This giant, squeezable teddy bear is Iman. As second hen in the pecking order, Iman is assertive but fair. At first glance, she seems to take a back seat to Kimora, who’s always up and at it first when it comes to tasting new treats and pecking new pastures… but then you wonder if Iman is simply sending Kimora first to feel things out as the guinea pig (er, chicken). Hmm.
Iman is my happy-go-lucky hen, beloved by everyone for her sweet personality and cuddly tendency. She let me pet her the day after I brought her home, and will even settle into a nice hug every now and then. In fact, she reminds me of my younger pug — a little unwieldy but a whole lotta love to go around.
Of course, if there’s pecking and scratching to be had, she never wants to miss out on a little adventure. She’s right on Kimora’s tail when they go digging in the dirt together, and despite all that extra fluff, she can jump just as high and flap just as far as her big sister.
She’s my other voracious eater, and if an unsuspecting sibling tries to touch her food — whether it’s a chicken or a pug — she’s been known to put it in its place. You don’t mess with a hungry hen!
Iman is a Golden Laced Cochin, a Chinese breed originally known as the Chinese Shanghai. Its ancestors came from a line of Chinese chickens that were first brought to the United States in the late 1840s to early 1850s. The original Chinese Shanghai was tight-feathered with little to no feathering on its feet. Breeders became entranced with this exotic bird and sought the fluffiest and most feather-legged specimens to create a new strain of fluffballs called a Cochin China, or what we now know simply as a Cochin.
Cochins are large and heavy birds, though their excessive feathering makes them appear larger than they really are. They have distinctive feathering on their yellow legs which seem like it would slow them down, but Cochins are actually quite quick on their feet.
I always thought it looked like Iman had just pulled on her Ugg boots for winter! Her legs aren’t fully feathered yet, but they’re getting fluffier each week and so is the rest of her.
She has beautiful bronze plumage with a glossy black outline on each feather, a pattern called lacing. The black edges catch a subtle green sheen in the sun and already at her young age, Iman’s lacing is lovely and uniform. She’s as soft as she looks, and I’ve collected many of her molted feathers for decoration around the house.
And of course, I can’t not leave you without the obligatory butt shot!