Cochin Chickens are a very cute breed of chickens one of the best for people who are looking at getting into breeding or for pets. They have an excessive amount of feathers, including on their feet, which makes them appear like puff balls. They come in standard size, and bantam, which are smaller chickens. They are known to be friendly and calm, making them ideal as pet chickens.
I have been a big fan of Cochin chicken since first seeing them for sale at an auction a few years ago. They are well known for being excellent mothers – something that many breeds of chicken have a poor reputation for, having it bred out of them years ago.
The Cochin is one of the best breeds of chicken suited for people looking for a pet (other good pet breeds include the Silkie Chicken). They are friendly and cute, and even the roosters are quieter than most roosters – although they will make noise when breeding, and when the chicks are hatching, as they are protective fathers.
Cochin chickens come in many colors including, buff, blue, black, laced, partridge, splash, and white. I myself keep a pair of black bantam Cochins. My husband bough them for me as an anniversary present. Most people might think this is an odd sort of gift, but for me it was ideal, as I generally do not want other material items that come with an environmental cost. Chickens are a very environmentally friendly gift.
We put them in their own pen, and after another hen was killed by a fox, and her mate nearly taken too, we kept fairly close eye on them and did not let them out to free range. They have a coop and the pen measures 8 feet by 8 feet, so they do have lots of space for a pair of small bantam birds. The hen soon started laying eggs.
I got worried in that she laid many, many, eggs but was not sitting on them. Since Cochin hens are especially well known for being broody (meaning they want to sit on eggs and incubate them), I got a bit worried. Eventually she started laying so many eggs, she had 3 nests in the coop. We removed the eggs from the first nest, and shortly after we noticed she started sitting on the last nest of eggs.
She became so broody at that point we rarely saw her out of the coop. She puffed herself up and sat on the eggs. A good thing she was such a good mom, our temperatures here, near Edmonton, Alberta, have been several degrees below normal, with about three times the rain fall, making for unusually cold weather.
How it works is that hens lay about an egg a day, but as long as they eggs do not get too warm, or too cold, they are dormant, then when the hen starts to sit on them (or they are placed into an incubator) the chicks start to grow, and hatch about 21 days later. So I marked the calendar to expect chicks July 11 or 12.
The hen didn’t budge, but the rooster knew something was up and would talk to her warning her every time we approached their pen. Even the polish rooster in the pen next to them seemed a bit more alert.
On the morning of July 12 everything seemed normal, but when we got home later in the day, something was up. Momma hen had chicks!
These are tiny bantam chicks, only about 2 inches in height (5 cm). They are yellow and black at this time but will change to show their real colors later. One chick had somehow fallen out of the coop, it was a lucky thing we found it when we did and put it back with its mom. That one has a black mark on its beak and immediately scooted under her.
Hens spread their wings out wide to fit all there chicks underneath. We did not want to disturb her so have no idea how many chicks she has. Its even impossible to count broken eggs because hens eat some of the egg shells. She has at least four, but probably more.
We put a small, shallow, dish of chick starter in the coop, and a shallow dish of water. We do not want such tiny chicks falling into a bigger bowl of water. Fingers crossed that the weather will stay good and we can at least have some dry days to give the chicks a good start. The coop is covered, I simply removed the lid to take pictures, but the concern is if they fall out or go for a walk.
Above – how many chicks do you see? Do you see the one coming out by her tail?
With such tiny chicks it is important to have good fencing, we have stucco wire and chicken wire around the bottom of the pen.
If you are considering getting pet chickens, Cochins are for sure a good one to start with if you are interested in breeding and producing more, however it is not a good idea to raise chicks unless you know you can keep them or have a place to sell them. Personally I cannot even eat chicken after keeping such sweet animals as pets.