Cochin Chickens: Eggs, Colors, Personalities & More!

Cochin Chickens: Eggs, Colors, Personalities & More!

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.

 

In this article, you’ll discover everything you need to know about these wonderful types of chickens, including where to buy some, what colors they come in, and how to raise them so they’re happy!

 

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.

 

black frizzle cochin chicken

 

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.

 

Personalities

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:

 

  • Red,
  • Blue,
  • Brown Red,
  • Silver Laced,
  • Partridge,
  • Buff,
  • Brown,
  • Birchen,
  • Columbian,
  • White Cochin Chickens,
  • Black,
  • Mottled,
  • Lavender,
  • 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.

 

bantam cochin chicken hen

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.

buff cochin chicken roosters

How Long Does It Take for Cochin Eggs to Hatch?

Like any other chicken eggs, 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 strong enough! 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 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!

 

Breed History

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.

 

I personally purchase my chickens from Cackle Hatchery because it’s near our farm and has high quality chicks. You can read my review of Cackle here. There’s lots of hatcheries out there, however!

 

So, are cochin chickens for you? Which do you own – the bantam or standard varieties? Leave a comment below!




Web Analytics


5 High Protein Treats For Backyard Chickens

5 High Protein Treats For Backyard Chickens

Winter is here….and although most backyard chickens weather winter well, you might find yourself worrying about whether they’re getting enough protein.

Your flock’s feathers are critical to their health during the winter. Feathers serve some important purposes, including protection from the wind AND keeping your backyard chickens warm. So, providing your hens a diet that’s high in protein is critical.

While most commercial feeds have 16% protein, you might want your flock to get even more protein so even the coldest days won’t effect them. In this article, I’m going to show you lots of different high protein options that both chickens and ducks love! There’s something for every backyard chicken on this list, and most of these treats also have important vitamins and minerals too!

Brewer’s Yeast

It’s not something you typically associate with protein, but brewer’s and nutritional yeast is FULL of protein – they’re both about 40% protein. You can mix brewer’s yeast with your flock’s regular feed, or with a special treat you’ve created for them (such as the eggs or black soldier fly larvae above).

It’s probably best to mix it with something else. It’s full of protein but also powdery – so adding it to food with texture will help your chickens enjoy their treat more. You can buy it in our store, and it’s mixed with garlic, oregano, and echinacea – all herbs traditionally used to support healthy immune systems in chickens.

Black Soldier Fly Larvae

Black soldier fly larvae are about 40% protein, and hens LOOOOOOVE them! You can buy them dried right here or you can create your own farm – they’re remarkably easy to farm, and they’ll live in anything.

(Recently, we discovered a BSFL farm in my truck bed, where some grain had spilled. Totally disgusting and proof they’ll hatch anywhere. We had NO idea they established residence until some torrential downpours caused them to jump ship. Let’s just say the hens were VERY happy for a few days).

If farming black soldier fly larvae isn’t your deal, then you can always go with dried ones – hens love them either way!

Dried River Shrimp

Like black soldier fly larvae, dried river shrimp are full of protein. The nice thing about shrimp is they’re very easy for tiny beaks to consume, so if your chickens aren’t quite adults yet (or if you have baby chicks), you might find shrimp are easier for them to eat.

Ducks in particular love shrimp (I think more than other treats), and mine really love when we float dried river shrimp on water for them. In fact, we named one of our most recent ducklings “Hoover” because he eats the shrimp so fast! You can buy dried river shrimp right here.

Quinoa

You might not think of quinoa when you think about treats for chickens, but it’s full of protein, and when cool, makes a great high protein treat. I cook my chickens and ducks quinoa before feeding it to make it easier to digest, which in turn makes the protein and nutrients more bioavailable.

Cooked quinoa contains 8 g of protein per cup, and it’s also full of magnesium, iron, fiber, and manganese. Just make sure it’s 100% cool before offering it to your flock.

Kale

Yep, kale uis very high in protein, and it might break up some long winter days when your flock refuses to leave the coop. It’s also full of vitamins and minerals! An easy way to provide kale for your backyard chickens is to hang the leaves in the coop. Your flock can pick at the leaves, and once they’re done, it’s easy to remove.

For ducks, it’ll be easier to float the kale on water for them. Because of their round bills, ducks sometimes struggle to pick up leaves. Kale has 2 g of protein per cup.

Fluffiest Feathers Ever!

We carry this dietary supplement in our store. It’s 28% protein, and chickens LOVE it. We feed it separately or sometimes mixed with their feed, and it doesn’t stay in their feed bowl very long! You can learn more about Fluffiest Feathers Ever right here.

Will we have new chicks??? Confessions from the Coop (TM)

Will we have new chicks??? Confessions from the Coop (TM)

It finally happened (backyard chicken style).

 

The baby bantams have started laying!

 

My buff cochin hens have started laying the tiniest, perfect brown eggs.

 

I KNOW they’re fertile (thanks to my silkie roosters!), so I’m going to start collecting to hatch them.

 

How cute will that be?

 

Out of all my chickens, the cochin bantams are the friendliest, so having more of them would be fun.

 

They’re also very smart — perfect for any chicken flock!

 

 

They’ll start getting more Best Eggs Ever! which has extra calcium (oyster shells AND oat straw!) so they’re able to lay healthy eggs with strong shells.

 

Want to know whether your young chickens have started laying? Go here!

 

Speaking of hatching eggs, we’re almost on Day 10 of this latest hatch in the Brinsea incubator.

 

I haven’t checked the eggs yet, but I probably will tonight – keep your fingers crossed that we have lots of little embryos!

 

I can’t believe how fast the ducklings grew – they’re almost the same size as full grown adults now! I’ve mostly been feeding them Fluffiest Feathers Ever! mixed with Brewer’s Yeast – lots of protein and vitamins!

duckling backyard chicken flock

Ducklings That Spontaneously Reproduce?? Confessions From The Coop (TM)

Ducklings That Spontaneously Reproduce?? Confessions From The Coop (TM)

So, either I can’t count, or the ducklings are spontaneously reproducing.

 

I’ll swear on the Bible that there were only 10 ducklings when they hatched, but they finally slowed down long enough yesterday for me to do a head count.

 

And there’s 11. Not 10.

 

So, I’m the proud owner of 16 ducks. Which is a LOT of quacking.

 

Some of the ducklings are starting to have voice changes – and at least 1 is developing a deeper, louder, more insistent quack.

 

If you don’t know, these quacks indicate they’re female. So, we might have a hen or two in the clutch!

 

I can’t believe all the different colors they are. I figured since the eggs were mostly khaki campbell and the drake is the same breed, they would all look like the parent stock.

 

Let’s just say they didn’t breed true, LOL.

 

We clean out and refill their pool twice a day, so twice a day, they have a good swim.

 

We’ve also been giving them lots of mealworms and shrimp to help them grow. They devour them, and LOVE that the treats float on water.

 

The Fluffy Butts Keep Escaping!

This weekend, we’re tackling adding trusses and a roof to my chicken run.

 

The fluffy butts keep getting out!

 

One night, we had LOTS of rain. While I’m sure the ducks were happy, a couple hens refused to return before night fall….and are regretting their waterlogged decision this morning!

 

They were more than happy to run into the coop for breakfast, LOL! They’re fine, just wet, and it’s still 90 degrees here. There’s PLENTY of places for them to get out of the rain on the farm besides the coop.

 

We’ve been giving them lots of Best Eggs Ever! and Fluffiest Feathers Ever! to help the hens lay again now that it’s not so hot all the time (herbs + calcium + protein = happy hen) – and it seems to be working!

 

Might We Have A Mouse As A Pet??

Feeding the chickens this morning, I kept hearing loud squeaks! It sounded like baby rabbits in some serious distress, so I searched the area and found a baby mouse that’s injured.

 

Now, I’m not a fan of mice. BUT I’m also not a fan of watching young animals suffer and not do anything about it.

 

The mouse is old enough that it should be weaned, so currently, it’s in a bucket of alfalfa, drying off (it rained ALL last night and the mouse is soaked – another reason I didn’t want to leave it).

 

Once it’s dry, we can see how injured it is. Fingers crossed it’s just a momentary thing, and we can release it later today.

 

Otherwise, we might have a pet mouse. Not that I want one.

 

We’ve been giving it Fluffiest Feathers Ever! – it seemed to like it and maybe it’ll grow fluffier fur?? LOL!

7 Ways To Sex Baby Chicks: Are They Roosters Or Hens??

7 Ways To Sex Baby Chicks: Are They Roosters Or Hens??

A very common question I get is whether a chick is a rooster or a hen and how to sex baby chickenss. In this article, I’ll show you some ways you can tell when it comes to sexing chicks!

When it comes to getting chicks, one of the most exciting parts is waiting until your pullets grow up to be layers.

Buuutttt….it’s pretty much a given that at some point in your chicken keeping career, you’re going to wonder about the chicken sex: whether the chicks you picked up at the local farm store are REALLY pullets (which will grow up into hens), OR little roosters in disguise.

We’ve all been there – thinking our chicks will be great layers, only to find out 7 months later, it would take an act of God for them to lay eggs.

There ARE some ways you can tell if your chick is a rooster or hen and how to sex baby chickenss – they’re not 100% accurate but they’ll help you take a good guess.

Chicken sex: How do I tell whether my chick is a rooster or a hen? There’s a few ways:

  1. Check the vent
  2. Look at combs & wattles
  3. Watch feather growth
  4. Look at down color
  5. Examine behavior
  6. Listen for crowing

We’ll cover all of these in this article!
 

Check The Vent

Now, before I explain this one, let me state for the record that unless you’ve gone through extensive training to vent sex chickens to tell if your chick is a rooster or a hen, I suggest skipping this step.

Vent sexing involves squeezing out manure (if needed) then checking the vent for male or female “parts,” and it’s the only 100% surefire way to tell if your chick is a rooster or a hen.

However, as you can imagine, this is fairly invasive, and you could possibly permanently harm or kill your chick – so I would leave this method to the experts.

Professionals who sex chicks for a living go to school for years to learn how to do it properly.

Look at Combs & Wattles

While this is definitely not a 100% surefire way for how to tell a rooster from a hen (some roosters are pretty androgynous and some hens like to crow), I’ve found it to be pretty accurate.

The photos below are of 2 chicks from the same hatch – both California Whites, same age, purchased at the same time.

Wondering how to sex baby chicks? Here's answers!
Wondering how to sex baby chicks? Here's how!

At the time of these photos, these two chicks were about 2 weeks old.

The comb of one chick is more pronounced than the other chick. This is a fairly accurate indicator that the chick with the more pronounced comb is likely a rooster.

Another indicator is the wattles. In young roosters, the wattles grow longer faster, and are redder than pullets. So, if you start to notice your chicken’s wattles when they’re fairly young, it’s possible you got a rooster in your hatch!

Note this only works with breeds that grow regular combs – so pea comb breeds might not exhibit these characteristics at a young age.

Watch Feather Growth

Feather growth is another way you can try for how to sex baby chickens. Female chicks – aka pullets – grow feathers faster than males. Learn more about chicken feathers here.

This only works for about the first 3 days of life – after that, the feather growth on each chick will be about the same.

Pullets in some breeds grow their primary feathers faster, so their secondary feathers will be shorter. Young roosters will have feathers about all the same length.

You can see more in this video right here:

Feather sexing is also sometimes breed specific, so if you don’t notice that some chicks grow feathers faster than others, don’t worry, you still might have pullets!

Once the chicks are older – about 12 – 16 weeks, you’ll also start noticing young roosters develop saddle feathers – which hens won’t have. Here are more tips on caring for chicks from 7-16 weeks old.

Down Color

Some breeds will produce chicks with different color down or different markings based on their sex.

For example, Black Sex Link and Red Sex Link pullets will have different markings than roosters of the same breed. This is a characteristic selected for by breeders so they can tell the sex of the chicken right after it hatches.

One such match that will produce sex link chicks is crossing a Rhode Island Red rooster with a Barred Rock hen.

In this cross, male chicks will have a white dot on their head while female chicks will be solid black.

Sex link chickens don’t necessarily breed true – so if you cross a black sex link rooster with a black sex link hen, there’s no guarantee the resulting chicks will also be sex linked.

This is, again, breed specific – so it will only work with chicks of certain crosses.

Examine Behavior

Now, this is just drawn from my own personal experience, but I believe you can also start to tell the sex of baby chicks based on behavior.

Naturally, this isn’t universal, and pullets might exhibit some of the behaviors we’ll discuss, but I’ve noticed over the years that roosters will do somethings that pullets naturally won’t.

These are:

  1. The stink eye
  2. Fighting

Now let me explain. The stink eye is when you look at a chick, and they look up at you, cock their head to one side, and stare you straight in the eye.

I’ve noticed that it’s typically roosters that are this bold. Pullet chicks tend to not be so aware of their surroundings, or look to other chicks for behavioral guidance and security.

I’ve noticed this in many different hatches over many different years, and it’s a clue I rely on to determine the sex of baby chicks.

You might also notice some chicks fighting earlier in their lives than others. For example, you might notice them flying up at each other, bumping chests like football players, then going back to their corners.

In my experience, these are young roosters testing their strength against other roosters.

Listen For Crowing

Something else you might notice is young chicks testing out their lungs. Young roosters will sometimes crow very early in life – as early as 4 weeks in some cases.

While there ARE hens that’ll crow, it’s not usual, so if you notice your chick trying to make a little baby crow (maybe succeeding, maybe not!), you might just have a young rooster on your hands.

While nothing will ever be 100% certain except vent sexing, hopefully now you no longer wonder how to sex baby chicks!

More Tips on Raising Chicks:


Chickens; Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock is my best selling book about raising healthy hens! You’ll learn how to handle sticky first aid situations, raise baby chicks with the week-by-week checklist, how to give the best care even in the worst weather, and more! Click here to learn more.