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The Polish or Poland is a European
breed A breed is a specific group of domestic animals having homogeneous appearance (phenotype), homogeneous behavior, and/or other characteristics that distinguish it from other organisms of the same species. In literature, there exist several slight ...
of
crested chickens Crested chickens are a group of ornamental List of chicken breeds, chicken breeds characterised by a tuft or crest of upward-pointing feathers on the head. History and distribution A skull excavated in England suggests that crested chickens w ...
known for its remarkable crest of feathers. The oldest accounts of these birds come from
The Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...
; their exact origins are unknown, however. In addition to combs, they are adorned with large crests that nearly cover the entirety of the head. This crest limits their vision, and as a result can affect their temperament. Thus, though normally tame, they may be timid and easily frightened."Chicken Breeds"
My Pet Chicken, accessed March 19, 2011.
Polish chickens are bred primarily as a show bird, but were originally productive egg layers. Accordingly, Polish rarely go broody and are noted for their white eggs. There are bearded, non-bearded and frizzle varieties.


Etymology

The origins of the breed's name are uncertain. The breed could have been named after the country of
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

Poland
. Its name could have also come from the
Middle Dutch Middle Dutch is a collective name for a number of closely related West Germanic languages, West Germanic dialects whose ancestor was Old Dutch and was spoken and written between 1150 and 1500. The language served as a minority language in the Holy ...
word ''pol'' 'head' (compare origin of ''
poll tax A poll tax, also known as head tax or capitation, is a tax levied as a fixed sum on every liable individual (typically every adult), without reference to income or resources. Head taxes were important sources of revenue for many governments fr ...
''), in reference to the Polish's dome-shaped skull.


History

Though the derivation of the Polish breed is unclear, one theory suggests that their ancestors were brought by Asian Mongols to
Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...

Central
and
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
during medieval times, and thus, could have originated in Poland. The Polish was standardized in the Netherlands and declared a thoroughbred in the 16th century. Chickens bearing a strong resemblance to the Polish can be seen in paintings from the 15th century, and the breed was extensively portrayed in Dutch and Italian paintings from the 16th through the 18th centuries. Though usually only a fair layer at best today, In France they were once known as an excellent producer of eggs. The American Poultry Association states that the breed was introduced to America between 1830 and 1840. The breed was, during a certain period of time, favored by American farmers and chicken fanciers. The American Poultry Association accepted three Polish varieties into the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection in 1874; additional varieties were accepted in 1883, 1938 and 1963.


Characteristics

The Polish has a small V-shaped comb, though it is often hidden by the large crest of feathers. The earlobes and wattles are small and may also be completely hidden by the crest and beard. The earlobes are white, the comb and wattles bright red.


References

{{Commons category, Polish (chicken) Chicken breeds originating in the Netherlands Chicken breeds