BUFF ORPINGTON HENS
the Scarlett Johanssons of the chicken world...
Raising Buffs as an entertaining, fun complement to a garden yard.
Buff Orpington pullet, about five months old.
The Buff Orpington breed is a great choice for a backyard chicken - beautiful with a nice personality and winter hardiness. The breed originated in Orpington, Kent, United Kingdom in the late 1800's. There are Black Orpingtons, White Orpingtons, Blue Orpingtons (somewhat rare), and Buff Orpingtons - the Buff color being the most prevalent. They are raised for the purposes of both meat and egg production (a "dual purpose" breed).
Their temperment is calm and friendly, as opposed to flighty, skittish or agressive. I had read that in a flock containing different breeds of chickens, Buff Orpingtons were often "picked on" because of their relative docility. So when we knew we would only be able to have five birds, we decided all five should be Buffs, rather than a mixed flock. Here they are in the afternoon sun. Their color really looks golden in natural sunlight.
RAISING THEM FROM DAY-OLD CHICKS
The chicks came from McMurray Hatcheries in May of 2007. They arrived at the Post Office on a Monday morning, and spent a good part of their first day here taking naps.
Here, Little Joey suspects his life is about to change...
Here they are in their brooder bin, discussing how to kick shavings into their water dish.
After a day or two, they were VERY active, very busy exploring every single aspect of their brooder box with their inquisitive beaks. They didn't like getting picked up at all, as a matter of fact, they screamed bloody murder every time.
A photo shoot outdoors (for a penpal in New Zealand), with NZ Hawera Narcissus blooming:
At one week old (with genuine beginner wing feathers!):
We were surprised how fast they grew and how active they were. After about three weeks in their first brooder, we had to find a bigger box for them to run around in. Then they discovered flying, and they kept flying up to perch on the edges of the bigger box, where they tottered precariously.
Here they are playing with my rubber art stamps.
Here they are exploring the snow peas in a temporary garden pen during that famous dinosaur chick phase:
At five weeks, they were feathered out enough to spend their days and nights in the just-finished coop. They spent a few weeks cooped up there until the wire enclosure was built, but that taught them where "home" was, and they go into the coop by themselves when dusk falls now.
As adult birds, they still don't like being picked up. But if I sit down in the run with them, they will jump up on my knees and allow gentle pets on the back.
They all get along very well with each other. They don't squabble or peck at each other. Their coop is just big enough for five large birds. We definitely can't get more unless we build another coop and wire enclosure.
As you can see, they have very fluffy chicken butts. They get fluffier looking as they get older. If chickens could be matched to celebraties, Buff Orpington hens would all be Scarlett Johansson.
The first girl started laying at 24 weeks old. It was a small egg, but perfect. It came exactly one week after one of the pullets did the "egg squat" in front of me when I went to give them treats. The following photo is of the VERY FIRST EGG, laid in the wrong place - right in the doorway of the coop!
I put some golf balls in the nestbox to give the girls the idea about the CORRECT place to lay their eggs, and they figured it out, those brilliant girls! We got about 2 or 3 eggs a day most of the months of the year. Now that they are 4 years old, between the four hens, we get about one egg every other day, WHEN their majesties feel like laying at all. They take long breaks twice a year.
Busy laying ("Can I get some privacy here please??")
Which one of you did THIS?
A few months after they started laying, our fridge was full of fresh eggs, and my Dear Husband left this note for me:
One day, there was only one egg in the nestbox and I came home to this note:
The photo below is of Pumpkin appearing as her evil twin "Miss Grumpy Pants". This is what a broody hen looks like. You should hear them growl! Note the feathers fluffed up high - trying to convince us that she is a giant fierce chicken (albeit a little camera shy).
Here she is taking a quick dustbath after I tossed her out of the nestbox for a break:
Daily life in the run.
A rare visit inside the house (on this occasion for a butt scrub because SOMEbody fell behind on her personal hygiene!) (Yes, you Miss Floppy.)
Here is a pullet NOT AMUSED by her new fancy red bandana !
They are beautiful birds, with the possible exception of when one of them has a trainwreck moult! Poor Biscuit!
Meeting a winter entertainment device called "hay" for the first time.
Take a bow, girls. We love fluffy butts!
Thank you for visiting our page. We hope you get Buff Orps for your flock.