Varieties: Bearded: Golden, Silver, White, Buff Laced. Non-bearded: White Crested Black, White Crested Blue, Black Crested White, & Golden, Silver, White, and Buff Laced
Average Annual Egg Production: 120
Garden Suitability: Medium (require some care)
Best Features: great characters, show birds, real talking point for visitors!
Polish chickens have a long and distinguished history, originating in Asia and brought to Russia by the Mongols in the 12th century. They were originally known as Crested Dutch chickens, as the Dutch traded in them, before they were imported into the UK from eastern Europe. The Polish was shown at the first ever poultry show in London in 1845.
It’s hard to miss a Polish, with its distinctive top-knot of fluffy feathers. In the females, it appears as a sort of rounded hat, but for the males, the crest feathers stick out like a wind-blown bush! (The feathers grow on a cone-shaped protuberance on the top of the chicken’s skull.)
Polish chickens are very friendly and have quite distinctive characters. Due to their head feathers, they often have restricted vision, and so respond to you calling them. In turn, however, they are easily spooked by unexpected loud noises. Polish chickens get distressed if separated from the flock and have a knack for getting stuck in the most awkward of garden places, so they are best contained rather than free-range. One solution is to tie up the top feathers with a band (rather than cut them), so the chicken can see where they are!
As you might expect, Polish are not hardy birds, and need to have a warm, dry coop to retreat to at all times. If their head feathers get too wet, they can catch cold, so top breeders will often give their prize chickens a quick blow dry with a hairdryer before bedtime!
Polish chickens are not broody, and produce white eggs in moderate quantities, but most are kept in the UK for exhibition. The most common colouring is the White Crested black, which (as you might have guessed) has a black body of feathers topped with a shocking white top-knot.