Cochins originated from China in the early 1850s where it was known as the Shanghai or the Cochin-China. The original birds were received by Queen Victoria which led to great popularity for the breed. It was believed that the Chinese bred them with such profuse feathering for filling duvets. The Cochin has no sharp angles and is very rounded in appearance. They are the largest of the heavy breeds and cockerels can weigh in at 12lbs! They are broad birds too and this is enhanced by the enormous amount of feathers that they have. The plumage is soft with short broad feathers.
The Cochins rounded appearance unfortunately affects its health as the birds tend to suffer from metabolism and heart problems which is compounded by their rather lazy lifestyle. They like to be kept on short grass and will not venture onto longer vegetation as this damages the feathers on their feet. They take up remarkably little room and like to be contained with fencing but avoid putting them onto cold, wet grass as youngsters. The profuse leg and foot feathering means that it is best to confine Cochins on wet days when mud becomes a problem and can cause balls of mud to collect under their feet. They do not fly and a 2 foot fence is sufficient to keep them contained. They make excellent broodies because of their calm, maternal nature. 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. They require good quality feed and mature in two years. They make remarkably good pets and a pet Cochin should live between 8-10 years.
Varieties we breed
Currently we keep the white, black, buff and gold partridge types. The legs are yellow and the ear lobes are red while the eyes are a reddish bay.