Here is an excerpt from the ALBC website:
" The qualities that won all the Orpington chicken varieties recognition were fast rate of growth, excellent egg production, and excellent table-quality. Historically, Orpington chickens made excellent broilers weighing 2 to 2.5 lbs at 8-10 weeks of age, excellent roasting chickens at 5 months of age, and excellent old fowl for the table as well. They are first-rate layers of large light to dark brown eggs. In fact, they were entered into the first egg-laying contest, held at the North Yorkshire farm of Simon Hunter of Northallerton, England, in 1887.
Orpington chickens were recognized by the American Poultry Association as a standard bred in four varieties: Buff, 1902; Black, 1905; White, 1905; and Blue, 1923. Males weigh 10lbs, females 8 lbs. They are listed as recovering."
We liked the thought of a flock of Black and Gold birds, but perhaps the key to our selecting these chickens was their noted Broodiness. These chicks arrived at the Munfordville post office on the 21st of September. They were bright and vigorous tiny fluffballs of gold!
The biggest problem we had with them was their total lack of fear, they would run around under our feet while we tried to feed them and we had our first casualty from that tendency. One got stepped on despite Ralph's extreme caution.
They took to going outside quickly and despite being quite a bit younger than the Australorpes and Buckeyes made themselves right at home in the bigger pen and outside.
The sight of fuzzy Buff Butts made us smile a lot. They have a much different feather as growing chicks than the Buckeye or Australorpes.
Soon Buff's were showing up everywhere and often pushing the other chickens out of the feeder. The Buff's were the only chicks to figure out how to get into the feeders and eat from the top down. All the feeders soon sported tops held down with rocks so the Buff' didn't get in to them.
They range well and love the Johnson Gras jungle to the west of the buildings. Often there are 10 to 20 of them out there in little bunches hiding from the Vultures and foraging for bugs. They are deadly on crickets and love some of the bigger black beetles we had around here.
This is a breed full of mischief, they are always on top of things or out where you least expect a chicken to be. The young roosters are growing quickly and we have none with bad feet. They fight less than the other chickens but don't back down in a corner. The young pullets are sweet and always come up to see what we have and they are very vocal...always cooing and chiruccking as they investigate things. They love to burrow down in the hay in the barn and still get out to explore. They are always on top of the situation so to speak...if its there they will sit on it!
All in all the Buff's have the makings of a great Farmstead chicken, at this point they are a delight and a totally satisfactory choice. Again we now go into the next stage of evaluation, table birds and how they dress out.
A 3 month old Buff Orpington Cockerel.
If you are considering a breed of chicken for your small farm or backyard these birds would be perfect, if you have children even more so. However I do think after watching them they will do better with room to roam. I am sure they are quiet enough that having them in a run would be fine but they do love to "free Range".
Now we wait and watch and learn more. The next Chicken evaluation is coming up when we decide to butcher some of the roosters.
Take care and be safe.