The Cochin or Cochin China, is a breed of chicken. The name Cochin came from the original Chinese name 九斤黄(in pinyin: jiujin huang, pronounced jil jin hwaang), meaning nine jin yellow, erroneously conflated with the then-current names for what are now parts of southern India and Vietnam, where jin is a traditional Chinese measurement of weight. In China itself, the name 九斤黄 is actually used for any large chicken or even a dish made from one.
Cochin ancestors first originated in the United States after the Chinese chicken, which was tight-feathered and had moderate to no feathers on their legs, was brought to the eastern coast around 1845. They soon became a hit, and Shanghai lovers took the fluffiest and most feather legged chickens to breed them for those traits exactly. Their result was very nice, with the fully feather-legged and fluffy chicken we now call the Cochin. This began what was known as the “hen craze,” which stretched from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, when people around the world bred chickens purely for their looks, rather than to create a better egg layer and such. The Cochin today is a very large, fluffy feathered bird with fully feathered legs and feet. Their very fluffy cushion and short, fluffy tail give them a unique look, with their short, curved-looking back as a result. The cochin is a hardy, friendly, and docile chicken. Cochins also will adapt very easily to confined spaces or open range. Cochin hens are fairly broody and good mothers, and are known to be good surrogate incubating birds in even falcon breeding. However, they are slow to mature. This breed was admitted into the APA in 1874. There are 18 colors of the cochin chicken, nine of them being birchen, blue, buff, gold laced, silver laced, barred, black, red,lemon blue, and white. The standard-sized cochin is of the Asiatic class, and the roosters weigh about 5kg (11 lbs), while the hens weigh about 4kg (8.5 lbs). The bantam version of the cochin is of the feather legged class. The bantam rooster weighs on average 900g (32oz), while the hen weighs a smaller 800g (28oz). A male’s comb should be of medium size, with five points that stick straight into the air. He should also have round and long wattles and earlobes. The female has a rather small comb, which conforms to their head. Their wattles and earlobes are small as well.
This chicken was originally bred in China and later exported to Britain and America in the mid 19th century. As a very distinctive breed of chicken, it apparently created a bit of a craze among poultry lovers in the English-speaking world, effectively launching poultry fancy as we know it today. Not only was this breed one of the largest seen, with cocks weighing up to 11 pounds (5 kg), but also the soft and plentiful plumage makes the bird quite conspicuous by exaggerating its already large size. Once in the United States, the breed underwent considerable development into its current state. There is also a bantam version, which is often called the "Pekin bantam", but should not be confused with the separate true Pekin bantam.
As above, the most distinctive feature of the Cochin is the excessive plumage that covers leg and foot. The skin beneath the feathers is yellow and the egg colour is light brown. Eggs are also medium in size. Standard weight is 11 pounds (5 kg) for a cock, 9 pounds (4 kg) for a cockerel, 8.5 pounds (3.9 kg) for a hen, and 7 pounds (3.2 kg) for a pullet. Colour varieties include buff, black, partridge, blue, silver laced, splash, golden laced, and white. Cochins also come in a variety called frizzled, in which the feathers are turned outward. Cochins are well known as good mothers, even as foster mothers for other breeds, and they can lay many eggs, but usually not for extended periods of time. Cochins are also known to be good pet hens for the garden, as they are tame and regarded as one of the most 'friendly' chicken breeds. Cochins are quiet chickens. They scarcely crow or cluck, only when laying eggs. Also cochins are very calm, when exposed often to people.
- Delayed feathering in chickens, a condition found in this breed.
The Standard of Perfection is the most prestigious chicken book.
Cochins International is the Official International Cochin Breed club.
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