Pekin Chicken

Pekin chicken is a bantam breed which originated from Peking (now known as Beijing) in China. They are smaller in size and are true bantams. They have no large counterpart.

Pekin chicken has been mistaken for a bantam Cochin due to some similarities and origins. But they had not relationship to the large Cochin chicken breed and looked quite different.

Even, they come from a different place (Peking in China). So they were renamed as ‘Pekin Bantams’, after much debate over many years.

Cochin Bantams and Pekin Bantams are similar in appearance but the breed standards of this two breed are slightly different. Peking chicken are short and often only 20-30 centimeters tall.

They were first imported from China to the UK around 1830-1840 and were presented to Queen Victoria.

Another story states that the first Pekins were stolen from a private collection held by the emperor of China in Peking around 1860s.

Pekin chickens are known as Cochin Bantams in the United States and Canada.

Physical Characteristics of Pekin Chicken

Pekin chicken is a true bantam miniature chicken breed which has no large counterpart. Their carriage tilts forward, and are rather round shaped. They have elaborate tail feathers and their head is slightly closer to the ground.

The key characteristic of Pekin chicken is this tilt. The bird on the whole, though the tail especially, should be abundantly feathered, and well rounded. The cockerels of Pekin chicken breed often have longer feathers that protrude outwards from their feet.

This chicken breed is gentle in nature and very docile. They make ideal pets through careful and regular handling. Pekin hens are not very productive egg layers but they are regularly broody and are known to be good sitters and attentive mothers.

There are feathers in the foot and vent area. Care must be taken so that the Pekin’s foot feathering does not get soiled. Vent feathers may have to be trimmed in order to maximize fertility when breeding. With all their feathers they actually look larger than they really are.

There are many color varieties available of this chicken breed and the list is continually growing. Barred, Birchen, Black, Blue, Buff, Cuckoo, Columbian, Lavender, Mottled, Partridge, Red Partridge, Silver Partridge, White, Wheaten etc. color varieties are in great demand.

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Frizzled Pekins are common. Many breeders spend much time perfecting new lines of colours in their birds. Pekin chicken has single comb. Hens lay white/cream color eggs.

On an average, an adult Pekin rooster weights about 680 grams and a hen weights about 570 grams. (Photo from WikiPedia).


Pekin chicken is very gentle in nature. But the roosters can still be aggressive and defensive of their territory and mates once they reach sexual maturity. Pekin hens are not good layers.

They lay small eggs, broody and are great mothers. It’s very easy to tame Pekin chicken and they make excellent pets for the children. As they are smaller in size, so they require little space and settle very well.

If you don’t allow your birds on grass to forage, then they can look rather anaemic and pale. Pekin chickens are good bird for keeping in an urban garden.

Because they tend not to scratch around in flower beds. They are very friendly, love company, long lived and are normally a robust bird.

Breed NamePekin
Other NamePekin Bantam, Cochin Bantam
Breed PurposeOrnamental
Breed TemperamentFriendly, Docile, Easily Handled, Easily Tamed, Safe for Children
Breed SizeSmall
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
Egg ColorWhite/ Cream
Egg SizeSmall
Egg ProductivityMedium
Feathered LegsYes
VarietiesBarred, Birchen, Black, Blue, Buff, Cuckoo, Columbian, Lavender, Mottled, Partridge, Red Partridge, Silver Partridge, White, Wheaten

The Good

  • Beautiful
  • Calm
  • Gentle
  • Friendly
  • Easy to handle
  • Easy to tame
  • Very hardy
  • Hens are good sitters and attentive mothers
  • Many color varieties available
  • Great as pets
  • Love company
  • Require little space
  • Safe for children
  • Very good for ornamental purpose

The Bad

  • Sometimes the roosters can be aggressive
  • Not good layers
  • Sometimes they need extra care

Is Pekin Chicken Good for You?

Pekin chicken is good for you if you…….

  • Want to raise beautiful chickens.
  • Prefer smaller birds.
  • Want to raise chickens for ornamental purpose rather than meat and eggs.
  • Want to raise colorful chickens with many color varieties available.
  • Want to have some chickens which are friendly and easy to handle.
  • Are willing to have some chickens as pets and which are very easy to tame.
  • Are looking for such chickens which are good sitters and attentive mothers.
  • Have little space and want to raise miniature chicken breeds.

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