest clean, tidy and out of the face and eyes. Caution should be taken when attempting this as it may cause iritation to the crest if done too tight.
Polish do well in an enclosed area and are much safer being kept this way. When out free ranging some can get lost and in a panic when they can't find their way back. Not all are like this and many do well out free ranging. It really is down to the individual bird in question.
Extra vigilance in the coop can save your birds lots of irritation in the long run. Keep those mites and lice at bay in your coop!!
Providing water for polish.
A thin lipped water station is also recomended for polish. Here is what I've found the best ~
Wide enough for them to drink comfortably but not so wide that the crest falls in and becomes wet.
Mixing polish with other breeds.
Polish once again due to their crests can often attract an awful lot of unwanted attention when kept in a mixed flock. Their crests are so beutiful other birds just can't help investigating them!! This can lead to feather pecking of the crests and in severe cases blood can be drawn. Once blood is drawn this can escalate the problem as the blood sends them into a pecking frenzy. If this occurs it's essential to seperate the pecked bird. Polish are also often at the pecking order, they are in general a very quiet bird. Due to limited vision they are an easy target for and attack from another flock member or predator if out free ranging. Saying this not all polish are so timid, I've had a few feisty ones who are more assertive within the flock. It really does depend on the individual bird. If you are thinking of keeping polish in a mixed flock my best advice would be ~ Be prepared if you need to remove them from the flock!!
Please do enjoy your polish!! Although my article points out the pitfalls of keeping polish they are a fab breed to keep. So friendly if you tame them up from being young, super characters and they love attention and lap sitting.
Please do check out my pesky polands ~
For all the polish chat ~
Thank you for reading and enjoy polish chickens!!!