The fluffier the cochins, the less they can do the deed on their own. My old mottled rooster could never get it done......never got any fertile eggs the entire time I owned him...up until one little batch this summer. Just random. But its pretty obvious it was a very heavily mottled hen......which is one of my less fluffy girls.
anyways, yes....if you want to show, you usually need to do AI. If they are fluffy enough to do well at shows, they usually cant do the deed on their own.
My birds have too much fluff and feathers to get fertile eggs if I do not pluck or AI. I find that if you clip the feathers the feathers DO NOT grow back until the bird molts. If you pluck you get 6-10 weeks of fertile eggs. You have to pluck the male around the vent and lower. The hen has to be plucked around the vent and up so no feathers get in the way of making the connection. There are indeed times of the year when birds are out of feather and nothing needs to be done to get fertile eggs. If there is a chance you want to show the hen/pullet you almost have to AI so her tail and saddle feathers don't get damaged during breeding.
I agree with this. I had to trim feathers on a hen early early spring. Unrelated to breeding....wound issue. Anyway, never grew back......she just started molting this week, so hopefully will be back in time for spring shows.