Buckeye Chicken: Is This American Chicken The Right Match For Your Flock?

The Buckeye chicken has a pretty exciting origin story! Developed in 1896 by a lady named Nettie Metcalf, who lived in Warren, Ohio, this chicken breed holds the badge of honor for being the only American breed known to have been developed by a woman – talk about girl power! So, what’s the big deal with this chicken, huh? Well, Nettie had a vision. She crossbred Barred Plymouth Rocks, Buff Cochins, and some black-breasted red games, and the Buckeye was born! What’s in a name? They were named “Buckeye” because their plumage color is similar to the seeds of the Ohio Buckeye plant (Aesculus glabra), which incidentally gives Ohio its nickname, the “Buckeye State”. The American Poultry Association recognized the Buckeye in 1904 and added it to their Standard of Perfection.

Hey, there’s also an American Buckeye Club (ABC), which was founded way back in 1906. This breed is super unique – it’s soft, feathered, and heavy. Plus, they are known for their toughness and their ability to forage like champs.


The Buckeye roosters are kinda heavy, weighing in at around 9 lbs, and the hens are a bit lighter at around 6.5 lbs. They come in this cute smaller version called the bantam size; the roosters in this size weigh about 34 ounces, and the hens around 28 ounces. The eye-catching mahogany red is their primary color, with black tails. It’s kinda like they are dressed for a grand evening all the time. Did I mention they have very meaty thighs and robust wings? Perfect for a chicken race, don’t you think? And let’s not forget their cute little pea comb and four toes on each foot.

Buckeye Chicken breed

Breed Standard

These chickens are pretty much bodybuilders with feathers. They’ve got a solid, chunky body, slanting short broad back, and a broader rear than the Rhode Island Red. They are a fashionable bunch with their red faces, wattles, earlobes, reddish-bay eyes, and a yellow beak that’s kind of tinged with a reddish horn shade. They are like the runway models of the chicken world!

Egg Laying and Broodiness

So, eggs? Oh yes, they lay ‘em! Buckeye hens are no slackers; they lay about 3-4 medium to large brown eggs each week. Their ancestors used to produce around 150-200 eggs per year. However, these modern divas have been selectively bred and may churn out 175-240 eggs per year. They usually start laying at six months old.

And guess what? These hens can go broody and are good mommas! They breed easily and the eggs they lay are pretty fertile. Besides this, Buckeye roosters are well-mannered gentlemen with excellent protective instincts. These chickens are quite the characters – very active and excellent foragers – ideal for a free-range setup.

Buckeye Chicken Disposition

Buckeye Chickens are docile and friendly. They’re commonly friends of their human counter-parts, and often times serve as that feathery friend who’s always got your back. This breed does tend to be kind not only to each other but to other breeds of chicken too, but watch out! During the breeding season, the roosters are increasingly likely to become a bit aggressive and territorial.

Health Issues

The Buckeyes usually have no issues with their health, but like every other breed of chicken they do occasionally experience health issues. They’re susceptible to the typical chicken ailments. Pesky parasites like mites, lice, and worms can be an issue. They can also respiratory infections like infectious bronchitis. And sometimes they can have egg-laying issues, where the egg actually ends up getting stuck!

It’s important that you keep an eye on them, and make sure they live in clean, dry conditions, and have a balanced diet with fresh water. If they start acting funny – like not eating or looking really tired, it’s best to get them to a vet.

Is the Buckeye Chicken For You?

So, the real question here is the buckeye chicken a good match for you and your flock? Here’s some pros, and cons of this breed.


  • These ladies will give you 3-4 medium-large brown eggs a week.
  • They can handle cold weather like pros.
  • Super friendly and peaceful, great neighbors for your other chickens.


  • They might play hard-to-get as they are rarer than other breeds.
  • Don’t expect an egg factory – their laying rate is moderate.

So, it boils down to what you are looking for. If you want a friendly, hardy chicken that will give you a decent amount of eggs, the Buckeye could be your new best friend.


Oden is a homesteader from Southern, Illinois who's always had a love for avian creatures. He started Life Of A Farm as a means of helping connect newcomers to the homesteading lifestyle to information they need.

By Oden

Oden is a homesteader from Southern, Illinois who's always had a love for avian creatures. He started Life Of A Farm as a means of helping connect newcomers to the homesteading lifestyle to information they need.

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