The Padovana chicken is a small Italian breed that features a beard and a crest. Crested birds were first discovered in the Padovana district of northern Italy, but they have since spread all over the world, even to the Americas.
The Padovana chicken’s remarkable beauty led to decades of breeding for the sole purpose of decoration.
The enormous crest on the head of the Padovana chicken is not only aesthetically pleasing but also serves a practical purpose: it insulates the bird, making it more resistant to cold than other breeds of chicken and allowing it to lay more eggs in the winter.
However, the crest on the bird isn’t always a good thing. As an example, the Padovana chicken’s huge crest frequently gets in the way of the bird’s field of vision. Padovana chickens may get frightened and anxious as a result of this, leading them to move cautiously and slowly.
Most chicken breeders trim and shape their birds’ crests to improve their birds’ visibility.
This bird is best appreciated for its decorative value and can be a lively addition to any flock. Being so sociable makes this breed an ideal pet. Moreover, it can withstand low temperatures without deteriorating.
A Brief History of the Padovana Chickens
We still don’t know where the Padovana chickens came from. Chickens were initially brought to the Padovana region of Italy from Poland by Giovanni Dondi, an Italian philosopher, around the year 1300, according to most historians.
History scholars speculate that the Padovana chicken is connected to the Polish chicken, another species with a distinctive crest, though they can’t be sure.
According to history, in the 1300s, the Italian clockmaker and astronomer Giovanni Dondi dell’Orologio visited Poland and was so impressed by the Polish chickens he saw there that he brought some back to Padova.
However, Giovanni Dondi dell’Orologio’s voyage to Poland has never been documented in any official capacity.
Most likely, Polish hens were brought to Padova by Eastern European tourists who frequently visited Italy’s holy places.
The Padovana chicken most likely originated from the offspring of these Polish chickens and local breeds.
Artistic evidence suggests that the Padovana chicken was already popular in the area well before the 15th century, thus it doesn’t matter which theory is correct. Interestingly, a fresco painted by Jacopo da Verona in 1397 features the earliest known artistic image of a crested chicken.
The Annunciazione (Annunciation) artwork consists of several panels and may be found in the Oratorio di San Michele Arcangelo in Padova.
Above an arched doorway, one panel shows a rural woman feeding a hen with a crested head and her young. Padovana chickens are a symbol of the Italian region of Padova and their origins are sometimes debated.
Breeders have been working to improve the chicken ever since, and it is now common in many parts of the world.
Characteristics of Padovana Chickens
The Padovana chicken’s distinctive crest is its most defining feature. The crests of hens are shorter and straighter than those of males.
The crests on this chicken’s head totally hide its tiny, white earlobes. Padovana chickens are available in nine different colors.
Silver-laced, white, buff-laced, gold-laced, and brown Padovana hens are also popular color variations. Although the skin of Padovana hens is white, their legs can be either black or slate gray.
Unlike most crested breeds, these chickens don’t have combs. In addition, their wattles appear to be anatomically incomplete or relict.
Padovana chickens range in size from small to average in weight. The average rooster weighs between 2.3 and 1.8 kilograms, making him significantly heavier than a hen. One to two kilograms is the average weight range for a hen.
Padovana chickens are known for their gentle demeanor. Crested birds are very inquisitive and make excellent pets for young people. They are also resistant to both extremes of temperature.
These hens are social and active, but they need a lot of space to flourish. In addition, these crested chickens aren’t hostile, unlike some roosters.
How Long do Pavocana Chickens Live?
The Padovana chicken is an exceptionally durable breed, with a lifespan of eight to 10 years. However, with the proper attention and care, some Padovana chickens can live for almost a decade.
But there are a few factors that cut the lifespan of this species significantly.
Your Padovana chicken, for instance, won’t last very long if it’s attacked by a hawk. Your Padovana chickens are most vulnerable to predators. Padovana hens are small, making them an accessible prey item for raptors, feral cats, dogs, snakes, and raccoons.
Unfortunately, like other poultry, these birds are susceptible to a wide variety of deadly infections. The Padovana hens’ lifespans might be shortened or lengthened depending on the level of care they receive.
Padovana chickens, especially chicks, that are housed improperly have a higher mortality rate.
However, people who are fortunate enough to live in safe and sanitary environments enjoy significantly greater longevity. In addition, the birds’ diet is very important.
The longer and healthier lives your Padovana hens can expect to have are directly proportional to the quality of food you feed them.
Egg Production of Pavocana Chickens
While most modern owners retain Padovana hens for the sake of their beauty, some farmers keep them for their eggs. Padovana hens typically produce 120-150 eggs per year. However, the eggs they lay almost never develop.
The Padovana hens’ ability to lay eggs tends to decline as the birds get older. That’s why young hens, especially those at the start of their laying cycle, make such good layers whereas elderly hens produce very few eggs.
Meat Production of Padovana Chickens
Padovana chickens are multipurpose, as they can be used for both aesthetic and meat purposes. They may be smaller than other great meat-producing chicken breeds, but don’t let that fool you: the flesh from these little birds is fantastic.
So, if you have a little family and you want to feed them some nice chickens, you can raise Padovana chickens.
Padovana Chicken Care
As with other crested varieties, the Padovana chicken requires special attention. Therefore, the degree of activity, health, and happiness of your birds can be influenced by the care you provide.
Whether or not you have expertise with hens, learning how to care for your Padovana chicks is essential to their health and yours. An extensive guide to nurturing your Padovana hens is provided below.
Food And Nutrition
Padovana chickens’ success is highly dependent on the diet you provide them. Feeding mistakes are a major reason why so many chicken keepers fail when trying to grow Padovana birds.
Padovana chickens can eat standard chicken feed, however, the diet should still provide adequate nutrition for chickens.
The optimal food for these birds should consist primarily of protein-rich ingredients. Padovana chicks require a high-protein diet just like the rest of your flock.
It’s important that the chicks get at least 20% of their calories from protein so that they can start developing their crests and feathers right away.
Padovana chickens of all ages, but especially those in the midst of a molt, require a high-protein diet. Maintain a diet high in protein for your birds to eat when they molt and until they have grown new feathers.
Keep in mind that the molting process causes significant feather loss in Padovana hens, as it does in other birds. Thus, it will take a long time for your birds to grow new feathers if you don’t provide them with protein-rich diets during their annual molt. Without adequate insulation provided by feathers, some may not survive the winter.
Padovana chickens, which are kept for their eggs, also need protein. Hens need protein for egg production, albeit they don’t need as much as young chicks and other molting Padovana chickens.
For optimal egg production, the layer meal should contain roughly 16% protein.
Without this amount of protein in their diet, hens run the danger of suffering from protein shortage, which has a negative impact on egg production. If your Padovana chickens don’t get enough protein, they can stop laying eggs.
The eggs your hens produce may also be of low quality.
If you find that your chickens aren’t getting enough protein from the feed you’re currently providing them, you can supplement their diet with a food high in protein.
You can experiment with feeding them mealworms, fishmeal, hard-boiled eggs, and sprouts.
Calcium is essential for laying hens since it aids in egg development and production. You might want to think about getting some calcium supplements for the chickens.
Alternatively, you might add some crushed oyster shells to the meal to help the layers absorb more calcium.
Carbohydrates are very important for Padovana chickens in the winter, despite the fact that they don’t thrive on carbohydrate-rich meals because they make them obese over time.
A diet high in carbohydrates can aid your Padovana hens in producing body heat, strengthening them so that they can tolerate frigid temperatures.
While corn and wheat are great sources of carbohydrates for Padovana hens, excessive consumption of these foods can lead to health problems, thus they should be fed to your birds only in moderation.
Feeding your chickens a diet rich in vegetables and greens will help enhance their health and boost their immunity. Padovana hens benefit from a diet rich in chard, lettuce, kale, broccoli, and spinach.
But you should still slice them up so the birds may eat them without becoming stuck in their throats.
Like other chicken breeds, Padovanas require clean water to thrive. Especially in the heat of summer, they need a reliable source of water to avoid becoming dehydrated. Put some water in the containers and put them in the coop.
Water for your Padovana chickens shouldn’t need them to perform acrobatics to reach.
Some hens may die if the containers are too deep, while others may contaminate the water by sticking their legs in it. Water containers should be emptied everyday and cleaned before being refilled.
Padovana chickens require at least three meals a day to thrive. Therefore, you should plan to feed the birds thrice a day. It’s best to feed the birds first thing in the morning, again in the afternoon, and again just before bedtime. Padovana hens can’t see their food at night, therefore you should feed them right before they go to bed.
Housing for Padovana Chickens
Whether you choose to raise your Padovana chickens free-range or in confinement, you will need to provide them with enough accommodation. Padovana hens need a safe place to stay out of the rain and other bad weather, thus a coop is a need.
Additionally, a cage can protect your chickens from scavenging cats and dogs. If you want to protect your Padovana hens from predators, it’s best to close off any access points to the pen.
First, make sure the Padovana chickens have plenty of room to roam about in the coop. Unlike larger breeds, smaller coops are sufficient for these birds.
Therefore, the number of Padovana chickens you intend to breed will determine the size of the coop you’ll need to put them in. You’ll need a bigger chicken house if you’re hatching more eggs.
Padovana chickens require a lot of fresh air while they are confined. Make sure there is a fine mesh wire at the front of the pen to allow air to move freely in both directions.
A second option is to provide the birds with adequate ventilation via operable windows in the cage. Padovana chickens, being perching birds, prefer to roost on perches rather than the floor of the coop.
Health Issues of Padovana Chickens
Padovana hens face the greatest danger from natural predators, although disease poses a close second.
It’s important to remember that crested chickens aren’t completely immune to illness, despite the common belief that these birds are disease-resistant. Padovana chickens are prone to several illnesses.
White spots on the skin, comb sores, ulcers in the mouth or trachea, and a lack of laying are all symptoms of fowl pox, which your Padovana chickens likely have if they’re showing any of the other symptoms listed.
When birds get fowl pox, soft foods are the greatest medicine for them to eat. Make sure your sick chickens have somewhere dry and warm to recover.
Progressive tremors in your Padovana chickens may raise concerns because botulism is a real possibility.
Botulism not only causes feather loss but also causes anorexia and loss of appetite in birds. An antitoxin can be purchased from an avian vet and used to treat the birds.
Symptoms of Fowl Cholera include diarrhea that is yellow or green, difficulty breathing, and dark wattles in Padovana hens. This bacterial disease can be spread to your chickens from wild birds.
Unfortunately, this illness currently has no known treatment that would ensure recovery. In order to prevent the spread of disease, culled the unwell birds from the flock.
Although not a true sickness, parasite infection is a genuine risk for individuals who keep Padovana hens as a livelihood.
Crested chickens, such as Padovana chickens, are particularly susceptible to parasite infestation due to the ease with which the parasites can conceal themselves within the chicken’s dense plumage.
There may be mites or lice in your chickens’ feathers if you’ve noticed them scratching recently. If your birds have parasites, you should inspect their feathers and use pesticides to kill them.
How much do Padovana Chickens Cost?
Padovana chickens are more costly than other types of chicken since they are a rare breed. Padovana chicks can be purchased for as little as $50. Roosters can be purchased for less than $70, but hens can cost upwards of $100.
Can Novices Start with Padovana Chickens?
In some cases, these hens might be excellent starter birds. To begin, they are sociable and simple to care for. Additionally, they have a lower nutritional requirement than other breeds.
However, regular cleaning and trimming of the birds’ heavy feathers, especially their head feathers, are necessities. Birds benefit from being kept clean and dry, as their feathered legs prevent them from slipping.
How Sturdy Are Padovana Chickens?
Padovana hens can withstand extremes of temperature, so the answer is yes, they are robust. Once again, these birds are highly resistant to disease.
Do Padovana Chickens Have the Ability to Fly?
Padovana chickens can’t fly because they lack the wing structure necessary for flight. Their inability to fly is further compounded by the dense feathering on their wings.
Advice for Raising Padovana Chickens
- Padovana chickens need a lot of space and protection.
- Make sure your chickens are getting plenty to eat.
- Protect your chickens from potential illness by vaccinating them.
- Maintain a spotless environment for your Padovana chickens at all times.
- If the chickens’ feathers are too long and heavy, trim them frequently.
The Padovana chicken is a symbol of Padova and the surrounding area, but its population is rapidly declining. According to recent research, there are around 1,200 breeding Padovana chickens in the area, with only 300 of them being males.
It’s incredible that a single chicken breed may have such deep roots in a particular region. The Padovana chicken is indeed a remarkable and special creature that deserves our protection.
If you’re interested in rearing crested chickens, Padovana Chickens are among the best there are. The fact that these hens are both attractive and rare makes them an excellent choice for either commercial or backyard farming.