Sultan

General Information

Breed Purpose
Ornamental
Comb
V-Shaped
Broodiness
Seldom
Climate Tolerance
Heat
Egg Productivity
Low
Egg Size
Small
Egg Color
White
Breed Temperament
Friendly, Easily handled, Bears confinement well, Quiet
Breed Colors/Varieties
Color for this breed is pure White, outside the US other colors like Blue are being developed.
Breed Size
Large Fowl
APA/ABA Class
Other Standard Breeds
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Sultans are an easy to identify breed. With their usually pure white feathering, their full crest, beard, muffs, V-shaped comb, large nostrils, low wing carriage, vulture hocks, profusely feathered shanks and toes, and five toes on each foot, they have more distinguishing features than any other breed.

Sultans are an old breed that originated in southeastern Europe and were bred in Turkey, where they were known as the Serai Taook/Tavuk (Sultan’s Palace Fowl), legend having it that they were primarily used as ornamental fowl in the Sultan’s gardens. It is not known what breeds went into their makeup originally, but Polish chickens were used by early breeders in the UK and US to improve the breed. They were first imported into England from Istanbul in 1854, and into the US in 1867and today they are a rather popular show bird and ornamental bird. The APA recognizes solid White, by far the most popular color, they are also occasionally found in Black and Blue.

Sultans tend to be active very friendly gentle birds and are said to be very talkative. They do well in confinement and many breeders raise them indoors. They are popular in urban gardens since they do little damage to the grass. Their mild temperament means they can be bullied by more aggressive breeds and do best in flocks with similar temperaments. They are fairly temperature tolerant but because of all their extra feathering they do not do well in wet or muddy weather and do not do well free ranging. The hens are fair layers of small/medium white eggs, they usually are non-sitters.

It was recognized by the APA in 1874.
It is on The Livestock Conservancy's Critical list.

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Sultan egg

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Sultan chicks

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Sultan juvenile

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Sultan hen

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Sultan rooster

For more information on this breed and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-breed-focus-sultan.1015131/

Latest reviews

Pros: Beautiful, Friendly, Quiet, Non-destructive,
Cons: Bad first time birds, Easily Sick, Hens can be jumpy due to limited sight
I have a rooster and an hen currently and had a previous hen who passed after getting sick as a chick. They are so sweet and kind, I handled them very little and chicks and they’re the most loving birds I own. My rooster is now way passed maturity and hardly crows, he’s very quiet when he does. They are dumber than rocks and quite honestly, I don’t mind. They have no mind to tear through my garden beds and never think to create the craters my other birds do.
I say bad first time birds due to their susceptibility to sickness, when they get sick, it’s hard to bring them back. They're also incredibly fragile feathers.
Overall I adore this breed and if you plan on getting a few I promise they’re very worth it.
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Purchase Price
9.00
Purchase Date
05/21/19
Pros: Good layers of medium-large white eggs.
Great foragers.
Friendly and talkative.
Hatch and raise their own chicks; dads are good fathers, too!
Cons: Can be difficult to keep clean, especially if you let them forage.
Harder to safely mix in a flock with other breeds, due to their in-between size.
My first Sultans were a complete surprise to me.

Well, not a complete surprise. They looked like Sultans, white with crest, muffs, vulture hocks, five toes, and feathered legs and feet. I had heard that the boys were about 6 pounds, the girls were about 4 pounds, and that was true of my two pairs. I had also heard that they laid a medium-to-large size egg, and that was true of my two hens.

But then, all of the rest of what I heard was shattered.

"Non-setters"--oh, so not true! The very first time I left eggs in overnight, that was enough to set one of the hens to...setting. I removed one pair of Sultans from the cage and gave them alternate housing, and that second hen continued to lay in her new cage. I left one roo with the first hen. After 25 days, I candled the eggs under the first hen. All were fertile, but all had died part-way through the hatching period, probably due to a couple of our Missouri early-March rain-and-freeze cycles. I took five Crevecoeur chicks who had hatched a few days earlier in my incubator and tucked them under the Sultan hen that night, removing her other eggs. The Sultan hen started talking to the Crevecoeur chicks immediately, and they responded. In the morning, I stood anxiously by the cage as dawn broke, and discovered that the Sultan roo was already coaxing the Crevecoeur chicks to food and water. The Crevecoeur chicks were fully adopted and raised by both Sultan rooster and hen. This pair of Sultans raised these chicks, and went on to raise another brood of four of their own in the same year. When I left eggs for the other Sultan pair, they quickly brooded and raised their own family.

Not good foragers...? I submit a YouTube video of the first Sultan hen in question with four chicks plowing up the barnyard in search of stuff I probably don't even want to know about (though I did recognize some mealworms and earthworms:
In foraging ability, I would rate Sultans more in the "rototiller" than in the "non-garden-damaging" category.

Since then, I am on my fifth generation of Sultans. The roos are great fathers, the hens are wonderful brooders (given the right housing, which I didn't give them the first time around) and mothers. It has been disconcerting to see how the Sultans sometimes will start a family in the late fall, yet they are good parents, and have not lost a chick yet, despite the cold.

Their laying pattern is typical of setters, about 8-12 days of laying, two weeks or so of not laying, then repeat, if they are not setting. This continues all year long, if you collect the eggs. If you forget to collect the eggs, then it's off to the brooding/hatching phase!

My Sultans typically talk to one another almost constantly. I listen in to these musical conversations as I work in the yard. Sometimes, if I am close to or actually in their coop, my Sultans talk to me. The roosters and hens have never shown any indication of ill will toward me or any other human I have in tow. But we are careful not to get between them and their mates or chicks.

I have to say, Sultans are a rare breed, and the individuals I have may not be typical of the breed. However, you will want to note that, as a rare breed, individual Sultans that anyone has may not be typical of the breed. Also, chickens are flock animals, and if you only have one, and you (as far as they can tell) are the only other member of their flock, then they may not behave in a breed-typical way.

In my experience, Sultans are a great bird for anyone who wants to raise their own birds, and have eggs, too! We haven't eaten any of ours, although I understand that they are good eating. For us, it doesn't make sense to eat them because we can sell them at a much higher price than it costs for us to buy a chicken dinner. But we do eat some of the eggs.
Purchase Price
"Free to good home" first two pairs, from someone who overbought at Cackle Hatchery (thank you, Craig's List!)
Purchase Date
about May 2014
Pros: Friendly, Beautiful, Cuddly, Easy going
Cons: Feather maintenance
I got my Sultan rooster as a chick, on accident, thinking he was a Polish hen. Much to my surprise, soon after his feathers really started coming in, I realized what HE was. I wasn't thrilled about ending up with a Rooster, but he is certainly a charmer! Of my 7 hand raised chickens, he is by far the most loving bird I have had. He is the first to run up to the door when I come out to visit and he LOVES to be held and loved on. I can cradle him in my arms and carry him around while he sleeps. He does great with the hens and has never shown anyone any aggression.

The only "con" is that since he is white, and his feet are feathered, he looks filthy all the time. But, that being said, he is VERY tolerant of me wiping him down from time to time to clean him up. He enjoys his occasional foot washes
!

Overall, if you are looking for a PET, this breed has won me over. I don't think they would disappoint.



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Comments

I have 3 also and they are about 5 months old and they are super sweet and calm they love to be held and petted. Hope to hatch some if they ever start laying
 
I have crossed chickens that I knew to be related and ended with good birds. I would love to get some Sultans. I had a couple of Sultan Bantams one time and a ____ skunk got them. They were absolutely the neatest.
 
My Sultans are now 7 months and I still love them! The funnest breed I have ever had. 1 started laying at 22 weeks, and 1 at 32 weeks. The eggs are bigger than I expected. They are a regular small size egg you would get at the store. So funny and personable.
 
My son just hatched out seven sultans in his hovabator today...so exciting to see them all break free of their shell.
 
9 months old and still the BEST chicken I have ever had. Eggs are a standard small/medium size. I am getting 4 a week per hen. they are the most social and loving bird I have ever raised. they get attached to you very easily. Not a mean bone in my two's bodies! so comical. They get along with my large size breeds well. My full size rooster leaves them alone too. they are very aware of everything if you keep their headpiece trimmed so they can see.
 
My 'mystery chick' from mypetchicken.com was a Sultan. When the chicks arrived, she was in corner of the box by herself. In the brooder, she stayed off to herself. She required extra heat the first few days so my daughter carried her around in her shirt pockets. She is always the last one out of the coop each morning. Now, she is 16 weeks old, absolutely adorable, very friendly, very docile, and loves to be held and cuddled by my granddaughter who is 9 years old. She will lay in the crook of her arm in the porch swing and go to sleep. If you have small children and are keeping chickens for eggs only, I would recommend at least one of these for the smaller kids as pets. Egg production is stated to be scarce, but the responsibility of keeping them is the same and perfect for a small child to be able to join in with the rest of the family members and the flock.
 
Aw! Cleopatra doesn't like to perch and she seems to do well in the cold. (Though, she does have 9 other flock members to cuddle.) And I think when they grow up they are beautiful, yes, most people say how weird they are but I think they are more pretty than weird. Are they very common?
 
I suspect one reason they are such gentle, friendly birds is that any chicken that injured a concubine of the Sultan or a child of the Sultan probably wound up in a Janisseri stewpot.
 
SEEKING..Eggs from…White Silkies, White Sultan Chicken, White Crested Blue Polish Chicken, White Crested Black Polish Chicken, Blue Ameraucana Chicken, or German Spitzhauben Chicken Fertile eggs Wanted.
Any of the species mentioned are Chickens I would like to hatch in my incubator. Shipping is easy. Eggs (fertile only) can be placed in any foam egg carton filled with vermiculite or saw dust, etc. They can be placed in a standard box surrounded by bubble-wrap. Movement and striking a sealed container will NOT harm the eggs if shipped UPS, FedX, or USPS. X-ray has not hurt my eggs or damaged the embryos either. If you have any eggs available, please state your fee per egg and estimated shipping to Dayton, Tennessee 37321. Email is Hemedinger@outlook.com or newfor2015@outlook.com.
Appreciate any offers. Lauren
 
I have 4 of these! 3 cockerels, 1 pullet. One of the cockerels has disoriented toes, so it walks like a crab. He gets around okay though - it was something he was born with.
 
Aww.. so cute! I don't have on but my rhode island red (Red) acts the same way. lol Chickens make awesome fine feathered dogs..
 

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