ByJohn Eire, writer at Creators.co
Starting in your 20s, everyone expects you to live a cookie cutter life. I think I ate the dough.
John Eire

Everyone's got their favorite game. Heck, everyone probably has their own Zelda list. You've got people who pine over Ocarina of Time's grounded setting and pacing, people who laud the oppressive and alien atmosphere of Majora's Mask, people who adore the adventurous and whimsical setting of Wind Waker, and so on. But has anyone ever really stopped to think which Zelda game has the best chickens (or, as they are called in Hyrule and its surrounding lands, Cuccos?)

I know what you're thinking. "Why would I do that?"

Because Cuccos are an essential part of the Zelda experience, that's why.

16. 'The Legend of Zelda'

No Cuccos. Terrible game. Next.

I suppose there was no room for Cuccos in this dismal version of Hyrule.
I suppose there was no room for Cuccos in this dismal version of Hyrule.

15. 'Adventure of Link'

Still no Cuccos. Yawn.

Pictured: A barren wasteland, devoid of chickens.
Pictured: A barren wasteland, devoid of chickens.

14. 'Wind Waker'

I guess they died along with Hyrule. R.I.P.

Maybe they're still down there? Maybe they evolved into fish? We'll never know.
Maybe they're still down there? Maybe they evolved into fish? We'll never know.

13. 'Skyward Sword'

Still no chickens! What gives? That's four Cucco-less games too many. However, Skyward Sword might have an excuse - it takes place so far back in the timeline that it's possible that they didn't exist yet, and it does have Loftwings.

Loftwings are no substitute for a proper Cucco, but they are birds of a sort, I guess.
Loftwings are no substitute for a proper Cucco, but they are birds of a sort, I guess.

12. 'Phantom Hourglass'

Art by Chelostracks on Deviantart.
Art by Chelostracks on Deviantart.

Finally, a game with chickens. However, unlike normal Cuccos, these inferior incarnations only attack Link for a few seconds before stopping their assault. Phantom Hourglass has the laziest, least capable chickens in a Zelda game, not counting the games that don't have them at all. They are also more easily irritated than most - it only takes three hits to begin their rampage, as opposed to five. So they're irate and lazy. Worst. Chickens. Ever.

11. 'Spirit Tracks'

I like to think it's wearing a tie, even though I know that's not the case.
I like to think it's wearing a tie, even though I know that's not the case.

The same lazy Cuccoos from Phantom Hourglass return, only this time they serve a purpose besides simply being there. Link can buy them in Aboda Village in order to help with the Force Gem quest, and they are needed to float through the air in order to reach certain areas, such as a Stamp Station at the Sand Sanctuary. While a bit more useful than their Phantom Hourglass counterparts, they're actually even weaker. If they do decide to attack Link, Link can stun them with his whirlwind. They're not even invincible like they're supposed to be!

10. 'Tri-force Heroes'

Art by Finni, revealing why Purple Link didn't make it into the game.
Art by Finni, revealing why Purple Link didn't make it into the game.

You can use them in the Sky Realm to fly over chasms. Link can also acquire a Cucco Feather, a material item used to make clothing. They're here, and they serve a purpose, but their presence is limited, and they're mostly relegated to being used as tools. Overall, these are pretty pathetic chickens.

9. 'Link's Awakening'

The Flying Rooster, the redeeming piece of Koholint's Cucco legacy.
The Flying Rooster, the redeeming piece of Koholint's Cucco legacy.

While these incarnations of Cuccos are appropriately dangerous if provoked, there's nothing else all that special about them. Link's Awakening introduces a long-extinct variation of Cucco by the name of the Flying Rooster, but other than that, they're pretty par for the course. These Cuccos can actually be killed with magic powder, or burned to death with the Magic Rod. They're the only Cuccos that can die. Not a good look, Koholint Cuccos. Not a good look.

8. 'Oracle of Ages/Seasons'

Had this mustachioed Cucco from the beta made it into the full game, I would have had to seriously reconsider the ranking of the Oracle games.
Had this mustachioed Cucco from the beta made it into the full game, I would have had to seriously reconsider the ranking of the Oracle games.

These aren't that different from the chickens found in Link's Awakening, although they are invincible, like they're supposed to be. However, in Oracle of Seasons, Link can find two special Cuccos that can be used to help him fly across Goron Mountain, so there's a few bonus points for utility.

7. 'Minish Cap'

See those cute little yellow guys? Meanest of the bunch.
See those cute little yellow guys? Meanest of the bunch.

Cuccos are even more dangerous than they normally are in this game, thanks to the fact that Link can shrink himself to a fraction of their size. Cucco Chicks will attack mini-Link on sight, revealing a more aggressive side to the normally docile Cucco. However, aside from this, the Cuccos in Minish Cap are fairly average.

6. 'Majora's Mask'

Everyone knows the best way to raise a baby chicken is to have it march in a parade.
Everyone knows the best way to raise a baby chicken is to have it march in a parade.

Now we start to get to the special chickens. Grog, the keeper of the Cucco Shack in Romani Ranch, raises them like regular chickens. However, Link can use the Bremen Mask to lead Cucco chicks behind him in a baby Cucco parade, rapidly aging them into adult Cuccos. This is notably adorable, and a unique way to implement chickens into a Zelda game.

Why not put these in 'Wind Waker'? It'd make more sense. Not that that's saying much.
Why not put these in 'Wind Waker'? It'd make more sense. Not that that's saying much.

The 3DS remake also added Cuccofish, which are bizarre... chicken... fish... things. This is definitely unique, but also sort of creepy. Why do these exist? I know Termina is a messed up place, but chickenfish? That's going too far.

5. 'Ocarina of Time'

The special blue Cucco even has a name. Cojiro the Cucco. I like it.
The special blue Cucco even has a name. Cojiro the Cucco. I like it.

Perhaps the most well known entry in the series, Ocarina of Time, has fairly standard Cuccos. However, a standard Cucco is a good Cucco, and Ocarina of Time doesn't skimp out on their usefulness (nor their aggressiveness). Unlike their cel-shaded cousins from Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, Ocarina of Time's chickens are invincible and relentless. However, they also take only three hits to summon a swarm of angry birds hellbent on Link's destruction - while this is what any respectable Cucco swarm should be, it does show a lack of tolerance when compared to other, more emotionally resilient chickens.

Link can use Cuccos to help him fly through the air to reach far off destinations, and they are the subject of several mini-games and sidequests scattered throughout Hyrule. Ocarina of Time has a special Cucco by the name of the Pocket Cucco, which is used to wake Talon in order to get a second special Cucco. This second Cucco is colored blue, and both are used in a trading quest to help Link get the most powerful sword in the game, The Biggoron Sword. Useful, malicious, and capable. These are respectable chickens.

4. 'A Link to the Past'

This is what happens when you mess with Cuccos. I give Link five seconds to live.
This is what happens when you mess with Cuccos. I give Link five seconds to live.

Like Ocarina of Time, these Cuccos are about what you'd expect out of the series. What sets them apart from their three dimensional brethren is their patience, their usefulness, and their uniqueness. It takes five hits to summon "the swarm" as opposed to three, showing a level of resilience that Ocarina's Cuccos do not. Link can summon a Cucco with his Ocarina to ferry him to destinations that he's already visited, which is one of the most useful fast travel mechanics in the series. And, in the corrupted Dark World, we see a dreadful, skeletal variant of our beloved white animals, which contribute quite a bit to the oppressive atmosphere of Ganon's kingdom.

3. 'A Link Between Worlds'

A Lorulean Cucco looks more like a vulture than a chicken. As they say, variety is the spice of life!
A Lorulean Cucco looks more like a vulture than a chicken. As they say, variety is the spice of life!

These are basically the same Cuccos from A Link to the Past, with all of the same pros. However, rather than the skeletal Cuccos of the Dark World, we're introduced to the Lorulian Cucco, a vulture-like variant of our well established friend. A Link Between Worlds adds to the relevance of the Cucco a bit by adding a mini-game dedicated to avoiding a swarm of violent chickens. In this dangerous game, we see several other variants of Cuccos - there are large and yellow versions along with the standard white Cuccos that we're used to. A Link Between Worlds gains points for showing us that Cuccos can come in all shapes and sizes.

2. 'Four Swords Adventures'

These guys were born to be used as weapons.
These guys were born to be used as weapons.

Cuccos can be used as weapons to steal force gems from other players. What else needs to be said? These creatures were born to be weaponized. Major bonus points for using them as nature intended.

1. Twilight Princess

Link's quest would have failed without the Golden Cucco. Underrated character.
Link's quest would have failed without the Golden Cucco. Underrated character.

The game that does Cuccos the most justice is, without a doubt, Twilight Princess. In this game, Cuccos come in various colors outside of the usual white, and the Golden Cucco allows Link to fly even farther than usual. The Golden Cucco is so important that its aid is required to return to The Sacred Grove later in the game, making it an essential part of Link's adventure.

Twilight Princess also allows Link to talk to Cuccos while in Wolf form, giving them a personality and a voice that no other game does. There's a Cucco in The Hidden Village that's the leader of a bunch of a cats, implying that the animal kingdom is well aware of these creature's blatant superiority. Some of the Cuccos even mention escaping Falbi's Flight-by-Fowl minigame in order to live a normal life, giving them an extra layer of sympathy that no other incarnation of Cuccos have. The Cuccos in Twilight Princess are also capable of swimming, something no other Hyrulean Chicken has been seen doing.

WHOA GEE- I mean, uh, nice to meet you! (What the heck is this thing!? Ooccoos put Cuccofish to shame.)
WHOA GEE- I mean, uh, nice to meet you! (What the heck is this thing!? Ooccoos put Cuccofish to shame.)

Twilight Princess also introduced us to the Ooccoo, an ancient race responsible for building cities high in the sky. If the Ooccoo are related to the Cucco, it's entirely possible that the Cuccos and their relatives have been far more important in Hyrulian history than we've been led to think.


So there you have it. Each Zelda, ranked by how well it treats its chickens.

How do you feel about Cuccos in Zelda games? Sound off in the comments below!

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