Cochin bantams are an old breed that is a favorite among many backyard chicken hobbyists because they are hardy and can withstand cold. Being super friendly and calm makes them qualify as reliable chicken pets.
Bantam Cochin chickens are calm, sweet and gentle making any chicken keeper want to have them in their flocks. These birds easily get along with other calm breeds like silkies and polish because they rank at the bottom of the pecking order.
So, do you want to know more about these fluffy feathered chickens? In this article, I am going to take you through everything you need to know before buying one. This will help you know whether it is the right breed for you or not.
History of Cochin Bantams
These birds are also referred as pekins in many parts of Europe. They are said to have come to Europe with soldiers from China.
They are adored by many who keep them as pets because they are super calm and friendly chickens. These birds are said to have been bred from a long game bird with other breeds leading to the development of the modern day cochins.
Because of their ancestry in China, they are also called Cochin China. Here they were bred to withstand cold weather and as pets for their extreme docility.
Cochin Bantams are recognized by the American Bantam Association. The recognized color varieties are mottled, white, partridge, buff, Columbian, black, blue, red, brown red and birchen.
Appearance of Cochin bantams
Cochin bantams are fluffy chickens with a dense plumage that makes them appear large. They are short with feathers all over their bodies covering even the legs.
The dense feathers make these birds hardy as they are able to resist cold. Even though they can resist cold, when it gets hot they tend to suffer from heat stress.
Their combs, earlobes and wattles are red in color. The skin and feet are yellow but you will only notice when you butcher them or when you hold them and check yourself because they are very feathery.
Cochin bantams have reddish orange eyes and a blackish beak though the beak color may vary depending on the variety. They have short strong legs with four toes on each foot.
They are very lazy birds and will spend much of their time in their coop. Cochin bantams are heavy feeders and they will pick anything around them that seems edible.
Among all chicken breeds that I know of, Cochin chicken is the friendliest of them all. They are very calm and docile just like Serama chickens are making them easy to tame. This trait makes them a favorite chicken among keepers.
The docile nature of these cool birds, makes them good when kept as pets. They get along well with kids and you do not need to worry having them in your backyard.
Cochin bantams will love it most when you pick them up and sit them on your lap. They like to be cuddled a lot and love attention so much with every bit of their heart.
Cochin chickens are so calm such that they are used to foster the young of other poultry like ducks. They take good care of them exhibiting their excellent mothering abilities.
In general, they are calm and quiet birds being a good option to those in an urban setting. The only time they make some noise is when singing the egg melody.
Cochin roosters are calm and are the kind that you will trust with your toddler. They are good to other calm breeds because they rank low on the pecking order.
Cochin bantams egg laying and uses
These cool and calm friends are not the kinds to keep if you want a breed that will offer much meat and eggs.
Cochins are known to lay very few eggs and get broody for long interrupting their laying pattern. In a week, they will lay 1 or 2 medium brown eggs.
Female Cochin chickens are very broody and they will sett on their eggs and hatch. When they have baby chicks, they take care of them very well because they make prudent moms.
These chickens are very cool chickens and will foster young of other poultry like ducks. Cochin roosters are very unique because they will take turns help the hens sit on the eggs and even raise the baby chicks.
Cochins bantams are not big birds hence they cannot offer much meat. This factor makes them preferred as pets due to their calm nature and small size.
Girls weigh about 26oz while boys weigh about 30oz.
After 8 weeks in the brooder and your Cochin chicks are fully feathered, it is now time to move them to the coop. Here they will probably be sharing this shelter with other heritage chicken breeds.
These chickens are very calm and are not able to defend themselves from other aggressive chickens. So, before putting them together, consider the breed you want to integrate them with.
Cochins are better kept with breeds that have similar temperament features as they do. In this case, Silkies are the kind of chickens they can be better raised together as they are calm and peace loving just like Cochin bantams do.
However, even as you keep these two breeds together, watch out as males may became arch rivals and crash fiercely as they fight for females or dominance especially during the mating season.
If you may brood these two breeds together from the time they are chicks, they will grow together and get used to each other and this way you will have an easy time.
But for chicken breeders, when different breeds are raised together they may easily mate and end up cross breeding. In this case, have some isolation pens to keep the boys away from the girls
Additionally, you can castrate the males and raise them as capons together with the females. This way, they are rendered infertile and unable to mate.
Cochins are members of the jungle fowl family a sub species that originates from parts of Southeast Asia. They live an average of 5 to 8 years.
However, this time may extend depending on the kind of care given to these birds. There are cases where chickens have lived up to 20 years when kept as pets.
Good nutrition, minimal stress, regular health check and proper housing are some of the basic factors that will guarantee a longer lifespan to these birds.
Because many people who raise Cochin bantams do not do it primarily for meat or eggs, they can enjoy living for long as long as they are healthy.
However, chicken predators, poor living conditions, pest and diseases are some of the reasons that can reduce their lifespans. Ensure they get the best care, food and are secure from predators like possums that hunt them down for food.
These birds have a history of being hardy and tolerant to cold weather. This makes them able to withstand cold seasons pretty well.
Their feathered legs need to be taken care of well by ensuring they have a dump free coop. The material you use as chicken bedding should be hard even for the baby chicks to swallow because it can lead to crop impaction. Straw is the best bedding for me because it keeps the chicken coop warm, dry and damp free.
Their legs can easily get mud balls that can be a serious threat as they can lead to frostbites. During winter months, I would recommend you keep your Cochin bantams indoors in a heated chicken coop because there are no plants for them to forage on.
Since they are fluffy feathered birds, they suffer from heat stress during summer or hot seasons. They will require plenty shaded areas during these periods to help them shelter from direct sun. In addition to shade provide multiple waterers because they will drink a lot when hot to keep their bodies cool.
The dense feathers can act as a breeding ground for some external parasites like chicken lice and mites. Using small amounts of diatomaceous earth in the chicken dirt bath to control these parasites is a thumb up for me. Diatomaceous earth is an organic element and kills insects pests by removing body oils and moisture dehydrating them to death.
Apart from internal parasites, internal parasites like thread and gapeworms in chickens are a serious threat. They live inside the host’s body where they eat and lay eggs. If not treated, chicken worms can lead to low production, sickens and even death.
To control worms in chickens, visit a qualified bird vet and he will advice on the right chicken wormer to administer. You can also toss cilantro and pumpkin seeds to your Cochin’s because they are good natural wormers for them.
Cochin bantams are pretty cool friends to have in your backyard. When kept as backyard chickens or pets they easily get along well with humans.
Their calm nature makes them children friendly. I would recommend these chickens to anyone looking for a breed that is friendly and easy to keep.
These birds will do very well when confined. They are lazy and prefer to hang in their coops as long as they have enough food and water. Additionally, they are not very savvy to predators and will become an easy prey when left to roam on their own.