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A hen is a hen, so it seems but it is not. There are several types of chickens some of which deserve an article like the cocincina. This animal has very particular characteristics that it is good to know but above all it is interesting to understand how to raise the cocincina hen not to run the risk of treating it as one of many.
Cochinchina hen: characteristics
Before going to find out what makes the protagonist hen special, we must immediately specify that it exists in two "formats", the giant one and the dwarf one. I'm two separate races for most scholars, although initially there was a tendency to consider the dwarf hen as a smaller-scale version of its giant namesake.
Over the years, breeders have refined theirs selection methods and they made the giant more giant, and the dwarf more dwarf, resulting in two very different hens, with some characteristics in common. They both have a tendency to get fat, they are plump, they appear soft also because of the plumage that is decidedly abundant and soft, also because it keeps the infantile duvet that makes a lot of volume. In addition to affecting the appearance, the plumage also affects the ability of these hens to deal with cold climates without making too many problems, the important thing is that the feathers remain moist and always very clean.
Beyond how to raise the cocincina hen, it is good to know that it has a particular predisposition for hatching, it produces many eggs during the year and it is easy to recognize eggs from the others because they are characterized by a shell that has a reddish-pink shade. The amount of eggs produced would suggest a certain type of use of the animal which in most cases is bred for ornamental or display purposes.
Let's get a better look at the appearance of these hens, starting with those of small size, a hen that if we were to draw on a sheet of paper we would represent with a sphere of feathers, very abundant and soft feathers that make it difficult to understand what the true mass of the body is. A dwarf cochineal hen can weigh maximum one kilogram, it has a small head compared to the body and a bit rounded, small eyes that can be reddish or brown and a small, arched beak.
A small crest with five or four red teeth emerges from the head, both in the rooster and in the hen, while the legs, two short but robust legs, covered with feathers, emerge from the body. Among the many varieties of dwarf cocincina hen we can find the silver wheat, the gold edged black one, the parched, the orange-breasted or sparrow hawk.
Let's move on to the giant breed which is giant in name and in fact because it manages to be one of the largest and most majestic hens that exist. Just to get an idea, let's imagine that one of these roosters can reach 5 and a half kilos in weight and 4 and a half hen. To be a hen, that's a lot!
Again the plumage is extremely abundant and even covers the legs. It is voluminous and soft thanks to the presence of the infant duvet that makes it look really huge and very majestic. Compared to the body, the head is really small, with reddish eyes and a slightly curved beak at the tip.
Both sexes have a crest, one always five-pointed crest, straight, but in the female it is small, it is difficult to see, while in the male it is rather large. Another feature of the cocincina is the rump which appears high, so much so that it almost reaches the head while the legs are of medium length. There are also several varieties of the giant including the white, the tawny, the blue, that silver edged black and that sparrow hawk.
Cocincina hen: breeding
To learn how to raise a cochinchina hen it is necessary to start from the chicken coop if we do not already have it. This does not mean that we should always keep the hens closed, indeed it is good that they have a rather large open space to run as much as possible especially because they are breeds that tend to get fat but if they get too fat they could stop producing eggs.
The level of hygiene must be very high because the plumage must remain clean. The chicken coop should have a bathroom measuring 1m2 and 40cm deep with sand and wood ash with sublimated sulfur to protect the cochineals from mites and lice. In this way the hens can also produce manure at any time of the day and the chicken coop remains the same.
It is also very important to organize to ensure that it is not created slime during the wettest seasons, because they are a cradle of bacteria that could then make the hens sick. To prevent this from happening, we can create a large cover over the chicken coop area or pave the chicken coop with concrete. It is important to understand how to raise the cochineal hen also to take care of its diet without ever exaggerating but guaranteeing it a correct supply of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium.
Cocincina hen: origins
These breeds of chickens come to us from Asia of which they originate, arrive during the nineteenth century and immediately attract different interests in the poultry farmers who begin a painstaking process of selection of the breed that will then give us two, the dwarf and the giant. The cocincina of today is not like the one that arrived at the time, it is necessary to specify it, but it was and remains a very popular hen especially as a pet, beauty or show animal. In Italy, in 2008, the Italian Club of Cochinchina, born to protect and enhance the Cochinchina breed and explain how to breed it.
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