Padovana Chicken: A Fascinating Italian Breed

padovana chicken

Padovana chicken or Padovana dal gran ciuffo is an ancient Italian breed of small crested and bearded chicken.

This bird has a fancy crest. Males have a long, curved crest and females have a shorter, rounder crest.

The city and province of Padua in northeastern Italy’s Veneto region give it its name.

The Padovana chicken is one of the smallest bearded and crested chickens from Italy.

Although it is prevalent in Northern Italy’s province of Padovana, it has become widespread worldwide, even in the Americas.

The breed comes in many color varieties, such as black, white, silver-laced, and golden.

It lays small white eggs and has good meat quality.

Quick Breed Overview

According to Veneto Agricoltura: Azienda Regionale per i settori Agricolo, Forestale e Agro-Alimentare, Here are the main key features of Padovana Chicken:

NamePadovana or Padovana dal gran ciuffo
Breed TypeSmall crested and bearded chicken
Availability TimeAll year round
LocationPadua, Italy
Origin Time1300s
Egg SizeMedium
Egg ColorCreamy White
Egg Production Start Time5-6 months
Egg Production Quantity120-150 eggs per year
Weight1.5-2.3 kg (3.3-5.1 lb)
Mature WeightMale: 1.8-2.3 kg (4.0-5.1 lb)
Female: 1.5-2.0 kg (3.3-4.4 lb)
Life Span5-8 years
Growth SpeedModerate
Maturity Period5-6 months
TemperamentFriendly and docile
Leg StyleSlate-colored or black
Crest lengthCocks: Long, curved crest
Beak colorHorn-colored
Eye colorReddish-brown
Skin colorWhite
Feather colorWhite
Heat ToleranceGood
Cold ToleranceGood

Topics Covered In This Article

What Are the Physical Features Of Padovana Chicken?

Padovana chickens are small birds, with hens weighing between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds and roosters weighing between 2 and 3 pounds.

They have a compact body shape with a broad chest and a short tail.

It looks unique with a big bunch of feathers on its head, feathers under its chin a small, curved beak, and a short, broad tail.

There are nine recognized color varieties of Padovana chickens, six of which are well-documented in older treatises.

These colors include white, black, silver-laced, gold-laced, buff-laced, and sparrowhawk.

The skin of the Padovana chicken is white, and their legs are slate-colored or black.

What Is the History And Origin Of Padovana Chicken?

The Padovana chicken is an ancient breed that has been around for centuries.

The breed’s origins are uncertain, but it likely started in Italy’s Padovana province in the 1300s according to Agraria. (2)

Historians state that Giovanni Dondi, an Italian philosopher, brought the Padovana chicken to the region from Poland. (1)

Since then, breeders have been breeding this chicken, and it has become widespread in many places throughout the globe.

People bred this chicken mostly for ornamental reasons because of its great appearance.

It is a rare breed that people do not commonly find outside of Italy.

How Many Eggs Can Padovana Chicken Produce?

The breed lays medium-sized eggs with creamy to light brown color, with an average of 120-150 eggs per year.

The Padovana chicken is not a prolific layer, but it lays consistently throughout the year.

Their egg weight is 50-60 grams and it’s cream in color.

They start laying eggs after 5 to 6 months of their birth.

The eggs have a good shell quality and are suitable for both table and hatching purposes.

If you are looking for a good layer then you can check our article on Dixie Rainbow Chicken which lays 245+ eggs each year.

Can Padovana Chickens Be Used For Meat Production?

The Padovana chicken is primarily a meat breed. 

The meat-to-bone ratio is good, and consumers highly value its flavorful meat.

This breed grows slowly and is tough, making it great for free-range and organic farming.

The meat has a fine texture and is suitable for a wide range of culinary preparations.

In recent years, people have made efforts to improve the meat production of the Padovana chicken breed.

The Padovana chicken breed has also contributed to crossbreeding programs aimed at enhancing the meat production of other local chicken breeds.

What Is the Temperament And Behaviour Of Padovana Chicken?

Padovana chickens have a friendly and curious temperament, which makes them excellent pets for children.

They are also extremely hardy and can withstand both cold and hot weather, making them adaptable to various climates.

However, they do not thrive in confined spaces and prefer free-range environments.

Padovana chickens are active and love to explore their surroundings.

They also function independently and require minimal human intervention.

However, they are not aggressive and get along well with other chickens, making them ideal for mixed flocks.

The crest on their head helps them stay warm and withstand cold better than other types of chickens.

What Are the Breeding And Reproductive Characters Of Padovana Chicken?

Padovana chickens, known for their good health and longevity, are a rustic and hardy breed.

The individual bird’s beautiful plumage varies in color and pattern, making them known for it.

Breeding Padovana chickens is relatively easy to care for.

They are naturally inclined to mate, and will usually breed without any intervention from their owners.

The breed doesn’t lay many eggs, usually only around 120-150 per year.

If you are looking to breed Padovana chickens, it is important to keep a few things in mind.

First, it is important to select healthy, well-tempered birds with good conformation and plumage.

It’s important to give your birds a healthy diet to keep them in good condition for breeding.

When it comes to reproduction, Padovana chickens are known for their broodiness.

This means that they are inclined to sit on their eggs and incubate them until they hatch.

To breed birds, give them a good place to lay eggs and keep them safe while they hatch.

Overall, breeding and reproduction are relatively straightforward with Padovana chickens.

What Are the Diet And Nutritional Requirements Of Padovana Chicken?

Padovana chickens do not have picky eating habits and will consume almost anything offered to them.

However, a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for their overall health and productivity.

A proper diet can also improve the quality of their eggs and meat.

Commercial Feed

Commercial feed is the most convenient and widely used option for feeding Padovana chickens.

Chickens eat this food, which comes in different forms like pellets, crumbles, and mash, to meet their nutritional needs.

The feed should contain a balanced ratio of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Kitchen Scraps

Kitchen scraps can be a great addition to a Padovana chicken’s diet.

They can be fed a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains such as corn, oats, and barley.

However, it is important to avoid feeding them anything that is spoiled or moldy as it can cause health problems.

Grit and Calcium

Grit and calcium are essential for the digestive and reproductive health of Padovana chickens.

Grit helps to break down food in the gizzard while calcium is necessary for the formation of strong eggshells.

Grit can come from stones or commercial sources, while calcium can be found in crushed oyster shells or eggshells.


Clean and fresh water should always be available to Padovana chickens.

It is important to regularly clean and refill their water containers to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Chickens can drink up to a liter of water per day, depending on the weather and their activity level.

Overall, a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for the health and productivity of Padovana chickens.

Commercial feed, kitchen scraps, grit, calcium, and clean water are all important components of their diet.

What Is the Lifespan Of Padovana Chicken?

Padovana chickens can live for up to 8 years with proper care ,and are generally healthy birds

One of the most important aspects of keeping them healthy is providing them with a nutritious diet.

A good diet with different grains, seeds, and fresh fruits and veggies can keep birds healthy and happy.

Always have clean water to avoid dehydration and health issues, and live in a clean and comfortable home.

To take care of chickens, give them a big, airy coop and clean it regularly along with the area around it.

What Is the Conservation Status Of Padovana Chicken?

The Padovana chicken is a small crested and bearded chicken breed from Padua, Italy. 

It is an old Italian breed that originates from the Veneto region in northeastern Italy.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the breed faces endangerment and its population is decreasing.

In fact, the FAO ranks 18 Italian chicken breeds, including the Padovana, as endangered or critically endangered according to research done by PubMed Central about Native Chicken Breeds in Italy. (3)

These efforts are critical to ensuring the survival of this ancient and unique breed for future generations.

What Is the Cultural Influence Of Padovana Chicken?

The Padovana chicken has had a significant cultural influence in Italy for centuries.

Here are some examples of how this unique breed of chicken has impacted Italian culture:

Ornamental Poultry Treasure

Italy considers the Padovana chicken an ornamental poultry treasure.

We have preserved and bred this breed for its unique characteristics, including its distinctive crest and bearded appearance.

They are often showcased in exhibitions and shows throughout the country, where they are admired for their beauty and elegance.

Key Takeaways From This Article

Padovana chickens are still popular today in their native Italy and around the world.

They are appreciated for their unique appearance, friendly temperament, and egg-laying abilities.

Despite their small size, they are hardy and can adapt to a wide range of environments.

They are also known for being relatively low-maintenance and easy to care for, making them a good choice for novice chicken keepers.

In Italy, they are recognized as an indigenous Italian breed and is protected by law.

It is primarily kept for ornamental purposes and as pets, although they can also be raised for their eggs.

Their crested appearance and unique feather patterns make them a popular choice for backyard flocks and exhibitions.

Overall, this chicken remains a beloved breed among poultry enthusiasts and continues to be a symbol of Italian heritage and culture.


What are the characteristics of the Padovana chicken?

The Padovana chicken is a small to standard-sized bird with a characteristic crest on its head.

The males have a long, curved crest, while the females have a shorter, more rounded crest.

The breed has a reputation for its white skin color and creamy to light brown egg color.

These chickens lay 120 to 150 eggs per year, with an average weight of 50 to 60 grams.

Unlike other breeds, Padovana chickens do not show the behavior of broodiness.

What is the history of the Padovana chicken?

The Padovana chicken is an ancient Italian breed that originated in the city and surrounding province of Padua, in the Veneto region of north-eastern Italy.

The breed has been around for centuries, with some records dating back to the 16th century.

Padovana chickens were once popular in Italy, but their numbers declined in the 20th century due to the introduction of other breeds.

How does the Padovana chicken differ from Polish chickens?

The Padovana chicken and Polish chicken breeds are similar in appearance, but they have some key differences. 

It’s smaller in size and have a more rounded crest than Polish chickens.

Additionally, they are known for their white skin color and creamy to light brown egg color, while Polish chickens have a variety of skin and egg colors.

Are Padovana chickens known for being friendly?

Padovana chickens are known for their friendly and curious nature.

They make fantastic pets for kids due to their calm and docile temperament.

Additionally, they are easy to handle and are not aggressive towards humans.

What are some fun facts about Padovana chickens?

Padovana chickens are also known as “Padovana dal gran ciuffo,” which means “Padovana chicken with the great tuft.”

They are a rare breed, with only a few hundred birds in the United States.

Padovana chickens have been featured in Italian folklore and literature, including the works of Giovanni Boccaccio and Gabriele D’Annunzio.


VeryWell Animals uses high-quality sources, such as scientifically reviewed studies in its articles. Discover our unique approach to fact-checking and ensuring our content remains accurate and trustworthy.
  1. Progetto CO.VAVeneto Agricoltura: Azienda Regionale per i settori Agricolo, Forestale e Agro-Alimentare
  2. PadovanaAgraria
  3. Overview of Native Chicken Breeds in Italy: Conservation Status and Rearing Systems in UsePub Med Central

Last Updated on 23 November 2023

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