Cochin are an old breed with no bantam equivalent
The Cochin is huge, there is no denying their beauty and adorability however, it has to be said. They are giant fluffballs also. We keep them in Blue Splash, Blue and Black.
A Cochin is the largest of the heavy breeds of chicken. Queen Victoria, of all people, is responsible for the original popularity of this monumental chicken. They were originally documented way back in the early 1850’s when they were known as Shanghai’s or Cochin-China. It is believed that the Chinese bred them with such profuse feathering for filling duvets. This phenomenal bird has no sharp angles and is very rounded in appearance. A single comb, feathery “pants” and feathered feet are all classic features of this breed.
The Cochin genes have been used in the makeup of several breeds, the most notable being the Brahma, and the Orpingtons. This breed have been highly prized as show birds and have been selectively bred over generations for their feather quality and quantity. A boisterous flock is not really a good situation for a Cochin as they are quite placid. They are very hardy birds in winter, but need plenty of shade in the summer as they risk overheating due to the feather duvet they carry around with them. A non-muddy environment is the best for keeping this breed, as their feathery feet will generate quite substantial mud balls. As they have such feathering they are not overly destructive to your prized begonias either!! Although with any chickens, never say never – ahem.
They are reputed to be quite long lived in chicken terms compared to their egg machine cousins. They can be broody too. The cock birds can weigh up to 12lb but are very placid and totally magnificent to look at as they are large, round and tall.
These are a dual purpose bird if that is your bag.
Cochins are a very placid and mild-mannered giant. They love to be cuddled too, and it happens that there is a lot to cuddle.
Despite what the Americans say there is no bantam version of this chicken. They are most definitely categorised as large fowl – heavy.
Many Cochin have been bred for showing where feather quality and quantity is more highly prized and selected for at the expense of egg size and quantity. The hen is an average layer in most specimens, however, we have found that our flock is actually rather good and I would class mine as good layers. They are producing 4-5 eggs a week each, and they are a very reasonable size. The egg colour is pale tinted, almost cream colour. They need to be at least 35 weeks old before being mature enough to lay their medium-sized egg.