Buckeye chickens | chicken breeds
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Buckeye chickens

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Buckeye chickens

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Chicken Breed Info:

Purpose: Dual Purpose
Comb: Pea
Broodiness: Average
Climate Tolerance: All Climates

General Egg Info:

Productivity: Medium
Size: Medium
Color: Brown

Breed Temperament:

Friendly,Wild / restless,Noisy

Breed Colors / Varieties:

No Variations in color, but also available as a Bantam.

Chicken Breed History:

Buckeyes came into existence through the efforts of Mrs. Nettie Metcalf in Warren, Ohio. This is the only species of chicken known to have been developed by a woman. Mrs. Metcalf started crossing Buff Cochin males with Barred Rock females. She was not happy with this cross because she considered them large and lazy so a black breasted red game fowl male was introduced to the resulting Buff Cochin/Barred Rock offspring. This produced several red offspring and the early ancestors were born. Mrs. Metcalf’s chickens were being bred and raised at the same time as another red breed which was gaining popularity. That “RED” breed is known as the Rhode Island Red. Many believe Mrs. Metcalf’s red chickens predated the now common egg layer. As early as 1896, she learned of RIR being bred on the east coast and traded stock with breeders of the new variety. She promptly named her birds, “Pea Combed Rhode Island Red”. This hurt her new breed more than it helped with their popularity, so prior to exhibiting at the fair in 1902, she introduced her chickens as Buckeyes. The American Poultry Association first recognized the Buckeye as an individual unique breed in 1904. Buckeyes, structurally, are very different from a Rhode Island Red. They are more slanted with broader backs and more muscular thighs. Buckeyes, in the early 1900’s, had a similar appearance to the Cornish chicken. Buckeyes have a rich mahogany outer plumage with a slate color down. They are tight feathered with the roosters having black/green irridescent tail feathers. The hens have black tips. Both sexes have pea combs with small to medium sized waddles. The occasional single comb with larger waddles is still found in the breed but is not preferred by poultry exhibitors. The pea comb and tight feathering makes the Buckeye very suitable to colder climates. In fact, they handle the cold so well, they will continue to lay throughout the winter months. They are also tolerant of very hot and dry conditions. Roosters average about 9 pounds and hens 6 1/2 to 7 pounds. They make wonderful dual purpose birds with yellow skin, large breast area and good thigh meat. Buckeyes have their own unique personalities. They are a very active bird that prefer to free range though a large coop with run is suitable. They are a vocal bird and will spat with each other, lifting their neck feathers frequently asserting their place in the pecking order. Roosters can be territorial during breeding season. Hens are friendly and make good pets. Pullets will start to lay medium sized eggs at about 6 1/2 months. They are good egg layers. Buckeyes will sometimes go broody and raise chicks. Buckeye chicks will range in color from light yellow to almost a light mahogany. Chicks can have a dark strip on their backs. They feather quickly though growth rate may be slower than other dual purpose breeds. Another unique trait to the Buckeye is they will actively mouse as well as a cat, even better at times. Buckeye roosters have a range of calls they make. The population status on the Buckeye is considered a critically endangered heritage breed.

Chicken Breed Comments / Experience:

I have raised and bred Buckeye chickens since 2007, NPIP 43-694. After an entire year of researching what chicken would be best suited to our ever changing weather and sometimes quite cold winter and very hot summers. A chicken that was a good egg layer that would lay med/large brown eggs, but also would make nice table fair. I was also searching for a chicken unlike sometimes a Rhode Island Red (which I also raise) that did not stress easily as a chick, were easy brooders and feathered out quickly. Although they do feather out a bit slower than a Rhode Island Red, the ease of raising the Buckeye makes the slower maturing bird inconsequential. I have found all of this and a bird with a very unique personality all in one bird, the Buckeye.

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