Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I'll talk with Andy Schneider, the Chicken Whisperer, on his radio program this morning, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/backyardpoultry. Every fourth Tuesday we talk about different historic breeds. Today we will talk about Cochins.

The Reliable Poultry Journal, published during the early years of the 20th century, published a separate book on The Asiatics: Brahmas, Cochins and Langshans. It was smong the collection donqated to SPPA. “Their origin is veiled in mystery, but from data gathered by numerous early fanciers, the period of their first appearance is fixed,” it says. 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, that 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. They no longer reach that size, but 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. The American Poultry Association recognizes Buff, Partridge, White, Black, Silver-laced, Golden-laced, Blue, Brown and Barred varieties of the Cochin. Many unrecognized colors are also raised, including Red, Silver Laced, Mottled and Splash. Seventeen color varieties of bantam Cochins are recognized by the American Bantam Association, including Black Tailed Red, Birchen, Golden Laced, Columbian and Lemon Blue. Their popularity is second only to the English Game bantam.

Franklane Sewell, noted poultry expert and artist, wrote in 1912 that although style had influenced development of birds with very short legs, the ideal is “one that will preserve all the vitality of the ancient Asiatic and prove, as they have with some fanciers who study their proper management, to be productive and pro­fitable as well as exceed­ingly showy.
He made this illustration of ideal Cochins in 1895.

Cochins International Club, http://cochinsinternational.cochinsrule.com/, publishes three newsletters annually and updates its Breeders Directory every two years. Contact Jamie Matts, Secretary/Treasurer, 283 State Highway 235, Harpursville, NY 13787, (607) 725-7390, mattsjt@aol.com.

Many SPPA members raise Cochins. Check the Breeders Directory or contact me for contact information.

No comments: