Buff Orpington experts...

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
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North-Central IL
Definitely need better pictures, ones where he's "up" and moving. But even as a non-expert on Orpingtons (though I started out with some nice show type ones) he doesn't say "Orpington" to me. I don't think I ever caught mine standing like that and looking that compact and small and downhill over the back.

Also, "pure" is kind of a sticky concept in chickens. You really can't tell by looking whether a bird is really purely bred or not. He might be, he might not be. It's not really material either way since I don't think he's what you want to breed regardless.
 

ckhd

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2018
30
50
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St. Johns, AZ
...if that's what your goal is.
I guess I really need to talk to someone about practical/realistic goals. My chicken experience is limited, but I do know that "pure" and even an animal meeting a "standard" does not always mean "good".

My thought process has been that I have chickens as livestock. As livestock, I want as good as I can get. I chose Buff Orpingtons because of their dual-purpose nature and mostly their temperament (plus they are beautiful chickens). I feel that as I grow my flock, I want them to be as "good" as possible. I don't really care about showing, but if "good" and "show" are the same, I think I would show.

I know that AKC "perfect" Border Collies are usually NOT the ones you want on your ranch. Quality ranch ones are still "pure", but not a show champion. Every Border Collie I have ever owned has been a fantastic cow dog, whose pups would bring premium prices from people needing quality herding dogs, but would never win an AKC show. Is it the same with Buff Orpingtons? Is having an APA "perfect" Buff Orpington the same as having a Buff Orpington that is a solid egg-layer and a quality meat producer that will still pick at my pants until I pick her up and pet her for a minute?

Educate me. I really don't know and I am at the point that knowing will forever change the direction of my flock.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
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North-Central IL
@ckhd chickens are sort of the opposite of AKC dogs. Pedigrees aren't a thing. What you want, if you're going for the best chickens of a certain breed, is the stock from good show breeders. In chickens, when we breed toward the SOP, we're trying to breed the chicken to be the perfect representation of its breed, and that includes production. If you really like Buff Orpingtons, I would reach out either here or find your regional or national Buff Orpington Club and get in touch with some good breeders to give you a start in either eggs, chicks, or maybe a nice trio. A good breeder is going to be breeding the birds to both look correct and produce correctly for an Orpington.

I started with breeder Buffs and they were enormous and had lovely personalities. I gave one to my friend who had hatchery Buffs and you could very easily see the difference. I'm sure there's someone not too far from you that will have quality stock and would help you get a good start :)
 

ColtHandorf

Crowing
Feb 19, 2019
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Commerce, Texas
I agree with what Mosey2003 has said. Ideally it is true that breeders working for show quality stock would also keep work to keep all breed characteristics in line as well. However if you read through that APA SOP excerpt I provided, there isn't anyway to judge a hen's laying ability. A good example of what I'm saying is a hatchery Buff Orpington compared to a Grand Champion. Chances are that the Grand Champion is going to be larger bodied and be "type-y", meaning she looks like the best Orpington. The hatchery bird is probably several pounds lighter, the tail may not be carried correctly, she might not be as loose feathered, and there might be a defect in the shape or amount of points on her comb; but, while the Grand Champion lays three eggs a week, the hatchery bird lays five. Usually some of the "utility" of the breed is sacrificed for looks. It is difficult to breed for both production (in terms of eggs) as well making sure they look their best. Probably our show quality Orpingtons are nothing like the ones that roamed farmsteads 200 years ago when they wandered barn yards and foraged for their own feed and had to flee predators without comfy, warm, safe coops to live in.

So it really does depend on what you are looking for. Maybe get a trio or quad of birds from a line that produces show quality stock and keep them in their own breeding pen and see which birds you prefer. I don't think friendliness is sacrificed at all, as show birds are used to being handled. But you may find the amount you spend on feed versus the production of the birds (eggs and revenue generated from selling hatching eggs and chicks) isn't worth it and your production birds have to support them.

I know I had some bantam Black Australorps that were absolutely the most beautiful little birds. The rooster was a retired Grand Champion and the pullet was the just the most darling thing ever. I didn't mind feeding them, but I was lucky to get one or two eggs a week from her. Large Fowl Australorps are known for their high production. But they were gorgeous to look at, so I didn't mind.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
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North-Central IL
We should be striving to keep good production. It can be done, and some certainly do it. If you read through Bob Blosl's Large Fowl Heritage thread, he talks about it - how he chose fast feathering birds to increase rate of lay. You can also look at the guidelines that the Livestock Conservancy has gathered - measuring distance between keel and pelvis, and distance between pelvic bones, to gauge whether a bird will lay well or not. I'm keeping a close eye on that myself, and it's obvious that the breeder I bought from did as well because my show line birds typically lay at least 5 eggs a week for me, and I consider that pretty good.

I have the added challenge of not being able to simply select the fastest feathering chicks because that impacts the quality of the barring, solid colored bird breeders are luckier there.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
2,855
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North-Central IL
I had forgotten a point I wanted to comment on here:
Probably our show quality Orpingtons are nothing like the ones that roamed farmsteads 200 years ago when they wandered barn yards and foraged for their own feed and had to flee predators without comfy, warm, safe coops to live in.
They *should be*.

Back in the day, standard bred chickens were a bigger deal than now, there weren't hatcheries doing it the way the hatcheries do nowadays. You ordered your chicks or eggs from the breeders. I've seen the sales catalogs showing how many eggs and chicks people like Ralph Sturgeon sold of his Barred Rocks. Sometimes people share old barnyard pictures of Grandma's flock of hens, and they look just like an SOP bird is supposed to look today.

So, they are out there. Whether you can find the good breeders in a given breed, I don't know, but there are still people trying to do it right :)
 

ckhd

In the Brooder
Sep 17, 2018
30
50
45
St. Johns, AZ
That's some good info. I like the idea of getting some from a breeder as a test to see if it's what I want. I have a (distant) cousin here in town that breeds show birds, not Orpingtons, that I probably should have some visits with. If I decide the show route, I'll probably have lots of visits with him.

I completely agree on egg production. While I don't need a LOT of eggs, I like enough to take my parents some and never have to buy any myself. Whatever route I go, I'd try to keep birds with good egg production.

I imagine that if I go the show route, meat production would probably be on par, or maybe even more, since you only keep the ones that you want to breed.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
2,855
4,279
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North-Central IL
That's some good info. I like the idea of getting some from a breeder as a test to see if it's what I want. I have a (distant) cousin here in town that breeds show birds, not Orpingtons, that I probably should have some visits with. If I decide the show route, I'll probably have lots of visits with him.

I completely agree on egg production. While I don't need a LOT of eggs, I like enough to take my parents some and never have to buy any myself. Whatever route I go, I'd try to keep birds with good egg production.

I imagine that if I go the show route, meat production would probably be on par, or maybe even more, since you only keep the ones that you want to breed.
Talk to your cousin! See if there are shows you can go to with him, that's how you meet the people with the different breeds. Your cousin might even know the perfect Orpington person in your area, never know.

You'll eat everything but the best one or two males, and you should be keeping the ones that are both the typiest and have the best meat distribution, as you'll want that passed down.

I can tell you, my SOP Barred Rock cockerels dressed right at about 4lbs at 18 weeks, where my full grown hatchery type Barred Rock hens all dressed at 3lbs or less. I'd estimate an 18 week old hatchery Rock male would probably dress around 3lbs or less too. They ought to be bigger, you'll just still never get the breast meat of a broiler. But that's just the way it goes.
 

Jandsloch

Songster
Apr 3, 2019
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Ok I don’t mean to piggyback this post but for the life of me I can’t figure out how to post or find and breed standard photos for buff Orpington. So I have same questions as far as breed standard for my 6 month old cockerel. My pullet is smaller than what I’ve seen so not sure if she’s grown yet however the boys I’ve seen at shows look much like hens. So here is my boy. Same pic as my profile.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
2,855
4,279
351
North-Central IL
Ok I don’t mean to piggyback this post but for the life of me I can’t figure out how to post or find and breed standard photos for buff Orpington. So I have same questions as far as breed standard for my 6 month old cockerel. My pullet is smaller than what I’ve seen so not sure if she’s grown yet however the boys I’ve seen at shows look much like hens. So here is my boy. Same pic as my profile.
If you're wanting to breed to the standard, I would suggest joining an Orpington club, there should be a national one. The APA would also be good to join, and you can buy a standard from them as well.
 
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