Padovana Chickens – Breed Profile & Facts
Padovana chicken is one of the smallest bearded and crested chickens from Italy. Although the crested bird is prevalent in Northern Italy’s province of Padovana, it has become widespread worldwide, even in the Americas.
It’s primarily an ornamental bird, which can be an exciting addition to any flock. This breed is quite friendly, making it a wonderful pet. It’s also hardy and cold resistant.
History of Padovana Chicken
The history of the Padovana chickens remains unknown. Nonetheless, most historians say that the chicken first appeared in Padovana province in Italy in 1300 when Giovanni Dondi, an Italian philosopher, first brought this bird to the Padovana region from Poland. Since then, breeders have been breeding this chicken, and it’s now widespread in many places throughout the globe.
Padovana Chicken Characteristics
The major characteristic of the Padovana chicken is its peculiar crest. Hens have shorter crests, while males have long, curved crests. This chicken has small, whitish earlobes completely covered by their crests. The Padovana chickens come in nine color varieties.
Some well-known color varieties of Padovana chickens include silver-laced, white, buff-laced, gold-laced, and brown. Padovana chickens have white skins, although their legs can be either black or slate-colored. These chickens lack combs like most crested breeds. Furthermore, their wattles seem vestigial or underdeveloped.
– Size & Weight
Padovana chickens are small to standard birds. Roosters are bigger than hens because their average weight is between 1.8 and 2.3 kg. Hens weigh between 1.5 and 2 kg.
Padovana chickens are extremely friendly. These crested birds are also curious and make fantastic pets for kids. They are also extremely hardy and can withstand cold and hot weather.
Although they are friendly and active, these chickens don’t thrive in confined spaces but in free range. Furthermore, these crested chickens aren’t aggressive, although roosters can sometimes be bullish.
The Padovana chicken can live between eight and ten years as a hardy breed. Some Padovana chickens, however, can live for over ten years, especially when they receive exceptionally good care from their owners. Nonetheless, there are a couple of things that shorten the lifespan of this breed.
For example, your Padovana chicken won’t live long if it’s subject to predation. Predators are the single biggest threat to your Padovana chickens. Since Padovana chickens are small-sized chickens, they make an easy target for hawks, feral cats, dogs, snakes, and raccoons, among other predators.
Diseases can shorten their lifespan because these birds are also vulnerable to many poultry diseases that kill them. The care you accord to your Padovana chickens can shorten or increase their lifespan. Padovana chickens living in poor housing conditions are likely to die earlier, especially baby chicks.
Nevertheless, those living in good and clean conditions tend to live longer. Furthermore, diet is crucial for these birds. The better and more nutritious diet you give your Padovana chickens, the higher their possibility of living for several years.
– Egg Production
Although most people today keep Padovana chickens as ornamental birds, some farmers keep them for egg production. Padovana chickens lay around 120 to 150 eggs annually. However, they rarely hatch their eggs.
Again, egg production for the Padovana chickens tends to diminish as the birds continue aging. That’s why older hens barely lay while younger hens are decent layers, especially at the beginning of their laying cycle.
– Meat Production
Padovana chickens are dual-purpose birds and are therefore suitable for ornamental and meat production purposes. Although these chickens are quite small compared to other terrific meat-producing breeds, they have excellent meat. Thus, you can raise Padovana chickens if you want small amounts of tasty chicken meat on your table for your family.
Padovana Chicken Care
Proper care is essential for the Padovana chicken, as it is for other crested breeds. Thus, the care you provide to your birds can affect their activity level, health, and happiness.
Learning how to take care of your birds is therefore vital for your success in keeping Padovana chickens, whether you have experience rearing these chickens or not. Below is a detailed outline for caring for your Padovana chickens.
– Feeding & Nutrition
What you give to your Padovana chickens can ruin or break your success in keeping these chickens. Many chicken keepers fail in their attempt to raise Padovana chickens because of poor feeding habits and choices. Padovana chickens can feed on the regular chicken feed, although the feed must be nutritious for these birds.
The best feed for these birds should have substantial amounts of protein. If you have Padovana baby chicks in your flock, ensure you get a protein-rich feed for these tiny birds. The protein in the feed should be at least 20% to ensure the baby chicks grow crests and feathers quickly.
Both young and adult Padovana chickens need plenty of protein, particularly during the molting process. Continue feeding your birds with protein-rich foods throughout the molting process until the birds grow new feathers.
Remember that, like other birds, Padovana chickens lose a substantial amount of feathers during molting. Thus if you don’t feed them protein-rich foods during their annual molt, your birds will take a long time to grow new feathers. Some might die due to a lack of feathers to protect them from cold.
Protein is also vital for egg-laying Padovana hens. Although hens don’t require plenty of protein like baby chicks and other molting Padovana chickens, they also need protein for their egg production. Ensure the layer feed you give to the hens has around 16% protein to enhance their egg production capabilities.
Hens that don’t get this percentage of protein in their feed risk having a protein deficiency, which adversely affects egg production. Without ample protein, your Padovana chickens could stop laying. Or, your hens could lay poor-quality eggs with extremely soft shells.
Thus, you can add some protein rich-food to the hens’ diet if you establish that the hens aren’t getting adequate protein from the regular feed you give them daily. Try introducing some mealworms, fishmeal, cooked eggs, and sprouts.
Layers also need calcium for optimal egg production and to help the birds lay quality eggs. Consider purchasing calcium supplements for your hens at the store. Or, mix some crushed oyster shells into their feed to boost the layers’ calcium.
Although Padovana chickens don’t thrive on carbohydrate-rich foods because such foods make them obese over time, carbs are crucial for these birds, especially in winter. Carbs will help your Padovana chickens generate heat, making them hard enough to withstand cold.
Corn and wheat are some excellent carbs-rich food for Padovana chickens, although you should give these two food items to your chickens in moderation because they increase their risk of putting on excess weight.
Vegetables and greens can help improve your chickens’ health because they supply enough nutrients to boost their immunity. Chards, lettuce, kale, broccoli, and spinach are good for your Padovana chickens. Nonetheless, chop them first to make it easier for the chickens to eat without choking.
Padovana chickens need clean water like other chicken breeds. They won’t beat dehydration without a steady water supply, particularly in summer. Have some water containers in the coop and fill them with water. The containers shouldn’t be too high for your Padovana chicken to climb up and down whenever they want to drink some water.
Neither should the containers be too low because some chicks can easily drown in the water, and other chickens can put their legs into the water, making it dirty. Clean the containers before refilling them and change the water daily before refilling the containers.
Padovana chickens need to eat at least thrice a day. Thus, your feeding schedule should ensure the birds eat twice a day thrice. Feed the birds early in the morning, afternoon, and late evening before roosting. Padovana chickens can’t eat at night because they can’t see anything, so you must ensure your chickens get some food before they roost at night.
Good housing is vital for Padovana chickens, whether raising these birds on free range or in confinement. A coop is critical for protecting the Padovana chickens from weather elements like rainstorms.
Furthermore, a cage helps keep your chickens safe from marauding predators. Thus, it would help if you sealed all the openings on the pen since such predators will get to your Padovana chickens through such openings.
First, ensure the coop provides the Padovana chickens with sufficient floor space. Being small-sized, these birds require smaller coops, unlike other larger breeds. Thus, the size of the pen you use to house the birds should depend on how many Padovana chickens you raise. If you are raising more chickens, it means you need a larger pen.
Ventilation is crucial while keeping Padovana chickens in confinement. Have a study mesh wire at the front side of the pen to ensure airflow accordingly, in and out of the pen. Or, you can have some windows on the cage, which you can open and close to give the birds proper ventilation.
Have perches in the coop because Padovana chickens are perching birds that enjoy roosting on perches instead of resting on the floor.
– Health Problems
Apart from predators, health problems are the second biggest threat to Padovana chickens. While we may assume these crested chickens are disease-hardy and will never succumb to health conditions, it’s good to appreciate that these birds aren’t entirely safe from diseases. These are a couple of health problems that affect Padovana chickens.
- Fowl Pox: If your Padovana chickens have some white spots on their skins, sores on the combs, ulcers in the mouth or trachea, and are no longer laying, it’s clear the birds have fowl pox. The best treatment option for birds with fowl pox is feeding them soft foods. Also, give your infected chickens a dry and warm place as they recoup.
- Botulism– You should be worried if your Padovana chickens start to experience progression tremors because it could be most likely that the birds have botulism. Birds with botulism also have falling feathers and exhibit loss of appetite. Luckily, you can purchase antitoxin from an avian vet to treat your birds.
- Fowl Cholera– If your Padovana chickens have yellowish or greenish diarrhea, are struggling to breathe, or have dark wattles, it’s obvious they have Fowl Cholera. Your chickens can contract this bacterial disease from wild birds. There isn’t a definite cure for this disease. Thus, keep the sick birds from the flock because they will pass the bacteria to other healthy chickens.
- Parasite infestation– This isn’t a real disease, although it is a health concern for those raising Padovana chickens. Crested chickens, including Padovana chickens, suffer the most from parasite infestation because their thick feathering allows parasites to hide without getting detected. If your chickens have been scratching recently, they could have mites or lice hiding in their feathers. Check the feathers and use pesticides to kill the parasites troubling your birds.
How Much Do Padovana Chickens Cost?
Padovana chickens are expensive because they are an endangered chicken breed. A Padovana baby chick could cost anywhere from $50 and below. Hens can cost anywhere from $80 to $ 100, while roosters can cost below $70.
Are Padovana Chickens Good for Beginners?
Yes, these chickens can be great for beginners. First, they are quite friendly and easy to handle. They also eat less compared to other breeds. However, you must keep the birds clean and trim their heavy feathers, especially on their heads. It would help if you kept the birds clean and dry because they have feathers on their legs.
Are Padovana Chickens Hardy?
Yes, Padovana chickens are hardy because they handle the heat and cold well. Again, these birds are disease-resistant and thus unlikely to fall sick.
Can Padovana Chicken Fly?
No, Padovana chickens can’t fly because they are flightless. Plus, the thick feathering on their wings makes them unable to fly.
Tips on Keeping Padovana Chickens
- Keep your Padovana chickens in a safe and spacious cage
- Provide your chickens with a proper diet
- Vaccinate your chickens against possible diseases
- Always keep your Padovana chickens clean
- Trim your chickens regularly when the feathers get too long and heavy
Padovana chickens are awesome crested birds for anyone keen on raising crested chickens. These chickens aren’t only beautiful and truly unique, making the birds a worthy breed to raise for eggs, exhibition or meat.