Thursday, February 22Food Security Matters

Buff Orpington Chicken Breed Profile and Characteristics

If you’ve ever been interested in raising chickens, you’ve likely considered the Buff Orpington chicken breed. The ever-popular Buff Orpington is known for its friendly nature, incredibly striking feathers, and high egg-laying potential.

This rustic breed has its origins in the small town of Orpington, England. It’s no wonder why it’s been such a hit with backyard poultry farmers since they first arrived in the United States in the late 1800s.

In this article, you’ll learn more about the Orpington chicken breed. We’ll cover their description, size, feathers, and color, as well as their history, behavior, egg-laying capabilities, care, and feeding requirements. By the end, you’ll have a good understanding of this exceptional chicken breed.

Buff Orpington Description

Orpington is a large, dual-purpose breed of chicken that is popular among backyard and small-scale farmers. They are friendly, docile birds with attractive, golden-buff plumage. Orpingtons typically have broad chests and deep, rounded bodies. They are a moderate-sized breed, with roosters typically weighing between 7-8 pounds and hens between 5-6 pounds. Orpingtons are great layers of large-sized, brown eggs and are known for their hardiness and adaptability. They are a great choice for beginner chicken owners looking for a dual-purpose bird.

Buff Orpington hen and rooster
Buff Orpington hen and rooster

Buff Orpington Chicken Quick Info

  • Beginner Friendly: Yes (very docile and suited to urban life).
  • Lifespan: 8 years.
  • Weight: Hens (6-8lb) Roosters (8-10lb).
  • Color: Buff.
  • Egg Production: 3-5 per week.
  • Egg Color: Light brown.
  • Known For Broodiness: They do tend broodiness.
  • Good With Children: Gentle breed that is ideal for kids.

Size and Weight

The Buff Orpington is a medium-sized chicken, with roosters usually weighing between 8 and 10 pounds, and hens usually weighing between 6 and 8 pounds. The Buff Orpington is slightly larger than the average chicken, with the hens being larger than the roosters. They have a large frame, with a broad and deep chest which makes them well-suited for cold weather. They also have a single full comb and large, deep red wattles.

Feathers and Color

The Buff Orpington breed is easily identified by its distinctive fluffy feathers. Their feathers are a rich golden buff color, making them a beautiful addition to any flock. The Buff Orpington is one of the few breeds with a single comb, which makes them look more elegant. The color of their feathers varies according to the age and gender of the bird, with hens usually having more brown and grey shades than males.


The Buff Orpington is a very docile and friendly chicken breed. They are calm, quiet, and content to simply roam around their flock and the barnyard. They can also be quite friendly with humans, and they will often come up to people to greet them or to see what they are up to. They are not particularly flighty, but they do need plenty of room to roam and explore. Generally, Buff Orpingtons get along well with other breeds of chicken and species of poultry.

Egg Laying

The Buff Orpington is a great chicken for those looking for reliable egg-laying. Buff Orpingtons are known to produce an average of 200 eggs a year, with some laying more and others fewer. Buff Orpingtons lay large brown eggs and are known for their consistent pattern of laying. This dependable breed makes it easy for farmers and backyard chicken keepers to plan for a steady supply of fresh eggs.

Buff Orpington History and Origin

The Buff Orpington chicken is a large, soft-feathered, dual-purpose chicken that was first developed in 1886 by William Cook of Orpington, Kent, in the United Kingdom. Initially, Cook was looking to create a utility bird with a combination of good eggs and good meat production, as well as a dual-purpose bird that would stay robust in cold weather. Cook created his Buff Orpington chicken by crossing Minorcas, Langshans, and Plymouth Rocks. Cook’s original birds were buff-colored, which is why the breed is named Buff Orpington. The breed is known for being docile, friendly, and easy to care for, making it an ideal choice for both commercial and backyard keepers.

Care and Feeding

The Buff Orpington is a hearty breed that is relatively easy to care for. They require access to a balanced, high-protein diet that typically includes feed made of grains and legumes. Additionally, it is important to supplement their diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as grit. Buff Orpingtons may also benefit from occasional treats like mealworms, which can be found in pet stores. Additionally, Buff Orpington chickens require 12-14 hours of light each day, access to fresh water, and clean and dry housing.


The Buff Orpington Chicken is an excellent breed for any chicken enthusiast due to its pleasant and docile nature, good egg production capabilities, ease of care, and attractive appearance. It is a large, hardy bird with a wide range of colors and feather patterns. Its historic origins trace back to the late 1800s in the United Kingdom, making it a popular choice for those who share a special appreciation for traditional breeds. With its docile temperament, Buff Orpington Chickens are easy to handle, making them a great choice for farmers, homesteads and family pet projects. They are an excellent egg producer, providing a substantial number of eggs throughout the laying season. With their size, they require a bit more space than many other breeds, but with the right care and nutrition, they make excellent additions to any operation. All in all, the Buff Orpington Chicken is an easy, yet attractive, breed to keep and enjoy!

Questions Related to Buff Orpingtons

Are Buff Orpingtons good egg layers?

Buff Orpingtons make excellent egg layers, producing around 200 to 280 large brown eggs per year. Young pullets will start laying between 5 and 7 months of age. A young broiler can weigh in at 2 to 2.5 lbs in only 8 to 10 weeks.

Is Buff Orpington noisy?

When looking for quiet chickens the first breed often named is the Buff Orpington. Buff Orpingtons rate high on many of the factors people are looking for in backyard poultry. They are quiet, docile, friendly, and fluffy birds.

At what age do buff Orpingtons lay eggs?

Most non-hybrids start laying at 5 to 7 months of age. These include New Hampshire Reds, Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, Wyandottes, and many of our other breeds.

Are Buff Orpington chickens good foragers?

Buff Orpington chickens do forage very well if they’re allowed to free range. Here you can see a video of two 6-year-old Buff Orpington hens foraging in a forest. As great foragers (among many other things), Buff Orpingtons are often a favorite breed among homesteaders.

How big can a Buff Orpington get?

Mature Orpingtons are large, heavy birds, weighing in at 7 to 8 pounds. Bantams range from 3 to 3 1/2 pounds.

What color eggs do Orpingtons lay?

Orpingtons go broody reasonably frequently, which is an excellent advantage if you want more chicks. They will lay you somewhere between 200-280 light brown eggs per year, that’s roughly 4-5 eggs per week.

At what age do Orpingtons start crowing?

Cockerels start to stretch their necks and attempt to crow as early as 4 weeks. They also begin to puff out their chests and strut and begin to develop cape feathers.

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