Backyard Chickens

Backyard Chickens: Meet Iman

Iman the Golden Laced Cochin

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.

Iman the feathery fluffball

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.

Iman foraging in the backyard

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 the Golden Laced Cochin

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 have excessive feathering that make them appear larger than they really are

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.

Fully feathered legs and feet on a Golden Laced Cochin

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.

Golden Laced Cochin pullet

And of course, I can’t not leave you without the obligatory butt shot!

Fluffy Cochin butt

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • Laura
    October 23, 2021 at 9:31 am

    Ahh what a flully friend! She’s beautiful. I love the bronze-black lacing.

  • truetexas
    June 17, 2017 at 2:31 am

    She’s gorgeous. We have 2 that are about 3 weeks old now it appears one is a Roo so sadly he will have to find a new home. No Roosters in the city limits. Can’t wait to see their coloring.

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      June 17, 2017 at 7:00 am

      Cochins just get fluffier and more beautiful over time. 🙂

  • Laura
    January 16, 2012 at 11:46 am

    She’s beautiful! I love the bronze and black feathers.


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