2008 - Volume #32, Issue #2, Page #07[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Fancy Polish Chickens Dress Up Farmyards
This unique poultry breed - also known as Poland or Padua - is one of the oldest in existence. The distinctive and striking "crest" of feathers found on a Polish chicken's head is what sets it apart from most other breeds. They come in a vast variety of colors, feather types and body sizes.
Colors include black, blue, white, chocolate, khaki, cuckoo, and buff.
The "laced" type include "silver laced" (white with black lacing on each feather), "buff laced" (buff with light cream lacing) and "golden laced" (gold with black lacing).
"There are probably 20 colors that aren't yet recognized by the breed association but do exist," says Jim Parker, founder of the Polish Breeders' Club based in Cridersville, Ohio.
The Polish breed is raised for its ornamental value, since the bird isn't a good meat or egg producer. Hens aren't used for hatching their own eggs either, since they lack broodiness and will kill their newly hatched chicks on the rare occasion that they do sit.
Though hardy, these chickens need special management to maintain a healthy, attractive crest, according to Parker. For example, they shouldn't be kept with other non-crested breeds because they can become pecking targets.
"They need to be kept indoors in inclement weather because wet and dirty crests can lead to eye infections," he says. "Crest mites are another condition that's likely if they aren't sprayed with preventative insect repellent."
Parker says bird prices vary according to quality, from $5, all the way up to $100 for a show quality Polish. He generally sells good, young breeding pairs for $25.
"In 2007, I hatched over 1,000 Polish but I've been up to as many as 1,500 in a year," he explains. "If you do the math, they can put some coin in your pocket. Eggs from Polish can sell very well, too. I sell assortments for people to hatch for $25 a dozen. I can generally take up to 6 dozen eggs a week to the post office to mail out to customers."
"The Polish Breeders' Club promotes Polish breeding according to the standards set forth by the American Bantam Association (ABA) and the American Poultry Association (APA)," Parker says. "Currently we have 146 members in the U.S. and Canada, and we also have members from eight other countries. We did a survey in 2001 that showed there were around 1,000 breeding pairs within the club itself, but I'm sure there are a lot more, since not everyone is in the club. Also, this number only indicates what breeders keep year round - they would hatch and sell many more."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Polish Breeders' Club, c/o Jim Parker, 3232 Schooler Rd., Cridersville, Ohio 45806 (ph 419 227-9385; email@example.com; http://groups.msn.com/PolishChickens).
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