Are you looking for a cute, quirky, and friendly chicken to add to your current flock? Then the Polish Chicken may be the perfect poultry for you! Sporting a fierce 1970s-inspired hairdo thanks to her ornate head feathers, this chicken also has an easygoing disposition, is considered to be a good egg layer, and makes a great pet.
If you’re considering purchasing a Polish Chicken, here is everything you need to know about this unique breed.
Quick Facts about Polish Chickens
|Species Name:||Gallus Gallus Domesticus|
|Color Form:||Gray, White, Black, Red|
|Size:||Medium (4 – 6 pounds)|
|Diet:||Chicken pellets, vegetables|
|Minimum Coop Size:||10 sq.ft. per bird|
|Coop Set-Up:||Chicken coop with large outside area|
Polish Chicken Overview
The Polish Chicken is a lively, colorful chicken that hails from Europe. Legend has it that in 1736 when the King of Poland fled to France after being unseated, his beloved chickens were found amongst his luggage.
Paintings of Polish Chickens date all the way back to the 15th century. Today, they are recognized by the American Poultry Association and used primarily for ornamental purposes or kept as pets.
The Polish Chicken’s striking looks, including its pom-pom head feathers and gorgeous plumage, make this bird breed a popular choice among chicken enthusiasts.
How Much Do Polish Chickens Cost?
Polish Chicken chicks cost between $4 and $5 per chick. However, future chicken parents also have to consider the upkeep costs that go into owning these birds.
To keep your flock safe from predators, including foxes, dogs, and coyotes, you need to provide them with a coop. Chicken coops typically cost around $500. You’ll need to line the bottom of the coop with straw or wood shavings, which will cost you around $15 per month. Feeding your chickens a healthy diet will cost about $15 per month. Miscellaneous costs, such as coop repairs, should also be calculated. When added up, the monthly cost of owning chickens is around $70 for a flock of five hens.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
The Polish Chicken is an enjoyable breed to own. They are typically calm and friendly birds, making this breed suitable for children to own as pets. Polish Chickens are known to sometimes become flighty and nervous. This is attributed to their head feathers causing visual issues. When you approach your chickens, be sure to softly talk or whistle at them to make sure they know you’re there.
Due to their mild temperament, Polish Chickens are low on the flock’s pecking order and can be bullied by other birds. Many chickens can’t resist pulling out their head feathers, which can lead to baldness or injury.
Polish Chickens are also very curious birds. Because of their inquisitive nature, they may get themselves stuck and need help getting out. Because of this personality trait, Polish Chickens are better kept in a large enclosed area instead of being allowed to free-range.
Appearance & Varieties
Polish Chickens are real head-turners. With their incredible colors and distinct head plumage, it’s hard to mistake this breed for anything else. Their elaborate head feathers can cascade over their face and eyes, sometimes obstructing their view.
Some varieties of Polish Chickens are also beaded, boasting gorgeous feathers on their face and heads.
This medium-sized bird has an upright, elegant carriage. Its long body, broad shoulders, and straight back contribute to its eye-pleasing appearance. Polish Chickens have red wattles and combs and white ear lobes. Their four-toes feet have no feathering.
Polish Chickens come in a variety of colors, including black, brown, white, gold laced, silver polished, and blue polished.
How to Take Care of a Polish Chicken
Habitat, Coop Conditions & Setup
Polish Chickens need a large, enclosed area to run and play. They also need shelter during cold or rainy days or when they’re laying eggs.
A good chicken coop includes nesting boxes, a roofed roost where chickens can sleep and have the proper protection from predators and bad weather, and a run where they can move around and explore. Use welded wire fencing to keep the flock in while keeping predators out. When designing your chicken coop, allocate 10 square feet per bird.
The nesting boxes should be placed in the roofed roost and easily accessible to all of your birds. Line the bottom with straw, wood shavings, or bedding pellets. For every four of your hens, you should have one nesting box. Your roost should also include a place for the chickens to perch and relax. Perches also provide your Polish Chickens with a comfortable place to sleep that’s up and away from their waste. Allocate eight inches of perching space per bird.
Consider running an electrical cord to the roost to power lights. This will provide warmth for your chickens on colder days and boost egg production.
Do Polish Chickens Get Along with Other Pets?
Polish Chickens are social creatures and need companionship to thrive. You can never own just one chicken.
Because of their laidback personality, Polish Chickens can be picked on and bullied by other birds in your flock. Their head feathers can also be plucked out, causing baldness and skin irritations. Check on your birds every day for signs of bullying or injury.
Chickens are naturally prey animals. If you allow your Polish Chickens to free-range, always keep a close eye on them, especially if you own dogs. Never allow your canines to come near your flock as your dog’s natural hunting instincts could lead to trouble. Additionally, because of their visual impairments, Polish Chickens should not be left unsupervised when free-range. Though they love to forage, Polish Chickens are easy targets for predators.
What to Feed Your Polish Chicken
You should be feeding your Polish Chickens high-quality protein feed. During molting season, feed them 20% protein feed until their new feathers have grown in. Offer them 16% protein feed during the egg-laying season.
You can also feed your flock cooked beans, leafy greens, most fruits, and non-sugary cereals.
Keeping Your Polish Chicken Healthy
Special attention should be given to your Polish Chicken’s head feathers, especially in the wintertime. Lice and mites can seek shelter in their thick plumage, so be sure to check these feathers routinely. Be sure to trim the head feathers as needed. If their crest becomes wet, immediately dry it.
The Polish Chicken breed also has a prominent head ridge that doesn’t immediately knit together. If an adult chicken pecks the head of a Polish chick, it may suddenly die.
Polish Chickens are exceptional egg layers and can lay up to 200 eggs per year. While chickens can produce fertilized eggs all year, they are more prolific in the spring. Keep the rooster in the same enclosure as your hens. After they mate, check to see if any eggs are fertilized. They will typically have a small white patch that looks like a bulls-eye.
Gather the fertilized eggs and store them for around a week before placing them in an incubator.
Hatched chicks need to be kept in temperatures of 65 degrees F or above until they grow feathers.
Are Polish Chickens Suitable For You?
Polish Chickens make amazing pets for both novice and experienced chicken owners. They are beautiful to look at, pleasant to interact with, and are prolific egg layers.
Polish Chickens are currently on the American Livestock Breed Conservancy’s “watch” status. This means that their numbers are low and are being closely monitored, so breeding is highly encouraged.
These chickens are fairly quiet and don’t create a lot of noise pollution. Their chatter is subdued and rather peaceful.
If you have space, funds, and time to properly care for a small flock, Polish Chickens are a great bird to keep and breed!
Featured image credit: Sabino Parente, Shutterstock