Ancient Italian breed with uncertain origin. According to Darwin, it came from Poland. It probably arrived in Italy in XIV century, brought by Giovanni Dondi dell’Orologio, nobleman from Padua, eminent doctor and astronomer, fascinated by the beauty of those chickens.
The origin is anyway confused, mingling with the origin of the Polish and the Dutch, which is tuffled but not bearded.
Many quotations of XVI century talk about a particularly famous and productive chicken in Padua county. The Padovana dal Gran Ciuffo has been described in the work Ornithologiae by Ulisse Aldovrandi (1600).
The decline of Padovana begun in XIX century. At the beginning of 1900 there still were some thousands head, but in 1960’s they disappear almost completely.
All the breeders of the Defence of the Padovana are members of the Association “Pro Avibus Nostris”, Agricultural High Schools “San Benedetto da Norcia” of Padua.
This breed is ornamental but it can be used also for the production: it’s excellent to give value to typical products from specific zones or protected areas.
It’s a good layer of eggs of big dimension (50-60 g, white shell).
The main characteristic is the big crest and the well developed beard. The temper is very confident.
The sexual maturity is achieved at 6-7th month in male and 5-6th month in female.
It’s a breed officially recognized in Italy. Light chicken, elegant, lively and ornamental.
Female has an extremely poor broodiness. The Padovana is generally reared as pure breed and as layer. The meat is lean, rosy-white, with delicate taste (the skin is thin and white).
The body is erect, of medium size. The trunk is lengthened and inclined, with broad shoulders, narrower in the rump. The hen is solid but smaller and with more horizontal carriage than the cock. The head, of medium size, with a developed cranial ernia and big crest. The beak is strong, slightly curved, with big nostrils. The colour is different in each livery. The eyes are big, round and lively; the colour is brown in each livery but in the White and Cuckoo varieties, where the eyes are red-orange. Without crest, but the presence of small excrescences is not considered a defect. The wattles are absent or very small, in any case they are hidden by the beard. The earlobes are small and completely covered by the beard and the crest. Beard and muff are well developed with tight-fitting livery. In the cock the crest is circular; thin and pointed feathers encircle the head laterally and in the back side; the front and lower feathers support the crest. In the hen the crest is big and spherical, thick and erect. In both sexes the crest should not block the view. The neck is of medium length with thick neck hackles.
The wings, of medium size, are carried horizontally and tight to the body. The tail is rich, semi-opened in the hen, opened in the cock, with curved sickles; the tail has an angle of 40-45° in the cock and 30-35° in the hen.
The breast is rounded, full and high.
The legs are of medium length, visible and with feathers; the shanks are of medium size as well, thin, without feathers, with 4 toes. The colours are different in each livery. The abdomen is smooth and well developed.
The skin is white.
- Cock: 1.8-2.3 kg;
- Hen: 1.5-2.0 kg.
The livery is well developed but tight to the body, the tip of the feathers are rounded, the down is thick.
Of high value are: thick and voluminous crest, circular in the cock and globose in the hen, well developed beard, rich neck hackles.
The liveries are many: Silver Laced, White, Blue Andalusian, White Laced Buff, Lavander, Black, Black Laced Golden, Cuckoo, “Tricolore” (Speckled).
The main defects are: thin trunk with sharpened breast, small crest, opened, crooked, leaning crest, poor beard, too big comb, visible wattles and earlobes. A heavy and frequent defect is the presence of white feathers in the crest of coloured varieties (most of all, in Black Laced Golden and Black).
There also is a Bantam variety.
Silver Laced Padovana cock (photo www.agraria.org)
Silver Laced Padovana hen (photo www.agraria.org)
Cockoo Padovana cock (photo www.agraria.org)