History of the Cochin breed

The Cochin or Cochin China are of the Asiatic Class and were originally called the Chinese Shanghai Fowl because they originated in the Shanghai district of China. The name changed later to 'Cochin China' and then finally shortened to just 'Cochin'.

They were first imported to America and England in 1845. After arriving in England, they started a chicken 'gold-rush'. Several rumors fueled this mass 'Cochin Craze'. For example, one was that the birds could manage to lay several eggs a day. Another was that the meat was the finest of any meat in the world. However the most significant rumor was the one that claimed that a person could make a fortune with them and become rich in a relatively short time. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the Cochin barely manages to lay a few eggs a week and despite their massive appearance, they are not as heavy as they appear which makes them unattractive for commercial meat production. In about as much time as they became famous, their popularity declined as more people realized the true facts about these birds. Today, the only fame reserved for these birds is exhibition at poultry shows where they still prove to be the center of attraction.

They are distinguished by a profusion of soft feathering and a great abundance of down fiber in the under-fluff. They have an extraordinary amount of long, soft plumage. This produces the appearance of making them look larger than they really are. The female Cochins have a prominent development of feathers at the base of their tails which forms what is called a 'cushion'. The 'cushion' somewhat resembles a 'bun' - a popular women's hair style of the past. Close-fitting plumage is a serious defect, as is, lack of a cushion.

Cochin Behaviour

Cochins are well known as good mothers, even as foster mothers for other breeds. They can lay many eggs but usually not for extended periods of time. Cochins are quiet chickens, typically crowing or clucking, only when laying eggs. They lay quite large eggs but don't produce many over the year. The chicks are strong when they hatch but take 22 days rather than the usual 21 to emerge. Cochins are friendly, docile chickens and tend to be submissive when kept with more aggressive breeds. The males reputedly seldom become aggressive or even quarrel. Cochins are easily tamed and may find themselves more suited to your home than your poultry yard. They are not inclined to wander nor do they scratch as profusely as other breeds. A fence two feet tall will keep them contained and they endure confinement easily. It is said that Cochins, even under adverse conditions, immediately sets about making themselves comfortable. They require good quality feed and mature in two years, making remarkably good pets with a lifespan of 8-10 years.

Color Variations of Cochin

The large Standard Cochins are truly awesome birds with many color varieties: brown, barred, black, buff, golden-laced, partridge, silver-laced, and white. When they were first accepted to the Standard in 1874, only the buff, partridge, white, and black varieties were included. It was not until 1965 that the silver-laced, gold-laced, blue, and brown breeds were accepted. The barred breed was admitted in 1982. The Buff is a very popular variety that has a very soft golden buff color throughout and is one of the oldest and most established varieties of Cochins. Red Cochins' entire surface of both the male and female should be an even shade of deep lustrous red with the males head, neck, back, and saddle appearing very rich red in color

Ideal Poultry:
  • Buff Cochins are the original variety of Cochins, which originated in China and came to America in 1845. They were also the first buff breed from which all other varieties have been developed. They are a ball of loose feathers and do not weigh as much as they appear to weigh. They are the most broody of all Standard breeds and make excellent mothers. Cochins are relatively poor producers of medium size brown eggs, but because they are the most docile of all breeds they are an excellent choice for pets.

  • Red Cochins have plumage, which is an even shade of rich brilliant red, free from shaftiness, mealiness, cloudiness, or mottled appearance. The head, neck, back, saddle and wing bows of the males are a richly, glossed intense red. The female's head, neck and hackle plumage is slightly glossed intense red, Cochins are very massive in appearance with an extraordinary profusion of long, soft plumage and a great abundance of down fiber in the under fluff. Cochins are relatively poor producers of medium size brown eggs, but because they are the most docile of all breeds they are an excellent choice for pets.

Standard weights at maturity are males-11 lbs. and hens-8 1/2 lbs.

Click on the photo link below to view our Cochin photo album.

Cochin photo album