Breed Spotlight: The Cochin Chicken
In the mid-1800s, there was a chicken boom across England and the United States. Many people flocked to own the newest and most exotic breeds available. The Cochin chicken breed was introduced from Japan right in the heat of backyard chicken keeping popularity. People were shocked to see a bird feathered so majestically—their plumage cascades around their bodies like a waterfall.
Most chicken breeds introduced around the same time as the Cochin were a dual-purpose breed to provide their owners with eggs and meat. Cochins give the appearance of being giant birds, but under their feathers, they don’t have the body weight that a production chicken would have at 12 weeks of age.
In 1874, the Cochin breed was accepted into the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection. Then Cochins became known for their brown egg production, mothering ability, and ornamental qualities.
Cochins are most well known for their broodiness. Hens have an instinct to incubate eggs and raise young, so they make a great addition to sustainable flocks. Their fluffy bodies can cover many chicken eggs but are also used to incubate large breed eggs like goose and duck. In addition to being great mothers, Cochins are also docile, friendly, and loving. Family farms benefit from the gentleness of Cochins in the flock when younger children are around.
The most distinguishing feature of the Cochin is their feathering. The Cochin is cold tolerant for northern climates with feathers from head to toe. They have a small, single comb with yellow legs and come in various colors, including white, partridge, blue, black, splash, mottled, and calico. Their larger bodies and feathered legs do restrict movement. Cochins do best in a coop setting with limited free-ranging and scratching.
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