A.F. Hunter, associate editor of Reliable Poultry Journal, recounts the history of the importation of various fowls from China, including those given to Queen Victoria in 1843. He refers to Wright’s “New Book of Poultry,” in which Wright refutes the idea that those birds are the antecedents of modern Cochins, although they were from the Cochin area of China. Those birds, as shown in the 1843 illustration, are tall and rangy, showing a Malay influence, he felt. Modern Cochins developed from Shanghai birds imported to England in 1847, according to Wright. Although poultry writers continued to use the name Shanghai, “The public had got to know the new, big fowls as Cochins, and would use no other word, and so the name stuck, in the teeth of the facts, and holds the field to this day.”
Hunter remembers Yellow Shanghais, Gray Chittigongs and Malays from 60 years previous, which would have made it around 1860, hat were “so tall that, while standing on the floor beside it, they could eat corn off the top of a barrel that was standing on end.” Birds descended from those are reported to have reached 17 or 18 pounds in weight.
With their large size, Asiatic breeds are all meat breeds. Langshans, at 9 ½ lbs smaller than the 12-lb. Brahma roosters and 11-lb. Cochins, are considered a dual purpose breed with good egg production.
This illustration of Buff Cochins is copyright 1898.