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3 Russian Chicken Breeds (with Pictures)
Chickens have been a staple in farm life since the dawn of time, so to speak. These creatures are multi-purpose, supplying owners with meat and eggs. Of course, each chicken breed stemmed from somewhere across the globe.
When you think of Russia, you might envision blustery winds and desolate tundra—but they have farm animals just like any other country. As you could imagine, these animals need to be very adaptable. So, if you’re on the hunt for some Russian chickens to add to your flock, three picks match the origin. But you might not find them outside of their home country. Let’s learn a little more about this trio of birds.
Farm Life in Russia
Some areas of Russian are quite underpopulated due to harsh conditions. But like anywhere else, Russia has tons of farm life that they need to thrive nutritionally. They have many of the same farm animals as the United States, including poultry, cows, sheep, pigs, and horses.
In Russia, they might not have had the most significant influence on chicken breeds. However, they would hold competitions amongst chickens—mostly for long-crowing.
The rare and lovely Pavlovskaja is a fancy, full-feathered chicken that has its own special look. This chicken breed is so old that there isn’t a definite date on breed creation. However, we know that they date back to the 1700s.
Today, this breed is almost extinct and does not exist outside of Russia. Many poultry historians speculate that the Pavlovskaja gave way to many modern-day chicken breeds. Some chicken enthusiasts are trying to revive the breed, but there’s no exact data on how the numbers are climbing.
Pavlovskajas have a big following because of their awesome feather growth on their crests and feet. They also come in a wide variety of colors, so you never quite know what you’re going to get. The visual differences between the male and female are quite drastic, too.
Hens come in various interesting colors, but one telltale sign is their plumes of sprawling crest feathers. They sport these fancy feathers on their legs, too.
Roosters and cockerels are very flashy—ready for the disco. They also have large crest feathers, producing a crazy updo. They have muscular thighs and iridescent tail feathers.
Egg Production & Broodiness
Today’s Pavlvskajas don’t have an incredibly high egg production, nor are they the best meat birds. They are categorized as ornamental chickens—meaning their stellar personalities sell the package.
Pavlovskajas don’t have a very high yield of eggs, averaging about 100 per year. These chickens lay tinted white eggs that are relatively big, considering they are medium birds.
Even though their egg production isn’t necessarily high, they are steadfast in their laying, producing consistently throughout their lifetime.
Pavlovskajas do tend to go broody a lot. So, if you’re lucky enough to own one, they might very well hatch their own eggs—along with a few others in the flock. This trait can be especially beneficial if you’re looking to increase the population of this rare breed.
Since these birds are so rare, they should only be ornamental—meaning no eating! If anything, try to conserve the authenticity of this gorgeous breed.
Pavlovskajas love people and flock mates alike. They tend to be very social, following owners around the yard and begging for treats.
Orloff chickens are the only Russian chicken breed that you can buy all over the place. Initially, they got their name from Russian Count Alexei Grigoryevich Orlov. Even though Count Orlov was the primary promoter of this breed, they started in Persia.
By the 21st century, this breed really caught on for poultry lovers—and you can find them all over the world.
The Orloff’s appearance might be one of the most intriguing things about them. They are heavily feathered around the head and neck, making them extremely cold hardy and adaptable. They have small combs and wattles and much resemble a wild grouse—multi-toned and neutral.
Hens come in a broad bouquet of colors like black, white, cuckoo, red, spangled, mahogany, and black-tailed. They are larger birds that are heavy and hardy.
The male version of the Russian Orloff looks remarkably like the female—with slight differences. The tail feathers are higher and the neck feathers are thicker. But they can come in the same color variations as the hens.
Egg Production & Broodiness
Orloffs tend to produce fewer eggs than many other breeds, which is why they are processed as meat more often than not.
Orloff hens don’t have too high of production of eggs throughout a year, topping out around 104. They lay light brown, medium-sized eggs—totaling one to two eggs per week.
It is an uncommon event that an Orloff hen goes broody. An incubator is your best bet if you’re counting on Orloff chicks.
Orloffs are mainly meat birds because of their heavy wild game-like bodies and low egg production. Since they are common birds, it doesn’t hurt to serve one up for a rotisserie dinner.
Orloffs tend to calmer members of the flock. They don’t cause a lot of commotions or get into too much mischief. They might not be too adventurous, either—fine just scratching around the yard for nearby treasures.
3. Yurlov Crower
The Russian Yurlov Crower is an ancient chicken breed that was once a record-holding crower. Many used these birds in crowing competitions, holding notes for 7-9 seconds.
They were fading in popularity but started rising again in Germany. There is a firmly held belief that these birds came to be by crossing many Chinese meat breeds.
Yurlov Crowers are sturdy, stable chickens—and work very well as meat birds because of it. The roosters and hens vary slightly in size and color.
Yurlov Crower hens can come in various colors, but they are most often black with a green cast to their feathers.
Roosters are vibrantly colored, with iridescent tail feathers and white patterned middle. They have long wattles and high combs. Their upper neck is mostly white with black underbellies and iridescent tail feathers.
Egg Production & Broodiness
Egg production is an essential factor if you plan to keep it for laying purposes only. So, how does the Yurlov Crower rank?
Yurlov Crower hens are considered good, steady layers, producing up to 160 eggs per year. They lay large, cream-colored eggs. They tend to be consistent, too.
There is little information regarding broodiness in Yurlov Crower hens. Having an incubator handy might work better if you plan to hatch some cockerels or pullets.
These birds are excellent dual-purpose chickens, having robust builds and terrific egg-laying abilities. If you need an extra wake-up call in the morning, this breed will give you an extra-long, drawn-out crow to start the day.
Yurlov Crowers are moderately docile birds that are terrific foragers.
Even though Russia doesn’t have an exceptionally high number of original chicken breeds, it definitely provides some exciting picks. Russian chickens have rocking hairdos, interesting color forms, and extraordinary crowing abilities. Rare and wonderful—these chickens put their own unique spin on the poultry world.
Which of the three was your favorite?
Featured Image: Maksim Shchur, Shutterstock
Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Her mission is to create awareness, education, and entertainment about pets to prevent homelessness. Her specialties are cats and dogs.