The other weekend when I arrived at the Buddhist writer’s retreat, I was greeted by 3 Buckeye roosters who had been raised together and who took their jobs as grounds security offices very seriously.
As soon as they saw me, all three ran over to check me out. I of course, started talking to them chicken-to-chicken and one, in his male dominant kind of way, puffed up his feathers and then sort of side hopped toward me.
Perhaps he was challenging my place in the yard and showing me who was boss.
No worries, I held out my arms and jumped right back at him.
From then on we all got along.
Most roosters are good looking, but man, these guys were chicken-eye candy. Buckeyes have glorious plumage with silky, shiny feathers worthy of any Pantene commercial.
Here’s what the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has to say about the breed:
“The Buckeye is a dual-purpose breed of chicken with a deep, lustrous red color of plumage. They have yellow legs and skin, and, thanks to their pea comb, are very cold-weather hardy. While Buckeyes adapt readily to a variety of living conditions, they do best under free-range conditions, or conditions where they have room to move around. Because of their active nature they do not do especially well in small confined spaces. Roosters weigh approximately nine pounds; hens weigh approximately six and a half pounds and lay medium-sized, brown eggs.”
And here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know.
“Buckeyes were developed by Mrs. Nettie Metcalf of Warren, Ohio, and appropriately named after the “Buckeye State.” Buckeyes are unique in the American Class of chickens in that it is the only breed created entirely by a woman. Mrs. Metcalf started by breeding a Buff Cochin male to Barred Plymouth Rock females. This produced what she considered a large, lazy fowl. The next year she purchased a Black-Breasted Red Game male and crossed this male over the half cochin pullets. This cross produced several red offspring and from there she developed the breed. It is interesting to note that her creation predated the introduction of Rhode Island Reds into the mid-west.”
Well who knew? Go Nettie.
And here’s something else about Buckeyes that you should probably know in case you might want to get this breed someday.
Buckeye roosters crow. They crow a lot.
And why not? If you had feathers like that, you’d toot your own horn too.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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