Raising Polish Chickens
With its showy, distinctive crest of feathers, there are fewer breeds of chicken more distinctive or memorable than Polish chickens. Because of the vision limitations caused by their distinctive feather crest and smaller overall size, Polish breed chickens are often timid and easily frightened. If kept with chickens of a more assertive temperament, you may find your Polish varieties easily dominated by the aggressive breeds.
Most new Polish owners choose to purchase day-old chicks from hatcheries. If you choose to go this route, you will need to commit approximately six months to raising your flock before they will start producing eggs. If you are planning on hatching your own Polish chickens, add an additional three weeks into this timeline to bring your eggs from initial fertilization to hatching. If you choose to purchase more mature pullets that are ready to begin egg production right away, your first job will be to select the proper coop.
If you live in a city, it is important to research local laws pertaining to roosters. Many cities tightly regulate rooster ownership because of potential noise violations. In this case, it is important to have your young chickens properly sexed. Luckily, Polish varieties are much easier to decipher than other breeds, with male and female chicks both sporting distinctive crest styles. Female Polish chickens will have the beginnings of the same round, full crest they will sport as full grown hens, while the crests of male chicks are more oblong, with flattened fronts. If you are hatching your own eggs, be sure to sex your chicks as soon as possible, as these distinguishing features become much more difficult to determine once their fuzz is replaced by adolescent feathers.
Though Polish hens can be prolific egg layers, they are most often kept as pets or prize-winning show birds, as demonstrated by the thousands of Polish chicken pictures found throughout the internet. Their calm, docile nature makes them ideal for households with children.
Your chicks should spend the first six weeks of their lives in a brooder. This mini-coop provides all the warmth, shelter and safety that would otherwise be provided by a mother hen. Each chick should have at least one square foot of space. Overcrowding may lead to issues such as pecking and even chick cannibalism. Other necessary accessories include a feeder, a waterer, a heat lamp to keep the temperature hovering around 95 degrees, and a few inches of pine shavings to cushion the coop’s bottom. Around six weeks of age, feathers will replace the birds’ baby fluff and they will be ready to transition into a permanent chicken coop. Most common sources of Polish chicken facts state that though some raise Polish birds together with other breeds successfully, they generally do best in pure Polish flocks.
One of the first steps in preparing for any feathered addition to your family is selected the right coop. Because of these birds’ timid nature, it is particularly important to house them in a coup that offers features such as nesting boxes which will increase their overall sense of safety in their new home. Approximately two feet of space should be provided for each bird. Polish chickens do not handle cold weather well, so their home should offer enough insulation to keep them warm during the chilliest months of the year. Consider springing for extra features such as removable siding to ease coop cleaning and wheels for portability to personalize your chicken raising experience to your needs.
Whether you choose to erect a coop with all the bells and whistles or a model designed for simplicity and overall user experience, the important thing is providing a proper home for your new birds. Raising Polish Chickens is a rich, rewarding experience for children and adults alike.