Complete Cochin Chicken Guide: 6 Must Read Facts

The Cochin chicken is a tremendously popular hen with backyard chicken keepers and enthusiasts.

She is one big ball of fluffy love.

These gently and docile chickens can even become house pets because they are so lovable and affectionate.

Whilst they are not known to lay many eggs they do make a wonderful broody hen and will happily sit on eggs all day long.

If this sweet fluffy chicken has caught your attention keep reading to learn everything about this feathery darling of the barnyard…

A Cochin

Cochin Chicken Overview

The Cochin is probably one of the most cuddly and lovable members of the chicken world.

These happy souls are very friendly and can become a house pet that will reward you with a few eggs each week.

The Cochin we know and love today began her transformation in the Victorian age. She was a tall gamey bird that with some selective breeding and enthusiasm from the breeders – has become one of the backyard darlings of today.

Although she is not the greatest layer in the world, she does enjoy being a mama and will happily sit on eggs that you give her.

She is a good and dedicated broody hen that will raise some lovely chicks for you.

You will find her walking around in the yard but she is equally as content in the run investigating any and all potential food items – these girls like to eat.

They are one of the few hens that really do not mind being confined to a run.

These fluffy chickens tend towards laziness and food so are in heaven as long as they have food and something to keep them interested.

Cochin Chicken
Beginner Friendly: Yes.
Lifespan: 5-8 years.
Weight: Hens (8½lb) Roosters (11lb).
Color: Varied.
Egg Production: 2 per week.
Egg Color: Brown.
Known For Broodiness: Yes and they make great mothers.
Good With Children: Yes.
Cost of Chicken: $4-5 per chick.

Why We Love This Breed

Pros:

  • This breed is excellent with families, pets and children.
  • They are bad flyers and are easily contained with a low fence.
  • Cochin hens are easygoing and can be housed with other breeds easily.
  • Very broody and make great mothers.
  • Love to eat and are not picky eaters.
  • She is very gentle and can become a lap chicken.

Appearance

Cochin Bantam

The Cochin is a large bird and with their fluffy feathers these chickens seems enormous.

Their feathering is full and soft and not tight like a Rhode Island Reds’.

From the side they look like a heart shaped fluff ball.

The feathering extends down the legs to the feet and toes – the only naked toes are the inner two.

All that feathering makes them cold hardy but they do suffer from the heat and need shade and cool areas to hide away from the summer sun. They are a full breasted bird and at one time were raised for table fare but the meat has become coarse and grainy over time and Cochins are rarely used for meat any more.

Whilst they have large wings, given their weight these wings are not strong enough for them to fly.

She will have a single red comb with red wattles and ear lobes.

Her eyes are a yellow color and their beak is any color from yellow to black. The rule of thumb being the darker the feather color the darker the beak.

Size and Weight

The Cochin is a large chicken with hens weighing around 8½lb and roosters around 10-11lb.

If you are looking for a smaller breed there are bantam varieties known as Pekin bantams.

Pekin hens weigh 26oz with roosters coming in at 30oz. There are 16 color varieties of bantams to choose from.

It can be difficult to tell the difference between roosters and hens.

Roosters tend to start growing their combs out around 4 weeks or so. Their comb will get redder and larger while the hens’ combs will stay small and light pink colored. Also behavioral clues such as being submissive, staying to the back and keeping a low profile-literally are all indicators of a hen.

Once they mature the ultimate giveaway is the crowing!

Color Varieties

There are several recognized varieties available to choose from in the US the following colors are recognized:

  • Blue
  • Black
  • Buff
  • Partridge
  • Barred
  • White
  • Gold laced
  • Silver laced
  • Columbian
  • Red
  • Brown/red
  • Mottled
  • Birchen (black/white)

The UK recognizes far fewer colors and does not recognize Cochin bantams at all – they are known as a separate breed (Pekin bantams).

You might also know of the lavender Cochin however they are not recognized by the American Poultry Association yet.

What Is It Like To Own A Cochin Chicken?

Cochin Chicken

Cochins are very laid back and mellow.

They would much rather stay near the feeders than go free ranging looking for food. However it is good idea to encourage them to free range as it will help to keep their weight under control. Obese chickens have significant health problems (especially related to laying) so it is wise to keep them trim.

You will often find them broody and since they enjoy being broody they will accept any eggs.

The Cochin can often be used as a foster mama as she will take in abandoned chicks, ducks and guineas.

They are also kept as ornamental birds, house chickens or pets.

Personality

Cochins are a very calm chicken.

They rarely get upset about anything and just get on with things.

However as such a laid back breed they do get picked on by the more assertive members of the flock. So for this reason their ideal flockmates are breeds like Polish, Silkies and other non-combative breeds.

Cochins are one of the best breeds to become a house pet or lap chicken.

They are very friendly and when trained from a chick they will happily take food from your hand or hop into your lap.

Also they do not mind being picked up and cuddled by children. Even the roosters are said to be super mellow, although I would not let a child near a rooster until you know his temperament for sure.

They also make great mamas and are very devoted to their chicks. They will happily stay broody all summer long if allowed to do so.

Cochin

Egg Production

Cochins are rarely bought for their laying abilities.

At best they are a moderate layer – this means she will lay 2-3 medium brown eggs each week. This adds up to 150-180 per year.

They are slow to develop so may not start to laying eggs until they are 8 months old.

Egg Production
Eggs Per Week: 2 Eggs.
Color: Brown.
Size: Medium.

Noise Levels

They are fairly quiet birds.

Whilst they do talk they are not known for loud outbursts.

This trait makes them suitable for urban living as they are not likely to disturb your neighbors.

Facts About This Breed

  1. This breed lays medium to large brown eggs.
  2. Whilst Cochin hens are not good egg layers they will lay throughout the winter.
  3. They come in a variety of colors including: buff, partridge, white, black, blue and cuckoo.
  4. Cochin chickens are well known for their abundance of feathers.
  5. They just love to eat and may end up becoming very heavy.

Cochin Chicken Care Guide

Buff Cochin

Health Issues

Cochins are usually a very healthy breed and you should expect very little in the way of unusual disorders.

As fluff balls you can expect that they will need to be treated for lice or mites at some point.

Whether you treat them routinely or as needed is up to you.

Worm too can be a problem so you should pay close attention to chickens that seem underweight or lethargic. If you are uncertain a fecal float test at the local veterinarians will give you a diagnosis.

Also given their feathers wet, muddy or snowy conditions are not ideal for these birds.

Their feathered feet can pick up mud-balls which can lead to frostbitten toes. Try to keep their feet clean and dry, and use sand in the run as this will be better for their feet.

Feeding

As chicks they will need a high protein starter feed with at least 20% protein.

Once they approach the point of lay (16-20 weeks) you can slowly transition them to a regular 16% layer feed. This will be perfect for them year round except when they molt. During the molt increase the protein to 20% to help them grow back their feathers quickly.

Cochins like to eat and they can be very lazy.

They have a tendency to hang out by the feeding stations for large portions of time.

If practical for you it is probably best to have a fixed feeding schedule so that they do not become obese enough to cause health issues.

Coop Setup

This is a large fluffy breed so you need to give them each at least 4 square feet of inside coop space.

As always more is better – especially if Cochins are mixed in with more assertive breeds.

Cochins are very docile and will be near the bottom of the pecking order so giving them plenty of space helps to avoid the bullies. For perching space give them 10-12 inches each. Just like coop space though the more the better – more space will give them room to spread out in the warmer summer months.

Finally a standard (12×12 inches) nesting box will be enough room for them to settle into with no room to spare for double bunking.

A Buff Cochin

Run and Roaming

Whilst Cochins lean towards being lazy it is still important that they have roaming time and space.

As we mentioned they are not great foragers but the exercise is the most important factor here.

Since they are prone to obesity they do not move very fast so when you pasture them, make sure there is some sort of barrier between them and potential predators.

They are not great flyers so a fence 2-3 feet high will keep them inside the run.

Speaking of runs, each Cochin should be given at least 8 square feet of run space. If they are sharing with other breeds then more room is advised.

Make sure to provide entertainment for them: leaf piles, perches of differing heights, quiet areas and log stumps. This will all help to keep them busy and occupied.

Cochin Breed History

Cochins

Just like many of our feathered friends the history of the Cochin is obscure in parts.

What we do know is that in the late 1800s the Shanghai (an ancestor of Cochins) was imported to the U.K. from China.

This ancestor breed was presented to Queen Victoria and she adored them. This new found royal popularity created the hen fever craze of the Victorian age.

At this time they were known as Cochin-Chinas.

The original Cochins that were presented to the Queen looked nothing like the Cochins of today. They were tall and rangy, really more like game fowl than anything else. The appearance was similar to the Malay chicken.

Through mainly selective breeding the bird became what we see today.

Whilst breeding to refine their appearance they lost most of their egg laying ability. It remained popular as a meat bird for a time until the meat was said to lose flavor and the texture became inferior.

Today their popularity remains as a pet, ornamental or exhibition chicken.

Summary

If you want a good egg layer then the Cochin is probably not the chicken for you.

However if you want a hen that is a good broody then this is the hen for you.

She will make a wonderful mama and will even foster other hens’ chicks. They really do not mind if they are their chicks or not – ducks, guinea fowl even geese have been raised by Cochins.

If you are looking for a chicken as a house pet or companion the Cochin is also a good choice.

They do make good companions as they are so friendly and enjoy cuddling and being held.

She is gentle, docile and very friendly.

Let us know your questions in the comments section below…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and are interested in backyard chicken health and care. Her work has been shared on HuffPost, Mother Nature Network, Community Chickens, Mother Earth News and many more outlets. Today Chris keeps 11 chickens including 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Rhode Island Reds and 3 Silkies. She is our backyard chicken expert at Chickens And More, and shares her knowledge on raising healthy, happy chickens with our readers. You can contact Chris at chris@chickensandmore.com

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*