Saturday, December 26, 2015

Chicken Evaluation: Part Three....The Buff Orpingtons

This is the third breed we have and they have been unique right from the start. The Buff Orpington is a Dual Purpose breed know to be broody and gentle.

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!

    We did not loose any from shipping and they went right to eating and drinking. They were friendly and quiet, noticeably different than the other chicks. They would come up to our hands right away and liked to be held. Using that time in our hands to look around and observe their new digs.

    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.

   We enjoy their blend of friendly yet independent attitude. The chicks grew fast and adapted to whatever feed we gave them and loved the introduction of potato peels and the like. We had no pecking issues to speak of with these chicks.

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.

They might be quiet and friendly but they are super active as pasture chickens and range as far as the Buckeyes, there is not one Buff in the group of house chickens. Today as I write this it is raining hard and the only chicken in sight is a young, very. very wet young Buff Cockerel.

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.


  1. Fiona, you will really enjoy your Buffs on the table as well. They dress out a nice carcass and get to be a good size by butchering age. All of our chicks this year are half Buff, from our rooster. He is large, friendly to people, calls his hens to eat when we bring them scraps or put out grain, and is protective of them as well, sending out warning calls when he feels a threat is near. Buff Orpingtons are excellent chickens and I would highly recommend them. Good choice!


  2. I agree with your assessment totally. Our buffs (fluffy butts) are now 7 months old and already laying large eggs, almost one a day. I do prefer a bird with dark eyes, but that's just me. Loose feathered chickens do better in cold weather, too, I think. This is our first experience with the Buffs and are happily surprised with them. Now we need a Buff rooster for them. Funny how we were always overrun with roosters but now we have none. Quiet, friendly chickens that lay large eggs....what's not to like?

    1. They are sweet and we find them the most "talkative"!

  3. This is really interesting. Who knew chickens have characters?

    I’ll never have of my own now but I am learning through you how enjoyable a yard full of clucking, high stepping chickens can be.

    1. They are endlessly it is windy here...the Buff's still want to go outside, then when the wind blows them around they look quite put out! One young rooster actually looked at his own tail when a gust of wind caught it!

  4. I really like my buffs - and they are so talkative! The most talkative hen I have is a speckled Sussex, who follows me everywhere, commenting on everything I do and say! It will be interesting to hear about the next step.

  5. Sounds like you may have a favorite on your hands! Most people really like Buff Orpingtons. My Buffs never failed to go broody every summer too, another plus.