Question re: Polish Cresteds

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by L0rraine, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. L0rraine

    L0rraine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2009
    Whidbey Island
    Our neighbor has just given me three Crested Black Polish chickens which she apparently got for free awhile ago at one of our local feed stores. They've been in fairly crowed conditions at her place and didn't fare well, which is why she asked if I would take them. They've all had their heads pecked to the point where they only have their crown of feathers around the very edges. She thinks they are bantams and could go in with my Silkies, but they look about twice as big as my Silkies (though smaller than my regular sized hens). She has three of four roosters (all Brahmas? I believe - Large striking white and black roos) and I'm assuming they were the ones pecking at the Cresteds' heads, but we don't really know. She also thinks one or two of the Cresteds might be roosters, but they all look pretty much identical to me and she does say that they lay smallish white eggs quite different from her other eggs, so there must be at least one hen in the batch. (They better not turn out to be roos, I'll be really bummed.)

    At this point someone is probably saying PICTURES? okay, I'll see what I can do and post them in a little bit.

    For now, I've got them in an indoor dog run that I keep feed and straw and other supplies in. But my questions are:

    Should they eventually go in with my two Silkies or my hens? My 2 Silkies have a smaller pen, 3 x 4' house and no roosts (as they just don't seem interested). I have eight hens 2 BRs, 2 RRs, an Ameraucana, Silver laced Wyandotte, Maran and bantam Cochin with a 7 X 8 x 7' high hen house and a very large run (and NO roosters).

    Are there different sizes - bantams and standard? No idea about age, but I'm assuming they are as big as they are going to get.

    Can I assume that once they are in less crowded conditions that their crests will come back (they look fairly healthy otherwise).

    I'm off to try to get pics and assess things a bit better.

    Thanks for anyone's thoughts.
     
  2. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Silkies are fairly docile birds. Although I think that it depends on the individual chicken, not just the breed, many have said before me that Polish will do well with Silkies and even Cochins because their personalities are similar. Actually, if the poor dears have been picked on, they may even consider some smaller birds a warm welcome. I don't do well measuring but if measurements per bird allow them all to share enough space happily, go for it. The Polish might be happier with a roost, but they'd adjust, if not. My Polish have always been decent foragers if given the chance, but they tend to be content with confinement and a dry, tight coop.

    Polish come in Large Fowl and Bantam. LF Polish are still pretty small compared to many other LF breeds. Hens of this size can be approx. 4 lbs, and roosters 6 lbs or so.

    Whether their crests come back or not depends on the care you provide for them and the lack of interest in the birds they are kept with. If you watch carefully and deter the Silkies or other birds from pecking them (Silkies might have a tough time reaching them or might be too scared to go after them if they are Large Fowl Polish, which would work in your favor) those crests should fill in within the next few weeks.

    Just make sure you Quarantine for a period of a month. In this period you should be checking for the usual; sneezing, wheezing, coughing, internal/external paracites, poorly droppings, behavior, etc. I wouldn't advise just throwing them at each other, though in stressed conditions I shortened my quarantine by 2 weeks, but it's still daring. This separation a good way to get their self-esteem up as well. I hear that after a Polish has been pecked day after day and is used to this treatment, they become very submissive and somewhat depressed. A month with only each other's company would do them some good.
     
  3. L0rraine

    L0rraine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2009
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    Thank you! for the sound and helpful suggestions. I had completely overlooked the wisdom of quarantining. So I'm going to try to keep them separate and then put them in with the Silkies, but provide them their own house with a little roost and a roost in the run. As long as they don't pick on the Silkies we should be fine.

    I'm pretty sure that they are LF Polish (white crested black?). Here are two pics - not great, but guess they give a better idea of what I've got. I thought all three were bald, but I guess one isn't. It may? be a cockerel. Looks a little braver and less tormented than the other two.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Guess I'll be headed out for more waterers and feeders tomorrow - [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  4. becky3086

    becky3086 Crested Crazy

    Oct 14, 2008
    Thomson, GA
    Well, we won't be able to tell from the crests what they are, lol, but I don't see any pointy saddle feathers on that one in the first picture (can't see the tail in the second pic) but that does look like a lot of wattle for a hen. Maybe a young roo. I really can't tell yet. I keep all my Polish in separate pens but they may be alright with the silkies, just have to try them and see. Yes, they are white crested blacks, at least the one in the pictures is anyway. The crests will grow back with time, and they will be beautiful again.
     
  5. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yeah, Becky has that point about the crests (or lack of... [​IMG] ) but granted, from my limited experience, they both look like hens to me.

    For what it's worth, expect a little fighting when you put them together, but don't give those Polish the boot right away. Fighting is very normal, but only ever not if it continues for more than a few weeks. If your Silkies are tuffies, they'll remind the Polish of their places in the pecking order.

    Look like LF from the pictures. Shouldn't get much bigger than they are there. I've seen results of crest-pecking far worse than that, so those crests should start improving in no time. In the first pic, the tail is very alert, giving it a fan-like look, which makes me think hen. Don't see any hackles on either bird, though they are sporty rather large wattles.

    I feel so bad for them! My OCD says, "Baths! Lots of soap!" [​IMG] I hate when my Polish get muddy.
     
  6. L0rraine

    L0rraine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well it's been over three weeks and I see little or no progress in the feathers coming back to the bald spots. (Could something else other than being picked on have caused it?) Their other feathers are shiny and healthy looking with a lovely green sheen to the black.

    It's been an interesting few weeks. They caught me off guard with their flight capability. I had to make a makeshift cover for their pen and at first they flew up and crawled out of the small gaps (almost reminded me of the volaciraptors in Jurassic Park). Now that they know where home is they are much less flighty, BUT yesterday one did fly out and into the big hens' run. She seemed to be doing remarkably well in there and so I put the other two in this morning and my other hens don't seem aggressive to them at all which is quite surprising as they nearly killed a couple of buff orpingtons I recently tried to introduce. It would be great if the Polish would do well with the full sized hens because they have much better roosting and nesting options and bigger roaming space than with my Silkies. AND they've just trashed my Silkies' grassy area which was a bit of a shame, because they had a lovely little yard to roam in.
     
  7. Turner

    Turner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northeast OH
    I have a few Polish Crested...if in with other breeds sometimes they will get picked on. For some reason the white crested blacks seem to get picked on more that other colors?? Looks like hens to me and I am wondering if they are picking on each other, also. Feathers should come back but it will take a while IF they are not picking on each other. These look like normal sized Polish - they are not huge birds. Good Luck
     
  8. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    In the past, I have had birds with beards and muffs that have had their feathers pecked out. The reason of the pecking was, what we beleive to be, a protein deficientcy. When more protein was added to their diet, the pecking seemed to stop.

    Point being, the feathers on some didn't grow back for a long time, quite a few weeks, actually. I think it might have been that there was alot of damage done from the constant pecking (when the feathers would try to grow back, and it started rising above the skin, the birds would just peck them out again and again). We also got rid of our roosters, who had been the most picked on at the time, so we never knew if their feathers came back. If it's not damage from pecking, my next guess is mites or lice? I'm guessing you've checked for this already but otherwise, I'm not quite sure. It's good to hear that otherwise, they're doing well. Have we solved the gender mystery?
     
  9. L0rraine

    L0rraine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I'm pretty sure that they are all girls (though only one seems to be laying). They look an awful lot alike, other than their degree of baldness [​IMG] . I think you had mentioned that the fanned tails are a hen trait. All of their tails are fanned, though one is more striking than the others. I do wonder if they are pecking at each other (though I've not seen it happening). I confess I hadn't worried about mites or lice until just recently. I know the mites are probably too small to see, but there don't appear to be any crawly things on them and the rest of their feathers are soooo healthy looking that it just hadn't crossed my mind. Feed-wise they get layer pellets and cracked corn and some minimal free ranging. Is there something else that might be good to supplement with.

    On a side note, I really enjoy the gentle little cooing noise that they make - seems a bit different from the other hens. Thanks again for your helpful comments.
     
  10. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you haven't seen any blood or new scarring, I don't think they're going after each other. I'm thinking this is just the trauma talking. Really, I wouldn't be surprised if some areas remained bald forever, if the pecking was bad enough. But I wouldn't worry until after this spring, guessing that if they were born in the spring, that would be their moulting season. If they moult and still don't get those feathers back, you might have to get used to bald heads. [​IMG]

    A good way to check for mites is to wait until they roost at night and go out when it's dark, with a flashlight, and quickly, brush back their back, vent, and definately, crest feathers with your hand while shining the light in those areas. If there's any unwanted guests residing in your bird's feathers, you'll see them scatter. But just from the discription you gave of their gleaming plumage and the pictures of them a few weeks ago, it doesn't look like mites. If the feathers are suffering that much, the damage should be more visible and I would think that there would be feather loss in other areas, not just the crest...but I could be wrong.

    Feed sounds fine to me. I basically do the same thing, with the addition of sunflower seeds because protein and feathers goes hand in hand. The greater supply of protein helps manage our deficiency, considering our birds have had pecking history and I'm sure they'd do it again if not for the seeds.

    I also like the cooing. But they can be loud when they want to be. [​IMG]
     

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