buff orpington rooster vs hen

Which is Better – The Buff Orpington Rooster or Hen?



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I remember the first time I brought home a Buff Orpington chick from the feed store.

My friend Jake and I were so excited to raise chickens on his family’s farm. We picked out the fluffiest chick we could find – a little Buff Orpington just a few weeks old.

I named him “Sir Buffington of Orpington” and thought he was the coolest rooster around. But boy was I wrong!

The Buff Orpington hen will likely be more docile and easier to handle than the Buff Orpington rooster.

However, the rooster is important for protecting the flock and fertilizing eggs if you want baby chicks!

Sir Buffington grew up to be one ornery rooster! He was always chasing the hens and picking fights with the other roosters.

I couldn’t even get close to collect the eggs without him flying at me with his claws.

What a pain!

That got me wondering – which type of Buff Orpington is really better, the rowdy rooster or easier going hen?

Buff Orpington Rooster vs Hen Temperament

buff orpington rooster vs hen

These birds are known to be real calm overall, but you’ll find them roosters can be a bit territorial.

They’ll crow at the crack of dawn and chase off any varmints near the coop, including curious kids like you and me!

Don’t get me wrong, Orpington roosters ain’t as mean as some other breeds.

But they’ll still use them big ol’ spurs if another rooster gets too close to their hens.

I’ve even seen one go after old Shep, our farm dog, when Shep got a little too interested in the chickens!

The hens are sweet as pie by comparison.

They’ll let you pet them and collect the eggs without fussing much at all.

Really the only time a hen might get feisty is when she’s gone broody and wants to protect her babies.

Laying Eggs – The Hen’s Domain

buff orpington rooster vs hen

Now we all know the hen is the egg-laying machine of the chicken world.

In their prime, a Buff Orpington hen will crank out around 4 of those gorgeous brown eggs per week.

That’s over 200 eggs in a year just from one hen – not a bad return on investment if you’re keeping chickens for the eggs.

The eggs are a really nice size too, almost as large as the store-bought kind.

So if your goal is self-sufficient egg production, the hen is the obvious choice over a non-laying rooster.

Broodiness and Mothering Ability

buff orpington rooster vs hen

Another thing that makes the hen shine is her maternal instincts.

Come early spring, some hens will go “broody”, where they want to sit on a nest of eggs to hatch babies.

Buff Orpington hens have a great rep for being real attentive mothers.

Once the chicks hatch, Mama Hen will keep them warm and safe under her wings until they’re ready to explore on their own.

She’ll even try to feed and teach them like any good momma would.

This motherly nature makes Orpington hens a prime choice for small farms raising chickens for both meat and eggs.

The chicks have a much better chance of survival with a broody hen to care for them.

Flock Protection – The Rooster’s Duty

While hens lay the golden eggs, the rooster’s main role is protecting the flock.

He’ll stand guard and sound the alarm with his loud crow if any predators come snooping.

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A good rooster will chase away hawks, foxes, coyotes, and other critters with his spurs blazing.

Even a big ol’ stray dog will think twice about messing with an angry rooster.

Our chickens used to get visits sometimes from a hungry bobcat.

After a run-in with our rooster, that bobcat steered clear of the coop from then on.

So while not the cuddliest birds, roosters definitely serve an important job keeping hens out of danger.

Fertilizing Eggs and Hatching Chicks

If you want chicklets of your own down the line, you’ll need ol’ Feather Duster the rooster.

It’s his special manly dust that makes eggs able to hatch into babies.

Without a rooster in the flock, any eggs will just be tasty snacks but no new chicks.

So for maintaining and growing your flock, a rooster plays a key part in the process.

You’ll get a new generation of layers to carry on the egg business.

Or meat birds if you’re raising chickens as a small homestead meat source.

A rooster allows that important cycle of new chicks each spring and summer.

So while a bit more work, he truly earns his keep on the farm.

In summary, both roosters and hens fill important roles on the farm. The hen lays eggs and mothers chicks. The rooster protects and fertilizes eggs so you can hatch baby chickens. You can’t have one without the other if you want a self-sustaining flock. So both genders are winners in my book!

Raising Buff Orpington Chicks

Chicks are cute as a button but require special care when young.

You’ll need a brooder like an old dog kennel with heat lamp to keep the peeps warm and cozy.

Feed a starter feed with high protein to fuel rapid growth at first.

Check for signs they’re getting too hot or cold under the lamp frequently.

Gradually move the lamp higher as they feather out over a month.

Make sure the brooder area is draft free and they can’t escape the warmth.

Handle the chicks gently and often so they get used to people for handling as adults.

Watch for signs of illness like diarrhea and treat with electrolytes as needed.

Once feathered and eating well at 4-6 weeks, they can join the adult flock outside.

Selecting Breeding Buff Orpington Stock

Pick healthy, vigorous birds to be your breeders.

Hens should have good egg laying traits like large brown eggs.

Roosters should display good temperament and be fully grown over 6 months.

Watch how the rooster interacts with hens and chicks for gentleness.

Breed from birds with good body size and type for the breed standard.

Consider health issues like genetic defects when selecting parent stock.

Keep detailed records of parentage so you know family lines.

Cull any birds showing poor traits you don’t want to pass on.

Renew your breeders every 2-3 years to avoid inbreeding issues.

Housing Buff Orpington Chickens

Provide a well-ventilated coop with roosts off the ground.

The coop should have nesting boxes for hens to lay eggs.

Allow at minimum 4 square feet per chicken in the coop.

A small enclosed run gives chickens access to outside.

Fencing must be secure to prevent predators and chickens escaping.

Provide a dust bathing area for the chickens to roll in the dirt.

Fresh water and feed should always be available inside.

Clean coops regularly to keep odors down and prevent disease.

Move mobile coops occasionally to let the soil recover from waste.

Feeding Buff Orpington Chickens

Chick starter feed is high protein for rapid growth the first 6 weeks.

Grower feed transitions them to adult layer or breeder feed.

Layer feed provides balanced nutrition for optimum egg production.

Breeder feed has additional nutrients for fertility and chick rearing.

Free choice oyster shell helps with calcium needs for strong egg shells.

Grit aids digestion but too much can lead to impaction so use sparingly.

Chickens like variety so provide scratch grains, mealworms, and kitchen scraps.

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Fresh grass adds nutrients when weather permits and entertains chickens.

Clean feed and water containers daily to prevent waste build up.

Common Buff Orpington Health Issues

Marek’s disease is a viral infection spread through inhaling infected dust.

Vaccinate chicks to prevent paralysis and death from this common disease.

Lice and mites can be physically seen and cause irritation and anemia.

Treat with approved pesticides following directions carefully.

Worms like roundworms and cecal worms infect through feces exposure.

Deworm new birds and established flocks periodically as needed.

Salmonella is a risk if birds have access to wild areas and rodents.

Practice biosecurity and cook all eggs and chicken meat thoroughly.

Keep feed and water sources protected from wild animal contamination.

Showing Buff Orpington Chickens

Conformation shows judge chickens based on breed standards.

Birds are handled and assessed for physical traits and type.

Start with local fairs and work up to larger American Poultry Association shows.

Present your birds clean and groomed with feet trimmed neatly.

Know the ideal weights, plumage colors and patterns expected.

Practice handling your birds so they stand calmly for the judge.

Win ribbons that qualify birds for higher level competitions.

It’s a fun hobby and way to network with other chicken breeders.

Top show birds can earn significant prizes and even sell for breeding.

Preserving the Buff Orpington Breed

As a heritage breed, numbers must stay healthy for long term survival.

Join poultry registries like the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

They monitor rare breeds and work to prevent further population decline.

Consider donating quality breeding stock to established conservation programs.

Support breeders marketing purebred chicks and breeding trios nationwide.

Record and share your breeding success and challenges online to help others.

Buff Orpingtons are still widely available but efforts ensure they stay that way.

Future generations will appreciate our work keeping this historic breed around.

With care and responsible breeding, Buffs have a bright future on small farms.

Processing Buff Orpington Chickens for Meat

For meat birds, butcher between 8-16 weeks depending on size needed.

A sharp knife and technique are needed for a clean, humane slaughter.

Scald the bird in 140° water for 30 seconds to loosen feathers.

Pluck feathers dry over a period of minutes while still warm.

Cut off the feet below the hock joint and head below the jaw.

Use a knife to cut up the back of the bird and remove organs and innards.

Chill the processed bird at least 24 hours before cooking or freezing.

Well-raised Buffs have lightly flavored white meat similar to store-bought.

The whole process can feel sad but is the reality of raising animals for food.

Butchering Buff Orpington Hens for the Table

Older hens past laying can be butchered for the pot too when replaced.

The processing is the same as for meat birds though hens may take longer to pluck.

Their meat will be darker and richer flavored than a young chicken’s.

Save the fat rendered while cooking the hen to use for flavoring other dishes.

Bones can be simmered to make nutritious homemade chicken stock too.

Nothing goes to waste when using a whole home-raised chicken in various meals.

It’s very satisfying to eat the fruits, so to speak, of one’s own backyard flock.

Just be sure to thoroughly cook older hens due to potential bacterial risks.

Proper handling and cooking ensures safe, healthy meals from homestead chickens.

Preserving Buff Orpington Eggs

Fresh eggs last 3-5 weeks in the refrigerator if kept clean and uncracked.

For long term use, try water glassing which coats the shell in a lime solution.

Or canning eggs by thoroughly washing and packing in jars, then processing.

Drying eggs under low heat dehydrates the contents while retaining nutrients.

Then they store almost indefinitely and rehydrate by soaking overnight.

Freezing whole eggs or separated yolks and whites works well too if sealed tightly.

Thaw the frozen eggs in the fridge overnight before using in recipes.

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Preserving extends the use of a bountiful laying flock’s production all year.

Home-preserved eggs taste every bit as good as fresh-laid in the right application.

Using Buff Orpington Eggs in Cooking and Baking

Whisk eggs into pancake, waffle, or French toast batter for extra fluff.

Fold whipped eggs into cornbread, muffin, quick bread or coffee cake mixes.

Poach or fry eggs for breakfast sandwiches or serve over-easy with hashbrowns.

Make homemade mayonnaise, hollandaise or Caesar dressing using fresh eggs.

Bake classic eggs Benedict to enjoy on weekends or special occasions.

Fold beaten eggs into ground meat mixtures for burgers, meatloaf or meatballs.

Quiches, frittatas and egg bakes showcase eggs alongside veggies and cheese.

Custards, puddings, and ice creams are luxurious ways to use up extra yolks.

There’s no end to how homestead eggs can enhance both sweet and savory dishes.

Selling Buff Orpington Eggs or Chickens

Excess eggs or mature hens can earn some spending money through sales.

Check local regulations on selling products from small home flocks.

Create an online farm stand or sign up at a farmers market booth.

Well-written signage should explain husbandry methods used.

Have a scale to weigh and price eggs per dozen or half-dozen quantities.

Offer seasonal specials like discounted pullets or chicks in the spring.

Process and freeze whole chickens or cut up parts for sale as well.

Network on social media to build your brand and customer following.

With a bit of effort, poultry can supplement income from an small farm.

Using Feathers from Buff Orpington Chickens

Down feathers from molting hens stuff comfortable pillows and quilts.

Save larger contour feathers to craft fly-tying materials for fishing.

Artists enjoy the natural colors for painting, drawing or printmaking.

Feathers add whimsy to homemade crafts like wreaths, floral arrangements.

Or try your hand at traditional fly-casting to create beautiful feather flies.

Some use feathers in smudging or herbalism for their symbolic properties.

With creativity, these little gifts from your flock have many non-food uses too.

Fully utilizing each part of an animal honors its life and your work raising it.

Let feathers remind you where your homestead eggs and meat truly come from.

Comparing Buff Orpington Rooster vs Hen Traits and Characteristics

Trait Rooster Hen
Temperament More territorial and aggressive More docile and friendly
Laying Eggs Does not lay eggs Lays 4 brown eggs/week on average
Broodiness Not broody, will not hatch eggs Some hens go broody and make great mothers
Flock Protection Protects flock from predators with crowing and spurs Less protective of flock
Fertilizing Eggs Fertilizes eggs so they will hatch Eggs not fertilized will not hatch
Noise Level Loud crowing at dawn and throughout the day Quieter
Handling Ease More difficult to handle due to aggression Easier to handle and collect eggs from
Maintenance Higher maintenance due to behavior Lower maintenance
Meat Quality Meat can be tougher due to more muscle Meat is more tender
Backyard Friendly Less suitable for small flocks due to noise More suitable for small backyard flocks
Commercial Farming More suitable for large flocks due to protection Also suitable for large egg production
Conservation Efforts Important for breeding and flock sustainability Also important as the primary egg layer
Showing Potential Can be shown in conformation classes Also shown and judged on production qualities
Ornamental Value Attractive appearance but noisy Attractive and calm demeanor
Cost Free with purchased pullets or hens Cost of purchased pullets or hens
Health Issues Prone to same general health issues as hens Prone to same general health issues as roosters
Lifespan 3-5 years 5-8 years
Culling May be culled for poor traits or behavior May be culled for poor production or health
Butchering Can be processed for meat when older Can be processed for meat when older or production drops
Uses Meat, protection, breeding Eggs, meat, breeding, brooding
Overall Rating 4/5 5/5
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