CT Winter and Polish variety

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by litl red hen, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. litl red hen

    litl red hen Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2008
    Connecticut
    We live in central CT and have 8 standard birds--Rocks, Orphingtons, Black star. We are interested in getting a few Polish birds but noticed somewhere (can't remember where) they may not be winter hardy. Can anyone offer insight on this?

    Thanks so much. I just lllloooooooooove this forum!!
     
  2. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    They aren't at all cold hardy, as we live in 40s-teens during the winter here. The problem that most often occurs is crest feathering freezing. It has happened to my one Polish hen only a few times in the season, due to her eating from the frosty ground. She goes to sleep on the roost at night, and the next day, her feathery icicles are gone. It causes her to bump into things more often but she doesn't seem to be in any pain. Others have put a rubber band around the head to keep the feathering up but my Patty hates it.

    Otherwise, she has done better in these temps than many of my other birds. I'm a little biased, as I only have one fully-Polish hen, so look into other's responses. Trust me, I'd tell you right away if there was something so wrong with the idea. My girl is almost two years old and is as healthy as a horse.

    [​IMG]

    This is a pic of her with VERY miner crest freezing. No pain to her. However, it gets worse than this-think frozen dreadlocks blocking all vision. I don't currently have a pic of how bad it can get to be, just take my word for it.
     
  3. poultrykeeper08

    poultrykeeper08 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Agawam , Ma
    My polish do fine in the winters . They dont go out side though
     
  4. litl red hen

    litl red hen Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2008
    Connecticut
    Thank you for the insight. She is beautiful!! Is your coop heated at night? This year, the nights were sooo cold, we added a drop light at night to add heat, and also left a light on all day. We have roots up high, near the peak. Had a couple of our bird's crowns get a bit of frost bite when they roosted down low. Most of our birds roost up high.

    Other than watching or this 'freezing' on the feathers, it seems that it would be ok to have some Polish breed. We will have 4-6 of them. Any comments on mixing them with our regular birds?

    Thanks
     
  5. litl red hen

    litl red hen Out Of The Brooder

    36
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    Apr 25, 2008
    Connecticut
    poultry keeper08, do you keep the Polish inside or do they choose to stay inside?

    Just curious.
     
  6. poultrykeeper08

    poultrykeeper08 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,993
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    Feb 12, 2008
    Agawam , Ma
    They choose to stay in more or less they pop out to peck at the snow then they head back in .
     
  7. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Thanks! She cerainly is...something...great personality and a fair disposition to boot! We love her.

    Nope, the coop isn't heated at all. She relys soley on her thick plumage to keep her through the months. Our flock isn't totally 'warm and fuzzy' with each other, so no one really snuggles up. It's good you have heat though. Anything is better than what we have. I feel obliged to check on everyone a few times a day, just to make sure they're all getting along alright.

    I have to ask, do you have a run? If so, are you able to close the little passage way from outside to inside the coop? Like a door? We try to keep the coop as draft-free as possible. I leave everyone with a run to play in and a warmer coop to take refuge in durring the especially cold days here. If you don't have a door on the coop, you should provide them with one. Not only does it keep warmth in, but Polish chickens often fall victom to predators. I know a few situations off the top of my head that if I wasn't outside with Patty, something would have most likely gotten her. Whether it be the neighbor's dog, a fox, a hawk, etc...Always consider the worst when getting Polish chickens. Patty is pretty bright for a chicken. When there is snow on the ground and she can't find her way home (we free range in the afternoon) she goes to the most familiar spot and waits for me to bring her home when I go outside. Call it street smarts, call it familiarity, whatever. I'm just happy she knows what to do in any situation.

    She will also roost up high when given the chance. Even though her crest makes her a pretty good target, it also protects her from other chicken's bites and vicious pecks.

    Ah, as far as mixing breeds goes, that really differs with different owners. I have a friend with only one Polish (Which I find absoutley disturbing. Get a few so they don't get left out! Or even if not, make sure you pay attention to EVERYONE! Even the blind!) and she typically finds her hen trying to hide from the rest of the group. Sometimes she'll come home to find that she got her head stuck under a tree root trying to get away from pecking hens. I feel bad for that little girl.

    I find that my Pats hasn't had a single problem with pecking until before we got rid of alot of our roos. (They would go to mate and grab onto her crest feathers first, riping out a few until I saved her from them.) Got rid of the roos, she repaired, never an issue since.

    I also tend to see that birds of a feather WILL indeed stick together! I hatched my Polish hen's daughter out last spring and they bond fairly well now. Out of my whole flock, they are the only ones with a 'friendship'. Your fowl may do the same.

    Keep a close eye out, though. The minute a bird sees that your Polish is a 'funny chew toy', you're in for a problem. I've heard blue-kote and anti-peck lotions are helpful in these situations. Be the bird's watch-dog when possible. I was once outside with my Silkie hen while everyone was going to bed in the OPEN coop. I saw a fox coming my way in a bit of a hurry, probably catching onto my flock's scent. I grabbed my hen and took her in right away. The fox ran off, but it showed me how much trouble the birds can get into, even if they have lesser vision imparements.

    Oh, wow, I'm sorry for that! I'm not very good at keeping it short! [​IMG] Hope any of this was useful information!
     

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