Cochin Bantams are one of the most recognizable breeds of chicken. They are incredibly distinctive with their ball-shaped bodies, massively feathered legs, and plumed, round tails. They have short single combs and expressive little faces.
Despite being known as Cochin Bantams in the US and Canada, the breed is considered a true bantam and is known to the rest of the world as the Pekin. They are from China and appear to have no genetic connection to the standard-sized Cochin which has similar tail and leg feathering, but a different body shape.
If I could have only one breed of bantam, I would pick the Cochin Bantam. They are absolutely adorable and tend to have very relaxed and curious personalities. None of mine seem to want to wander as far as some of the other chickens, preferring to stay either inside their coop or in the immediate vicinity of it. They are very quiet and passive and make excellent pets. They are one of the breeds so gentle that it’s easy to teach them to be picked up, which makes them wonderful chickens for children.
One potential downfall of Cochin Bantams is the fact they are fairly poor layers. They don’t lay very many eggs to begin with, but coupled with the breed’s natural inclination to frequently go broody, they average about an egg or two a week. That’s good news if you want a broody hen to hatch eggs, though–Cochin Bantams have a reputation as one of the most reliable broodies and make excellent mothers.
Cochin Bantams come in a huge variety of colors. I currently only have Barred and Splash, but they also come in White, Black, Buff, Blue, Red, Partridge, Silver and Golden-Laced, Columbian, and many more varieties.
I have one Cochin Bantam I jokingly refer to as “the alarm chicken” since she is easily startled and runs around making agitated clucks. However, she is the only one of her breed I own who I would consider noisy. The others tend to simply make quiet cooing noises and show little fear around people.
If you are looking for a small, fancy bantam breed that will hatch chicks, is easily tamed, and comes in virtually every color in the chicken rainbow, I highly recommend adding a few Cochin Bantams to your flock. Who knows, they may become one of your favorites, too!