Cochin Chicken Breed: The Ultimate Guide

by Elaine Gaertner
Last Updated: 17/03/2022
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Cochin chickens are sweet fluffy balls that beg to stay on your lap for a quick cuddle. They are popular pet chickens, and people have been referring to them as head-to-toe feathers.

As the name suggests, Cochin chickens are fluffy, beautifully feathered chicken, and everyone that comes across one will compliment how cuddly they look.

So, should you add cochin chickens to your flock?

In this article, you will learn a lot about cochin chickens (their appearance, history, behavior, and other aspects).

Key Takeaways

  • Cochin chicken is a unique breed of chicken, a bit larger than others.
  • Cochins are calm and friendly fluffy animals and great egg producers.
  • The main problems with cochin chickens are obesity and occasional injuries.

The History of the Cochin Chickens

The Cochin chicken surfaced in the 1840s and was originally known as Cochin-China. You might think they originated from China, but they have been imported from a French colony, now known as Vietnam.

The Cochins of that time did not look like the ones today. They looked more like the Jungle Fowl or Malays. They were tall and not pleasant to look at like the ones today.

One of the stories that describe the history of this breed of chicken is that of Queen Victoria [1]. She has acquired some from Captain Edward Belcher [2].

As a poultry enthusiast, Queen Victoria cared for them and built a unique enclosure to protect her cochins. And this is why hen fever started and became popular among Victorians.

Hen fever took over the US and UK, which resulted in people buying these exotic birds and spending hundreds of dollars and/or pounds. The original cochins were exceptional at laying brown eggs, but after repeated breeding, the productivity of the cochin chickens suffered.

There is not much information on which breed was crossed with the original cochin. It is less likely that those were English birds as the breeds around that period were neither productive nor attractive.

The most likely scenario would have been the birds were crossed between different sets of imported birds from China or Europe (a way to improve their appearance).

Cochin Appearance

The Cochin chickens feature a mass of soft and fluffy feathers from their beak to their toes. The legs and the outer toes of the cochin are fully feathered making it hard to see the toes from the sides. The full plumage and fluffy feathers make these chickens appear larger than they are.

But, they are quite hefty compared to most other breeds, with a hen weighing in at about 8.5 pounds.

When it comes to the comb, the cochin chicken wears a single, five-point comb. It is red, just like the ear lobes and wattles, while the eyes appear golden yellow in color. These features are pretty standard for all the varieties of this breed.

However, the beak varies with the overall color of the chicken. The color of the beak lies anywhere between yellow to black. In short, the darker the bird, the darker the beak is in general. The legs and toes are generally yellow, and this is also the case with their skin.

This breed of chicken is quite unique with its round, heart-shaped silhouette and a fully feathered tail. Unlike most other breeds, the tail feathers of the cochin chicken appear shorter and rounder.

Generally, the cochin is considered a large breed owing that to the average weight and the fluffy plumage. They are poor flyers and are easy pickings for predators, so you will want to keep them in a safe place.

The Cochin chicken comes in various colors, but only a few are acceptable in the US and the UK. The recognized colors in the UK are black cochin chicken, blue cochin chicken, white cochin, Partridge Cochin, Cuckoo, and Cochin Buff.

The US-recognized colors are Brown, Silver-laced, and Golden- laced.

Cochin Behavior

Cochins are some of the chicken breeds that are calm and friendly. They are so sweet that even the roosters are fairly mellow. They rarely get aggressive and are pretty accommodating of other members of the flock.

The cochin hens are amazing mothers. They are patient and will happily sit on any eggs you provide. This makes them fairly great foster moms for abandoned chicks. However, this depends on the individual bird and whether or not it is broody at the time.

Cochin hens, as mentioned, are great brooders. In fact, they will hatch more than one batch per year if you allow them. Since they are overly broody, they have no equals, and you will find roosters brooding the cochin chicks, especially when it gets too cold.

They are considered the best at brooding and hatching ducks and turkeys. Therefore, if you have a mixed flock, you might want to throw in a few cochin hens in there.

But, you need to be careful when placing eggs for brooding. Cochins are large and can easily break thin-layered eggshells.

Considering Cochins are poor flyers, they are easy to contain in a coop. They are easy to keep, and you only need a fence that is 2 feet high. With a calm personality, you should not expect them to escape considering they usually stay in familiar environments.

If you decide to keep your Cochin Chicken in containment, you do not have to worry about how they behave.

They tolerate confinement pretty well but need a few hours here and there to roam around. They are quite lazy, and when left to free-range, they will spend most of their time near feeders.

This is why you do not have to worry about them escaping; they’d rather lie around and eat than run and be naughty.

However, the lazy personality makes them easy targets for predators. It is, therefore, essential to keep them in fenced areas. The good thing is that they are quite large, and not every predator can carry them away easily. Also, like other chickens, they can quickly respond to danger.

Feeding and Productivity

Cochins are generally good feeders and do not mind any food. This, combined with their profuseness of feathering, makes them ideal for colder climates.

They feather slowly but are very hardy, and like Brahma chickens, they can thrive in conditions that other breeds would easily not adapt to.

However, Cochins are predisposed to becoming too fat which can lead them to stop egg production and potentially die. This is why it is crucial to regulate the number of feeds you give, considering they are less active than most other backyard chickens.

Common Health Issues Associated with Cochins

One of the common health issues with Cochins is obesity. They are prone to gaining weight, which can be alarming and potentially fatal. They are mellow, lazy, and generally do not forage often.

This leaves them to eat what is right in front of them hence the need to regulate how much feed is accessible to them. If you have a mixed flock, regulating the feed might come across as challenging.

But, keeping track of how much the chickens weigh can help you check how much feeding they need to stay at a healthy weight.

They are also prone to leg injuries thanks to their large bodies. But this can be prevented by lowering roosts for easy access. Remember, they are not great flyers and could easily hurt themselves, trying to reach a higher level.

Like most fluffy and fully-feathered chickens, you need to keep track of external parasites. The fluffy feathers might be a favorable place for lice and mites to hide, so you need to check that on a regular basis.

They are also prone to bumblefoot due to their large size. While trying to hop down from roosts, Cochins can land on sharp objects which can lead to injuries. These can then develop into bumblefoot, sepsis, and finally, death.

The idea is to ensure their environment is safe and free from objects that could cause injuries.

Why Should You Keep Cochin Chickens?

Cochins are a brilliant chicken breed for your backyard. They are calm, happy, and mellow, which makes them one of the best pet chickens out there.

The calm personality makes them suitable to keep in just about any flock without worrying about conflicts. As long as they are in a favorable environment, you should not have any problems keeping a cochin in your backyard.

They adapt well to cold weather and are probably one of the best breeds for colder climates. The full-feathered body keeps them warm in the winter, allowing them to continue laying eggs. They create a high amount of body heat and lay small brown eggs when most other birds are dormant.

Finally, who doesn’t want a big, fluffy, and beautiful chicken in their backyard? Cochins are large, warm, and cuddly; you will want to have one in your flock; not forgetting their gentle personality.

The Bottom Line

Cochin chickens are a great addition to your flock of chickens. They are not only gentle and mellow but are also beautiful and fluffy.

They are great if you are looking for a fluffy pet chicken that lays eggs all year.



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