Description and History
The Pavlovskaya is considered an ornamental bird since it’s an ultra-rare breed not only in the USA, but in the world. It’s highly recommended this extremely rare breed not be eaten. They lay under 100 white eggs per year. They’re very docile and seem to enjoy human interaction.
It’s a lively small sized breed with almost horizontal body, very high tail, full beard, and breed specific crest. They have feathered covered legs and toes. Their four toes are slightly covered with soft feathers and their plumage is dense and close to the body.
These chickens originated from the times of Catherin II (1729 – 1796), an Empress of the Russian Empire. There’s a legend that the ancestors of this breed were chickens from Catherine II’s own poultry yard. This breed became the famous world-known Russian national breed. It was considered the masterpiece of chicken beauty of the 18th century, but there is little information about it.
A display of six trios of this breed took part in the 1906 Russian Agricultural and Trade poultry exhibition. Silver and Golden Pavlovsk were shown at the International Poultry Exhibition in 1911 in Turin and their owners won the gold medals.
The Organizing committee of the International Exhibition held in Saint Petersburg in 1899 suggested a concise Pavlov standard and considered this breed as the national Russian breed. The draft “Russian Standard of Perfection” was published in the same year. The following plumage color varieties were described in the mentioned standard: Silver, Gold, White-crested Black, White-crested Grey (Blue) and White crested White. The black birds with white crest and yellow shanks were the rarest of those varieties. So, as we know the Golden Pavlovskayas were owned by breeders of Great Britain, Germany, and Austria.
The Breed appeared only rarely at the exhibitions at the end of the 19th century and then seemed to completely disappear. Many specialists considered that the fashion for new foreign breeds was the cause of the Pavlov breed disappearance. Time did not spare this pearl of the chicken breed. For a long time, the Pavlov breed was considered to be lost, although the breeders hoped to find its trace.
Around the 1980’s poultry fanciers from different parts of the USSR started to look for descendants of the once so famous breed. The researchers investigated the regions in which the breed could have been saved. In 1991 there was a conference of the association of hobby breeders of backyard poultry breeders and they took the function program for clubs of rare and disappearing fancy chicken breeds for looking for the Pavlov breed. The hobby breeders were mainly inspired by the ideologist of the Russian society of bird fanciers, the founder of the Russian school of experts B. Antonychev, who was born in the village of Pavlovo. On the conference they decided which farms were to restore that unique breed. They were: The A. Nikishin farm from Moscow province: Y. Dmitriev from Latvia; V Komov from Russian and N. V. Artemenko Ukraine.
The standard was prepared and all information that looked like the breed was gathered. They collaborated with the Russian Science Research and Technology Institute of Poultry in Zagorsk and other science research institutes to work on bringing back this breed. Some of the breeders purchased mongrel chickens that had been crossed with the Pavlov. As to the pure breed, it was not found. The work was begun with 3 cocks and 5 hens.
Old materials and documents such as photos, articles, and drawings were used as blueprints. They also used a mounted specimen that was found in museums in Moscow. They found pictures on post cards published by the Russian Imperial Poultry Society in 1905. Once scientist wrote that they have genes las none of the other crested breeds have; the crest is flattened on the sides and they have peculiar feathered legs. It’s the main sign of difference of the Pavlovskaya from other chickens. The chicken fanciers have such terms as ‘Pavlov leg’. It means that the bird’s legs are feathered on the outside and inside, the feathers are so dense that it seems as if the leg is in a feather stocking.
The purpose for Egg Well Farm is to breed the Pavlovskaya i to create and maintain the Pavlov’s main features which are: to reach sexual maturity early, to have viability and a well-developed hatching instinct. They have a lot of ornamental traits such as the crest of unusual form, full feathered beard and muffs, typical feathering of the shanks and toes and they come in beautiful colorful feathering. Our purpose it the restoration of this breed, not to create a new ornamental breed. I would hope that other breeders would have the same goals. I recently found a breeder that referred to them as being tasty. People, could we please repopulate the species before we eat them?!