How to tell what they are???

Fallen Leaf Farm

8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
I've been lurking around here since last April when we added 8 chickens to our family. We have 7 Buff Orpington hens and one Buff Orpington Rooster named Nugget. Nugget was supposed to be a hen, but what are ya gonna do? He's my 13 yo son's pride and joy.
So we've decided to add to the family. Tomorrow is free chick day at our local feed store, 5 chicks per bag of starter, breed unknown. Kind tempermant and cold hardy are musts, and we really prefer good egg layers as we can't keep up with the demand from friends and neighbors (the girls are giving it their best shot, averaging 6 eggs/day). I've been studying photos of chicks trying to memorize which breeds look like what, but then I start looking at the photos and descriptions from everyone here and WOW!, you know a lot of differences. So I thought I would fire off a few questions to try and arm myself with more knowledge....

First, are bantam chicks markedly smaller at a day old than standard? (Please don't laugh, I've never seen bantam chicks!)

Tips on identifying Buff Brahmas (besides their feathery legs that Cochins also have)?

Are Australorps always that pretty black with yellow, and are there other breeds that are similar? Any identifying trait that will help me sort through?

I'm open to more Orpingtons, although it's tough to tell some of them apart. Any distinguishing traits?

Thanks for your help. I'll try to post pics when we get the babies tomorrow am. I'll probably (sorry for the pun) chicken out and end up just buying the breeds I want. Once a critter is in our family, it stays unless it's mean to the kids.

Bantam chicks are about half the size of large fowl chicks as day olds (maybe a little smaller, depending on the breed) but I always brood them all together and have never had a problem.
Brahmas have a pea comb, and Cochins have a single comb, you'll have to look close, but you'll be able to see a difference.
Australorps and silver laced Wyandottes look very similar, but again look at the comb. Australorps will have a row of bumps (single comb) and Wyandottes will be flat (rose comb).

Good luck!!
Welcome, and even when you have over 100 birds on the farm eating you out of house and home, it is just impossible to pass up those chicks! I bought 14 meaties and 2 white silkies and 1 unkown feather-footed bantam.

Yes, the bantams are just tiny, so easy to tell the difference. They are assorted and it is hard to tell what is what. The other today were labeled. They had at golden comets (pullets) and white leghorns (pullets) and the cornish-cross meat birds.

I have a great resource, the catalog from Murray McMurry Hatchery. It has baby chick pics and you can take it in with you. Go over to their web site and look over the pics, I bet you could print out the ones you like best. I think you can look for white legs on the Orps, and yellow on the buff rocks/crosses. Of course, if Nifty would make us a Iphone App, you could click on for quick reference!

I also just picked up a new copy of Grit Country Skills Series, guide to backyard chickens. On a iPhone or iPad you go to and you can download an app for your phone. I don't have it, so have no idea if it is good or not, but worth a try.
print out copy from MM hatchery and you'll have an educated guess.

Again, Welcome!!! Jump in with posts anytime, I do and it is so much fun.

Wow, great help!! I'll be checking skin color and combs and feathers and... The catalog had great info, the videos of the babies really helped. Thanks a bunch!

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