The Padovana chicken or Paduan del Gran Ciuffo is a breed of chickens native to the province of Padova in northern Italy. The origins of the breed are still uncertain, but most historians agree that the breed is related to the Polish chicken breed.
Padovana Chicken Characteristics
The main characteristic of this breed of chicken is its peculiar crest; Roosters have a long, curved crest, while hens have a shorter, rounded crest. The earlobes are small, whitish, and completely covered by the crest. The average weight is 1.8 to 2.3 kg (4.0–5.1 lb) for roosters and 1.5 to 2.0 kg (3.3–4.4 lb) for hens.
Padovana Chicken Breed Varieties
Nine varieties of colors have been recognized for Padovana, of which six are recognized and documented in older treatises, these are white, black, silver, gold, buff, and “hawk”. The skin is white and the legs are slate or black.
Today, Padovana is supported by the abundant eggs it produces, as well as its excellent meat. Padovana hens produce around 120-150 white eggs each year, weighing 50-60g, but they are rarely hatched. A bantam version is also available for this breed.
Origin and History
The origin of the breed is still uncertain, but most historians agree that the Padovana made its first appearance around the year 1300, when the astronomer and philosopher Giovanni Dondi dell Orologio, while in Poland, noticed a peculiar characteristic and beautiful in the hens of the locality, and I do not hesitate to take some specimens to the Padova region in Italy.
This theory was confirmed by many writers of the past (such as Teodoro Pascal), however, the journalist from Padova Franco Holzer in one of his investigations was able to establish that no documentation certifies that Giovanni Dondi dell Orologio has visited Poland.
Another hypothesis of the origin of the breed indicates that the chickens would have arrived in the Padova region in the form of viaticum along with pilgrims from Eastern Europe, who were going to holy places of Christianity in Italy.
Historical notes also provide evidence of tufted birds in Europe in Roman times: the two marble figurines of tufted chickens observed in the Sala degli Animali (“animal room”) of the Vatican Museums in 1927 by Alessandro Ghigi date from the 19th century. I or II AD; a chicken skull excavated from West Hill, Uley, Gloucestershire in England shows the typical brain herniation of tufted breeds and dates from the fourth century.
Recently Franco Holzer discovered the first known representation of a hen with a tuft in Padova: it is a painting that dates from 1397 and is present in the Oratory of San Michele Arcangelo in Padova.
In the 21st century, the breed numbers remain low. A study published in 2007 revealed a figure of approximately 1200 breeders, of which approximately 300 were roosters.
The Padovana is described and illustrated as a Patavina hen, or Paduan hen, by Ulisse Aldrovandi in the second part of his work on ornithology, Ornithologiae tomus alter cum indice copiosissimo varyum linguarum (Bologna, 1600).
Frequently Asked Questions to Padovana Chickens
What is a Padovana chicken?
Padovana chickens are a breed of chicken known for their ornamental and eye-catching appearance. They originate from Padua, Italy, and are valued for their distinctive comb and feather patterns.
What is the history of Padovana chickens?
Padovana chickens have a long history, dating back to the Renaissance era in Italy. They were originally bred for their unique aesthetic appeal and were often kept as ornamental birds.
What do Padovana chickens look like?
Padovana chickens are known for their unique features, including a “V” or “butterfly” comb, which looks like two combs fused together. They also have striking black and white feather patterns and feathered legs.
What is the temperament of Padovana chickens?
Padovana chickens are known to be docile, friendly, and good-natured. They are usually calm and make excellent pets for those looking for ornamental birds.
Are Padovana chickens good egg layers?
While Padovana chickens are primarily kept for their ornamental value, they are not known for high egg production. They may lay a moderate number of small to medium-sized eggs, but they are not considered a top choice for egg-laying.
What are the space requirements for Padovana chickens?
Like other chicken breeds, Padovana chickens need sufficient space to roam, scratch, and forage. Provide them with at least 2-3 square feet of coop space per bird, and outdoor access to a secure run or free-range area.
What is the average lifespan of Padovana chickens?
Padovana chickens can live for 6 to 8 years or even longer with proper care.
How do I care for Padovana chickens?
Provide them with a balanced diet, clean water, and protection from predators. Ensure that their coop is well-ventilated and dry. Regularly check their feathered legs for mites and keep their living area clean.
Can Padovana chickens be kept in mixed flocks?
Yes, Padovana chickens can be kept in mixed flocks with other chicken breeds, but it’s essential to monitor them to ensure they are not getting picked on by more aggressive breeds.
Can I show Padovana chickens in poultry exhibitions?
Yes, Padovana chickens are often shown in poultry exhibitions and fairs because of their unique and ornamental appearance. If you’re interested in showing them, make sure to follow exhibition rules and standards.
Where can I buy Padovana chickens?
You can find Padovana chickens from reputable breeders, poultry shows, or online sources that specialize in rare and ornamental chicken breeds.
Are Padovana chickens endangered or rare?
Padovana chickens are considered a rare and endangered breed. Efforts are being made by breed enthusiasts to preserve and promote these unique chickens.
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