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Buckeyes Breed Facts

Conservation Status: Threatened

Comb: Pea Comb

Use: Eggs, Meat

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Large – 180-260 per year

Average Weight: Rooster 8 - 9 lbs, Hen 5.5 – 6.5 lbs

Temperament: Active, Gentle, Underfoot, so look out!

Characteristics: Does not do well confined to small coop, likes to forage.

APA Class: English

Color Description: Deep, lustrous red, with a slate bar in their under-feathering

Breed Details: Several factors make the Buckeye an unusual American breed. It is the only American breed with a pea comb, and it is also the only American breed that was developed solely by a woman. GO CHICKEN WOMEN GO!

In the 1880s, Mrs. Nettie Metcalf who lived in Warren, Ohio wanted chickens that would be able to thrive during the harsh winters. She was also interested in having red chickens. Rhode Island Reds had not been adequately introduced in the mid-west. Therefore, Mrs. Metcalf did not know of their existence so she began her own project.

Mrs. Metcalf started by breeding a Buff Cochin male to a Barred Plymouth Rock female. This produced what she considered a large and somewhat lazy chicken. The next year she purchased a Black-Breasted Red Game Rooster and crossed him over the half Cochin pullets. This cross produced several red offspring and from there she developed the Buckeye breed.

In 1896, once she had the breed fully developed and was beginning to show, she discovered the Rhode Island Red breed and realized the similarities between the two. She began corresponding with several R.I.R. breeders and decided to call her breed a Pea Combed R.I.R. She even trading stock with several R.I.R. breeders. As time passed, she felt calling them Pea Combed R.I.R. was limiting her breed. So in 1902, she exhibited a pair in the Cleveland, Ohio poultry show as Buckeyes. She quickly realized people were more interested in her birds when she called them Buckeyes. Appropriately named after the “Buckeye State.”

The Buckeye was accepted into the APA Standard of Perfection in 1904.

The Buckeye should NEVER be confused with the Rhode Island Red, even though they share some history. Buckeyes are unique in their body shape: slanted, short but broad back, very meaty thighs, powerful wings and breast. They appear close to the Cornish, as bred in 1905, in body shape. (Note: Mrs. Metcalf did not use a Cornish in their breeding; the Cornish body shape was simply her goal.) The Buckeye color is also unique; it is darker than the original Rhode Island Red (later, the R.I.R. was bred for a shade even darker than the Buckeye). The Buckeye also has a slate colored bar in the under color / fluff of their back; the Rhode Island Red’s feathers should be red down to the skin. Both breeds share tight feathering which is unique in the American Class of poultry.

The Buckeye is a dual-purpose bird with yellow legs and skin the pea comb allows them to be a very cold-weather hardy breed. While Buckeyes adapt readily to a variety of living conditions, they do best in free-range conditions or where they have room to move around. Due to their active nature they do not do especially well in small confined spaces.

Buckeyes also have a personality all their own. They are a very active fowl and are noted for being especially vigilant in the pursuit of mice, some breeders compare them to cats. They tend to have very little fear of humans and are possibly too friendly for some; not us though. Look out, this curious chicken will often jump right into their human’s arms, up on shoulders for a ride around the yard to help with chores or enjoy a ride on the lawn mower just to be next to you. Some males may show a little aggression during breeding season.

They also lack the tendency to feather-pick each other (this is a trait worthy of further exploration and we wish they could train some other breeds…)! Fun fact, the males also emit a full range of sounds beyond those typical of other chicken breeds, including a dinosaur-like roar… hey, bring on the Pterodactyls!

All in all, thank you to Mrs. Metcalf for this beautiful breed Oklahoma is OK in our book! 


Conservation Status: Threatened 


Comb: Moderately Large Single

Use: Eggs, Meat

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Large to Jumbo 200-280 a year

Average Weight: Rooster 7.5 – 10 lbs, Hen 5.5 – 6.5 lbs

Temperament: Gentle

Characteristics: Fast Growth, friendly, good foragers

APA Class: American

Color Description: Males: White with black barring on the neck and tail. Females: Same, except that the entire tail is black, edged in white

Breed Details: The Delaware breed was developed for the same reasons Cornish Crosses were, and the popularity of the Cornish Cross eclipsed the Delaware. Now the breed is slowly beginning to find its way into more backyard flocks, due to its hardiness, friendliness, beauty, and usefulness. George Ellis bred Barred Plymouth Rock Males with New Hampshire females in 1940 and were used for the production of broilers. The offspring were called "silver sports" and “Indian Rivers” it was the offspring of those chickens that became what we call the Delaware chicken today.

A few were produced that were almost white with black barring on the hackle, primary, secondary, and tail feathers. A Delaware color pattern is very similar to a Colombian color pattern, but feather barring replaces the black sections. For about 20 years the Delaware was the most popular broiler on the Delmarva Peninsula, because of its ability to produce offspring with predominately white feathering. The Delaware and the Delaware x New Hampshire were replaced in the late 1950's by the Cornish x Rock cross.

The Delaware was accepted into the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection in 1952 but SOP is difficult to achieve in the heritage breed and we strive very hard to maintain this in our line of birds.

The Delaware makes an excellent dual-purpose bird and they are cold-hardy. It has well-developed egg and meat qualities. They are utmost calm and friendly disposition of just about any breed of chicken hands down. The breed is noted for a nice growth rate but not too rapid to damage bone health. Their body is moderately long, broad, and deep. The keel is also long, extending well to the front at the breast and rear of the legs. The legs are well set apart and are large and muscular. IF, you are into that… or … They also live a long life, show good at FFA / 4H & the Poultry shows.

Blue Jersey Giant

Conservation Status: Watch

NPIP Code: R208

Comb: Single Comb

Use: Eggs, Meat

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Extra Large – 150 per year

Average Weight: Rooster 13-15 lbs, Hen 10-11 lbs

Temperament: Gentle, docile

Characteristics: Broody, cold-hardy, likes to forage

APA Class: American

Color Description: Black, Blue and White

Breed Details;

Jersey Giant chickens, the largest of all the chickens, are one of those rare breeds that really shouldn’t be rare. These are very sweet and versatile birds, suiting backyard, homestead, and barnyard needs.

The Jersey Giant chicken was developed between 1870 and 1890 by John and Thomas Black in Burlington County, New Jersey, near the town of Jobstown. The original intention of the Black brothers was to create a chicken that could potentially replace turkeys as a premium table bird. During the breed’s development, Black Javas, Black Langshans, and Dark Brahmas were used to try to reach this goal. Around 1895, the term “Giant” was used to reference the breed and they became known as “Black Giants” in honor of their creators – not because of their color. Dexter P. Upham of Belmar, NJ, an early breeder interested in improving the breed, changed the name to “Jersey Giant.”

Jersey Giants are friendly, docile birds that get along well with humans and other chickens alike. They do well both on the range and in large backyard runs. And they lay a good deal of eggs and provide a decent amount of meat. They can forage for a lot of their food, but they’re also good for snuggles.

Jersey Giants are gorgeous. They come in a few different varieties, although not all are recognized by the American Poultry Association. And they also come in bantam (i.e., miniature) forms.

The best-known varieties of Jersey Giant are Black, White, and Blue. The birds also come in a Splash variety, and some breeders are allegedly working on Barred and Silver varieties.

In 1921, the American Association of Jersey Black Giant Breeders Clubs was created, and the name “Jersey Giant” was officially adopted by the group. The standard developed for the birds included a gigantic frame, single comb, yellow skin color, relatively rapid maturity, good vigor, and fine foraging ability. They have a medium to long body that is wide and deep, and so they can look like a square bird. Their back is flat, and their tail appears relatively short.

The Jersey Giant was recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) Standard of Perfection in 1922. The white was recognized in 1947 and the blue in 2003. So today, Jersey Giants are accepted in the APA in three color varieties – black, white, and blue.

As its name implies, these typically mellow chickens are impressive in size with mature roosters weighing 13-15 lbs. and the mature hens weighing 10-11 lbs., however, the black variety is about a pound heavier than the white variety upon maturity. Male birds stand 22-26 inches and the females 16-20 inches – the Giant is a BIG bird!

Black birds have a “beetle green” sheen which is very attractive. Legs are black with yellow feet soles and four toes on each foot. They do not have leg feathering. They have a red single come and red wattles, brown eyes and a black beak that may has a little yellow at the tip. White birds have willow-colored shanks, with yellow soles. Their beak is more yellow. The blue variety has nearly black or dark willow shanks, and their feathering is a slatey-blue with darker blue lacing.

Jersey Giants are dual-purpose chickens, but they excel as meat birds with their body size. They are well-suited to producing very fine and large capons, and are an excellent roasting bird when fully mature. Their meat is reportedly excellent, and one bird can feed a family of four. The young birds grow relatively quickly, but most take up to 8 to 9 months to reach a harvestable size with good body proportions. Although they can produce a lot of meat per bird, they are a slow-growing breed, and they have poor feed-to-meat conversion, so they must eat a lot of food to get them to a harvestable weight.

The hens of this breed tend to lay more eggs than other heavy breeds. Their eggs are extra-large in size with colors ranging from dark brown to light cream, and they lay about 150-200 eggs per year. Some Jersey Giant hens go broody and some do not, so you need to check with the source where you buy them if you are specifically interested in broody or non-broody birds. They are good mothers, but they can have problems with setting due to their weight, as they can crush their eggs. When incubating eggs, the Jersey Giant breed sometimes takes 1 to 2 days longer to hatch than those of other chicken breeds. They start to lay between 8 months and a year of age, though some owners have reported their hens laying at 5 months.

Jersey Giants are a very cold-hardy breed, but the large single combs on the roosters can be subject to frostbite. Jersey Giants generally lay during the winter. However, they do not do well in the heat, so they must have options to keep them cool in warm climates.

They are a hardy breed, and they love to forage. They do well against predators, although the black and blue varieties do better than the white variety. Because they are large, some will fight potential aggressors. They are calm and docile and get along with other chicken breeds, and some Jersey Giants are tolerant of other roosters. They generally don’t fly because of their weight, but some have been known to fly over a fence if something attracts them. They are friendly birds and many like to cuddle with their owners.

Because they are larger than other breeds, you will need to make modifications to your coop to accommodate them. They need larger nesting boxes, more space on their roosting bars, and bars should be lower because they can injure their legs jumping down from higher ones. Although they are an overall healthy breed, due to their weight, if there is anything sharp under the perch and the bird lands on it and injures its foot, the bird becomes susceptible to bumblefoot and possibly death.

All chickens are noisy to some extent, but Jersey Giants are known to be a bit more vocal than average.

If you don’t have close neighbors, you may really enjoy your Jersey Giant’s noises. One chicken keeper said of her flock, “…the vocalizations they make… are often very un-chicken-like. They chortle, and warble, and coo like doves.”


Conservation StatusWatch


Comb: Rose

Use: Eggs, Meat

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Medium – 230-275 per year

Average Weight: Rooster 6 lbs, Hen 4 lbs

Temperament: Calm and Genial

Characteristics: Good forager, likes to range

APA Class: American

Color Description: Distinctive, irregular, black and white barred (“cuckoo”) pattern.

Breed Description: Apple pie, baseball, and Dominiques! As the oldest American breed, the Dominique holds a special place in the poultry fancy of this country. The Dominique chicken is recognized as America’s first chicken breed. The exact origin of the breed is unknown, although their initial creation may have involved European chicken breeds and later in its refinement, some Asian varieties. The name of “Dominique” may have come from birds that were imported from the French colony of Saint-Domingue (today known as Haiti) and which are thought to have been used as part of the development of the Dominique breed. They are prized for their ability to forage, their egg-laying abilities, and their ease of keeping. Dominiques have a rose comb and are a cold hardy breed. They are one of our personal farm favorites as a friendly lap bird and often like to visit when they our out on their daily forage.

Barred chickens with both rose combs and single combs were somewhat common in the eastern United States as early as 1750. As interest in poultry breeding increased, attention was given to develop a uniformity in chicken breeds. Early names of these fowl include Blue Spotted Hen, Old Grey Hen, Dominico, Dominic, and Dominicker. The breed was widely known on the eastern coast of the U.S. as the Dominique.

The Dominique was plentifully bred on American farms as early as the 1820’s, where these birds were a popular dual-purpose fowl. In 1871 the New York Poultry Society decided that only the rose combed Dominique would become the standard for the breed and the single combed Dominiques were relegated to and folded into the Plymouth Rock breed – popular in New England, created by crossing large, single comb Dominiques with Java chickens. Dominiques were never used commercially, and the breed was eventually eclipsed on the farm by the gradual shift to the larger “Plymouth Rocks.”

In 1874 the Dominique breed was officially admitted to the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection.

The Dominique enjoyed popularity until the 1920’s at which time interest in the breed waned due to the passing of aged,

long-time Dominique enthusiasts and breeders. The breed managed to survive during the Great Depression of the 1930’s due to its hardiness and ease of up-keep. By the end of World War II as industrial poultry operations began to take a foothold in the U.S., the Dominique once again experienced decline. By 1970 only 4 known flocks remained, held by: Henry Miller, Edward Uber, Robert Henderson, and Carl Gallaher. Through the effort of dedicated individuals the remaining owners were contacted and convinced to participate in a breed rescue. From 1983, following published reports on the breed by The Livestock Conservancy, until 2006, Dominiques steadily rose in numbers. As of 2007, it has been observed by the breed’s enthusiasts that numbers are once again beginning to decline, as old time breeders of Dominique age and are no longer involved with keeping and promoting the breed.

The Dominique is a medium-sized black and white barred (otherwise known as “cuckoo” patterned) bird. The barred plumage coloration is also referred to as hawk-colored and serves the Dominique in making the bird less conspicuous to predators. The Dominique sports a rose comb with a short upward curving spike that is characteristic to this breed. The males average at seven pounds and can be a protective flock member for their free-ranging hens. The females at five pounds make good mothers. The Dominique’s tightly arranged plumage, combined with the low profile of the rose comb, make this breed more resistant to frostbite than many other breeds of fowl. Dominiques are also known to adapt well to hot and humid climates. Historically the close feathering of this breed not only protected the birds in cold weather, but provided ample material for the pillows and featherbeds of their owners.

Dominiques carry their heads high up on well-arched necks. The males of the breed have an almost “u” shaped back outline. Their body is broad and full with long and full tail feathers that are held the highest of the American breeds. Females have back outlines that slope from head to tail. Although categorized as a dual-purpose breed, these birds are first and foremost egg producers with hens historically averaging 230-275 small- to medium-sized brown eggs.


Light and Dark Brahmas

Breed Facts

Conservation Status: Recovering

Comb: Pea

Use: Dual Purpose

Egg Color: Brown

Egg Size: Medium – 150-160 a year 

Average Weight:  Rooster 10-14 lbs, Hen 8-10 lbs

Temperament: Docile, Gentle and Quiet

Characteristics: Heavy Breed. Good forager in confined area. Slow to develop.

APA Class: Asiatic

Color Description: Light Brahmas are mainly white, with black hackles & white edging on each feather. Their tails are also black. Brahmas have feathered shanks & feet.

Breed Details:

Brahmas have long been prized for their size and who hasn’t seen that video floating around the internet; be honest!

As with most very old breeds, its early history is not completely known. We do know that while the ancestors of the modern Light Brahmas likely came to the United States on 19th Century sailing ships, the breed as we know it today was developed in the United States.

In the 1850s, some Brahma roosters reached as much as 18 pounds in weight. That’s a lot of chicken! The average size, then and now, is a bit smaller and birds today may be closer to 10 pounds but some males do get heavier. This chicken breed is named after India's Brahmaputra River, it is believed that Brahmas originated in India, but no one really knows for sure. We strive for birds of a nice size in our flock too if we ever see 18 pound roosters you will be the first to know.

Brahmas are one of the heaviest breeds and are great for a small flock because they are excellent dual-purpose chickens. Their docile, gentle, and quiet temperament makes them one of the best breeds around children and they are very easy to handle. They have a regal appearance in the chicken world.

Hens sometimes go broody, and are attentive mothers. They are also excellent winter layers, producing most of their eggs between October and May.

They get along well with other chickens and people. Brahmas have a pea comb, with yellow skin and are a cold hardy breed. Feathers cover their feet and shanks, keeping them warm in winter. These gentle giants have profuse, fluffy feathering. Originally in India, these birds were developed for meat production, but are too slow growing to be regarded as "meat birds".

They do like to forage nevertheless, they are not good fliers due to their size. So, they do quite well in a large confinement; compared to free-ranging.

Light and Dark Brahmas were both included in the first printing of the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1874. They were prized across the country until the 1930s when their fairly slow rate of maturity led them to fall out of favor.

Brahmas are BIG birds and deserve BIG coops and BIG runs … lower, stronger perches and roosts; along with custom built nest boxes for “…Baby (who) got Back….” They're so much larger than most other breeds that they may end up near the top of your pecking order by default. The other thing to remember about their size is that you should gather eggs frequently. Ensure your hens have supplemental calcium to develop strong shells. Weak-shelled eggs left too long in the coop can get inadvertently broken. That's a danger with any breed but particularly so with extra-large birds.

Brahmas are so gentle and absolutely huggable you should always have them by your side…literally waist high! 

Egyptian Fayoumi

Conservation Status: None


Comb: Single Comb

Use: Ornamental/Exhibition

Egg Color: White

Egg Size: Small 150

Average Weight: Rooster 4-5 lbs Hen 3-4 lbs

Temperament: Active, busy, flighty

Characteristics: Good foragers, disease resistant, heat tolerant,

Color Description: The skin color is typically slate blue & they have dark horn colored beaks. Hens have silver-white hue on necks & heads the rest of their body is barred. Roosters have plumage w/silver-white on the head, neck, saddle & back, the rest is white & black barring.

Breed Details: The Fayoumi is believed to be an ancient breed. In the 1940s some eggs were imported from Egypt to the United States by a dean of agriculture from Iowa State University, and the birds hatched from them those were cross-bred with American chickens. The Fayoumi is not recognized by the American Poultry Association, and is not included in its Standard of Perfection.

The Fayoumi was first imported to the United Kingdom in 1984. Two color varieties are recognized, silver-penciled and gold-penciled.

Fayoumi is an Egyptian breed of chicken that is derived from ancient jungle fowl and is believed to have been around during the days of the Egyptian Pharaohs. Though Fayoumi chickens have been raised along the Nile River for centuries, and have been in North America since 1940, these small, independent, amazing chickens are still relatively uncommon in the U.S.

They are, however, arguably gaining popularity in the United States because of their uniqueness and potential value to scientists. Known for their exotic beauty, incredible resistance to disease, early maturity and unparalleled foraging skills, these birds are also fiercely independent and somewhat of a challenge to keep.

Fayoumi chickens are quite small in size with large dark eyes and tails held high. With a silvery head, large single comb, onyx-dark eyes, and slim, black-speckled body, they are sometimes likened to a roadrunner with their forward jutting breast and neck and upright tails. Their large, bright, dark eyes are excellent at scanning the skies for predators–a trait which serves them well as independent birds that cover so much ground in daily foraging.

Fayoumi are also one of the fastest maturing breeds. Cockerels start crowing at an unbelievable five or six weeks, and hens can begin laying eggs as early as 4 and a half or 5 months. Here’s what they look like as baby chicks.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Fayoumi is their ability to be incredibly resistant to disease. Their natural immunities to many of the viral and bacteriological diseases that plague other poultry are being studied by researchers all over the world. Notably, Fayoumis are suspected to be resistant to Marek’s Disease, Newcastle disease, maybe even Avian Influenza as well as many other illnesses.

Iowa State University obtained Fayoumi in the early 1940’s when the university’s Dean of Agriculture carried some hatching eggs home from Egypt for the poultry genetics program to study. They have since preserved the breed as a research flock, and are credited as the first of several programs in the US dedicated to the study of Fayoumi’s incredibly strong resistance to diseases that other breeds readily succumb to.

As potentially valuable as this disease resistant trait might be, until recently, the genetic variation that might make this possible has not widely been studied. Citing a June 2019 study done by Penn State University researchers, virus-resilient genes in Fayoumi and Leghorn chicken breeds were identified. Scientists have discovered a set of genes, expressed in two breeds of chickens – Fayoumi and Leghorn – which can fight off, in varying degrees, a common poultry disease known as Newcastle disease. Newcastle is a deadly respiratory illness that can infect and kill off half a flock in a matter of days. An international team of scientists – led by Pennsylvania State University researchers – looked for ways for farmers to successfully breed chickens that can resist one of the biggest disease threats within the poultry industry. “Identifying the genes that help chickens survive Newcastle disease may help design breeding strategies that produce flocks that are more resilient and more productive,” quotes Vivek Kapur, Professor of Animal Science and Associate Director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences at Penn State. “The findings will improve health, especially in low and middle-income countries, through enhancing productivity for smallholder farmers, especially in Africa and Asia, and by increasing food sources for their families and communities. According to Kapur, since these chickens have been running around back yards for hundreds of years, even in the face of constant exposure to Newcastle disease, there’s something innate that has enabled them to survive in this environment where the disease is endemic.

Similar work by researchers at Iowa State University also explored the genetics of Fayoumi chickens, and in recent projects, animal science faculty members from Iowa State are working with Fayoumi in Africa, specifically, in an effort to improve nutrition and alleviate food scarcity across the continent. Researchers will explore the local genetic diversity of chickens in Africa and with the information gained by studying the genetics of Fayoumi, they hope to breed birds that are more resistant to Newcastle disease. Because remote places without electricity cannot refrigerate the vaccine, Newcastle outbreaks remain the biggest roadblock to successful poultry production here. In theory, a chicken bred to flourish in such climates as well as maintain resistance to Newcastle would undoubtedly help the economy and feed local residents at a much higher nutritional level.

These scientific studies are ongoing and may one day prove the Fayoumi to be one of the most important breeds of chicken that although ancient, can teach us through modern genetic studies how to make future generations of chicken virtually disease resistant. So, even if we don’t appreciate the Fayoumi’s indifference to humans, or its preference to NOT be part of our backyard flock, we have to realize that this breed is a gem in its own right, and we are just getting started figuring out all the potential benefits the Fayoumi can bring to our own poultry industry, as well as its place in the future of less advantaged cultures.