Like any other chicken breed, Cochin chickens have their best and worst qualities.
Whether you are looking to know if Cochins are hardy birds, strong layers, or gentle lap birds, you have come to the right place.
Here is our extensive list of pros and cons of raising Cochin chickens.
Pro: Adorable Chickens
While keeping beautiful birds may not be at the top of your to-do list, we still had to put it down here.
Cochins are such cute chickens and come in a variety of attractive colors.
They have feathered feet as well, which adds to their adorable appearance.
Cochins come with red, blue, silver laced, barred, and many more lovely feather colors.
The Bantam colors for Cochin hens give you even more beautiful feathering.
If you have ever raised Brahma chickens, Cochins are comparable in appearance.
Adding them to your coop can provide a breathtaking flock thanks to their adorably feathered feet and beautiful plumage.
Con: Low Egg Production
While even average layers tend to lay at least 200 eggs per year, Cochins are poor egg layers and only lay 150-180 eggs in a year.
This means they only produce about two eggs each week.
This will probably make your Cochin hen one of the laziest layers in your chicken coop.
Their eggs are small, too, and are a brown color.
Many chicken farmers would be willing to raise slow layers if they produced blue or green eggs or even if they produced larger eggs.
This breed of chicken, though, has neither an impressive egg color nor size.
So, her laying habits are overall not working in her favor.
However, the Cochin hen still has lots to offer, and it isn’t as if she produces no eggs at all!
Pro: Gentle Nature
Cochin hens are known for being one of the friendliest chickens out there.
Their calm temperament and friendly personality have earned them comparison to the Buff Orpington and Plymouth Rock.
If you are looking for a chicken who makes a good animal companion to snuggle with, Cochin is the bird for you!
While it may initially seem like these are simply nicely feathered birds, Cochins are sweet, non-aggressive birds which is a favored characteristic in backyard chicken keeping.
Keeping a mixed flock gets hard sometimes due to the contesting temperaments of chicken breeds with different strengths and weaknesses.
Cochins are ornamental chickens with big hearts and fluffy feathers, perfect for cuddling.
Related Reading: Do Cochin Chickens Make A Lot Of Noise?
Being as big as they are, it is no surprise Cochin chickens like to hang out by the feeder and munch on layer feed constantly.
However, they are poor egg layers, which might make this habit frustrating to you.
If you have problems with Cochin hens eating too much feed beyond what they need to stay healthy, consider switching to a fixed feeding schedule.
For some birds, this does not work.
So, keep an eye on your flock and see how they do with it.
Otherwise, you will have to accept your Cochins eating copious amounts of food each day.
Pro: Cold Hardy Chickens
Their Brahma size bodies and heavy feathering make weathering the cold easier for Cochins than for your typical chicken.
The winter months are hard on some of the most excellent layers, causing them to slow down production or even stop.
Some chicken breeds are more vulnerable to illnesses if they don’t have access to artificial heat in winter.
The Cochin, however, thrives in cold climates.
She can maintain her body heat with the help of dense plumage and large body size.
More Details: How Cold Can Cochin Chickens Handle?
Con: Feather Care
While mites and parasites are not uncommon among all chicken breeds, Cochins are especially vulnerable to these buggers.
Their dense plumage makes it easy for mites and lice to hide, so regular checks are highly recommended.
Cochins are so gentle; they usually don’t mind being looked over.
But you may need to check them more often than your other hens.
They also have more problems with oil and dirt building up in their feathers.
They need a good space for dirt bathing, especially in the hot summer months.
It is likely you already have a space like this, as many chickens share the Cochin’s penchant for dirt bathing.
Pro: Dual-Purpose Chickens
Raising dual-purpose chickens is an economically smart choice for anyone working in the poultry industry, especially on a very small scale.
Cochins are laying hens who make especially good meat birds due to their above-average size.
This is another way they are comparable to Brahma, Buff Orpington, or Plymouth Rock.
Adult Cochin hens often grow to more than eight pounds, which is bigger than most meat birds are at butchering time.
Whether you keep them for only a few years or for as long as they naturally live, the Cochin is a breed that will repay you for your care with both eggs and meat!
Further Reading: How to tell if Cochin’s are male or female
Con: Slow Growers
While it is exciting to raise birds that you know will be worth what you put into them, dual-purpose birds almost always come with this drawback:
It takes a long time for them to be ready for butchering.
Cochin birds take more than a year to reach butchering weight, sometimes even up to 18 months.
Most broilers (chickens bred and raised solely as meat birds) reach 5-6 pounds by the time they turn 12 weeks old.
So, if you elect to raise Cochin birds primarily for meat, you will be subjecting yourself to quite a long wait compared with other meat birds.
Combine this wait time with the large amounts of food a Cochin chicken eats, and you might find it frustrating to raise a Cochin as a broiler.
This being said, there are ways to speed up the growth process.
Buying high protein feed for your birds tends to increase their growth rate.
But there is only so much to be done to counteract the chicken biology of a Cochin.
Pushing too hard to make them gain weight ahead of schedule would negatively impact your birds’ health.
Pro: Broody Mothers
The Cochin rivals even Silkie hens in her broodiness.
Being one of the less active birds in any given coop, the Cochin hen adores sitting on a clutch of eggs.
She goes broody often and spends most of her time in the coop.
If you are looking to hatch your eggs, a Cochin hen is the perfect candidate to sit on those fertile eggs until they hatch.
Even if you aren’t hatching Cochin chicks, she will happily protect those eggs and keep them warm for you.
They also start going broody earlier than many other breeds of chicken.
Some chicken keepers claim their Cochin hens went broody at only eight months old!
They were still pullets but took it upon themselves to provide adult supervision to those eggs.
If you are looking for an attentive mother (other than silkie hens) to add to your flock, consider getting a Cochin!
Con: Easy Meat
The problem with large birds who do not enjoy being active is they are easy targets for predators.
In some areas, predator attacks are uncommon.
But in rural areas, aerial and land predators cause serious problems for chicken farmers.
Their broad body and lack of experience running around work against the Cochin when a predator makes its move.
Any backyard flock where predators are common might be a bad place for a Cochin.
Pro: Low Maintenance
Aside from feather care, Cochin chickens are low maintenance.
They look to lounge around in a cozy coop and be their broody, mellow selves.
They do not need heaters in the winter, and their needs in the summer are not much different from what most birds require.
Provide them with a shady spot for dirt bathing, cool drinking water, and food in the summer.
Provide them with shelter, food, and water in the winter.
Of course, those lice checks are important, too!
Pro: Exhibition Birds
The Cochin is one of the most highly favored exhibition birds in the United States!
It is no wonder, considering the beautiful variety of colored feathers on these birdies.
While some people hesitate to add them to a highly productive flock for meat and eggs, Cochins tend to appear in spades as exhibition birds.
This is true of both Bantam Cochins and others!
Having a cute, personable, docile chicken breed is a huge advantage to anybody who enjoys showing their birds.
For those same reasons, Brahma chickens are equally popular in this community.
A friend kept chickens for eggs but also enjoyed showing them at fairs and festivals.
If this is your hope, a Cochin hen is perfect for you!
She may not be the strongest layer, but she is an incredible show bird and will lay a couple of eggs for you each week on top!
Even without these added benefits, Cochin hens are regarded as wonderful pets.
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