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.
Meet Piper, just hangin’ out lookin’ pretty this morning. She looks huge to me, I’m used having only Silkies! Piper was one of a few chicks I bought at a week old to help keep some babies warm in the brooder. I sold all her sisters when the Silkie chicks were 8 weeks old, but somehow the mighty giant Piper managed to steal my heart. She will remain here, her kind way and timid behavior allows her to fit right in with the docile manner of the other birds.
Here’s one of the near 3 month old pullets. She’s barely out of the grow pen, so this is a rare opportunity to catch her beyond the safe zone. Not real impressed with her feathered feet, a bit sparse, but I like her head! Still giving her time, Cochins are slow to mature, but at this point, she kinda already is what she is.
Flashy gal! Piper is just under 3 months old and just beginning to venture out of the grow pen to test her acceptance with the existing flock. Day 7 of learning the serious business of social ranking. Every day brings her one step closer to finding her place, and someday she’ll learn the power of choice.