PUBLISHED: 08:11 28 March 2014 | UPDATED: 08:54 28 March 2014
Frizzled Polands: Hans L Schippers looks at this fascinating new variety
Brief description of the Poland
The Poland takes one's eye immediately by its graceful shape, full crest and contrasting colours. The type is slightly erect, the back sloping down somewhat to the tail. The body is elongated, wide between the shoulders with a full, broad breast carried well forward. The cockerel’s back is a bit shorter than the hen’s. The wings are well developed, somewhat long and carried close to the body. The neck is of medium length, erect and gracefully curved, while the abundant neck hackles partly cover the back, shoulders and front of the neck. The cockerel has a slightly loose crest consisting of pointed feathers, in comparison to the hen, which has a firmer structure consisting of broad, well-rounded feathers giving the crest its globular appearance.
The comb is absent or only rudimentary. The colour of the beak varies, depending on the colour variety, from dark to light horn coloured. The cock’s wattles are bigger than the hen’s and red in colour. The medium sized earlobes are oval-shaped and white in colour. In the bearded–muffed variety, wattles and earlobes are absent, or at least, not visible. The orange-red to red eyes combined with the slate blue legs (except the Cuckoo variety) are another breed characteristic.
The Romans and the Greeks already kept crested poultry and these may have been the forerunners of the later Italian Padua Fowl as described by Aldrovandi in the 16th century. Crested fowl were also mentioned in south east Russia in the 11th and 12th centuries. Other old descriptions of crested fowl include those of Egypt and China. Black Crested White Polands existed already at Kennemerland county in the Netherlands around 1475. At present, this variety is rather rare. White Crested Blacks are better known.
As a light breed, the male weighs maximum approx 3000g and the female 2250g. Generally speaking, this strong breed is very friendly.
About Frizzle feathers
A good description of a frizzled feather is that they first grow like a normal feather, from front to the back, and halfway, they grow in an outward curl back to the front. Two different types of frizzlling are known. Normal frizzled as described, and over frizzled when feathers are reduced in width and much more frizzled than the normal.
Creating frizzled Polands
To create a new breed or variety is a challenge for the more experienced breeder. Getting the interest and support of other breeders, it’s important to maintain the new creation, but to get them standardized and recognized in different countries is the real reward! Therefore, to create a new breed you must have the idea, knowledge, luck, enough money and most of all, the right character and very much endurance!
All these qualities are not often combined in one single person, so it’s rare to meet a person like Arie J Boland of Sinderen in Holland, a well-known breeder of Polands who created the Frizzled Polands, bearded and non-bearded, in both varieties as Standard fowl and as Bantams, as well as in all recognized colour varieties. It took him nearly 15 years to develop this splendid breed. Now 25 years and approx 23,000 chicks later, they are available and bred in many countries, including the UK.
After bringing this splendid and very successful new variety to us poultry fanciers, Mr Boland was still working on them to improve some details in large fowl when he passed away, too young, in 2001. It’s a great loss for the International Poland Breeders’ Society and they owe him many thanks.
Let’s look now at the history of the Frizzled Polands.
To create them, Mr Boland started with bearded Poland bantams. He used two well-known breeds to provide the basis for them. As parent stock, he started with a white bearded Poland bantam hen and a Japanese bantam, white, frizzled cockerel. Historically, Frizzled Polands had been referred to a number of times, but they had neither been seen nor shown in the last 100 years! A nice painting of a pair of Silver Frizzled Polands from 1923 by the late artist and well-known poultry expert Cornelis S Th van Gink from Holland, also a poultry judge and the founder of the still existing World Poultry Science Association (WPSA), provided the much-needed visual inspiration.
As a Poland breeder, Mr Boland felt it must be possible to create a frizzled variety of his favourite breed. He expected problems more than a fast result, because the original Frizzle (the breed) does not exist in Holland. To do the necessary work, he had to use Frizzled varieties of different breeds with poor results. By coincidence, in 1978, he found a somewhat long legged white Frizzled, Japanese cockerel bantam with a smaller comb and tail than usual. That gave him the opportunity he was looking for. That cockerel was crossed with a smooth feathered white Poland, bearded bantam hen, but it showed the cockerel wasn’t fertile! The next year, he used a close related cockerel of the same breed and strain, and hatched enough offspring to select from them. It was more than amazing that this first offspring already had some stiff, upright feathers just behind their combs forming a good basis for crests in his breeding programme
In a genetic way Boland faced different problems, because he was simultaneously working on three distinct features: crests, frizzled plumage and colour. Next to that, the breed type should be acceptable for Poland bantams. Another problem arose because of the dominance of the leg and tail length of the Japanese. Also, the large single combs have proved to be a special problem.
Through breeding in large numbers and very careful selection over a long period of time, the right way was found and more experience in the genetic make-up for the new variety was developed. It would take too long here to go into all the details of the stages of providing a detailed analysis of the breeding strategy, but we’re lucky that Arie Boland always kept his records up to date!
In such a breeding programme, however, it’s important to know how the crest and frizzled plumage behave genetically. This is explained in the accompanying diagrams.
Historical overview of the breeding programme
It’s interesting to see how Mr Boland progressed over the 15 years of working on his creation. One point many readers may not be aware of is that the crested fowl originally came from cool climates and frizzled from hot areas. Here are the stages in the creation of this lovely variety:
- 1978: stiff feathers behind the comb (but not basic crest) were found in the offspring as hatched (see previous text) at the start of this creation, frizzling behaving as in the diagram.
- 1980: some 40 – 50 feathers comprising a sort of crest appeared as a result after experience and gathering of more genetic knowledge.
- 1981: wattles still appear, also double and split combs, but still no beards and muffs. Japanese type continues to dominate. Correct frizzling, also genetic, is no longer a problem.
- 1983: some offspring still show problems with their comb, but also crests became larger. Around this time, the white variety was nearly finished and six other colours were ‘under construction’.
- 1985: type is pure in the plain Blacks and the plain Whites (almost perfect birds). Discovery that by using normal feathered stock, they must have the largest possible crest to produce correct crests in the offspring. Smaller crests on normal feathered birds are recessive.
- 1986: first international interest in the new variety from Belgium, England, Germany, Italy and the US. In addition, there were exports to those countries.
- 1987: more than 1,000 chicks produced that year to cull from. Over the last two years, the new variety is exhibited at the National Show and several regional shows, to push the breed and to get general recognition.
- 1989: some varieties are recognised in the Dutch Poultry Standards. A group of 30 American poultry fanciers and breeders on European poultry study tour visited the Boland farm to study the new variety and were very impressed.
- 1992: All the colour varieties in bearded bantams, are now recognised.
- From now on, all the varieties in the bearded bantams were recognised.
Between 1992 and 1998, the non-bearded bantams and the non-bearded and bearded large fowl were much easier to create.
Because a European discussion around the welfare (read eyesight) of Crested Fowl in general, the Frizzled large fowl White Black Crested is the only one that has not been recognised until now. We expect that after the decision made by the Standards Committee, only birds which are not hindered in eyesight by their crest may enter shows, and recognition of this variety will follow very soon!
It’s a glorious victory for Arie Boland that his efforts worked out and that interest in this beautiful new Poland variety nowadays is worldwide!
For more information about the Frizzled Poland contact The British Poland Club, secretaries Mr and Mrs T Beebe,
The Oaks, 84 Sutton Spring Wood, Temple Normanton, Chesterfield,
Derbyshire S42 5DT. Tel: 01246 854647.
or me, Hans L Schippers in Amstelveen, Holland. Tel and fax: 0031 20 6455227