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 cochin chickens, including 2 bantams, and they’re the friendliest, cuddliest chickens in our flock.
In this article, you’ll discover everything you need to know about these wonderful types of chickens, including what colors they come in and how to raise them so they’re happy!
What are Cochin Chickens?
You’ll know it’s a Cochin chicken you’re looking at when you find most of its body covered in feathers and fluff – even hiding its legs. Yep – Cochins have little “bell bottoms” of feathers that swoosh as they wander around your yard! Not only that – they also have feathered feet! Adorable.
It’s technically a love/hate relationship with the Cochin’s abundance of feathers – I love that it makes them look fluffier, but you’ll soon find that after it rains, their feathered feet have a tendency to get clumped with mud (I kind of hate that part). It makes them look so dirty! (Although not as soaked and pathetic as my silkie chickens – who just look miserable with their thin, downlike feathers!)
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!
Cochin Appearance Details
Aside from their fluffy feathers that cover their legs and feet as well as their bodies, here are some more details.
Traditional-size cochin chickens 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!
Cochin chickens have 5-point single combs, red wattles, and red earlobes (that become very red when they’re mature) – they’re beautiful. Their friendliness comes across physically with their warm, golden yellow eyes.
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.
Other Types of Cochin Chickens
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 there are actually several breeds that come in the Frizzle variety (not just Cochins). While they are lovely and irresistable, the Frizzle feathers are delicate, and if not taken care of, it can result in baldness.
There’s also a bantam variety of cochin chickens – and the bantams are tiny (about 2 pounds), and very friendly and cuddly!
One last word in this section, you might confuse Cochin chickens with Brahma chickens. They both have fluff covered legs and feet. Brahmas are a pretty cool breed too. Check them out in this article called Brahma Chickens: What To Know Before You Buy!
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 soil in the 1800s 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 and called it “Cochin China Fowl,” according to National Geographic. Soon after, all the rest of the British Isles got Hen Fever (so to speak). The hype soon reached the Americas during the Boston Poultry Show of 1849.
Eventually, every backyard had to have an exotic Cochin! Okay, maybe not EVERY backyard, but you get the drift.
Personalities and Temperament
Cochins have wonderful personalities! They can be human-friendly, kind, and calm (basically lap chickens). 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 when they take care of chicks, even when it’s not theirs! So…are Cochins broody? They can be! In fact they can rate pretty high on the broodiness scale.
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 if 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.
They do love being around people and are great as pets for children.
Cochin Chicken Colors
The American Poultry Association (APA) varieties/colors of the Cochin chicken. You will be able to find this breed with feathers in the following colors:
- Brown Red
- Silver Laced
- White Cochin Chickens
- Golden Laced Feathers
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.
Fun Cochin Color Facts
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.
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 affects the color of their white feathers, and you can end up with cream-colored ones.
To produce correct color and markings, partridge Cochin chickens require double mating.
Cochin Chickens Egg Production
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 to other large chicken breeds, Cochins only lay about 150 – 180 eggs a year. Cochin chicken eggs are brown and on average, they’ll give you 2 small to medium eggs per week. But hey, it’s a pretty bird who does lay some eggs!
You also might find in the hottest days of summer, your hens stop laying. Lastly, they generally do not lay eggs for as many years as some breeds – probably only about 2 to 3 years.
At What Age Do Cochins Start Laying?
Cochins are slow to mature and start laying at 8-9 months, not the standard 6 months 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?
Like any other chicken egg, it takes approximately 21 days for the eggs to hatch. You can use an incubator to hatch chicken eggs or a Cochin hen herself (if she’s gone broody).
You don’t need to worry about the chicks, they are stronger than you may think! Plus, with a broody mama around, they’ll survive.
How Long Do Cochin Chickens Live?
When given good quality feed; a warm, safe chicken coop; and proper veterinary care, Cochins can live quite a while. They make remarkably good pets and a pet Cochin should live between 5-8 years.
How Many Toes Do Cochin Chickens 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!
How to Care for Cochin Chickens
- Provide plenty of fresh, clean water
- Ensure they have high-quality, high-protein feed like this
- Reduce the possibility of lice, mites, and parasites with herbal dust baths (which they are very susceptible to because of their extra fluffy feathers)
- Ramp up their protein and vitamin intake to give them overall good health
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 (check Facebook Groups for local breeders) and even be shipped to your doorstep.
I often purchase my chickens from Cackle Hatchery because it’s near our farm and has high-quality chicks. They ship chicks and only have a 3 chick minimum. You can read my review of Cackle here.
There are lots of hatcheries out there, however!
So, are Cochins the right chickens for you? If you are like me and many other seasoned chicken keepers, then the answer is yes and you can do the chicken math.
If you are new to chickens and haven’t taken Chicken Math 101 – let me fill you in on the Cliffnotes. Yes. You always want more chickens. Yes. You always want to add a new breed to your flock.
All joking aside, if the details of this breed fit what you are looking for, then give it a try! This is a truly fun breed.
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.