With a cuddly, fuzzy look and a wacky temperament, the Cochin chicken breed has influenced individuals worldwide to do backyard chicken farming.
This bird isn’t breaking any records when it comes to meat or egg production. It is sure to gain your heart with its lovable little shenanigans.
A massive chicken with lots of plumes to walk around, this chicken was among the first to sustain the British and American “hen fever” of the middle 19th century. It has lots to provide hobby chicken keepers– however, is it right for you?
In this short article, we’ll get you through whatever you need to learn about Cochin chickens.
Background of the Cochin Chicken
Originally native to Asia, the Cochin chicken was bred with a focus on its huge size and sufficient egg production. It was valued for its fast maturation rate– when raised appropriately, the bird is ready for butchering at 12 weeks.
Left to grow a bit longer, the chicken gives an exceptional 12-pound carcass at sixteen months.
While some individuals think that the Cochin chicken originated from China– and in fact, the initial name of the breed was “Cochin-China,”– others keep that they were shipped from French colonies in Vietnam.
Otherwise associated as a Shanghai bird, the chicken was included in the very first version of the Standard of Excellence in Exhibition Poultry in the United Kingdom as well as the very first Standard of Excellence of the American Poultry Association.
Although, the world’s very first Cochin Chicken did not look similar to today’s Cochins. They were taller and less feathered, not almost as stunning and cute as the modern version.
Queen Victoria was the first huge fan of the Cochin chicken. As a chicken lover, the Queen kept a unique cage for her Cochins and influenced the rest of the country– and later on America– to raise these stunning birds.
The first Cochin was an excellent layer. Some of that quality was missed as the bird become more appealing and domesticated.
Attributes like fluffiness and docility were chosen during breeding instead of production, so some of the meat and egg quality decreased as a consequence.
The Appearance of the Cochin Chicken
Cochin chickens were first acknowledged by the British Poultry Standard in 1865 and later on by the American Poultry Association in 1874.
It is categorized as one of the 3 different breeds of Asian chickens, with the others being Brahma and Langshan.
Cochin bantams exist in the United States (in other areas, they are recognized as Pekin bantams). The United States acknowledges both bantam and standard-sized breeds.
Cochins are delayed growers and take more years to mature. At their most fully grown maturity, roosters will weigh approximately eleven pounds, and hens can weigh in at around 8 or 9 pounds. Bantams are regularly just 26 to 30 ounces.
In the United States, the following variations are allowed as part of the Cochin breed standard:
In other places, like the United Kingdom, the cuckoo is an approved variation. That is not the case in the United States.
Remarkably, white Cochin chickens are a lot more typical than any other color variations. It can be hard for breeders to produce the right colors and markings, even if you’re attempting to preserve a pure white color.
Usually, breeders need to alter and keep an eye on their Cochins’ diet during molting to preserve the coloring in the plumes.
No matter the color, the Cochin will have a thick mass of fluffy feathers covering the bird from beak to toe. Even the toes and legs are entirely feathered. This feathering can give the chicken a look a lot bigger than it is!
A Cochin has a single five-point red comb, as are the ear lobes and wattles. The eyes are golden-yellow, while the beak color can differ depending on the bird. Typically, the smaller the bird is, the lighter the beak is, too.
While you will not see much of the legs and toes, these are both yellow, like the skin. The only part of the bird that is not feathered is the middle toe and the entire inner toe.
Even the tail is entirely feathered (although the tail tends to be rather small in appearance).
Cochins are also possibly frizzled, which makes them appear a bit funny and amazed! Frizzle Cochins aren’t approved everywhere– in Europe and Australia, frizzles are considered their own breeds.
The behavior of the Cochin Chicken
The Cochin chicken is usually considered among the very best chicken breeds you can raise for eggs. Not just is it extremely docile. However, it’s calm and rather friendly, too.
It does like being handled, so it’s an excellent alternative for families with little kids.
Cochin hens are some of the most attentive and nurturing mothers. They usually become broody and will handle a motherly role in a flock even if they do not have a chick of their own.
In lots of cases, Cochin chickens will adopt the abandoned chicks of other hens. If allowed the chance, Cochins will hatch several batches of eggs each year.
Cochins are so large that they can even be used to hatch ducks and turkeys! They can hatch chicks very early in the year, when it’s still cold, and do a phenomenal task raising the young of other breeds.
These birds are also manageable to tame and will gladly conquer your chicken run or cage. They do not enjoy roaming, however, they are great free rangers because they like eating any sort of food.
They do not scratch a lot compared to other breeds. However, you do not need to worry about them flying off on you, either. Their huge size makes it harder for them to get airborne, so they are easy to contain inside a fence that is just about 2 feet high.
For whatever circumstance, bantam Cochins are not as comfortable and mellow as their full-sized equivalents. Call it Napoleon syndrome or merely overcompensating, however, bantam Cochins tend to be aggressive.
Cochin Chicken Egg & Meat Production
Here is what you need to know about the competence of the Cochin chicken:
Is the Cochin Chicken Good for Eggs?
The Cochin chicken is an excellent breed to consider if you wish to raise chickens for eggs. This bird produces eggs beginning at approximately 5 months old. The eggs are pale brown and typically medium to medium-large in size.
Cochins are noted for being a bit unforeseeable when it comes to their laying.
Some hens just lay throughout specific times of the year while others continue laying throughout the winter season months– some individuals report that this is when their Cochins lay best.
This is a sharp contradiction to the hens of other chicken breeds, who frequently stop laying entirely throughout the much shorter days of the year. Cochin chickens are most likely to stop laying during the summer season when it’s hot.
Cochin chickens aren’t the very best when it pertains to their egg production longevity, either. They just produce eggs for about 2 to 3 years.
It is often even less if you use techniques to motivate them to lay year-round, such as putting a synthetic light in the cage.
Typically, Cochin hens begin laying eggs at around 8 to 9 months. These chickens are fairly slow to mature, specifically when you consider that a lot of egg-laying breeds start to produce at 4 to 6 months of age.
Is the Cochin Chicken Good for Meat?
While the Cochin chicken most likely will not be your best option if you are interested in raising chickens for meat, there are some advantages to its meat production. It produces meat that is mainly dark and coarse in texture.
You can slaughter the birds as early as 12 weeks of age. However, they will be rather small. Most of the time, Cochin chickens are raised until they are capons at 12 to 16 months.
Considering that the bird’s meat tends to be coarse no matter the age, there is no disadvantage to eating it.
If you wait till your Cochin is a year or a year and a half old to slaughter, you will be rewarded with a great table bird that is around 10 to twelve pounds.
Possible Issues of the Cochin Chicken
Cochin chickens are susceptible to becoming overweight. While they will sometimes forage if they would rather relax and eat what’s straight in front of them if given the opportunity.
They need low roosts and can quickly hurt their legs if wanted to fly or leap tall distances.
To avoid weight problems, you will need to allocate the quantity of food you supply to your birds.
Free-choice feeding is not suggested for these birds, as they will park themselves in front of the feeders and completely stuff themselves.
You might even find that you need to weigh your hens regularly, too, to help keep their health in control.
Cochin chickens are prone to the other concerns that pester backyard flocks of chickens, including lice and mites.
These threats are considerably raised when you consider that the thick plumes of the Cochin can supply lots of concealing areas for these bugs.
Simply ensure you supply a great dust bath area that includes a dosage of diatomaceous earth to keep parasites at bay.
They are also vulnerable to conditions like bumblefoot, which can trigger major injuries and infections. After a heavy rain or snowstorm, you might want to bring your Cochin chickens inside your home for a little TLC.
It’s not unusual for their legs to become caked with mud, so you may want to dislike them in warm water and, after that, dry them completely before letting them back outside.
How to Raise Cochin Chickens
Cochin chickens do not need far more attention than chickens of other breeds. They can quickly withstand cold temperatures once they are full-bodied and mostly feathered.
With that said, you will need to take some steps to assist these birds to prevent direct exposure to the elements. Their plumes are so large and fluffy that they can immediately become dirty.
This can result in significant health issues if you aren’t watchful about keeping them neat and dry. Ensure your Cochins have a warm, comfortable cage to go back to throughout the most miserable days of the winter season.
They do well in small areas, so you do not need to worry about constructing an extra-large cage.
Cochin chickens do not need a special diet– they need to be rationed not to get excessive weight. You will need to supply a laying ration throughout the laying season and additional protein throughout the molt.
They might need a bit more protein at this time than other chickens, in fact, because of their thick plumes.
Preferably, you need to keep your Cochin chickens on short grass. This will aid avoid their plumes become being sullied. For whatever reason, these chickens naturally tend to avoid wandering into dense vegetation anyhow.
When raised appropriately with the right quantities of food and water and a relaxing cage to call home, Cochin chickens live for around 5 to 8 years.
Advantages and disadvantages of Raising the Cochin Chicken
Here are a few of the primary advantages and disadvantages of the breed:
Advantages of Raising a Cochin Chicken
Cochin chickens are ideal if you want to hatch your chicks. Not just are the hens inclined to broodiness. However, they are extremely docile even in this setting too.
Even the roosters have been known to sit on eggs– Cochin chickens have some of the finest parental instincts of all other breeds.
When it concerns roosters, you will not see a tamer breed, either. Cochin roosters hardly become aggressive and do not fight frequently. They are easy to tame, and lots of people even raise these birds inside their houses.
Cochins do not like to roam, so you do not need to stress them running or succumbing to predators. It would be best if you had a short fence to keep them contained, and they do not mind being raised in confinement, either.
Cochin chickens are enduring with their thick plumes and flourish throughout the coldest days of the winter season. They like to consume and do not have any problems with gaining weight.
Cochin chickens are excellent for individuals who show chickens at exhibits and even like chickens for 4H jobs. These birds are tolerant of individuals and take pleasure in being managed.
Plus, their distinct look helps them draw attention no matter where they go!
Disadvantages of Raising Cochin Chickens
The difficulties of raising Cochin chickens are limited, but still worth a mention. If you are using Cochin chickens to brood the eggs of other birds, you’ll need to be a bit mindful about what sort of nesting boxes you have.
If the boxes aren’t spacious enough, your Cochin chicken might be most likely to break the eggs’ thin shells as they move.
Since these chickens are such starved eaters, they do have a propensity towards weight problems. While their eating routines are fantastic because they help them place sufficient weight and keep the temperature to survive the cold weather.
They are inclined to become over-fat and can have liver problems from overeating.
Cochin chickens succeed in cold environments. However, they grow rather gradually. This is not troublesome, particularly if you do not need to raise your Cochins for meat.
However, you’ll need to ensure they are feathered out before putting them outdoors. These birds tend to feather out a bit more gradually than birds of other breeds.
On the other hand, it’s crucial to keep in mind that Cochins are not heat tolerant. Their fluffy plumes make it hard for them to stand up to hot temperature levels. The big body size of this bird does not do it any favors, either.
Because of their thick plumes, Cochin chickens aren’t excellent at flying or avoiding predators. They tend to move a bit slower, subjecting them to predation or hazards from other flock-mates on occasion.
If you are raising a frizzled Cochin, you’ll have a couple of other difficulties on your hands, too. You can’t breed frizzles to other frizzles, which can trigger irregular feathering or perhaps overall balding.
These birds do not endure the cold as their curled plumes offer bad insulation and security from rainfall.
Frizzle Cochins cannot fly– they can’t even get airborne adequate to get up on their roosts. They are also most likely to be teased by dominant hens in the flock.
Because of their plumes, you will need to be careful about the conditions in which you raise your Cochin chickens. Muddy coops, in particular, need to be avoided.
Cochins have feathered toes that can quickly end up being damp and sullied. If they do not dry rapidly enough in cold, damp conditions, they can build frostbite.
Is the Cochin Chicken Right For Me?
If you’re considering raising Cochin chickens, you’re in luck. These chickens can be seen at any hatchery.
They are also easily available at most local farm stores. They aren’t the most common chickens you can raise. They aren’t thought to be unique, either.
The Cochin isn’t the finest chicken to raise if you are looking for a load of eggs and meat. These birds are best for individuals interested in the ideal backyard pet.
- Carol Ekarius (2007). Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing. ISBN 9781580176675.
- APA Recognized Breeds and Varieties: As of January 1, 2012. American Poultry Association. Archived 4 November 2017.
- Breed Classification. Poultry Club of Great Britain. Archived 12 June 2018.
- Cochin Chicken The Livestock Conservancy. Archived 3 October 2016.
- William Bernhard Tegetmeier (editor) (1865). The Standard of Excellence in Exhibition Poultry, authorized by the Poultry Club. London: Groombridge and Sons, for the Poultry Club.
- Barbara Rischkowsky, D. Pilling (eds.) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Accessed January 2017.