The Pekin Chicken

The Pekin chicken is a bantam originating in China. They could almost be considered a miniature bantam, sometimes less than 8 to 12 inches tall. Legs and feet are to be fully feathered and they should hold their heads high. Available in a wide variety of colors the Pekin is a “true bantam” with no large variety.

The breed has been mistaken for a bantam Cochin due to some similarities and origins. The Pekin seems to be mistakenly considered a Cochin Bantam currently in the U.S. and Canada. There is much controversy, though purists consider the two breeds diverse.


Chinese Pekin Chicken, The Facts:

Class: Bantam

Size: Male: 1.5 Ibs. / Female: 1.25 Ibs.

Comb, Wattles & Earlobes: Red, straight comb

Color: The list of available colors is wide and getting wider and includeds: black, white, mottled, red, buff, and lavender. The stability and popularity of the breed has caused fanciers to continue working to produce new and more rare colors; the rarer the color, the more popular it seems to be.

Place of Origin: China

Conservation Status: popular & common


With frequent and gentle handling the Pekin can enjoy “pet chicken” status for adults and children; happily roosting in a trusted lap and appreciating being petted and groomed.

The little roosters are known to be ferociously protective of their territories, especially when it comes to protecting their hens and young. Some Pekin roosters are reported to share incubating duties; protecting and warming eggs while their hens get a break to eat, drink and stretch their legs.

The roosters have longer foot feathering than hens. Both sexes can be described as round, with their posture tipped forward aided by the visual sloping of a head height a little lower than tail feather height. This characteristic tilt makes the Pekin bantam easily distinguishable from the Bantam Cochin. With a round shape and such feathery legs the Pekin appears very low to the ground.

Pekin hens go broody easily, being steadfast setters and diligent mothers.

The history of the Pekin’s spread from China is possibly a bit cloak and dagger. During the Opium Wars, circa 1860, it is said the first Pekins to leave the Emperor’s private collection were looted. Other reports say the Emperor of China at Peking (now Beijing) made a gift to the English Queen Victoria of a small flock under the breed name: “Shanghai”, possibly as early as 1835. Future imported breeding stock was bred back to this original gift in England. The newer name “Pekin” was given in honor of their credited city of origin.

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