Breed of the Month: Cochin chicken
Origin: The Chinese Shanghai fowl (later changed to “Cochin”) came to Great Britain and America in 1845. The earliest Cochin chickens were more or less buff in color. Due to its striking appearance, great size and profuse, and soft feathering (distinguishing it from all other known chicken breeds at that early period), Cochin chickens created a sensation in England, resulting in a great boom for the “Cochin China,” as it was called in the days of the “Cochin craze.”
Standard Description: This Asiatic chicken breed is massive in appearance, with an extraordinary profusion of long, soft plumage and a great abundance of down fiber in the under-fluff, producing a rather bulky appearance, and conveying the idea of even greater weight than actually exists. Their soft feathers require extra care to stay clean. Keep them out of the mud. Admitted to the Standard in 1874.
Conservation Status: Recovering
Productivity: Although primarily bred for exhibition, the Cochin chicken is a dual-purpose fowl for the production of eggs and meat.
Varieties: The American Poultry Association (APA) recognizes Buff, Partridge, White, Black, Silver Laced, Golden Laced, Blue, Brown, and Barred varieties. Many unrecognized colors are also raised, including Red, Silver Laced, Mottled, and Splash. Seventeen color varieties of bantam Cochins are recognized by the American Bantam Association, including Black Tailed Red, Birchen, Golden Laced, Columbian, and Lemon Blue. They are second only to the English Game bantam chicken in popularity.
Egg Color, Size & Laying Habits:
• Light brown
• Medium to large
• 160 per year
Temperament: Friendly, docile, good mothers. You’ll often see a Cochin chicken on a list of kid-friendly chicken breeds.
Weight: Large Fowl: Cock (11 lbs.), Hen (8-1/2 lbs), Cockerel (9 lbs.), Pullet (7 lbs.); Bantam: Cock (30 oz.), Hen (26 oz.), Cockerel (26 oz.), Pullet (24 oz.)
Popular Use: Exhibition, eggs, and meat
Male Comb: Single, medium size, set firmly on head, stout at base, upright, straight from front to rear, low in front; serrations moderately deeply, dividing comb into five regular points, the middle one highest; free from wrinkles, fine in texture.
Female Comb: Single, small size, straight and upright; nicely rounded to conform to shape of head; divided into five points; free from wrinkles, fine in texture.
It really isn’t a Cochin chicken if it has: Hard or closely fitting plumage. Vulture hocks, shanks not feathered down to the outer sides, outer toes not feathered to last joint, bare middles toes, plucked hocks.
Cochin Chicken Testimonial from Janet Garman of Timber Creek Farm:
“We have a lot of the larger breeds of chickens on our farm. Last year we added three Partridge Cochin hens to the flock. They have a rich brown feather and are docile and slow moving. The fact that they are slower to run away means it’s easier to pick one up for a chicken snuggle!
In addition to our three large Cochin hens, we have quite a large flock of Mottled Cochin in the Bantam size. These are miniature versions of the large Cochins. They are also so heavily feathered and they are great competitors in any Fluffy Butt Friday contest.
I was surprised at the size of the eggs from this large breed chicken. While the egg is a respectable medium/large size light brown egg, I would have thought it would be a larger size.
Probably the feature that most attracted me to the Cochin breed is the heavy feathered feet. From the leg feather covering all the way to the feet, the Cochins are full of feathers. Both the standard size and the bantam size share this heavy feather covering.
The breed standard states that the hens lay approximately 160 eggs a year, but I think mine lay closer to 200 eggs a year. While the other hens all lay in a nest box, the Cochin hens make a nest in a corner of our coop for laying.
Cochin hens are the best broody hens, especially the bantams. They are some of the most intense broodies and very attentive momma hens.”
See the Full List of Breed of the Month Features: