I am an online writer with a love for animals. I've been a contributor to many sites including eHow, Xomba, Helium, and HubPages.
Polish chickens are an unusual breed that have beautiful crests and tall, lean bodies. They come in a variety of colors. They are wonderful layers of small white eggs, and they're fun to add to every flock.
Below, I share information about distinguishing Polish roosters from hens, the color varieties, frizzling, the care requirements for these chickens, and details about breeding and showing them.
Polish Roosters vs. Polish Hens: How Can You Tell Them Apart?
It's often easy to tell them apart just by looking at the feathers on their head.
- Polish roosters have topknots of feathers that are very flamboyant. The feathers are sharp-tipped and very tousled. These birds look sort of like rock stars.
- Polish hens have topknots that are very sleek and smooth. Their crests curve closer around their heads and are more like a bob than a mohawk.
Crested Polish Chickens Come in a Variety of Colors
Polish chickens come in a variety of colors, including some very pretty laced versions. The laced feather pattern describes feathers that are outlined in a different color than the color in the center of the feather.
Available Polish Colors
- White Crested Black Polish
- White Crested Blue Polish
- White Polish
- Silver Laced Polish
- Golden Laced Polish
- Buff Laced Polish
- White Laced Red Polish
- Black Crested White Polish
Breeders are currently working on several other feather variations, but they are not yet included in the breed standard.
What Is the Frizzle Gene?
Polish are also a common chicken to have a frizzle gene. Frizzled Polish have feathers that turn and twist outward instead of lying flat. This makes them look adorably fluffy and as though they are wearing a feather boa costume. These birds come in several colors because the frizzle gene can be bred into different chickens.
What Does Frizzling Look Like?
The photo above depicts a Buff Laced Frizzle Polish rooster with some fabulous frizzling. Not all frizzle Polish look this good. The gene that makes the feathers frizzled can cause the feathers to be brittle and break off or to be softer and not hold their shape as much. Breeding good frizzles is an art.
Caring for Polish Chickens
Polish chickens aren't the hardiest chickens, but they do fairly well and aren't weak, either. They don't need much in the way of special care. They flourish in cold or warm climates.
Introducing a Polish Chicken to Your Flock
The biggest issue with raising these chickens is that you need to carefully introduce them to new flocks. Their cute, feathery headdresses can draw attention, which leads to feather-picking. It is not uncommon to have a flock of chickens suddenly decide to rip out all the feathers from a crest. Chickens can be aggressive because they are descended from the Velociraptors, so if left to continue ripping out feathers, the flock would eventually kill the poor Polish.
To prevent this, it's best to raise the Polish with other chicks so that they have a support group. Alternatively, you could just have a small separate Polish flock. Polish roosters can be aggressive and will protect their hens, but even other Polish can feather pick if they're bored or don't have enough room to roam.
Show-Quality Polish Chickens
Polish chickens are a popular breed to show at fairs and chicken shows. They look fabulous and are always stunning.
Show-quality Polish will often have bigger, fuller crests because much of what they are judged on is the quality of their crests. It can take months to regrow the feathers to fill out the crest, so before shows, Polish fanciers will often keep the chooks penned separately from the rest of the flock to reduce chances of crest-mutilation. Years of breeding can be ruined by one overzealous rooster.
Breeding for Shows
Polish breeders also have to be careful when breeding for quality because if they are bred too drastically, the skull shape that gives Polish their big, beautiful crests can become deformed. Like most animals bred for shows, breeders need to balance the attractiveness and the health of the animal.
Photos of Crested Polish Chicks
Raising Your Own Crested Chickens: Eggs and Chicks
Polish readily lay small cream-colored eggs, but they don't tend to want to sit on them. It is best to incubate the eggs yourself or find a broody hen to sit on them. They make good parents, though, and they will readily accept chicks, if introduced properly. Polish chicks tend to be gangly and delicate when handled too much, but, otherwise, they tend to be very healthy.
Photos of Crested Polish Chickens
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: We have a 14 week old golden laced polish and don't know what sex it is yet. Any good ways to tell?
Answer: Look at the shape of its top knot. More spiky means male, more smooth and bob-like means female. It may not be evident at first, but eventually you'll be able to tell the difference.
Question: I have a silver crest polish rooster and he has started attacking me and my husband. We have had him for about two months. What should do?
Answer: That's very common with roosters. He might view you as a threat to his flock or competition. Many people carry trashcan lids around with them to fend them off. Others pick up the rooster and cuddle him the entire time they're at the coop. Some roosters are more aggressive than others and there is no surefire cure to the behavior. Just keep in mind that an aggressive rooster can be dangerous to you, but they also really good at protecting their flock from dogs and other threats.
Question: Why are the roosters aggressive?
Answer: In nature, a good rooster is a protective rooster. That's because it's his job to keep the hens safe from predators. And in some rooster's eyes, that includes potentially-dangerous humans that come into the flock and steal eggs. Even when he's being a pain, keep in mind that a PITA rooster is better than losing hens to predators.
Question: I read somewhere that only the roosters have wattles? Is this true of Polish chickens?
Answer: Roosters or hens, all chickens have wattles. Like ears on other animals, wattles have high blood flow and lots of surface area to allow the chickens to keep cooler. Often Polish hens have less noticeable wattles since their beards and muffs can obscure them a little.
Question: Do crested hens have spurs?
Answer: All chickens, males, and females have spur buds, but any can develop spurs. Polish hens and other Mediterranean breeds commonly have spurs.
Question: Do you need to trim the chicken's crest if they cannot see?
Answer: You don't have to trim the chicken's crest, but it's a good idea to do so. Feathers obscuring their vision can lead them to being unable to find food and water, and at greater risk from predators.
Question: What purpose do crested polish chickens serve?
Answer: Polish Crested Chickens are usually kept for eggs.
Question: How long do polish chickens lay eggs for?
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Answer: Polish chickens aren't the best layers, but they do lay fairly consistently after they finally get started. They can go for a number of years, but like most chickens will taper off after the first couple.
Question: How big do crested Polish chickens get, and how much can they weigh?
Answer: Polish crested chickens come in a variety of sizes, anywhere from two to six pounds. Though most chickens are easily divided into bantam (mini chickens) and standard sizes, Polish bantams are often larger than other types of bantams, and Polish standards are often smaller.
Question: I have a 4 month old SL Polish hen. I'm concerned about her demeanor. A raccoon attacked and killed 6 of 12. I had RIR, SL Wynadott, black polish. It's just her as my Polish. The girls recovered. My polish changed and is not eating. Was inquisitive, active climber to hiding. I've trimmed eye feathers, offered favorite snacks but she's disinterested. Feed and water are always available. Would having another Polish hen that is the same age help her? She's sad and scared. Any advice is welcome.
Answer: Polish hens tend to get picked on more as they have those attractive feathers and skittish nature. The attack may have changed the flock's hierarchy and she may now be getting pushed around. Another couple of polish hens would help if that is the case as it can spread out the picking by the other chickens. Having a couple of the same breed together seems to help personality-wise as well and in many flocks the same breeds will tend to be buddies.
Or your hen could just be traumatized. Chickens have feelings, too, but therapists aren't exactly helpful to them (lol). Maybe she is fearful of the raccoon coming back when she looks around. Change around the pen a bit. Add some grass patches and a compost heap for them to play in. Also, check out my article on Homemade Chicken Toys. It can help the entire flock feel a bit better to have things to do or other distractions.
Question: If I want to enter my polish in a show do I have to trim the crest so they can see from far or will I get disqualified for trimming the crest as it might be fraud?
Answer: If you plan on showing your Polish you should not trim its crest. Altering its crest will make the judges unable to accurately assess the bird. If it is a problem at home you can pin the crest back with a soft hair tie.
Question: How old should a Polish be before it is shown at a fair?
Answer: I haven't shown in fairs, so I'm not sure actually. Check out the American Poultry Association and the book - 'American Standard of Perfection' for information on showing chickens. They put together most chicken shows and the Standard of Perfection is the basis of show rules and information.
Question: I don't think my male Polish can see very well? His movements and head "dipping" seem like he is struggling with what is a magnificent pom pom!
Answer: That is fairly common. You can give him a little trim to make sure his eyes are clear, or just gently pull the feathers back with a scrunchie or other soft hair tie.
Question: Is it common for Polish chickens to molt at 4 months old?
Answer: Yes. That is a normal time for chickens to molt, and if it is happening no it is also likely because of the change in weather as chickens molt in Autumn.
Question: What kind of pen do chickens need?
Answer: Chickens need a secure pen that will keep them safe and prevent them from wandering. If they are kept penned up all the time they need 10 square feet per bird, but if you let them free roam during the day they will need 4 square feet instead.
The size and design of the coop/pen depend upon your situation. If you want a lot of birds, you'll need to enclose your yard or build a big pen. If you just want a few in the backyard you can easily pick up something like this:
or something a little bigger like this:
Those are simple and easy to use pens that will keep a few chickens well and happy.
For more information on pens check out this page:
Question: Are Polish chickens neat pets?
Answer: Yep. Polish chickens are great pets.
© 2013 Alisha Vargas
Danielle on June 17, 2020:
I have 2 silver polish who are about 10 weeks old, and on both of them, their bottom beak curves upward and they cannot close their beak all of the way. Is this normal?
Alisha Vargas (author) from Reno, Nevada on February 09, 2018:
If she seems okay with it, you don't have to trim them. But if she seems like she can't see you can have someone hold her very steady and use a pair of small scissors to trim off any feathers in the way. Manicure scissors work well for that. If you get too nervous about using scissors near her face you always just pin the feathers back with a small hair tie. Just be gentle so the feathers don't get broken. Some people also tape back the feathers. I haven't tried it, but here's a video showing how this person does it:
Mandy on February 07, 2018:
I got a poilsh chickhen but the feathers are in her eyes how do i cut them
konto on January 28, 2016:
Like a parrots or peacocks ;)
Tommy on November 30, 2014:
Can I have your black and White one also gold and black one also black and Gary one also light Sussex whit the top notch