You have probably seen an eye-catching chicken breed with a fancy tuft of feathers on their heads. These breeds – referred to as crested chickens – come in distinct sizes and colors and are a favorite for chicken farmers.
Originally from countries such as the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Italy, China, and France, crested chickens are now bred across the world in several countries. Crested chickens require more predator protection by the owners because their elongated feathers make them a prime target for attack. Each variety has a different purpose; some are egg layers, others for meat, while the rest are for enjoyment.
Are you thinking of keeping these breeds of chicken? Here is a guide on some of the varieties to look out for before making your decision.
The 10 Crested Chicken Breeds
1. Appenzeller Spitzhauben
Recognized as Switzerland’s national bird, the Appenzeller Spitzhauben is known for its v-shaped comb and upright crest. Despite being an ornamental bird, this breed also lays eggs. In a week, this chicken breed lays around 2 to 4 medium-sized white eggs.
The colors of this bird are so diverse. They come in black spangled, silver spangled, blue spangled, and gold spangled. It’s a standard small to medium in size, but it sometimes roosts on trees. In terms of temperament, it’s relatively adaptable to the environment.
Due to their origin, they are well-suited to life in mountainous areas and are stellar climbers. Because of this, they are free-range birds that don’t do well in confined areas. It’s best if they are allowed to roam freely in open spaces. Besides, it’s hardy during the winter seasons and tolerates heat well.
This breed is the most popular crested chicken. Polish chickens are easily recognizable, they have unique features with a crest of feathers covering the whole head. An origin from the Netherlands, the Polish breed is reasonably widespread in America and other countries.
The hen will often have a tidy and clean crest, while the rooster has a messy and wild poof of feathers. Also, the rooster has a red V-shaped comb. Their feet usually don’t have any feathering.
Their colors range from white crested black, golden laced, white-crested blue, black mottled to buff laced. They are shy but relatively docile and calm. Therefore, they are well-suited to confined areas in your backyard.
When it comes to egg-laying, this breed is not very dependable. The polish breed can lay about 2 to 3 white eggs a week. The Polish bird stands out when you need a breed for an exhibition or a show.
Polish chickens are fun even for the kids and easily catchable because they can’t see very well. Due to their popularity, they are available in most hatcheries.
Originally from Turkey, Sultan is a rare breed. If you are out for a unique-looking breed, then the Sultan is a perfect choice. Their unique features include beards, puffy crests, feathered feet, long tails, and five toes on each foot.
Primarily, they appear in white colors, which is the most common. However, there are other varieties in black and blue. In terms of size, they are not a bantam but come in standard sizes. As a result, they weigh around 4 pounds, with roosters weighing 6 pounds.
If you consider keeping this breed, choose an area that is clean and has dry bedding to keep their feathered feet clean. Due to their docile nature, they are adapting well to enclosed areas.
An enclosed habitat is also perfect for brooding purposes for the egg layers. This rare breed requires top-notch care by any poultry keeper.
Houdan chicken is a dual-purpose breed developed in France. Fairly large birds, the Houdans are fast growers and have a full crest on their heads. The black mottled color with white spotting is the most common, but they also come in lavender and white colors.
This variety is revered for both meat and egg production, making it a perfect choice for breeding. Sultans are often very broody, but it’s best to have the lighter breeds sit on the eggs instead or use an incubator due to their heaviness.
When it comes to the distinct features, it has five toes just like the Sultan and has a butterfly-shaped comb. The multi-purpose nature of the Houdans makes it well-suited for shows as well as a backyard bird.
Originally from North Europe, this breed is named after the Brabanter area between Belgium and Netherlands. These birds come in different colors such as blue laced, black, white, cream, gold spangled, lavender, silver spangled, and golden black half-moon spangled.
The Brabanter chicken breed has a forward-facing crest and V-shaped comb. Their beards hide their wattles and earlobes.
These breeds are very rare and not available in hatcheries. They also tend to be very calm, which means they don’t need a lot of space in your backyard.
Brabanter survives well in cold areas and adapts to the winter seasons. Their comb and wattles protect them from cases of frostbite.
The Crevecoeur originated from France. Despite being popular and the oldest breed in the country, they are not very common in other regions. They stand out as they come in black color.
Mostly, they are a meat bird but from time to time will lay eggs. In terms of temperament, they are generally calm, peaceful, and manageable.
Their preferred habitats are sheltered areas where they are safe from any predators and tough weather conditions. However, they can survive well in grasslands.
This breed is a standard small bird from China. They come in different colors including black, white, blue, red, multiple penciled silver partridge to grey.
Silkies are easily tamable and very friendly with kids. As a result, they are the most common breed in zoos. With this, you can fence around their brooding area where they can just walk around freely.
They are not very reliable when it comes to egg production, but they repay that by being excellent brooders. Therefore, you can breed them together with other chicken varieties that are not great egg-sitters.
Due to their puffy and feathery crests, they have trouble seeing very well. Their breeders mitigate these by either plucking and trimming feathers from the face or tying the crest using a hair tie.
Some silkies have beards, while some are non-bearded. Their feet are covered with feathers; hence they need a proper and clean pen.
Burmese chicken is a bantam chicken originally from Myanmar. They have a single comb and a lightly crested head. Burmese often develop short legs which are fully covered by feathers.
In terms of color and patterns, black is the most common color for this breed. They have such a cool temperament making them easy to tame and keep in your backyard. Despite being a bantam chicken, it’s very fertile and grows vigorously. They lay brown eggs.
9. Kosovo Longcrower
Also known as the Drenica, this breed is a long crowing bird that originated from Kosovo. It mostly comes in black with a few red spots on the feathers. This bird has a V-shaped comb hidden under its crest of black feathers.
When they are younger, they can lay up to around 150 eggs per year, significantly dropping as they get older. The hens start laying eggs after the eighth month and are not known as good egg-sitters. They are also dual-purpose and can be used for meat.
The Kosovo Longcrower is a rare breed and is kept by enthusiasts. As a plus, they are also used in shows such as crowing contests.
Originally from the Polverara region in Italy, this breed is an ancient variety of crested chicken. Similar to the Brabanter, this bird is mainly for ornamental purposes. This medium-sized bird has a feathery crest that is not too messy and does not cover its eyes.
Its physical features include white earlobes and a V-shaped comb. These birds also come in two colors – black and white.
Polverara chickens have green legs, making them elegant and suited for shows and events. Due to crossbreeding, there are other variations of this bird with a different mix of colors.
The male bird weighs around 5 pounds, with the female weighing approximately 4 to 4.5 pounds. Despite been non-sitters, the Polverara lay white eggs up to 150 per year. If you are looking for a multi-purpose bird for both eggs and ornamental purposes, the Polverara is the perfect choice for you.
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Crested birds are quite a catch if you need an ornamental bird. However, they are faced with several challenges due to the crests. First, they have limited vision which limits their reaction time when faced with danger.
They may also seem very jumpy, especially when surprised by any movement. As a result, they are likely to be bullied by other birds.
Most crested birds are often sitting ducks and highly likely to be attacked by predators. Therefore, as a breeder, it’s essential to have a proper shade to keep them safe away from any harm. Crested chickens also require regular checkups to check for insects such as lice, which may attach themselves to the crust.
If your crested bird is not meant for shows or poultry fairs; it’s best if you trim the crest to ease their vision. You can also hold the crest up with a hair tie to solve this problem.
Crested chicken has spread out from different parts of the world, making them a favorite for domestic keeping and poultry shows. Most of them are calm, friendly, and a good choice for pets for your kids.
Featured Image: Andi111, Shutterstock