Whether you call it an Elvis chicken, tophat, or pompom, there is no denying that Polish chickens have a unique appearance. However, with all those fancy feathers around their faces, features like combs and wattles are difficult to see. Fortunately, telling the difference between Polish chicken roosters and hens is very simple – they wear different hairdos!
Polish chickens are an ornamental breed well known for its striking headdress. A rooster’s head feathers are characteristically disheveled and wild in appearance, while hens look neat and coiffed. Hens have short, upright tails. In contrast, mature roosters have a prominent, long sickle feather.
Polish chickens are a delightful, almost comical breed that does well in dry climates. However, if you are having difficulty telling the little Arthurs from Marthas apart in your Polish flock, read on to find out what differences to look out for.
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The Differences Between Polish Roosters And Hens
The American Poultry Association recognizes ten accepted varieties of Polish chickens and bantams. These magnificent birds, with their poofy hairdos, can be bearded or non-bearded and come in various colors.
Polish chickens are known for their delightful appearance and gentle, friendly nature. They make excellent children’s pets, and roosters are rarely aggressive.
Because of their elaborate feathering, Polish chickens of both sexes require a little more care than some other hardier breeds. The long headdress may interfere with their vision, and they can be easily frightened and vulnerable to predators.
Since Polish chickens are known for their gentle, quiet nature, they are usually at the bottom of the pecking order and may be bullied by other breeds. It is essential that they are kept separate from more dominant birds and that they are protected from getting wet from rain or snow.
There are a few easy ways to tell the roosters and the hens apart if you have a flock of Polish chickens. The only tricky time is during the immature adult stage when both sexes can look the same.
Polish Roosters Are Bigger Than Hens
The full-sized birds are medium-sized chickens. They often appear bigger than they are because of their top-heavy headgear.
Differences in weight between roosters and hens are difficult to determine visually. However, adult Polish chicken roosters are always heavier than Polish chicken hens.
|Type Of Chicken||Average Weight|
|Polish Chicken Rooster||6lbs|
|Polish Chicken Hen||4.5lbs|
|Bantam Polish Chicken Rooster||1.8lbs|
|Bantam Polish Chicken Hen||1.6lbs|
The Head Feathers Differ Between The Sexes
The most obvious way to tell Polish roosters and hens apart is by their head feathers. Long, loose, shaggy-looking locks are distinctive of roosters.
By contrast, hens look like they have just had their locks neatly cut, blow-dried, and set with hairspray. Their headgear looks like a neat rosette or pompom on the front section of their head.
Examining head feathers is by far the easiest way to tell roosters and hens apart at first glance. If your Polish chickens are missing head feathers, be sure to check for parasites or chicken bullies that may be messing up your bird’s crowning glory.
Rooster Related Behavior
Although it is not a definitive way to tell young roosters from hens, immature birds often give some clues about their sex. Young roosters are more inclined to play-fight with each other, while young hens are more content to forage quietly in small groups.
Roosters Have A V-shaped Comb
If Polish chickens were bald, telling the roosters from the hens would be simple since males have a distinct V-shaped comb. The snag is that these magnificent chickens’ combs are always deep under their poofy top hat covering of feathers.
Fortunately, as mentioned above, it is pretty easy to tell the roosters and hens apart from their head feather styles. The little roosters have Pirates of the Caribbean-type wild hairstyles, while the ladies have neatly styled bobs.
Roosters Have Tails With Sickle Feathers
Mature Polish roosters are distinguishable from hens on both ends. Their hairstyles are wild and unkept, and they usually sport one especially long prominent tail feather called a sickle feather.
Hens have shorter, neater tails that point upright. The long sickle feather on roosters usually forms a bend and curves down at the end.
Polish Roosters Have Longer Saddle and Hackle Feathers
Like many other chicken breeds, polish roosters develop longer hackle and saddle feathering. The edges of the hackle (that’s the long draping neck feathers) or the entire saddle (that’s the long body feathers just in front of the tail) are sometimes a slightly different color to the rest of the body.
Roosters Will Crow
Polish roosters usually find their voices around 4 or 5 months of age. Fortunately, they have less piercing crows compared to many other chicken breeds.
An unusual characteristic of some chicken flocks, especially those with no roosters, is that a dominant hen may take over the crowing function. This does not mean that she has switched genders but rather that she is asserting her dominance in the flock. A crowing hen will still lay eggs and is female.
Roosters Are More Likely To Develop Leg Spurs
Although it is not entirely unknown that some Polish hens may develop leg spurs, this characteristic is more commonly associated with roosters. Chicks of both sexes hatch with leg nubs, but roosters develop long keratinized spurs as they mature.
Hens Lay Eggs
Although Polish chickens are regarded as ornamental birds, chicken owners can expect around 200 eggs per year from healthy hens. Egg production starts between 20 and 24 weeks, and laying is a definitive sign that your Polish chicken is a hen.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Polish Chickens Roosters Crow?
All chicken roosters crow. Fortunately, they don’t have the loudest crows out of the chicken breeds, and the sound is less piercing than most other breeds.
Do Female Polish Chickens Have Combs And Wattles?
Polish chicken hens have red wattles and combs. The comb is small and often completely hidden by the puffy pompom feather arrangement on its head.
Like roosters, Polish chicken hens have red wattles. They are usually small and may also be hidden if they are a muffed or bearded variety.
When Can You Tell If A Polish Chicken Is A Rooster?
Chicks can be sexed soon after hatching by inspecting their head crest. Male chicks have a front-to-back shaped head crest, almost like tiny mohawks. Females have a rounded crest situated on the front of their heads.
Once the feathers start developing and the birds enter their awkward between stage (chicken teenagers), it is more difficult to tell the difference between the sexes. By around 20 weeks, they have usually developed their adult hairdos, and the sexes are distinguishable.
How Many Hens Do You Need Per Polish Chicken Rooster?
The ratio of hens per rooster of most chicken breeds should be maintained at around 10 -12 hens per rooster. This is not only to avoid fighting between the males but also to prevent hens from being injured during mating behavior.
Since Polish roosters are known to be docile birds, many keepers recommend around 8 hens per rooster to ensure the reliable production of fertile eggs. However, to avoid damaging the hen’s headdress during mating, it is better to keep the number of roosters per hen to a minimum.
The differences between Polish chicken roosters and hens are apparent in their physical appearance and behavior. The fastest way to tell the difference is by the style of feathering on their heads. Roosters look windswept and casual, while Polish chicken hens always look neat and ready to hit the red carpet.