Not only many foreign breeds of chickens can boast of their unusual appearance. Our domestic breeders also have something to be proud of. And one of such bright representatives is the Russian crested meat and egg breed of hens. It may seem to many that such an unusual layer "in a wig" is bred by modern poultry farmers. But in fact, this is an old breed, which was found both in the courtyards of the nobles, and in ordinary village farms.
Russian crested breed of chickens, despite its unusual appearance, belongs to the universal type of productivity. Although many people think that these are decorative chickens. However, it should be borne in mind that the Russian people have always sought to preserve the necessary productive qualities in the bird against the background of a beautiful appearance. Since crested chickens since the 19th century were well known and popular in the central zone and in the northern regions. Like many domestic breeds, these layers are also unpretentious, resistant to climate change, hardy.
History of origin
Since the Russian crested breed of chickens is the result of folk breeding and conventional artificial selection, it is difficult to say exactly when they first occurred. However, it is known that by the end of the 19th century these birds were widely distributed in the villages, and in 1905 their first official description was presented. It is believed that such layers were brought to Russia from Asian countries, but this version has not been confirmed. Therefore, the breed give a purely Russian origin. Poultry farmers wanted to get a productive calm bird with an unusual beautiful appearance.
Featuring superior endurance and resistance to cold, this breed is still popular in many regions of the country. But it is also appreciated abroad, as evidenced by the consistently high demand for hatching eggs and young birds.
Like any other breed of poultry, crested chickens have their own standard. So, based on it, they are distinguished by a medium-sized body, a long, wide body and characteristic elegance. The head of the hens is elongated, the short neck smoothly passes into the broad back, the wings and tail are well developed and large. Birds also have light orange or brown eyes, well developed earrings and a beautiful leafy or rose-like comb. Feathers are dense, the color is dominated by light, but also black, gray chickens or a rare cuckoo or salmon color.
Watch the whole variety of color variations on the video from the channel Main Farmer Portal FERMER.RU.
However, the most important feature of these chickens is a beautiful lush tuft on the head. In cocks, oddly enough, it is a bit smaller, but due to the long falling feathers it looks like a real wig, smoothly turning into a mane. In chickens, it is more rounded and convex and often resembles a crown or an unusual hairstyle, as in the photo below.
It is also worth noting that the crest is of different shapes:
The crest greatly adorns the bird, but its large size often results in the bird not seeing well. In this case, it is recommended to trim it a little in the eye area.
Russian crested breed is valued among private poultry farmers for its versatility. Laying birds produce up to 160 large eggs per year (at least 55 grams). Males reach weight up to 3.5 kg, chicken - about 2-2.3 kg. This allows, after a fall in egg production, to use poultry for meat.
Hens have a well-developed incubation instinct, so there are no particular problems with breeding at home. The hatchability of chickens is more than 90%. The first egg-laying occurs with proper care for 5-6 months of life.
Features of the content in the private sector
Russian crested is very hardy and resistant breed. These qualities are easy to explain, knowing the history of the origin of these chickens. Previously, at the peak of their heyday, the birds were kept in ordinary village courtyards, where there could be no heating or lighting. Also, the continued scarcity of feed has retained the simplicity of feeding in modern crested hens. Even on the usual grain and homemade menu, the bird is well gaining weight and does not slow down egg production.
If you are going to start this breed, we still recommend that you maintain good bird care conditions. At any time of the year, chickens should have free access to the paddock. Only in severe frost can you limit yourself to a small half-hour walk on a warm bedding.
To maintain a beautiful appearance, it is recommended to increase in the diet of corn, herbs, vegetables and bran. Be sure to in a separate trough should always be mineral dressings, in particular calcium: chalk, shell, crushed shell.
After analyzing the reviews of domestic poultry farmers, we can say that the Russian crested hen is an excellent hen for newcomer household farmers. These chickens are pleased with their appearance and productivity. Growing chickens is not difficult: they have good immunity, and they are not fastidious about food. However, it is very important to observe the correct temperature regime - about 32 degrees in the first days with a gradual decrease to 20 degrees during the month. Also in the reviews, it is especially noted that the breed is calm and tame.