Be ready to fall in love with a big fluffy, friendly mass feathers when you start raising Cochin chickens! Whether you raise the full size version or a bantam cochin chicken, you’re sure to have a new best friend!
We own several cochins, including 2 bantams, and they’re the friendliest, cuddliest chickens in our flock.
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Cochin Chicken Breed Profile
Why not start with: what is a cochin chicken?
You’ll know it’s a Cochin chicken you’re looking at when you find most of its body covered in feathers – even hiding its legs. Yep – cochins have little “bell bottoms” of feathers that swoosh as they wander around your yard!
Traditional size cochins are very heavy birds that can weigh up to 8-11 lbs when mature. If you raise them, you just might find a giant cochin chicken in your flock!
Because of their feathers, they look fuller and heavier. So prepare to do some heavy lifting when you try to pick them up hoping for a cuddle!
It’s a love and hate relationship with the Cochin’s abundance of feathers – I love it that it makes them look fluffier, but you’ll soon find that after it rains, they’ll get clumped with mud.
It makes them look so dirty! (Although not as soaked and pathetic as my silkie roosters – who just look miserable with their thin, downlike feathers!)
Good thing they’re amiable enough to be kept in the coop until the ground dries up.
Their friendliness come across physically with their with their warm, golden yellow eyes.
Cochin chickens have 5 point combs, wattles, and ear lobes that become very red when they’re mature – they’re beautiful.
The feathers on their tails are short and quite uniform with the rest of their body feathers that give them a rounded heart silhouette – perfect!
A fun fact about Cochin chickens is that the color of their beak varies from yellow to black. The rule is, the darker the bird, the darker the beak following some sort of palette designed by Mother Nature herself.
As you search breed catalogs, you might find Frizzle Cochin chickens. These are an extra lovely variety of the breed. The frizzled feathers are a result of genetics, but no one really knows where the gene comes from (probably an abnormality several generations back).
Frizzled feathers make beautiful chickens (and not just Cochins) but these are delicate, and if not taken care of, they can result to baldness.
There’s also a bantam variety of cochin chickens – and the bantams are tiny (about 2 pounds), and very friendly and cuddly! They love being around people, and would be great as pets for children.
Cochins have wonderful personalities! They can be human-friendly, kind, and calm. That is, unless they’re broody! They are easy to handle most of the time, but their motherly instincts can get the best of them. They become protective once they get to take care of chicks, even when it’s not theirs! So…are Cochins broody? They can be!
Cochins are also very lazy chickens. You’d find it entertaining sometimes when you watch them eat all day – because that’s what they prefer to do mostly. They do not mind being confined as long as they are fed and have environmental entertainment (like suet cakes or other toys). When they’re free-ranged, don’t be surprised if they’re hanging by the chicken feeders!
Our bantam hens are pretty lazy too – although they LOVE their chicken swing! They could hang out there all day, if the roosters would leave them alone long enough! It’s also where they sleep.
Cochin Chicken Colors
The American Poultry Association (APA) varieties/colors of the Cochin chicken. You will be able to find this breed with feathers that are:
- Brown Red,
- Silver Laced,
- White Cochin Chickens,
- Barred, And
- Golden Laced Feathers
These birds are feathered to a fault and they definitely aren’t boring!
There are also Lavender Cochins. Lavender Cochin chickens have an ashy color that must have been derived from genes of the white, blue, or black Cochin chicken.
Of the Cochin chicken recognized variety, it’s far easier to get the correct color of white Cochin chickens compared to buff and partridge ones.
To produce correct color and markings, partridge Cochin chicken require double mating. But you can’t be careless when it comes to keeping the whiteness of the white Cochin too. You have to stop feeding them maize and grass when the chickens molt. The pigment effects the color of their white feathers, and you would end up with cream colored ones.
And that’s just the “standard” Cochin chicken. There is also a Bantam Cochin chicken breed with 16 color varieties. The original of these varieties is the buff Cochin chicken – which is the variety we have on our farm.
Eggs Laid Per Year
Do Cochin chickens lay eggs?
Like a lot of larger breeds, Cochin chicken egg production is not that robust. Historically, Cochins are mostly bred for their meat and ornamental uses – not for their egg laying ability.
Similar with other large chicken breeds, Cochins only lay about 150 – 180 eggs a year. Cochin chicken eggs are brown and on the average, they’ll give you 2 small to medium eggs per week.
They can also produce large eggs in winter months, if the conditions are right, but most of the time, Cochin chicken breeders give their flock a break from laying during the winter.
You also might find in the hottest days of summer, your hens stop laying. While the they can lay eggs, many do not lay eggs over long periods of time – 2 to 3 years tops.
At What Age Do Cochins Start Laying?
Cochins are slow to mature, and start laying at 8-9 months, not the standard 6 like most egg laying breeds (4 for Leghorns and production hens). Even our bantams took a while to start laying! Again, this breed is mostly kept for ornamental reasons these days.
How Long Does It Take for Cochin Eggs to Hatch?
You don’t need to worry about the chicks, they are strong enough! Plus, with a broody mama around, they’ll survive.
How Long Do Cochin Chickens Live?
How Many Toes do Cochins Have?
Hidden under their fluffy feathers are 4 toes. Sometimes the middle toe and the inner toe play peek-a-boo with you!
Are Cochins Cold Hardy?
The traditional version of this chicken breed is protected from the cold by its feathers and its large, sturdy body is made for winter. However, if the chickens have frizzle feathers, you might find they won’t be capable of holding heat or blocking the wind – so extra precautions will be necessary. The bantam variety does well in winter – however, because they’re so small, extra precautions should be made to ensure they don’t get wet and cold.
Can Cochin Chickens Fly?
Because of their size, regular-sized Cochin chickens do not fly, which makes them a favorite for hobbyists. They can be contained in a low fenced chicken run, (made from chicken wire or hardware cloth) and don’t do much roaming or free ranging.
The bantam variety loves being around people, and you might find them flying up to sit on your shoulder (mine love sitting on my head). The bantams can fly quite well, but they’re homebodies, and are less likely to fly over to the neighbors. However, their flying ability serves them well – they can get up high and stay safe from predators!
Well, this chicken breed is undeniably good-looking. It was fitting to be a gift to a queen after all!
Coming all the way from China, it reached English soils when Captain Edward Belcher thought it would make a great gift to Queen Victoria – and he was not wrong.
The queen was instantly in love with the exotic bird, called it “Cochin China Fowl,” according to National Geographic. Soon after, all the rest of the British Isles caught up starting the Hen Fever. The hype soon reached the Americas during the Boston Poultry Show of 1849.
Eventually, every backyard had to have an exotic cochin!
Where to Buy Cochin Chickens
Today, Cochin chickens aren’t that common in every household. BUT, they also are not considered rare.
You can find them easily at your local farm store (like Tractor Supply, which is where I found my Cochin bantams) or a Cochin chicken hatchery. You can also find Cochin chickens for sale online and even be shipped to your doorstep.
So, are cochin chickens for you? Which do you own – the bantam or standard varieties? Leave a comment below!
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.