The Buckeye chicken is named after the American State of Ohio from which it originates. The State of Ohio, fondly nicknamed the Buckeye state and the lovely mahogany coloring of these chickens is said to resemble the seeds of the Buckeye or Aesculus Glabra tree. The tree is also called horse chestnuts or fetid buckeye and is indigenous to the lower Great Plains and Midwestern regions of the United States.
They are the only American Classification breed in the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection to have a pea comb. They are also the only American breed to have been created by a woman.
Although some of the roosters can be aggressive with other chickens they are reportedly a very friendly and tame bird.
|Country of Origin:
|American Poultry Association:
|Recognized as a breed of chicken in the United States
|Bantam Variety Available?
|Yes – All Other Comb Clean Legged Bantam Classification
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|Good Starter Chicken?
|They are a low maintenance chicken making them a good starter bird.
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Eggs: They are very good egg layers.
They lay large brown eggs from 180 – 260 per year
They will lay consistently throughout the year
They start to lay eggs from around 22 weeks old.
Meat: They have lovely yellow tender meat and are an excellent table bird
Breeding: They can be bred and they hens do get broody they are also excellent mothers and brood hens.
If you are breeding the Buckeye for show choosing the correct hens and rooster bloodline is crucial.
Foraging: They love to scratch and forage about. They do not like confinement.
Show Bird: Their shiny mahogany plumage makes them excellent show birds.
Pets: Their friendly curious nature makes them excellent pets as they have been known to jump into their humans’ arms and poke their beaks in to find out what is going on.
Other: They are very active, curious birds that love to be around people and other animals. They are also excellent hunters that will hunt for and usually catch mice.
|They are quite good flyers.
|They can be quite noisy at times
|Interaction with other chickens:
|They get along well with other breeds. As with any flock if you are introducing new birds it is best to slowly socialize them with the flock.
|Good with kids?
|They are good around children and have been known to try to join in on some games.
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The Buckeye chicken is a dual-purpose breed that was developed by Nettie Metcalf in 1896 in Warren, Ohio, USA.
The Buckeye was developed by crossing Barred Plymouth Rocks with Buff Cochins to produce a lazy large fowl which was then crossed with Black-Breasted Red Game Birds. The crossing of these chickens brought about the lustrous red, pea comb, weather-hardy Buckeyes. These lovely chickens, which do look like the Rhode Island Red, where in fact created before the Rhode Island Red. It is believed that Nettie Metcalf actually sent some of her Buckeye chicken to the Rhode Island Red breeders in order to improve the on the breed.
The Buckeye was bred to be a good dual-purpose breed that was hardy enough to withstand the harsh mid-western winters.
In 1904 the Buckeye was admitted to the Standard of Perfection by the American Poultry Association. As the breed has been put on the “watch” list by the Poultry conservation its saving grace has been the fact that it is a recognized breed by the APA. It is also listed in a catalogue of heritage foods in danger of extinction called the “Slow Food USA Ark of Taste”. Not a bird that was adopted for poultry supply and demand purposes by commercial operations its numbers dropped off.
The breed has in recent years started to gain popularity as a show bird and backyard chicken due to its great all year-round egg production and good nature.
Appearance/Body: Buckeye chickens have short broad slanted back, powerful wings and thighs. Their breasts and thighs are quite meaty. Brown eyes with red wattles and small earlobes. They have rare soft feathers and a full plumage with black tails.
Color(s) Mahogany Red
Comb: They have a pea comb
Ave. Weight: Hens 6.5 lbs.
Roosters 9 lbs.
|The average lifespan is 10 + years
|No known health issues and are quite weather hardy especially in the cold winter months.
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|Lively, curious bird that has been known to be a bit overly friendly at times. It loves to be at the center of all the action and it is a great mice hunter. Some owners have even said they are better than cats as hunting mice.
|They get along well with all other animals
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|Most domestic animals leave them alone as but it is always best to keep an eye on dogs and cats.
If hawks and or foxes are in your area it is always best to take precautions. Although they are not an easy target for most feathery predators.
Check with local animal shelters, zoos, vets, animal control and or pet stores about common predators in your area.
|These birds conservation status is recorded as “watch/threatened”. It is best to check on any special license or instructions that may be set up for owning these birds. This can be checked with your local or national conservation centers.
|They do not take to confinement well and prefer a medium to a large garden where they can roam, hunt, play and run about.
|Hardy all weather birds
|The rule of thumb for any coop is 50 cm x 50 cm per hen/rooster in the coop.
Ensure there is a good space for the nesting boxes and nightly roosting rails at least 1.5 inches wide.
Good ventilation for air but not too drafty especially in winter.
It is always a good idea to raise the coop off the ground to give the birds a dry place to roost and lay especially in wet weather.
|Ideal Coop Run:
|They are good strong flyers with their curiosity often getting them into trouble. It is best to fully enclose the coop run to keep the birds in a safe secure environment.
|Ideal Flock Size:
|They are quite happy in any size flock as long as they a few companions to go exploring with.
|They do not have any special requirements but are a conservation listed bird.
|The following accessories are ideal for your coop:
Straw for the boxes and roosting area
Animal carrier for transport purposes
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WHERE TO FIND THESE BIRDS TO ADD TO YOUR FLOCK
The Buckeye is conservation listed birds and a heritage bird. It is possible to find them at various live poultry outlets and farms, it is best to check with your local conservation centers and registered breeders. You can find registered breeders on the American Buckeye Poultry Club website along with a host of valuable information. They will also be able to help with any special requirements, attention or care they may need. If you plan on breeding your chickens, you will want to make sure that they are from a good bloodline.
CARING FOR THE BIRD(S)
Please click here for our full guide to “Taking care of chickens”. This is a comprehensive guide to owning chickens. It covers where to start from choosing your ideal flock, the coop that would best suit your garden, your bird and you to buying and bringing your bird(s) home.
These are truly unique chickens that will compliment any backyard or farm flock. They have a lively curious nature that keeps them alert and always on the go. They make exceptional hunters and love to be around their humans.
These chickens love to play and frolic about in their dust bath. Added some added herbal/essential essences to the loose sand will help with pests, excess feather oils and give their feathers that extra glossy sheen. These chickens love being held by their humans and adore attention they are sure to have no objections to a regular examination for mites, lice and various other parasites. Checking for these pests in their feathers should be done at least once a week to keep your chickens healthy. Always get your birds de-wormed on a regular basis especially if they are around other animals or interacting with kids.
DIET AND NUTRITION
These very active chickens will need their morning nutrition so it is a good idea to feed them their diet of chicken pellets, grains, chicken mash or grain mix from 8 weeks old and older first thing in the morning.
For baby chickens, the best is always Chick Starter when they are under 8 weeks old.
Laying hens should get extra protein and calcium in their diets to ensure the quality of their eggs and to keep them in tip-top health.
Buckeye readily accepts hearty table scraps in the form of vegetables and fruit.
Feeding your chickens correctly will give your organic garden a lot of nutritious fertilizer to make your vegetables or flowers grow.
Please see our comprehensive guide to “Feeding your chickens” for more information of the different types of chicken feed for chicks, hens, laying hens, roosters, etc. and where to buy the feed and approximate cost of the feed.
SOCIALIZING THE BIRD(S)
Being very inquisitive birds and needing to be in the know at all times these chooks are sure to be the first to welcome newcomers. However, some birds may be a lot more aggressive and there could be serious consequences. The Buckeye roosters have been known to get a bit aggressive for other breeds, especially around mating season.
Always check on how well a breed will get on with your current flock before buying them as you do not want to upset your coop or stress your current flock.
As with any newcomer to the roost, you will have to quarantine the bird for 7 – 31 days to ensure it does not have any unwanted critters or disease that could spread to your current flock.
Even these robust curious bundles of energy have an established pecking order that any newcomer is expected to accept.
NOTES / SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS
As they are registered as a “watch/threatened” conservation status they may need an extra license to own or keep in your garden. For advice on what the bird’s conservation status and orders are please check with your local conservation department.
For breeders, it is imperative that you always check your bird’s bloodlines and ensure you are buying your birds from a reputed breeder/farm. In order to sell birds of such stature, they have to be recorded and documented, always check with local animal breeding organizations for these records.
These legitimate documents are also required should you wish to show your bird(s) in various poultry shows/competition showings.
For information and advice on adopting rescued animals, you can visit or contact your local animal welfare center.
- Caring for your Chicken
- Socializing your Chicken
- Breeding Chicken
- Raising Chickens A-Z
- Hatching Eggs
- What is Molting
- Animal Shelter (ASPCA)
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- American Poultry Association
- American Animal Welfare Society
- American Animal Control
- American Animal Husbandry Society