Having chickens provides many benefits, especially when it comes to food.
Eggs and chicken meat make great meals, but not all breeds of this amusing bird are created equal.
When it comes to Polish chickens, they are better for looks than food.
Polish chickens may be eaten, just as any other small poultry may be eaten. However, their small size means the meat they provide is not really worth the effort of processing them.
Keep reading to learn more about these beautiful birds.
We’ll also cover how to process them if you turn your Polish chickens into dinner.
What Are Polish Chickens Good For?
Polish chickens are ornamental birds, meaning their main purpose is to look pretty on your farm or backyard.
They are not prolific layers like Rhode Island Reds and do not reach the massive size of Cornish Cross or other meat chickens.
However, they are great for showing or just adding amusement to your day.
They are also calm chickens, which makes them great for introducing children to poultry.
Overall, they make great pets rather than farm animals used for food.
Polish Chickens as Food
While it is possible to eat Polish chickens, they are not worth the effort.
A hen will reach about 4 to 5 pounds, while roosters reach 6 pounds.
For comparison, a meat bird is usually 10 pounds when processed.
With so little meat on their bones, you’ll spend way too much time plucking feathers to make it worth it, at least for most people.
Some people have gone through the effort and say the chickens are tasty.
If you decide to try it anyway, Polish chicken meat is better in soups and stews than as the main course when cooking dinner.
Egg Laying of Polish Chickens
Polish chickens do lay eggs well enough to make it worth having them but do not count on them to provide consistent eggs to eat or sell.
On average, one chicken will lay 150 to 200 white eggs a year.
This is a good amount, but unfortunately, this chicken breed is inconsistent.
You might have one chicken who consistently lays multiple eggs a week while another will lay virtually no eggs.
You will also hit a roadblock if you want to maintain or grow your flock size.
Polish chickens are non-sitters, so they will not go broody very often.
To incubate and hatch any chicks, plan to use another hen as a surrogate.
Another option is to use an artificial incubation setup.
What Do Polish Chickens Look Like?
A v-shaped pea comb and head feather crest are the most recognizable parts of their appearance.
Indeed, the feathers on their heads stick out rather far compared to their small heads and bodies.
Certain varieties of this breed are also bearded, adding to the uniqueness of their appearance.
Since Polish chickens are ornamental birds, it is no surprise they come in various colors.
Recognized varieties include:
- Golden Polish Chicken
- Silver Polish Chicken
- White Polish Chicken
- White Crested Blue Polish Chicken
- Black Crested White Polish Chicken
- White Crested Black Polish Chicken
- Buff Laced Polish Chicken
How to Process Chickens at Home
If you decide to eat your chickens, processing them takes a long time.
It’s easier to send them to a poultry processor, but the cost is likely not worth the amount of meat you’ll get back.
To process your chickens at home, follow these four steps:
- Drain the blood
- Pluck out the feathers
- Take out the organs
- Chill the carcass
Before starting this process, take away all their feed at least four hours beforehand.
A full intestine will make processing them more difficult.
Drain the Blood
The old-fashioned way to drain the blood is to use an axe to cut off the chicken’s head.
Restrain the bird to prevent a chicken from running around with its head cut off.
For a newer method, hang the chicken upside down and cut open the carotid artery.
The blood will be easier to collect, leading to easier clean-up.
Additionally, getting the blood out quickly will reduce the metallic taste left in the meat.
Pluck Out the Feathers
To make removing the feathers easier, scald the bird in hot water.
Be careful not to over-scald, which will cook the skin.
Add the whole bird to a large pot of hot water between 125 to 130° degrees Fahrenheit (54° C).
Keep the bird in for a soft scald for 90 to 120 seconds.
Any longer or with hotter water will over-scald the carcass.
Once the feathers are loosened, start plucking.
Also, remove the scales from the legs.
Take Out the Organs
Next, remove the head, feet, and organs.
Carefully cut the bottom of the chicken with the point of your knife, being careful not to pierce the intestines.
Then remove the head and the esophagus.
Removing this part of the chicken takes some brute strength and skill.
Once this and the crop are removed, continue removing the rest of the internal organs.
Chill the Carcass
Thoroughly clean the inside and outside of the carcass with clean water.
Make sure there is no fecal material anywhere on the body, as this will increase the risk of getting sick from eating the meat.
Once it is fully clean, add the carcass to an ice bath.
To make an ice bath, find a bucket or other large container.
Add enough water to submerge the carcass and a large amount of ice to create cold water.
Once the carcass has been prepared, submerge it in the ice bath.
Keep it immersed for up to four hours.
Add more ice as needed to make sure the carcass remains cold enough.
Then drain the water and put the carcass in a large freezer bag.
Keep it in the fridge if you plan to eat it soon.
Otherwise, store it in the freezer.