The first records of Cochin Chickens in the UK date back to the 1830’s-40’s when early imports were presented to Queen Victoria and they were known as Shanghai’s and of differing types. The game forms were used in the Malay and the large abundantly feathered ones were consolidated in the Cochin. The Chinese Shanghai fowl came to England and America in 1845. The name of this Asiatic breed was later changed to the Cochin Chicken. The earliest Cochins were more or less buff in color. Its striking appearance, due to great size and profuse soft feathering, distinguished it from all other known breeds at the time. Cochin Standard Chicken’s 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’.
Characteristics: Many varieties of Cochin Chickens have been recognized. They are Buff, Blue, White, Black and Partridge. Cochins are literally big, fluffy balls of feathers. They are mainly kept as an ornamental fowl and are well suited to close confinement. The profuse leg and foot feathering makes it desirable to confine Cochins on wet days and where yards become muddy to keep the birds from becoming mired or collecting balls of mud on their feet. Cochin Chickens exhibit extremely persistent broodiness, are good mothers and are intense layers for short periods of time. Because of their feathering, it is necessary to clip some of the feathers or resort to artificial insemination to obtain good rates of fertility.The Cochin Chickens rounded appearance unfortunately affects its health as the birds tend to suffer from metabolism and heart problems which is compounded by their rather lazy lifestyle. They like to be kept on short grass and will not venture onto longer vegetation as this damages the feathers on their feet. They take up remarkably little room and like to be contained with fencing but avoid putting them onto cold, wet grass as youngsters. The profuse leg and foot feathering means that it is best to confine Cochins on wet days when mud becomes a problem and can cause balls of mud to collect under their feet.
They do not fly and a 2 foot fence is sufficient to keep them contained. They make excellent broodies because of their calm, maternal nature. They lay quite large eggs but don’t produce many over the year. The chicks are strong when they hatch but take 22 days rather than the usual 21 to emerge. Cochins are friendly, docile chickens and tend to be submissive when kept with more aggressive breeds. They require good quality feed and mature in two years. They make remarkably good pets and a pet Cochin should live between 8-10 years.
Both male and female are massive in appearance, with an extraordinary plumage and a great abundance of down in the under-fluff, producing a rather bulky appearance and conveying the idea of even greater weight than actually exists. Legs yellow by preference rather than straw.
- Standard Weights: Cock-11 pounds; hen-8-1/2 pounds; cockerel 9 pounds; pullet-7 pounds.
- Skin Color: Yellow.
- Egg Shell Color: Brown.
- Use: Mainly an ornamental fowl, but their ability as mothers is widely recognized and Cochins are frequently used as foster mothers for game birds and other species.
- Origin: Cochins came originally from China but underwent considerable development in the U.S. and now are found and admired in many parts of the world.
Interested in raising chickens, but not sure which breed might be right for you?
Things to consider:
Geography: Consider geography when selecting a breed. In cooler areas of the country, consider raising heavier birds. In hotter areas, consider lighter weight birds. Some birds have been specially breed for cold climates. Consider these birds if you live in a cold-climate area.
Space: Where will you be raising these chickens? Do you have a lot of farm land for the animals to be raised on, or are you planning to raise them in your backyard? If you have a small space in which to raise the birds, choose breeds with a calmer temperament and avoid birds that are listed as active. Active birds will not be happy in close confinement.
Temperament: When choosing a breed, consider temperament. Some breeds are calmer than others. If raising chickens in a backyard or in the city, you may prefer a calmer breed.