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White Crested Black Polish Chicken
Also known as: Poland, Polland,
Crested Dutch, Paduans or Padoues.
Polish Chickens are
not actually from Poland, they are from the Netherlands. Of
the varieties of Polish, the White-crested Black Polish is
the most popular. The color of their plumage is a rich
glossy black throughout, with the exception of the crest,
which is white. The shanks and toes are black, or dark
slate; comb and wattles are bright red and earlobes are
white. The feathers on the body & tail have a colorful oil
sheen through out. They are very striking birds. It's hard
not to stare. There are 2 size varieties; Standard (large
fowl), and Bantam. Standard Polish cocks weigh 6 pounds, and
hens weigh 4½ pounds. Bantam cocks weigh 30 ounces, and hens
weigh 26 ounces.
Our Polish are the
Standard (large fowl) size.
Although they come in a variety of
colors, we only raise white crested black.
They also come bearded, or
non-bearded. Ours are only non-bearded.
For a third twist, you can get them
in frizzle, or smooth. Ours are all smooth.
These are just our own personal
preferences, and will not be changing in the future.
Our birds are free
range in the summer, but locked in at night to protect them
from predators. In the winter, they are kenneled indoors. It
is extremely important to keep them in a very dry place
during cold weather. If the crests become wet and freeze, it
can be life threatening to them.
-Eggs are viable for
21 days, if they are stored properly. Of course, the longer
you wait to incubate them, the lower the hatch rate.
-Eggs should be stored in a cool dark
place. Don't let them freeze, or get too warm. Ours are
usually kept at around 50-60 degrees, and they do great.
Store the eggs with the pointed end down.
-The eggs are a medium Bantam sized
egg. They are slightly smaller than a grocery store chicken
egg. They are bright white in color.
Our Polish hens typically lay 4-5 eggs
per week, each. Polish chickens rarely go broody, and even
if they did sit on the eggs until they hatched, they would
murder the chicks immediately. You must incubate the eggs,
or use a broody chicken, like a Silkie, to sit on them.
Incubating / Hatching
-If you purchased
eggs, be sure to let them settle for several hours before
putting them in the incubator.
-Make sure your
incubator is clean. If it's dirty your embryos will get an
-The incubator needs to be between 99
- 101 degrees Fahrenheit, through the entire procedure. Use
2 thermometers. We have had thermometers go bad in the past,
and cooked the chicks. We use one glass, and one digital, in
all of our units.
during Incubation can be between 30-50%.
-Humidity during hatching needs to go up to 70% or more.
We have found
that spring, or distilled, water is best. Tap water can
cause infections, and calcium build up on the eggs. Though
minimal, its enough to make it harder for those chicks.
-We use electric turners. Place the
eggs in the turner rails with the pointy end down. If you
are not using a turner, you will need to turn them manually
every 3-4 hours. The eggs will need to be turned for 18
-On day 18 stop turning
the eggs. If they are in rails, set them down on the bottom
of the incubator, or move them to your brooder, if you have
-Remember to raise the humidity. Try
not to open the lid, if you can help it.
-Hatching generally takes 21 days. But
they can be early, or late. After 23 days, everyone who is
going to hatch, has.
-The chicks can be
moved to a dry brooder. We use common storage tubs. We put rubber shelf liner, available in the kitchen
department of any retail store, in the bottom of the tub.
The rubber shelf liner prevents them from getting splayed
legs. It is much easier for them to get their bearings, and
learn to walk. The shelf liner can be replaced with bedding
after 2 days.
A heat lamp is
clamped on one end, but aimed at the other end. Lay a
thermometer in the bottom, and check the temp at both ends.
One end needs to be at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The other end
should be around 90 degrees, so they can move if they are
getting too hot. Keep the food and water in the cooler end.
The hot end is where they will want to sleep.
-Watch the chicks to adjust their
temperature. If they are huddled, they are too cold, aim the
lamp down more inside the tub. If they are hiding from the
lamp, or trying to get away, its too hot. Aim the lamp up a
little higher. At around 2 weeks you can start weaning them
off the heat. Aim the lamp a little higher every few days.
By the end of 4 weeks, they should not need it anymore,
providing your living space is at least 60 degrees.
-After a week, we usually move ours to
a child sized pool, with a heat lamp aimed at one spot.
-Side Note about
lamps: If the chicks are picking on each other, use a red
bulb instead of a clear bulb. And don't change the bulbs
with your bare hands. The oils from your skin can get too
hot on the surface of the bulb, and cause it to explode.
-The chicks can eat
the adult food, and it does not need to be ground up. They do offer
chick food, but we don't
see any difference in the growth, and health, by feeding
them the adult crumble. If you decide to go with chick food,
avoid Medicated foods.
-Their water should be in a very
shallow dish, or have rocks or marbles in it. They do fall
in, and they do drown. If you use a poultry waterer, they
will be fine with it just as it is.
7 weeks some of your
chicks will have red wattles and ceres. Those are your
males. The females will get them too, but it will be a few
-By 10-11 weeks old, the males will
begin to get their "hair" feathers.
At around 14-15
weeks your roosters will begin crowing. They can start
breeding anytime now. However, your hens will not start
laying eggs until they are 6 - 6½
months old. They may still allow the males to breed them
though. So don't be surprised if you see that, and still get
-The young chickens may
still have some white in their wings. They will not have
their full adult coloring until they are sexually mature.
-The adults make a
large variety of sounds. My daughter says she thinks they
used these chickens to come up with the dinosaur sounds for
Jurassic Park - LOL!
-Ours are fed Meat Maker Crumble. It
is sold at Fleet Farm. It keeps them at a healthy weight.
They are also offered scratch grains, and oyster shells.
-Once a week I give them some quail
eggs as a treat. They love them!
-They are fine in the cold, as long
as they are dry. They do like to roost. Ours have a saw
horse in their pen. I also have a heat lamp aimed at it, in
case they do get cold.
Full grown the males
will be about 6 pounds. The females will be about 4.5
pounds. The only purpose they really serve is ornamental.
They are a funny bird, mostly because they can't always see
through their crest, so they get very animated when
The crest of the cock is composed of
narrow feathers, something like those which form the hackle
of the neck and saddle. They should rise well in front so as
not to obstruct the sight and fall over to the back and
sides in a flowing, even mass. The comb is peculiar, and
belongs to the class of combs which forms a fancied
resemblance to a leaf, and are designated leaf combs. It is
better described, however, as two fleshy horns diverging
like the letter V, the upper extremities retreating into the
The crest of the hen
is formed of feathers growing upward and turning in at the
extremities, and should be large and globular in form and
compact in character, with no sight of parting. The larger
the crest the better, provided it is of good shape. A crest
of loose texture and falling in all directions, is an
undesirable trait. And becomes a burden to the hen.
We have an even 50/50 split of male/
female in our flock. Although the males can handle up to 8
hens each, they do seem to prefer to pair off. Especially
when they are free range. So far, we have not had any
trouble with cocks fighting. Even while they're kenneled
for the winter.
These birds can live 10-15 years with
proper care. However, they typically only breed up to 5
Ours are very tame, and are handled
often. Even the ones we got as adults. Just don't startle
them when you go to pick them up, and they are totally fine
with human interaction.
Thank you for your interest
in our Polish Chickens. View larger images in our
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