Meet Cookie, she is a 2 year old Buff Silkie Bantam… and our little mother hen. She is the one girl I can count on to set on fertile eggs and NEVER give up until they hatch. Don’t let her size fool you, she runs the coop, the flock knows better than to mess with her, the eggs, or her chicks. She weighs only about 1.5 pounds, and has chosen her one and only friend to be Piper, a 8.5 pound Standard Cochin.
I’ve mentioned in the past that it’s a good idea to have your flock members all about the same size and weight to minimize bickering. It’s not a rule, only a precaution. You just never know if the pecking order ritual is going to be a peaceful one, or a war zone. In this case, we have a peaceful friendship… but not without rank.
Cookie was the only survivor of five mail order chicks in 2016. I didn’t want her in the brooder all alone so I went to every local feed store in hopes of finding baby chicks to put in with her. No luck finding chicks 2-3 days old, all I could find were week old Standard Cochins. Here we go with size again… these chicks were way too big. Having zero choice, I took a chance the twice her size Cochins wouldn’t pick on this frail little Silkie. They didn’t, just the usual drama. When night came and the cold set in, they all huddled together and all was forgotten. Whew!
I sold all the Cochins when they reached 4 months old, except Piper. I guess Cookie never forget that without Piper, she may not have survived.
The Gentle Giants
Cochin chickens are known for their soft feathers and fluffy robust appearance. They have a round body, long silky plumage, feathered feet, and a single comb. They lay a fair number of brown or tinted small to medium eggs. You can expect approximately 2 eggs per week.
This breed may not be a prolific layer, but are still quite worthy for their broody tendencies, and their stunning appearance of course! They’re often used to hatch fertile eggs from other birds, however, don’t be in a big hurry, the Cochin is very slow to mature.
If your looking for a docile, peaceful, friendly, and easily handled breed, this buxom beauty is for you.
I find Cochins don’t fancy scratching around in the dirt as much as most other breeds. They are also not a fan of high perches. They prefer free roam, but confine quite well.
They’re considered a heavy breed weighing in at about 11 lbs for roosters, and 8 to 8.5 lbs. for hens.
Bantams: A hen will be just under 2 lbs. and the rooster, about 2 lbs.
The Cochin chicken breed arrived on the shores of Britain and America from the port of Shanghai, China in the mid 1800s. This fancy breed has a wide variety of colorful outfits, in buff, white, black, blue, partridge and cuckoo.
The Welsummer rooster is rustic-red and orange in color and the hen is a light and dark brown partridge pattern with gold around the neck area. This dual purpose large fowl lays large terracotta dark brown eggs, often with speckles. Expect about 160 eggs per year.
Features & Color Variations
Single comb, medium wattles, broad chest and back, wide full tail, and 4 toes. There are three variations of the standard Welsummer, Partridge, Silver Duckwing and the Gold Duckwing. Recognized Varieties: Red Partridge
Welsummers are friendly and intelligent, but not considered especially docile. They generally confine well, but prefer to forage. Setter/broody: yes.
The Welsummer Bantam lays light brown eggs, and their production is slightly higher than the standard at about 180 eggs per year. Bantams exist in both Partridge and Silver Duckwing colors but are rare.
Type: Large Fowl
Size: Medium (6-7 lbs)
The Double Laced Barnevelder is a large, soft feathered, docile and very good natured chicken. They are very tame and do not fly well. They are a very pretty bird with interesting markings and a beautiful iridescent beetle sheen on the feathers. Barnevelder chickens are a rare dual purpose breed producing about 180/200 large brown speckled eggs per year… Continue Reading
The Bantam Barnevelder | Submitted by Neil Armitage
The bantam barnevelder is a good layer of dark cream eggs, whilst they should of course lay a Golden brown egg like their large fowl cousins I have yet to see one in the UK that does. They are hardy and sturdy little birds that tame well and make good pets… Continue Reading
Visit Website: The Barnevelder | Barnevelders.net
You may have heard the Silkie Bantam is only a fair egg layer, but is this really a fair statement? Perhaps they get a bad rap because they’re often broody which interrupts egg production. True, but in my opinion, this incredible bird should be considered a master of two jobs. I give them five stars for their dedication to motherhood, and here’s their generous contribution to the breakfast menu. Not bad, not bad at all!
My Silkies lay every other day on average, with little change during our mild Arizona winters. There are six birds in my flock over the age of four and are still producing at the same rate. As far as I’m concerned, a chicken’s production decreasing after the age of two years has not proven true on our little farm.
But there are always exceptions…
Meet Fern, this little lady doesn’t lay eggs at all, ever! Hatched in 2012, isn’t interested in setting on eggs, and has never gone broody. But no worry, there’s still a job for her here as a bug eater. She’s also valuable as a warm body to the others on those occasional cold winter nights.