Was my BO actually a Buff Rock??


7 Years
Mar 19, 2012
A stone's throw from the Chehalis River
Sorry, no pictures (I'd really have to drum them up, but if you gave me a few days I could but I think this can be answered without.)

I don't even know why I'm posting this, really-- my girl is long gone. But I'm still learning about IDing birds, and I can't find the answers to this. Hoping someone knows all about it so I can add to my knowledge about breeds and standards, etc. I love this kind of s***.

Petunia was, I assumed, a Buff Orpington. She was purchased along with a friend. We both ordered BOs and others (Barred Rocks and SLW) from McMurray. I don't think we ordered any Buff Rocks.

Her "sister", Buttercup, had the pink legs and beak. Petunia had yellow legs and beak (though in the old pictures, I see a slight color creep on the beak right where it emerges from feathers), and I never thought anything of it. She was in every way similar to Buttercup-- same fluffy-feathered round shape, same light-brown eggs (Petunia's had some tiny white "dimples" all over hers, while Butter's were totally smooth), same general temperament, same broody habits (*exactly* the same!-- they went broody together, they raised chicks together and even forgot which chick belonged to whom. Lucky chicks!) So, I had always assumed that BOs sometimes had yellow legs, too.

Was I right? Can hatchery BO's sometimes have yellow legs? And, if so, what are some other ways I can definitively identify a BO from A Buff Rock?? I've read "body type", but what the hell is that?? Yellow skin?? Is there another way to check for that beyond leg and beak color?

So, help me out. I'm proud that I can now ID a Welsummer from a Partridge Rock, and other beginner kind of stuff... I'd love to get this right, too. Embarrassed to say that I'm going to be our 4-H club's poultry leader, and I need to know that I can find answers to my questions and my kids'.

Thanks in advance!
Thread's getting buried!

Nobody who can me a tutorial in Orps vs. Rocks?
For 4-H you might want to get the APAs American Standard of Perfection book that has the breed and variety descriptions. Show birds should meet the standard and you should be able to them apart, on the other hand, hatchery birds are not bred to the show Standard of Perfection, so they often have "minor" deviations from the show standard, ie leg color. Hatcheries are a business and select for production (egg laying) mainly and are happy if their birds generally look like the breed, they don't guarantee show quality. I've gotten quite a few birds from McM, and while their birds for the most part do look like what they are supposed to be, some of them did have faults like leg color. There have occasionally been what are obviously mistakes in the wrong breeds sent. Your girl could have been a yellow legged orp, or she could have been a rock that accidentally got mixed in.
Yay! Thanks for the reply!

I do need that book, and I've been aware of that. Is 2010 the most recent addition?

Re: the showing. 4-H birds for the younger set are mostly about feather quality and health and for fit&show, about the kids' knowledge. Showing a Buff with yellow legs, or a Wyandotte with a single comb is not an issue with this set, though I think kids should know what they *should* look like, and how their birds differ. As they get older, they really should have birds that conform to basic standards, like leg color and correct comb, etc. because that's going to go against the bird itself.

Re: my Petunia. Can someone articulate the difference between an Orp and a Rock of the same coloring, beyond leg color? I am talking hatchery birds here as well as breeder stock. I know single combs are common in hatchery Wyandottes, and I wonder if yellow-legged Orps are just as common?

Beyond that, what can I use to distinguish an Orp from a Rock? I've read "different body type". What does that mean? What kind of type does one have that the other doesn't? In my case, both birds had the same body shape and quality of feathering. Exactly. But I wondered if hatchery BO's often have yellow legs? Or is that rare?
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These may not be the best examples as far as breed, but maybe it will help. An Orpington has the pink legs, as you know, and she is fluffier and "heavier" on the back end. The pic above is the Orp.
The Rock (below) has yellow legs and will normally have less fluff on the backside than the Orp. No, it is not common for Orpingtons to have the wrong leg color, as far as I know.

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Thanks! Hmmmm.... I guess I will have to leave the possibility open that she was a Buff Rock. I will be scouring through my old pictures, looking for clues.

I would love to be able to identify Orpingtons from Rocks. Most of the birds I see are hatchery birds, and some have leg coloring that is dusted with a slate color that completely baffles me! Somebody here ID'ed our single comb partridge Wyandotte cockerels (we got 4--2 rose and 2 single comb). How (no one has to answer this)...how can one know that if something comes out atypical? And how can one ID an English cuckoo Marans from a cuckoo Orpington? (You don't have to answer that, either.)

I am baffled by all of this..... but slowly, slowly I will figure all this out.

Thanks for posting the pictures, and I apologize for not posting mine. It never occurred to me that they might have been different breeds, they looked so similar.
Chicken pedigrees being what they are, I think one thing to keep in mind is that pretty much all breeds are mixes of other breeds, fairly recently in some cases, especially in the cases of hatchery birds and new colors. Look at your Orps, rocks etc were used to make orps and the recognized colors (depending on the club) are mostly black, blue, buff and white, how many colors are there now? The genes for the colors had to come from somewhere. With something like a marans vs orp, the standards are pretty different, so you should be able to look at a breeder bird and tell which one it is. But even with breeder birds who have been selecting to a standard for generations, recessive stuff is going to pop up, and with hatchery birds, you don't even know if the breeding stock is too standard... so no, you are not always going to be able to tell for sure just looking, even with well bred birds.

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