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.
I managed to find Silkies locally on Friday, slim pickin’s to say the least, nevertheless, I’m happy to have found a few to help erase the painful reminder of Monday’s fatal coyote attack. Straight run, and not my choice of color, but it’s a start. Three white chicks and two buff, hopefully one white is a rooster. In October I will find quality black chicks, and a couple of blues.
Of course now that I haven’t any Silkie pullets or started chicks for sale this Spring, I’m getting emails like crazy from those looking to buy. Isn’t that always the way? lol
It’s nice to have chicks in the brooder, but this isn’t the ideal time to start chicks in my opinion. I’m taking a chance with the weather, hoping it stays moderate for a few more weeks. By the time these chicks are old enough to be moved to the coop it could be in the upper 90’s… or higher. I prefer to start chicks in October or November so at 6-8 weeks they are strong enough to tolerate our June temperatures of 115 degrees.
Coop Remodeling in Progress
All the coops are currently undergoing major modifications to prevent any more predator attacks. All the grow pens are having floors installed and raised 18″ off the ground. The hen’s coop will have heavy rubber stall mats on the ground, extending beyond the coop’s perimeters. The brooder building is already completely secure, and with all this work to be done, I’ll take that blessing!