Originally Posted by pacanis
Cochins are on my short list for when I build another coop and get more birds of a little variety, but still egg laying and good in a cold climate.
I would really seriously recommend them. We bought our first as chicks to make sure they were easy to handle and we have had a great time with them. Because they are so heavy a bird they cannot fly, there is no wing clipping etc to worry about. We bought from good exhibition stock, we've never had to trim an over grown beak or anything.
We never incubate but Cochins DO go broody. We let the desperate ones hatch a clutch themselves each year, it brings them happiness. That way they get a baby or two but we aren't massively over supplied with chooks. They are superbly easy to handle and lovely to look at. we get decent egg production from them, most we've been without an egg was five weeks in a long dark winter (we do not supplement light). Eggs are a good size.
The downsides are that cochins are, in my experience, fussy eaters. They like human leftovers etc but will not touch slugs
. They fade in the sunlight, my dear and recently departed red cochin had faded to a very light ginger blonde: exhibitors keep them in the shade to preserve the colours, we let them sunbath and wander through the orchard to choose shade or sun as they choose to preserve their sanity. The blacks keep colour ok, as does our cuckoo who also has survived. Also, those cute leg feathers get wet which can be uncomfortable for the birds. A good late grass cut is necesary so that through winter months they can wander keeping as dry as possible.
In the kitchen: in this instance, yes, I'm a litle apprehenive, but the cats have had chicks about every spring/summer. The difference is then that they roam with their mothers. A rooster is also invaluable for protecting chicks and his hens. (the fox took our rooster first, some days before the others, we had been unjustly frowning at out nearest neighbours
blaming them, but all is clear now). In this case, in the house LC Picalily is with me or in a crate. He's sleeping outside again now, bt when he was inside we put him in a crate in the shower
for protection. This particular cat IS a little envious of him, rather than hungry for him. She loves the chickens and frequently spends summer days snuggled next to a broody hen. Her sister on the other hand.....well, I keep as close and eye as I can on her
. To be fair, both cats are good hunters but seem to understand that the chicks are family. When they walk among them they yowl and walk slowly as if saying 'We are here but we are not stalking you, we don't mean to scare you' which is very sweet.