Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Chicken Evaluation: Part 1 'The Buckeyes'

Well it has been just over 3 months since we got our first shipment of chicks. The Australorpes and Buckeyes arrived on September the 8th.

We have enjoyed all the chicks very much and now they are becoming teenagers. We are evaluating what we have learned about each breed.

The Buckeyes were my choice and I am very pleased over all. They are very interesting chickens. They are a breed listed as 'Threatened' by the ALBC and that means there are less than 1000 registrations in a year in the US with less than 5000  worldwide.
They are a lovely color..deep mahogany with iridescent tails on the roosters. They have pea combs and are suited to most climates.

This is the description from the ALBC Website.
The Buckeye is a dual-purpose breed of chicken with a deep, lustrous red color of plumage. They have yellow legs and skin, and, thanks to their pea comb, are very cold-weather hardy. While Buckeyes adapt readily to a variety of living conditions, they do best under free-range conditions or conditions where they have room to move around. Because of their active nature they do not do especially well in small confined spaces. Roosters weigh approximately nine pounds; hens weigh approximately six and a half pounds and lay medium-sized, brown eggs.

The Buckeye chicks arrived in good health and were a wide range of shades. They were pale with light brown markings to quite red brown.

We noticed right away that the Buckeye chicks, although not nervous were extremely observant and active. They never stopped moving until they literally dropped mid run into nap mode.

I never did manage to get good photos of was always a mass of blurred images! They were a lot smaller than the Australorpe but that didn't deter them from being territorial or getting all the feed they wanted. They were the first to catch and eat crickets that wandered into the pen. They were curious and always rushed up to see what we were bringing them when we fed them but they did not like to be picked up at all.

We did have pecking problems when they got bigger, mostly due to the fact the Buckeyes did not back down at all and always seemed to pick fights with the bigger Australorpe chicks. We called them the Kungfu-Kick boxers. In retrospect we would not keep both these breeds together as growing chicks. Now they are nearly adults they are fine but the aggressive nature of the Buckeye caused more trouble than milder chicks would have.

They took to going outside exceptionally well. They forage and started to show that behavior when we first let them outside, they were always the chicks at the furthest end of the pen and now they range all over the place and thrive on the pasture and activity of free range. The showed the Australorpes the way around the pasture and the Buckeyes were also the first to eat the table scraps.

We often remarked at how they never walk, they run full speed from place to place and just check everything they see out.

We like the way these young chickens are growing. They are not a fast growing breed but we note they steadily get bigger and show signs of the stocky, sturdy birds we want for our farm flock. They have bright yellow/orange legs and big feet. Their backs are wide and when you pick one up [with much complaining from said Buckeye] they are solid and noticeably heavier than the Australorpes.
They are not pet chickens. However they are very friendly chickens. If we are doing something in the yard they will come around to see whats up and when we work in the tobacco barn there are often Buckeyes laying near by. Picking them up.....well they seem to think that is plain old sissy stuff.

Buckeyes forage, they have discovered the Johnson Grass in the west pasture and thrive in it, it offers protection from over head threats and lots of bugs and fresh shoots of green for them to scratch up and eat. At this stage of their development we would heartily recommend this breed to any one who is looking for a real farm type chicken.

3 Month Old Buckeye Cockerel.

 We still have to find out how suited to the table these birds are, we ordered straight run and right now it looks like we have about 60% roosters. Then we have to evaluate the laying ability and broodiness of the hens.

It is going to be interesting to watch them develop further. We have to admit we are looking forward to our first roast Buckeye.

God Bless you all.



  1. I am glad you posted about your Buckeyes. We thought about adding them to our flock at one time. I also heard they were good mousers! Keep us posted on how well they are as a dual purpose breed.

    1. We have found two dead mice in the grassy area by one of the feeders, both had signs of chicken predation but we are not sure who killed them. They love to catch crickets and stand with their heads cooked to one side listening for bugs in the grass.

  2. When will the roosters hit the roasting pan, Fiona? We have some 10 week old chicks that we will be butchering in about a month. Some will go in the freezer, but most will go in jars along with broth from the bones. Thank you for the review, we are not familiar with this breed.


    1. We think we will butcher some of the bigger roosters in mid January. There are two with crooked toes that are not breeding material. They are a slower maturing breed.

  3. I agree with everything you say about them. I have one. She is always in motion and shoots out of the coop in the morning like her pants are on fire! I would definitely add more to my flock. I am anxious to see if she is a good layer, although no one is laying at the moment.

  4. Buckeye is a breed I've considered, so I'm interested in your observations and conclusions. They are certainly a handsome bird!

  5. Great article about this wonderful breed!