Polish chickens are cute, quirky poultry friends that are a true delight to have in your flock.

They have a natural talent to shine in the coop or shows. They’re adorable, friendly, full of personality, have a loving temperament, and make great companions.

In this article, you’ll discover everything you need to know about Polish chickens and the top hatcheries to buy them from.

Polish Chicken on all white background

Polish Chicken Origin

Polish chickens are most consistently thought to be from Spain originally, and then imported to Holland. They did not appear on scene in America until around 1830 or so.

The name Polish either comes from the idea of Polish soldiers helments OR the prefix “pol” meaning large head. Either way their head crest remains their claim to fame.

The APA (American Poultry Association) recognizes many of the varieties of Polish chickens, but not all of them.

What Are Polish Chickens Used For?

Polish chickens are largely kept for ornamental reasons and exhibition purposes – because they’re pretty and friendly. As I already mentioned, they are also great for children because they like to be held and enjoy human companionship.

Polish chickens are fair egg layers, and you can expect 2-3 eggs per week (assuming the hen’s diet is adequate. You can learn more about what chickens eat here and high quality alternative feeds here.)

Quick Facts about Polish Chickens

AppearanceVarietiesEggsPersonality
Feather crest on headWhite Crested BlackWhiteFriendly
4 toesGolden lacedLay 2-3x per weekQuiet in coop
~6 poundsBuff laced~100 eggs per yearGood for children
V-comb, small wattlesSilver lacedMedium sizedLikes treats & toys

Polish Chickens Appearance

Polish chickens have very interesting characteristics with a lot of visual appeal. They have a large crest of feathers on their head and 4 toes on each foot. The hens do not have prominent wattles or combs, and both sexes have a v-shaped comb.

Polish chicken breed and color varieties:

  • Non-Bearded White Crested Black
  • Non-Bearded Golden
  • Non-Bearded Silver
  • Non-Bearded White
  • Bearded Golden
  • Bearded Silver
  • Bearded White
  • Bearded Buff Laced
  • Non-Bearded Buff Laced
  • Non-Bearded White Crested Blue

At most major hatcheries, you’ll find most of these types. The most popular Polish chicken varieties are:

  • Silver laced
  • Buff laced
  • White crested black
  • Golden laced

The laced chickens are popular because their feathers are very beautiful, and they’re a colorful addition to any flock. The white crested black variety are prized because they’re black chickens with a contrasting white crest that will always put a smile on your face!

You can also find “frizzled” variants (the feathers look messy and turn upward, instead of lying neatly against their bodies.). You can learn more about frizzles here.

It’s important to note that Polish chickens aren’t very cold hardy, but they are heat tolerant. So, if you live in a cold climate, you will need to pay special attention to them during the cold days. In the summer, it’s also important to note they could get heat stroke – so providing cool, fresh water at all times is critical.

Several weeks old Polish chick in yard

Is a Polish Chicken a Bantam?

While there are full-size Polish chickens, there are also Polish bantam size chickens available (you can read more about how to raise bantams here. Due to their size, they have some special needs to keep them safe from chicken predators.

Full-size Polish males weigh about 6 lbs and females weigh 4.5 lbs. The bantam varieties weigh about 2-3 pounds.

They’re relatively good fliers, although they’re unlikely to “fly the coop” and wander off. Because of their crest of feathers, they can’t see very well, so they usually stick close to home.

Do Polish Chickens Have 5 Toes?

Polish chickens have only 4 toes. Some other breeds, like silkies, favorelles, and sultans, have 5 toes.

You can learn about these 5 toed chickens and other chicken breeds here.

Do Polish Hens Have Spurs?

No, they don’t. Only the roosters have spurs (except for the occasional weird hen).

What Are Polish Chickens Like?

Polish chickens are quirky, funny creatures that are full of personality and love to be held. They’re best known for the tufts of feathers on their head, lovingly referred to by chicken owners as their “pom-pom.” These unique head feathers definitely set them apart.

This chicken breed is a stunning mix of white, brown, and black making it a real head-turner.

They’re great for kids since they’re not aggressive, like being held, and are a gentle bird. Because of their size and the crest of feathers (which can cover their eyes and make it hard for them to see), they can be a little skittish around very fast movement.

But with consistent handling and treats like black soldier fly larvae, your Polish chickens will welcome your visits and likely have very appealing behavior!

Are Polish Chickens Aggressive?

Not usually. Polish chickens are easy going, and due to their friendly natures, they enjoy human company.

What Age Do Polish Roosters Crow?

The age a rooster will first crow varies on the breed, but in general, they typically will begin crowing at about four or five months of age, with some late bloomers even at 8 months.

Polish Chicken Egg and Hatching Info

Do Polish Chickens Lay Eggs?

The Polish chicken is not an award winning egg production chicken. But they do lay around 200 medium to large sized eggs per year (really not that bad). Although it does take them a while to get into the swing of laying, once they do it comes consistently. The frequency of eggs will vary a bit from bird to bird.

This also depends on diet (a poor diet can cause chickens to stop laying eggs). It’s best to stick with a 16% layer feed and always offer a calcium supplement. You can learn more about egg laying, including how often chickens lay eggs, here.

Despite popular myths, you don’t need a rooster for your hens to lay eggs, but it’s not a bad idea to keep one to protect your hens.

What Color Eggs Do Polish Chickens Lay?

Polish chickens lay white eggs. They used to be considered good egg layers, but not so much anymore. Although at 200 eggs per year, I think they deserve more kudos.

What Age Do Polish Chickens Lay Eggs?

These feathered friends start laying eggs at about 5 months of age, which is a bit earlier than other popular breeds like Cochins, Speckled Sussex, or Buff Orpingtons.

This will depend on her diet and the season – if she turns 6 months old during the winter, she might not lay until spring. Most chickens need 12-14 hours of light a day to lay eggs.

Are Polish Chickens Broody?

While any chicken can go broody (even roosters oddly enough), Polish chickens aren’t exactly known for their mothering traits and they don’t tend to go broody that often. If you want baby chicks, it might be best to incubate the eggs or order some from a hatchery.

How Long Do Polish Chickens Take To Hatch?

Like other breeds, you should expect it to take 21 days for your chicks to hatch. You can learn more about hatching chicks here and discover the incubators I recommend here.

Once the chicks hatch, offer a high-quality 18% protein chick starter feed.

Day old polish chick being held in a hand
 

Caring For Your Polish Chickens

Full-size chickens and the bantam versions have similar needs. Here is a short list of things to remember in order to keep a happy and healthy flock:

  • A safe coop (you can learn how to build a predator-safe coop here)
  • A high-quality feed (here’s the feed I recommend)
  • Clean water (get my waterer recommendations here)
  • Entertainment, such as a chicken swing
  • Provide herbal dust baths created to repel parasites like mites and lice
  • Pay attention to your chickens daily to stay on top of their healthcare (catching problems early is the best way)

Chicken health relies greatly upon being fed quality feed and having good, clean shelter.

To keep predators and pests out of your coop, it’s best to use a chicken feeder that’s easy to clean and/or will automatically close. You can check out the chicken feeders I recommend here. 

Can Polish Chickens Be Confined?

Yes. Polish chickens tolerate confinement pretty well. Just be sure they have at least 4 square feet of space per chicken and a nice run to get exercise. Also, give them protein heavy treats so they have good nutrition (especially since they won’t be getting bugs via free-ranging if you confine them to a coop).

Best Hatcheries to Buy Polish Chickens From

1. Meyer Hatchery

To see prices and info click here: Meyer Hatchery

Meyer Hatchery is based in Polk, Ohio, and boasts itself as the “premier Poultry Source.” Priding itself on customer service and availability, Meyer Hatchery provides a variety of chicken breeds to meet customer demands for color and diversity. They welcome the mixing and matching of breeds of the same poultry type to meet minimum order requirements for safe shipping. To help with orders, they have a calendar of hatchings. 

Meyer has a variety of means of communication, including multiple phone numbers, fax, and email. They also run a blog that covers everything from breeds to plant pairing with chickens, feed, cooking recipes, fowl entertainment, and survival tips.

Advantages

  • Significant discounts if buying male chickens
  • Accepts checks and credit cards
  • Guarantees gender of chicks either through refund or store credit
  • Optional vaccination
  • Member of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), and provide NPIP VS Form 9-3 free of charge 
  • Offer orders of over 100 chicks

Disadvantages

  • Limited store hours that change with the season

2. Hoover’s Hatchery

To see prices and info click here: Hoover’s Hatchery

Another established brand, if you’re looking for chicks, is Hoover’s Hatchery. Hoover’s supplies many farm and garden supply stores in the United States with their chicks, making them a smart choice if you want to skip the middleman and order from the hatchery directly.

If you’re ordering chicks, make sure you have everything you need to keep them healthy. Pick up some chick starter before your little ones arrive!

Plus, Hoover’s offers free shipping on practically everything you order. You’ll have to buy at least 15 chicks; so Hoover’s might not be the best option if you live in a city with chicken restrictions. However, as long as you’re willing to buy in bulk, it’s a smart choice. You can even mix and match your order by adding other birds of other chicken breeds along with poultry species like pheasants, turkeys, guineas, ducks, and more. 

Despite the fact that this hatchery is located in Iowa, not necessarily a warm-weather state, it hatches chicks all throughout the year – a must know feature if you plan on buying chicks around Christmas time. 

If you are looking for a specific type of Polish or Crested Chicken, there is also a list of individual Polish and Crested Chickens for sale. 

Advantages

  • Excellent guarantee and refund policy in case of shipping problems
  • Hatches chicks during the winter, one of the few hatcheries to do so
  • Sells other kinds of poultry too

Disadvantages

  • Large minimum order of 15 chicks or 20 bantams

3. Murray McMurray Hatchery

To see prices and info click here: Murray McMurray Hatchery

Murray McMurray started his chicken business in 1917. As a banker, he sold his chicks to locals through the bank, and by 1919, had developed his own stock of chickens. During the Great Depression, he devoted himself to chickens full-time. Since then, Murray McMurray Hatchery has developed into one of the largest chick hatcheries in the country. They sell more than just chickens, with ducks, geese, guineas, turkeys, other fowl, and game birds all in the catalog.

Sexed male chicks tend to be the cheapest, meaning you can get some serious savings if you’re planning on raising these birds primarily for meat. You can also buy pullets or mix and match your order with chicks of other breeds, too. If you’re interested in reading more about how to raise Polish chickens, you may want to check out our article on the subject.

Advantages

  • Males are extremely inexpensive
  • Bulk discounts available
  • Excellent breed availability 

Disadvantages

  • Minimum order of six birds at a time

4. My Pet Chicken

To see prices and info click here: My Pet Chicken

My Pet Chicken got started in 2005 by Traci Torres and her husband, Derek Sasaki, two novices to the chicken world who had a dream to help other novices in their farmers’ goals. To do this, they put free how-to information on the web and offered some unique products and services. 

The website launched in 2005 and in 2006, their flock had grown to the point to where they started offering chicks for sale from their headquarters in Monroe, CT. The site has been mentioned in other publications and serves tens of millions of page views per year.

Like with the above Hatcheries, My Pet Chicken offers individual types of Polish Chickens if you are looking for a specific breed.

Advantages 

  • Offers Marek’s vaccinations on all standard chicks at the click of a button
  • Consistent hours of operation
  • A good source for questions about ordering chickens, chicken care, and about raising chickens
  • Full refund for any bird that has been incorrectly sexed

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability
  • Does not have a storefront

5. Cackle Hatchery

To see prices and info click here: Cackle Hatchery

Cackle Hatchery proudly boasts that they have been hatching and shipping since 1936. A third-generation hatchery based in Missouri, their mission is to provide customers with quality poultry for showing, meat, enjoyment, and eggs. They ship throughout the USA, including Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. They offer nearly 200 different types of chickens at all stages. 

Cackle also offers many other kinds of poultry including ducks, waterfowl, game birds, turkeys, and other fowl. They are also a good source of supplies and books. 

Advantages 

  • Discounts if you buy male chicks
  • Vaccinations available
  • Only need 3 birds to ship (or just one for male birds)

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability
  • Sold as baby chicks only

You might also be able to find Polish chickens at farm stores or local breeders.

Summary

If you don’t have a Polish chicken, I highly recommend you get one (or two…or more). It just doesn’t seem right for any flock to not have a funky, super feathery headed chicken causing a scene in the coop! And if you like to show chickens, this breed is a must.

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Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category.  Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.

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