The Buff chicken breed is one of the most popular and loved chickens in the poultry world.
They are dual-purpose birds that are excellent for backyard chicken keepers who want to raise a flock that will ensure a constant supply of eggs while equally suitable for the table.
These birds are great for beginners and children. If you plan to add them to your backyard flock, you have come to the right place.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about Buff Orpington chickens, including their history, appearance, personality, and egg production. Keep reading to learn more.
History And Background
In the late 1800s, most domestic chickens in England were either good table chickens or good layers.
As a rule, the ideal egg layers were rangy and scrawny. The best table birds rarely lay eggs or just lay small eggs.
However, in 1886, William Cook changed the standard of domestic birds for good. He lived in the town of Orpington, England.
He wanted to create a bird that was good at laying eggs as well as good as a table chicken.
He created the Orpington breed by selecting and breeding the best qualities from a selection of good table chickens and egg layers.
The first Orpington chicken had black feathers. He later developed a variety of colors, including a “buff” or golden color variation.
Today, the Buff Orpington chicken is well known as a show bird. Their pretty golden color makes them a great addition to any farm or family.
However, that does not mean that the bird’s kitchen and egg-laying abilities have faded since its creation. They can lay up to 200 eggs in a year.
It is believed that these birds used to lay up to 340 eggs per year. However, the number has slightly decreased as their breed standard and appearance became more important than their egg production.
The birds first arrived in America in 1891. Today, they are still adorable and productive birds that can be a good addition to any backyard flock.
Appearance And Breed Standard
The Orpington is a curvy chicken with a heavy full body and a short back. Their legs are sturdy and set wide apart to keep balance.
They are also generously feathered, with the feathers being loose. Roosters have a single larger comb and wattles, while hens have a medium-sized comb.
According to the American Poultry Association, here are the qualifications that a standard Orpington must meet.
These birds come in four different colors. The golden color or “buff” was accepted by the Poultry Club of Great Britain in 1902.
The white and black colors were accepted in 1905, while the blue was accepted in 1927. The Buff Orpingtons are the most common of the four varieties.
Buff Orpingtons are relatively tall birds, standing between 11 and 14 inches. Male birds may be slightly larger than their female counterparts.
Orpington chickens are dual-purpose birds bred both for meat and egg production. As a result, a rooster weighs about 10 pounds, while a hen weighs around 8 pounds.
Personality And Temperament
Because of their hybrid vigor, Buff Orpingtons are friendly birds. They can do well if raised with other birds and will enjoy being part of a large backyard flock.
Besides, they are friendly and children and adults.
Like roosters of most other breeds of chickens, a Buff Orpington rooster can be slightly more aggressive and territorial than the hens.
This is common if you have only one rooster in your flock. You can socialize your bird if you notice it acting more aggressive towards other birds or humans.
You can help your Orpington chicken work through any temperament issues by carrying or holding them throughout the day.
Some owners have said that their chickens love to sit on their laps while relaxing around the house or working.
Because of their docile temperament and calm nature, they can be a target for more assertive birds.
Therefore, you should avoid raising them alongside aggressive chicken breeds like the Rhode Island Reds.
They should only share a coop with calm, non-aggressive chickens like the Cochins.
You can consider this breed if you are looking for a sweet and relaxed chicken to add to your coop. They are great pets that will play well with your children.
One of the reasons why the Buff Orpington chicken was created is for egg production.
Therefore, you can expect your Buff Orpington hens to be prolific layers that will ensure you have a constant supply of eggs throughout the year.
Under good care and proper nutrition, a Buff Orpington hen will lay 3 to 5 eggs a week. This translates to around 170 to 200 eggs a year.
They usually lay light brown, medium-sized eggs. Compared to many breeds, Buff Orpington hens tend to start laying eggs a bit earlier. Most hens will start laying eggs at around 28 weeks old.
These birds are prone to broodiness. Therefore, if you want chicks in your backyard, they are a good choice. Once they hatch, they make great mothers for their chicks.
You can increase egg production by closely monitoring their diet. Giving them foods high in calcium and protein will help them lay more eggs regularly.
A high-calcium and high-protein diet will also help your chickens to stay healthy and happy all the time.
Health Issues And Care
Buff Orpingtons are born healthy chickens without any hereditary health issues. They are resilient birds, making them a great option for beginners.
Unlike the average chicken, these birds can handle colder temperatures. With warm feathers, they can do well in damp climates.
However, they are prone to mites and fleas because of their dense feathers. You will have to check them for parasites regularly.
Besides, you should have a spot in your backyard where they can dust-bathe to keep their skin and feathers clean and pest-free.
The birds also have a propensity towards obesity. They can eat nearly anything placed in front of them, even if they are not hungry.
Therefore, you must keep a close eye on their daily food intake. You must also ensure that they have enough coop space to run around.
These birds love food, and most will sit near feeders the whole day. They are good at free-ranging like most other breeds.
You can allow them to move freely around your backyard to forage and as a way of exercising.
Your laying hens will need plenty of protein to lay many eggs. They will also require calcium in their diet to help form strong eggshells.
In addition to food, your birds will also need plenty of clean, fresh water.
Your Buff Orpingtons will require a coop space of 4 square feet per chicken. If you can provide more space, then do so.
While they do not mind crowding together in winter, they like a bit of personal space in summer.
Every bird will need at least 8 inches of perch space for perch space. You should also remember not to place the perches above 20 to 25 inches from the ground to avoid leg injuries.
When designing your coop, you must ensure that it has one nesting box for every three chickens. The more nesting boxes, the better.
Your coop should also have a chicken coop run to roam around freely.
To avoid bad behaviors and boredom, you can give your birds plenty of space and things to fill their space.
Things like dust baths and cabbage tetherballs will make them stay occupied. You should also provide shade in the summer months.
Buff Orpingtons are adorable chickens that can be an excellent addition to any backyard flock.
They are friendly birds that will relate well with both adults and children. This makes them great pets.
In addition, these dual-purpose birds are great table chickens as well as good in egg production.
Like any other chicken breed, your Buff Orpington chickens will require good care and proper nutrition to live a longer and more productive life.
You must ensure they are regularly checked for parasites like mites and fleas.
In addition, you must provide them with plenty of coop space and ensure that their coop is clean.