Buff Orpington Chickens: Cost, Care and Where to Buy Them
Published: November 28, 2023
The Buff Orpington chicken is popular among backyard chicken keepers, homesteaders, and farmers. Known for its striking golden buff color and friendly demeanor, this breed has been a favorite among poultry enthusiasts since its creation in the late 19th century.
This guide will explore the cost of Buff Orpington chickens, their care requirements, and where you can buy them.
Cost of Buff Orpington Chickens
Factors contributing to the cost of owning buff orpington chickens include the breed's reputation, availability, and purchase location. Generally, Buff Orpingtons can range from $10 to $45 per bird.
Some factors that may affect the cost of a Buff Orpington chicken include its age, pedigree, and whether it is a rare or show-quality bird.
If you want to purchase chicks, hatcheries often offer discounts for buying in bulk. You may also find better deals from private breeders or local poultry auctions.
History and Origin
William Cook created the Buff Orpington chicken in the late 19th century in England. A famous poultry breeder and coachman, Cook aimed to develop a dual-purpose breed that could provide meat and eggs.
He crossed Minorca, Langshan, and Plymouth Rock chickens to develop the Buff Orpington we know today. The Buff Orpington aimed to create a robust, friendly, attractive bird that could thrive in English weather.
The name comes from the town of Orpington in Kent, England, where Cook lived and worked. Buff refers to the golden buff color of the chickens.
The duel-purpose breed became popular in the United States when it arrived in 1903. Since then, Buff Orpingtons have become a staple on farms and backyard flocks.
The American Poultry Association admitted the Orpington colors to its standard as follows:
Buff color – 1902
Black color – 1905
White color – 1905
Blue color – 1923
Able to produce both meat and eggs, this breed is perfect for small homesteads or families who want to be as self-sufficient as possible.
Characteristics and Temperament
Buff Orpingtons are medium to large-sized chickens with a broad, curved back and full, round breasts. They have golden buff-colored feathers ranging from very light to deep hues.
Their bodies tend to be plump, making them great for meat production. The breed also has a single comb and bright red wattles and earlobes.
Buff Orpington Weight
Buff Orpington hens usually weigh around 7-8 pounds, while roosters can reach up to 10-11 pounds. They are also known for being gentle and amiable, making them excellent family pets, especially suitable for households with children.
They are also excellent foragers and adapt well to various climates, making them popular for backyard flocks. Their thick feathers make them cold-hardy, making them suitable for colder regions.
Egg-laying capabilities and annual production
Buff Orpingtons are considered good egg layers, capable of producing around 200-280 light brown eggs per year. However, their focus on being a dual-purpose breed means they may not lay as many eggs as other specific egg-laying breeds.
Their friendly and docile nature makes them suitable for backyard flocks and ideal for families looking to raise their chickens for eggs. They also make excellent broody hens, meaning they will happily sit on their eggs and hatch them.
Considerations for Caring and Raising Buff Orpingtons
If you are thinking of adding Buff Orpington chickens to your flock, there are a few things you should consider to ensure their well-being and happiness.
Buff Orpingtons need adequate housing to protect them from predators and harsh weather conditions. Like all chickens, they require a secure coop with enough space for roosting, nesting, and moving around.
Ideally, their coop should have a run or access to a fenced-in outdoor area to allow them to forage. You'll want to provide at least 4 to 5 square feet of space per bird for the inside of the coop. Outside of the coop, ideally, you'll want to provide at least 10 square feet of space to run.
While they resist colder climates, they are not suited to hotter environments, so providing shade and ventilation is crucial. Environmental requirements include:
Keep the coop dry and clean.
Provide good airflow to prevent respiratory diseases.
Check for drafts in the winter.
Food requirements: what should we feed them?
Buff Orpingtons have a robust appetite, so providing them with a well-balanced diet is essential for their health and productivity. They require a high-protein feed to support egg-laying or meat production, fresh water, and grit for digestion.
To keep them happy, you can supplement their diet with fruits, vegetables, and occasional treats like mealworms or grass clippings.
Health concerns and common diseases
Buff Orpingtons are generally healthy and hardy chickens, but like all breeds, they are susceptible to certain diseases. Some common health concerns include:
Respiratory issues: Caused by poor ventilation or damp conditions.
Coccidiosis: A parasitic disease that affects the digestive system.
Sour crop: This can occur when chickens overeat grass, causing their crop to become impacted and sour.
To ensure your Buff Orpingtons stay healthy, conduct regular health checks, provide a clean living environment, and seek medical attention if you notice any concerning symptoms.
Buff Orpingtons are friendly and gentle chickens, making them excellent in mixed flocks with other docile breeds. However, they may struggle to defend themselves against more dominant or aggressive breeds.
When introducing new chickens to a flock, monitoring their interactions and ensuring all birds have enough space and resources to avoid conflicts is essential.
How to keep them entertained and happy
Buff Orpingtons love to forage, so providing them access to a safe outdoor area can keep them entertained and happy. They also enjoy dustbathing to keep themselves clean and calm, so providing them with an appropriate space for this activity is essential.
You can also provide them enrichment activities, such as hanging treats or placing objects in their coop, to keep them mentally stimulated. Remember to always give a healthy and balanced diet for their overall well-being.
Benefits of Buff Orpingtons
There are many benefits to adding Buff Orpington chickens to your flock, including:
Dual-purpose nature for meat and egg production
Buff Orpingtons are an excellent choice for those looking to raise chickens for both meat and eggs. They have a decent egg-laying capability while also producing plump and flavorful meat.
Docile and friendly nature
Their docile and friendly nature makes them ideal for families with children or small homesteads. They are easy to handle, making them great pets for those looking to raise chickens for companionship.
Buff Orpingtons' thick feathers make them resilient in colder climates, making them suitable for various environments. They are adaptable and thrive in multiple living conditions with proper care and housing.
Buff Orpington hens have a reasonable egg production rate, with each hen laying an average of 200-280 eggs per year. Their eggs are light brown in color and larger than the average chicken egg, weighing around 2-3 ounces.
Their dual-purpose nature means they may not lay as many eggs as specific egg-laying breeds, but their eggs are still of good quality and suitable for consumption. They are also known for their broodiness, meaning they will happily sit on their eggs to hatch them.
Tips on maximizing egg production
Buff Orpington hens generally start laying eggs around 18-20 weeks of age. If you want to get the most out of your Buff Orpington hens, consider these tips:
Provide a nutritious diet: A well-balanced and high-protein diet is essential for egg production. Ensure they can access fresh water, grit, and a good-quality feed.
Keep them on a consistent schedule: Hens thrive on routine, so regular feeding and egg collection schedules can help maximize their productivity.
Provide a comfortable and stress-free environment: Buff Orpingtons are sensitive to stressful situations, which can affect their egg-laying. Ensure they have enough space, shelter, and protection from predators to keep them calm and healthy.
Buff Orpingtons can be a valuable addition to any flock by providing proper care and attention for their dual-purpose nature and friendly temperament. Consider these tips and considerations when caring for your Buff Orpington chickens to ensure their happiness and productivity.
With proper care and attention, your flock of Buff Orpingtons will provide you with delicious eggs, delightful companionship, and a beautiful addition to your homestead or backyard.
Buff Orpingtons are known for their large size and plumpness, making them a favorite choice for meat production. The average weight of a mature Buff Orpington rooster is 7-8 pounds, while hens weigh around 6 pounds.
To maximize their meat production potential, it is essential to provide them with a high-protein diet and enough space to move around and exercise. Regular health checks and proper care will also ensure their meat is of good quality for consumption.
Tips on raising Buff Orpingtons for meat
Plan your breeding: If you are planning to raise Buff Orpingtons for meat, it is essential to have a controlled breeding program in place. This ensures you have enough roosters for meat production while maintaining a healthy balance in your flock.
Monitor weight gain: Keep an eye on the weight of your Buff Orpingtons to ensure they are growing steadily and healthily. If you notice any significant fluctuations, it may be a sign of illness or nutritional deficiencies.
Slaughter humanely: When it is time to process your Buff Orpingtons for meat, ensure you do so humanely and ethically. Seek professional advice or assistance if needed.
Buff Orpingtons are an excellent choice for raising chickens for eggs and meat, with their dual-purpose nature and friendly demeanor. Proper care and attention are vital to keeping them happy, healthy, and productive.
Raising and Caring for Buff Orpingtons
Buff Orpingtons are relatively easy to raise and care for, making them an ideal choice for beginner chicken keepers. Here are some essential tips and considerations when raising Buff Orpingtons:
Housing: Provide enough space for your Buff Orpingtons to move around, exercise, and roost comfortably. A secure coop with proper ventilation is also necessary. Consider adding nesting boxes for egg collection and raised perches for roosting.
Feeding: A well-balanced and high-protein diet is essential for Buff Orpingtons' health and productivity. Offer them a mix of commercial feed, fresh vegetables and fruits, and occasional treats like mealworms or scratch grains.
Health care: Regularly check your flock for any signs of illness or injury. Keep their coop and living space clean to prevent the spread of diseases and parasites.
Handling: Buff Orpingtons have a friendly nature, but handling them with care and respect is still essential. Avoid grabbing them suddenly or applying too much pressure on their bodies. If you have children, supervise their interactions with the chickens to prevent accidents.
Caring for chicks and young chickens
Buff Orpington chicks are relatively easy to care for, needing a warm and safe environment, fresh food and water, and proper supervision. As they grow, ensure they have enough room to move and exercise to prevent developmental issues.
As young chickens, Buff Orpingtons will start developing their distinctive golden buff color at around 6-8 weeks. By this time, they can also start eating a more substantial feed like grower or starter feed before transitioning to layer feed when they reach maturity.
Best practices for egg collection and broodiness
If you are raising Buff Orpingtons for egg production, it is essential to follow best practices when collecting eggs and dealing with broody hens:
Collect eggs regularly
Ideally, collect eggs twice daily - once in the morning and once in the evening. This helps ensure eggs do not accumulate and get cracked or dirty. The best time to collect eggs is in the morning before chickens have started their daily routine.
Deal with broodiness carefully
If a Buff Orpington hen becomes broody, she will stop laying eggs as she focuses on hatching them. If you do not want your hen to hatch eggs, carefully remove her from the nest and discourage her broodiness by separating her from other hens or providing a comfortable alternative area for nesting. However, if you want to hatch eggs, give the hen a private, quiet space and provide her with fertile eggs from a reputable source.
Creating a comfortable and enriching environment for Buff Orpingtons
Buff Orpingtons are a docile and friendly breed, but they still need a comfortable and enriching environment to thrive. Here are some tips on how to provide the best living space for your Buff Orpingtons:
Provide enough space: Buff Orpingtons can be quite large, so ensure you have at least 4 square feet of coop space per chicken and at least 10 square feet of outdoor space per bird.
Keep their coop clean: Regularly cleaning and maintaining their coop is essential for the health and well-being of your Buff Orpingtons. This includes removing soiled bedding, refreshing nesting boxes, and keeping the area free from pests.
Add enrichment: Buff Orpingtons are curious birds and enjoy exploring and pecking at different objects. Add chicken-safe toys or hanging treats to keep them mentally stimulated and entertained.
Provide shelter: Buff Orpingtons can be sensitive to hot temperatures, so ensure their coop is well-ventilated to keep them comfortable throughout the year.
Allow for natural behaviors: Buff Orpingtons are excellent foragers and love to scratch and dust-bathe. Allow them space and time to engage in these natural behaviors.
Breed Standards for Buff Orpingtons
The American Poultry Association sets breed standards for chicken breeds, including Buff Orpingtons. According to these standards, a purebred Buff Orpington should have a deep, broad body with well-rounded contours. The feathers should be soft and fluffy with no indication of leg feathering or other colors mixed in.
The color of the feathers should be a uniform golden buff with no white, black, or other color markings. The legs and beak should be pinkish-white, and the comb, wattles, and earlobes should have a bright red hue. A mature Buff Orpington hen should weigh around 6 pounds, while roosters can reach up to 8 pounds.
Where Can You Find or Purchase Buff Orpingtons?
Buff Orpingtons are at many hatcheries, feed stores, and local breeders. When purchasing Buff Orpingtons, do your research and find a reputable source that breeds healthy and purebred chickens.
Hatcheries vs. Breeders vs. Online sources
There are three main options for purchasing Buff Orpingtons: hatcheries, breeders, and online sources. Here are some things to consider when choosing where to buy your Buff Orpingtons:
Hatcheries: Hatcheries are a popular option for purchasing chicks and young chickens. They usually offer various breeds, including Buff Orpingtons, and ship them directly to your doorstep.
Breeders: Individuals or small-scale operations specializing in breeding specific chicken breeds, including Buff Orpingtons. You can often find breeders at local poultry shows or through online directories.
Online sources: Many websites and online marketplaces offer Buff Orpingtons for sale from hatcheries, breeders, or individuals. When purchasing online, ensure they have good reviews and a solid reputation.
No matter where you purchase your Buff Orpingtons, ensure they come from a healthy and reputable source to start your flock off on the right foot.
Considerations for selecting healthy and high-quality Buff Orpingtons
When selecting Buff Orpingtons for your flock, consider the following factors to ensure you are getting healthy and high-quality chickens:
Physical appearance: Look for birds that appear healthy, alert, and active with clean feathers. Avoid birds with any signs of illness or deformities.
Breeding history: Ask about the breeding history of the chickens you are interested in. Reputable breeders will have records of their birds' lineage and any potential genetic issues.
Age: Consider the age of the chickens you are purchasing. Younger hens will produce eggs for a longer period, while older hens may be closer to the end of their egg-laying years.
Vaccinations and health screenings: Ask about any vaccinations or health screenings the chickens have received, and ensure they are up-to-date on necessary vaccinations for diseases common in your area.
A Fine Addition to Any Backyard Flock
Overall, Buff Orpingtons make a fantastic addition to any backyard flock. With their docile nature, excellent egg-laying abilities, and beautiful golden plumage, they are sure to be a favorite among chicken enthusiasts.
You can enjoy these charming chickens in your backyard by following best practices for caring for Buff Orpingtons and selecting healthy birds from reputable sources.