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 chickens are known to carry the 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 the 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 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.