Buckeye Chicken: All You Need To Know

The Buckeye chicken is a good dual purpose breed worth adding on your backyard. This bird is not only good for meat and eggs but will tolerate the biting winter cold pretty well.

Buckeye chickens will do well when allowed to free range. Free ranging chickens will give you an advantage because it will help lower the cost of feeding them.

Do you want to know more about this brown chicken breed? In this article, I am going to take you through everything you need to know about this bird.

This will help you know whether it is the right chicken for you before buying.

Buckeye Chicken Background

Buckeye chickens are an American breed that were developed by Mrs. Nettie Metcalf a resident of Warren, Ohio.

In fact, this is the only chicken in the America to have been developed by a woman. This woman crossed the Plymouth Rocks with Buff Cochins and the resulting offsprings were then crossed again.

The resulting offspring was mated with Black Breasted Red Games and the final offspring was a Buckeye chicken.

Mrs. Metcalf wanted a bird that could lay eggs and offer enough meat for her family. Additionally, she was also looking for a suitable breed that could do well in the cold region of Ohio.

In 1904, the Buckeye was officially admitted in the American Poultry Association. This was a major achievement for Mrs. Metcalf because her bird could be shown and recognized as a breed.

However, today, these birds are not as popular as they used because of other modern chickens. They have been listed as watch by the Livestock Conservancy and if not bred well to substantive numbers, they face the risk of extinction.

Characteristics of Buckeye Chicken

Buckeye chickens are medium to large birds. The roosters weigh about 9 pounds while the hens weigh about 7 pounds.

They are characterized by a pea comb which is a clear adaptation for cold weather. The comb, face, wattles and earlobes are red.

Eye color is reddish bay while the beak is yellow. The legs are clean and have no feathers on them.  On each foot, there are four well-spaced toes with short claws on them.

The legs and feet are yellow just like the skin. Their body plumage has a mahogany color and is darker than that of Rhode Island Red chickens.

Buckeye chicken feathers are tightly packed resembling those of game birds. The tail feathers are black while those of the underside are slate.

These chickens have thick body muscles and a solid compact body. Those thick muscles are well-fleshed making this bird good for meat.

Temperament and Hardiness

Buckeye chickens are docile and friendly. They pose no threat to you kids and will even allow them to hold then or sit them on their laps.

These chickens will not mind coming near you because they are not afraid of people. They will love those nice tasty treats like mealworms or corn.

Call them nice names or buy then good chicken gifts if you want to bond with them. Feed them from your hand or take a nap with them and they will get used to you.

My Buckeye hens always give me company when doing my chores around the farm. They chat back and make sure I get maximum affection from them.

However, Buckeye roosters can be very aggressive especially during the mating season. They will also crow loud telling the neighboring roosters that the territory is well-marked.

These chickens prefer to roam on the backyard and collect their own food. However, they can do well when confined with other chicken breeds.

It is good you know that these birds are not very savvy to predators. They will someone to herd them or integrate them with savvy roosters to watch them over in case there are possums stalking.

When it comes to hardiness, there birds are cold tolerant and will do well in cold climate zones just like Orloff chickens.

However, this does not mean that they are immune to freezing weather. When it is very cold, get them a chicken coop heater to keep them warm.

Egg laying and Uses

Buckeye chickens are slow to mature and will take about six months to lay their first egg. The pullets will be seen hanging around nesting boxes perhaps scouting for a good laying spot.

The female birds will also mate with roosters a sign that means they are sexually mature. Female Buckeye chickens are good layers of 150-200 eggs a year.

In a good week they will lay three of four eggs. The eggs are large and have a brown egg shell color. These eggs have a single yolk inside which is of a yellow color.

The good thing with these chickens is that they will continue to lay eggs even in winter. Having several hens is an advantage because your egg tray will always remain full when other breeds have taken a break.

Buckeye hens easily get broody and make good mothers. They are also able to breed naturally without human intervention making them a good breeding flock.

However, these chickens are slow to mature just like the Jersey giant chickens. You will have to wait for a little bit longer before you get eggs or send the cockerels to the market.

If you are looking for a bird that will offer much meat, this is the right breed of chicken for you. Buckeye chickens are heavy and large enough to offer enough meat for a large family.

They have thick body muscles and are well fleshed qualifying them as meat birds.

Buckeye Chicken Lifespan

The normal lifespan of a chicken is 5-8 years. However, there is no specified period of time that a chicken can live.

Some chickens will die at a young age as chicks while others will live long to succumb to old age. Chickens raised as pets are lucky and they will get good care lengthening their lifespan.

If your Buckeye chickens get a well-balanced diet, good shelter and live in a healthy environment are likely to live for long.

Female Buckeye chickens will not live long compared to roosters because of the number of eggs they lay.

Most prolific egg layers like the Red Sexlink chickens will be exhausted by the time they reach 3 years of age.

This is because a lot of nutrients like calcium from their bodies will be used to make eggs. Chickens will also live longer if they are kept away from predators like hawks that prey on them for food.

Health Issues

Buckeye chickens are healthy, strong and robust birds. They are cold tolerant and will do well in areas that experience long periods of winter.

However, supplemental heat will be needed if temperatures fall below freezing. Use heated waterers to help keep chicken water from freezing.

These chickens will require a well-balanced diet to get all the nutrients for healthy growth and robust body development.

Thread and gape worms in chickens are a serious threat to their health. The worms will rely on what these birds eat and this can lead to malnutrition.

To control chicken worms, seek advice from a qualified bird vet on the right chicken wormer to administer.

In addition to this, you can feed pumpkin seeds and cilantro because they are a good natural dewormer for chickens.

Apart from internal parasites, chicken lice and scaly mites are another health threat. These notorious ecto-parasites will suck blood, bruise the skin and damage growing chicken feathers.

If not controlled, lice and mites will damage the skin and lower the quality of the carcass. They can also lead to other diseases unless they are dealt with on time.

To wipe out lice and mites in chicken, add small amounts of diatomaceous earth in their dirt bath. When this powder comes into contact with these parasites, it removes body oils and moisture thus, dehydrating them to death.

Tips on raising Buckeye chickens


Buckeye chickens will require enough food for them to grow well. In addition, the food should be well-balanced to supply their bodies with all the nutrients they need.

Baby Buckeye chicks should be fed on chick starter feeds. These feeds are high in protein at the rate of 22-24% because they have more body tissues and feathers to develop.

Avoid feeding baby chicks treats like cracked corn, chicken scratch and others. Their digestive systems are not well developed and such treats can lead to health issues.

The chicks will also require chick grit to help digest food in the gizzard. Remember that chicks do not have teeth to chew food and rely on grit in the gizzard.

Laying hens will require a diet rich in calcium. Mealworms and crushed oyster shells are some of the good sources of calcium for chickens.

Calcium is very important in chickens because it helps them lay eggs with strong egg shells. These birds should be fed on a layers mash diet available on various online stores like Amazon.

Put chicken feeds in clean automatic feeders to avoid feed loss. Feeding in open trays will attract rats and wild birds leading to feed loss.


Water is important to chickens just like it is to you. It helps to keep their bodies hydrated and cool on a hot summer day.

Make sure your Buckeye chicken has access to clean and fresh drinking water. Put it in a chicken waterer and hang or mount it on the wall.

Waterers will help prevent dirt and poop from getting in and contaminating it. For the baby chicks, avoid using large waterers because they can fall in and drown.


Chickens require a good coop to shelter from harsh weather and keep of predators. The chicken coop size will be determined by the number of birds you have.

It should be well ventilated to allow free movement of fresh air. The bedding material should be dry and free from draft.

Put enough nesting boxes to give chickens a good place to lay their eggs and hatch chicks. There should be roosts and perches because chickens prefer to spend the night above the floor.

The chicken coop floor should be made of concrete to prevent predators from burrowing under at night and kill the birds.

Before going to bed, ensure that the door is well latched or buy an automatic coop door just to be sure chickens are safe even when you are not around.

The coop roof should be made of a good material like iron sheets or tiles to avoid any leakages during the rainy days.

Hawk netting can be put over the run for chickens to range in a secure area where aerial predators will not strike and steal them.


Buckeye chicken is a reliable breed that will give you meat and eggs. This bird is hardy and can thrive well in cold regions.

These chickens will continue to lay even in winter. They will ensure you have a constant supply of eggs when most chicken breeds have taken a break.

However, they are slow to mature and you will have to feed them for long before you get any returns like meat and eggs.

They are friendly and mellow making a good breed to keep if you have kids. These birds will utilize your leftovers and table scraps making sure nothing goes to waste.

Do you have Buckeye chicken? Talk to us.

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