The Pavlovskaja hen

The first known figure of golden Pavlovskaja hens from the Album of 1905. (The artist has represented a plumage of a shank which is not characteristic for Pavlovsk hens.) It is considered, that the Pavlovskaja hen is the oldest breed selected in Russia. It is an old manuscript reached up to us from primogenitors, the chicken mammoth among modern breeds of hens. The history of the origin of Pavlovskaja hens is covered with a veil of a historical gloom, documents telling about its creation or occurrence practically is not present. Unfortunately, when in Russia at the end of XIX centuries began to pay attention to the national breeds, the Pavlovskaja hens were already on the verge of disappearance. I.I.Abozin wrote about this in 1895: "The Pavlovskaja hens now represent an extreme rarity. This breed, undoubtedly, disappears and will be probably soon be deleted from lists of the modern breeds of domestic hens".

The name of the breed has been received from the name of village Pavlovo of the Nizhniy Novgorod province (nowadays the city of Pavlovo). In olden time Pavlovo named "village Vulkanovo"; where in each house there was a workshop, and a smithy. One made a fence without a gate in order that a horse with a cart could leave easily from a courtyard in case of a fire. Passports had been granted to Pavlovo's inhabitants by Ekaterina's the Greatest decree in order that they could travel across Russia and behind its limits, and carry the goods of own manufacturing: locks, knifes, plugs, pots. It was the epoch when in other Russia a peasant, who has left for a village fence without a permission of the head, was considered fluent. "Pavly" (an accent on last syllable) much traveled, learnt the world. They have brought "fiery fight" from Astrakhan, and have then started to make guns. In Pavlovo one bought the weapon for the Nizhniy Novgorod home guard which led by Minin and Pozharsky has rescued Moscow. In XIX century one already made up to 3000 guns per year in Pavlovo. Except for the basic craft, artisans bred hens, fight geese, canaries of the "oat" tune. And the most interesting thing is the cultivation of the well-know Pavlovo's lemons in Pavlovo during all its historie... Whence and when have got the lemons to Pavlovo? Probably they have been brought from Persia and Turkey, probably predecessors of the Pavlovskaja hens had brought to Pavlovo that epoch. It is possible to assume the opposite thing that Pavlovskaja hens have got to Turkey from village Pavlovo, whence in 1854 have got to England under the name Sultan hens. One can be asserted precisely that peasants were, undoubtedly, talented poultry breeds, in fact they have selected and have preserved in purity the breed with surprisingly complex - recessive genetics. The poultry breeders of Pavlovo, the simple Russian people, have created the breed that can serve as the standard of beauty for all future breeds of hens forever and that Russia can be proud.

The first known figure of silvery Pavlovskaja hens from the Album of 1905. Pay your attention to the form of a crest of the cock, and as that the artist has represented not characteristic for Pavlovsk a plumage of a shank. Telling about Pavlovskaja hens, it is necessary to mention two breeds met in Russia. These are Siberian "shaggylegs" (I shall tell about them separately) and Bukhara hens. In 1882 Ivan Abozin wrote in book "Hens breeding" about them: "The so-called Bukhara hens distinguished by the big growth, plumose legs and the big upright crests are known in Russia but poorly distributed. Color of plumage is pale-yellow". That is interesting: describing in same book Pavlovskaja hens, he wrote: "They have an enormous crest and the big beard. Their legs are plumose. They have small growth". Why describing Bukhara hens Abozin wrote about an "upright" crest, and speaking about a Pavlovskaja's crests he named it "enormous" (rather difficultly to imagine an enormous upright crest). What is it? Was that a simple negligence of the author or had the Pavlovskaja hens inherited the big upright crest from Bukhara hens? Probably there is never an answer on these questions.

European poultry breeders paid more attention to the Pavlovskaja hens than our compatriots did. In 1886 Bruno Djurengen in "Poultry breeding" wrote: "If we compare that older writers write about true crest hens, with data of researcher Pallas, then we must to recognize the (old) breed crest hens as the true Russian breed and for their native land Russia. Existing centuries in Russia, they had distinctive features which are peculiar to our present sultan (Turkish), Padua (Brabant) and Dutch (Polish) hens, with that only a difference, that we now do not recognize Padua (Brabant) hens to plumose legs hens. But earlier they too had plumose legs /in Germany/, but one to this at that time did not give special value. We find out from exact supervision of researcher Pallas that at time when he traveled across the European and the Asian Russia (1768-1773) these domestic hens already were available in these countries: - silvery /white and black painted/ with plumose legs and golden /yellow and black painted/. In 1906 Bruno Djuringen wrote in the new book: "The crest hen with a beard and plumose legs ones consider as an actual initial breed or a foremother of present crest hens breeds, and Russia ones consider as its native land where have developed plumose legs, a beard from feathers and plumose crests as means of protection against a severe climate. Easily freezing naked meat parts of a head have been closed. Outstanding experts on this breed share this sight which has proved to be true my newest supervision in Russia. This ancient Russian hen who already hundreds years is considered houses in Russia, met and meets there all sometimes only the planned attributes and coloring which we find at our today's sultan, Brabant and Padua hens".

The black Pavlovskaja  hen from Komoff's economy of 2002 (the small photo - the hen of Pavlovsk breed. 1926) It is necessary to note that in Russia the interest to decorative breeds of hens was always great, but it had never such completed form and clearness as in England or Germany. At the end of XIX and in the beginning of XX centuries the society of selectors was under home nursing of Emperor, the set of books and magazines on poultry farming was published, the standard of the Superiority on Russian breeds of hens and geese has been published, exhibitions were organized, work was conducted according to the established order … However, the First World War, October revolution and Civil War, and then the actions directed on change of shape of the Russian agriculture, completely have destroyed individual managing on the ground. The whole class of so-called "fists" has disappeared. Culture, traditions, domestic breeds of cattle and a bird, which served them faithfully, has disappeared together with them. Other serious impact to thoroughbred poultry farming was made with the Second World War and the policy of the Communist party that directed on struggle against a personal part-time farming. Such situation has put many valuable breeds of a cattle and a bird on a side of utter annihilation. But begun in the middle of the eightieth years of XX century reorganization has caused prompt growth of nonindustrial poultry farming in our country. The part of population began to live due to the country domestic economy (especially during the most severe inflation started 90th years) Besides on a background of destruction of the Iron Curtain, Soviet people began to be abroad and to bring therefrom rare pets. Clubs began to arise So in 1988 Joseph Aleshkovsky has created the club of fans of poultry farming in Leningrad. I, absolutely still the young man, have entered this club. At that time Pavlovsk breed of hens became for many poultry breeders an original bird a phoenix Many saw a symbol of revival of the former patriarchal foundations of Russia in revival of this breed. The idea to find the rests of the Pavlovsk had immersed also in my soul. Probably, youthful enthusiasm has helped me, and I have left with a head in this employment. I have turned over mountains of the historical literature, corresponded with same possessed people, have found poultry breeders who in due time held or saw Pavlovsk. The case has helped to find to me 4 scarecrows, which have stayed since pre-Revolutionary times. The silvery Pavlovsk hen from Komoff's economy 2003. (the Small photo - a scarecrow of the silvery Pavlovskaja hen from a museum of Darwin. Moscow. The twentieth years of XX century.) And in 1989 it is probable at all a case, and the foresight has sent to my hands a bred egg from the Alma-Ata club of poultry breeders. This egg has come on a usual exchange between clubs. When chickens have grown up, I have with surprise among other breeds found out of two cocks of gold-dot painting, which as though have left from an illustration of an album of 1905. In the autumn of the same year I have my invited the employee of the Leningrad institute of genetics which on the scientific activity prosecuted subjects of restoration of the Pavlovsk breed of hens. Her name was Natalia Filippova. She has confirmed my assumption, that these cocks, belong to the considered missed the Pavlovsk breed of hens.

There was a question what to do with cocks without hens. It was not possible to establish from what economy of Alma-Ata there has come an egg. Therefore has been solved to pick up the hens having a beard or a crest, and to cross them to the unique Pavlovsk cock (the second appeared it is fruitless). The hens received from this crossing, were coupled to the father. And the next year again all hens have been coupled to that unique Pavlovsk cock and so some years while the cock was capable. All is possible to tell, that received in my economy Pavlovsk, conduct the history from the unique cock in which veins blood of those well-known hens flew. Further the history of my economy developed as follows. By 1991 I have about 30-40 adult hens. Those attributes of Pavlovsk hens which in the combination it is inherent only in them have appeared: gold- and silver-dot painting; the compressed form of a crest; characteristic hawk tuft; dark color of eyes. But these attributes can be found and at other modern breeds of hens.

Characteristic for Pavlovskaja hen a circular plumage of a shank. Komoff's economy. 2002. Leg of a scarecrow of the Pavlovskaja hen (1904) from the Leningrad Agrarian University

The most important was that chickens with unique Pavlovsk breed of hens inherent only circular plumage of shank began to appear. It is so-called "a wood grouse leg". It can be found only at wild representatives of group chicken (a blackcock, a hazel grouse, and a wood grouse). It is necessary to note also and some behavioural features of the Pavlovsk hens, which distinguish them from all other breeds (I have in different years more than 20 breeds). For example, in the winter, during the strongest frosts (at night up to-36°С), some hens does not come into a warm henhouse, and voluntary remain to spend the night in a courtyard on branches of trees or on a fence. The crest, beard, cheeks, and sometimes all bird are entirely covered with hoarfrost that does not prevent hens to feel like absolutely comfortably. Thus birds have not got frostbitten. Pavlovsk are surprisingly easy on rise. That usual hens overcome run, Pavlovsk fly, and with extreme ease. They can change a trajectory of flight. And once the young hen has struck all with distant flight. Having taken alarm for some reason, it has flown over courtyard, a two-meter fence, and has landed more than in 150 meters from a place of rise on a fur-tree in a wood. It is involuntarily recollected a legend, that occurrence of Pavlovsk breed is connected by that any hen "made love" in a wood with wood grouse or a blackcock. The legend, certainly not the fact, but posterity from crossing Pavlovsk with other breeds turns out insufficiently viable. The same as posterity from interspecific hybrids The scientist of genetics Serebrovsky marks this fact in the work in 1926. He put experiments on crossing the Pavlovsk cock with some breeds of hens. The same results have been received also by me. Crossing Pavlovsk with avstralorp, minorka, kohinhin gave impractical chickens Only crossing with the hen of breed Padua has given healthy young growth It once again confirms words Djurengen, that to occurrence of all the crest breeds we are obliged to the Pavlovsk hen. Meat of the Pavlovsk bird differs from meat of usual hens It is especially fragrant and gentle. To the taste meat reminds taste of game animal. It is necessary to note also, that people with an allergy on usual chicken meat and an egg can eat an egg and meat of Pavlovsk hens There are some vivid examples when people, the products not using in a meal connected to chicken fiber began some years with pleasure there is meat and an egg Pavlovsk without everyone's for itself consequences.

The golden Pavlovskaja hen. An economy of Komov, October 2004. The golden Pavlovskaja hen. An economy of Komov, October 2004.

In 1998 there was a tragedy - after attack of a fox, remained only 4 hens of mediocre quality. The history of Pavlovsk in my economy seemed has ended… In 2000 I with the wife have gone on the European exhibition to Austria. The European exhibition has shaken by quantity and quality of the submitted bird There I have seen, with what trembling Europeans concern to the national breeds I have understood, that my duty - is to restore the former glory of Pavlovsk hens.

To the hens that have stayed after attack of the fox, at neighbours the old cock was found, this cock has been presented to them by my parents. To autumn of 2001 the herd about 35 heads has been generated. In the same autumn, under the insisting of the chairman of our society of Marina Seliverstova, the Pavlovsk cock has been exposed at the All-Russia exhibition of a bird in Moscow. There was a question on an expert estimation of the exposed cock as it was the first case after many decades of oblivion of breed. Many did not trust that occurrence of Pavlovsk hens is probably. Therefore, under the insisting of Petersburg poultry breeders, the cock was discussed jointly. Jury Grishakov (the chairman of the judiciary board of the All-Russia society of poultry breeders) and Alexander Sergeevich Blistanov (the oldest poultry breeder, the judge of the international category, the person seeing the eyes of the true Pavlovsk hens) have headed the discussion.

After discussion of the cock at an exhibition in Moscow, in 2001 (Blistanov A.S., Radionov S.B., Komoff V.V., Seliverstova M.B.) Discussed everyone to become separately and finally have put to the cock an estimation "very good" For a breeding bird it is quite worthy estimation. This estimation can be considered as recognition of the fact of existence of a bird of the Pavlovsk breed. In November 2002 Pavlovsk breed has been exposed again. In the spring of 2003 in Moscow the breed has received small gold and silver medals At the International exhibition in Saint Petersburg the breed has won a gold cup and a silver medal.

During a breeding season of 2003 it has been received already about 1500 heads of young growth. From them by the autumn it is left for breeding about 150 heads. This quantity is insufficient for conducting correct breeding work with the breed. Therefore the nearest two years it is necessary to increase a livestock, and to expand a circle of breeders of this breed. The detailed, well-fulfilled standard of this breed is necessary for this purpose. At present the standard is already developed and authorized by the breeding commission of Russian society of poultry breeders and the Latvian society. The documents are directed on consideration in the standardized commission of the European society.

1 March 2005.

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