Rhode Island Red or Buff Orpington

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by farmgirlsomeday, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. farmgirlsomeday

    farmgirlsomeday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2014
    If you had to choose only one for a small backyard flock of productive laying hens, which breed would you go with, and why?
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    They are different. Speaking here of true bred, bred to Standard fowl, not hatchery stock.

    Reds are yellow legged and skinned, good layers, seldom go broody.
    Orps are white legged and skinned, fair to good layers and sometimes go broody.

    The breeds are considerably different in original intention, so it is just a personal decision.
  3. farmgirlsomeday

    farmgirlsomeday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2014
    Indeed, a personal decision. I'm interested in hearing from persons about how they would decide, and why :)
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Good info, Fred, as always.

    If you are going to get hatchery stock, I would definitely go with the Orp, because people have had a lot more behavior problems with what hatcheries call RIR than with what they call Orps.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    People try different breeds, over time. The have great experiences and some not so great experiences. Much of the time, the outcome depends as much on the source of the birds, frankly, as to just how true to the breed and how true to the behavior associated with that breed the birds turn out.

    As time goes by, we find, as humans with preferences of our own, that some breeds just "fit" us better. Much of it is subjective. We come to know a breed, feel comfortable with it, and sometimes adopt a breed as a reflection of our own lifestyle and personality.

    An Orp will often be more laid back. A Red, a true bred Red, is actually a delightful, calm and friendly bird. But, these attributes may NOT turn out to be true with each situation, especially if one buys the chicks at feedstore reseller of hatchery stock. One simply has no way of knowing the temperament of the parent stock. It can be a roll of the dice.

    An Orp from a hatchery source may end up a horrid layer and a big consumer of feed. A so-called red from a hatchery may turn out to be a prolific layer, but be flighty and ill tempered. It can range all over the map. These and a dozen other reasons make it difficult to make sweeping statements and make recommendations. Hope you understand.

    Try some of each. That's the very best way. You may find you eventually one suits you much more than the other. Or, you may find you prefer neither of them.
    1 person likes this.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    From those two breeds? Neither, frankly. Hatchery RIR have temperament issues and hatchery Orps don't lay well.

    I'd stick with my barred Rocks, or red sex links.
    1 person likes this.
  7. Friartuck

    Friartuck New Egg

    Aug 3, 2014
    Personally I like the RIR having said that we also have a bunch of black copper marans. If you want a rooster that will watch the flock but also let your kids go in the coop then the black copper maran is your rooster. The orp is good and so is the rir cant go wrong with either i feel the rir lay better. By spring we will be running around 75 chickens. We keep about 10 black coppers around for 2 reasons 1st those are the eggs we eat we sell the rest 2nd they are broody we throw about a dozen eggs under each one and thats how we get our chics. I would get some of each and a good rooster that's key. Good luck and enjoy!
  8. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Interesting! Particularly since my flock consists of 2 BO pullets, 4 RIR pullets and 1 BO cockerel [​IMG]

    I must say, these are the first chickens I've EVER owned, and I did absolutely no research on breeds, laying or temperaments before buying them. I just walked into the auction room, picked some chickens I liked the look of (big and fluffy is my preference!) and crossed my fingers!

    I've now had my flock for nearly 3 months. All the pullets are laying. So far, these are my observations:-

    Temperament - Quite flighty, and despite lots of time being spent with them, not the sort of chickens who want to have a pat or sit on your lap. That being said, they also do not peck or fly at me, and generally are fairly well behaved towards each other as well.
    Laying - Started laying about the 22 week mark. All lay large, brown eggs. Generally they each lay 6 eggs per week, although one did slow down to 3 eggs per week for a short period. Egg size seems to be increasing over time - the latest being 78 grams. Between the four of them they have laid a total of 3 soft-shelled eggs over the past 3 months.
    Health - Other than lice at one point, no issues to speak of. Seem to be very robust and have endured a cold winter of -2 degree mornings.
    Activity - They prefer to free-range and get a little cage-crazy if locked in their coop for too long.
    Noise - Other than a brief chatter after laying, they are very quiet birds.
    Broodiness - No signs of this in the RIR's

    Buff Orpington
    Temperament - Very docile, and will come when called. Always the first to greet me at the gate, and will allow the occasional pat. Will get a little pecky with each other as one is head chicken and one is bottom of the pecking order.
    Laying - Started laying around 21 weeks old. Both lay about 5 eggs per week. Eggs are a creamy-white colour and are very small - on average only about 54 grams. I have also had approximately 7 soft shelled eggs from these 2 birds over the three months.
    Health - Are coping with the cold very well but I suspect the heat of summer may knock them around a bit. One had a tear under her wing from mating, and both got the lice infestation that was going around! The rooster seems to pull a lot of feathers out of these two girls as opposed to the RIR's - I think their back feathers are quite susceptible to that.
    Activity - Good In confinement, but love to forage. Can be quite lazy, dust bathing for hours! Everything is done in slow motion with these girls.
    Noise - By far, the loudest in the flock. They sing the egg song for themselves, and for everyone else! Lots of bok-bok-boking during the day. Chatterboxes.
    Broodiness - One went broody as soon as she laid her first egg. Then changed her mind. Then went broody twice more, but kept abandoning the nest. Will make a good mother one day, when she is dedicated to the cause!

    Keep in mind that these are only my observations of my (very small) flock. I guess my general comment would be that if you're after eggs, the RIR's are the way to go. but if you're after a pet, you can't go past the Orpingtons. The BO cockerel is also very good natured, I would highly recommend him as a roo.

    - Krista
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
  9. Mr D

    Mr D Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 25, 2015
    Thanks Krista - very informative... Do you think you'll ever cross the two?
  10. MonkeySea

    MonkeySea New Egg

    Apr 18, 2014
    thanks for the observations.....I have three one-year-old RIR hens, and just got three Buff Orpington chicks from our local farm supply, so I'll get a chance see how they compare in my back yard in a few months. When I got the RIRs last spring, all I could get locally were straight run chicks - I ended up with 3 girls and what turned out to be a very big, very territorial rooster. Recently found a home for the rooster where he would not become a roaster and have seen a completely new temperament among the hens. When he was with them, they were extremely flighty and would not let me get anywhere near them. Since the roo left, they're literally eating of my hand and allow me to scratch their chins. So far, the Orpington chicks are way more laid back and less vocal than any RIR chicks I've ever raised.

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