Buckeye Chicken

Buckeye chicken is a dual purpose breed which originated from Ohio, United States. The breed was developed by Mrs. Nettie Metcalf and named from Ohio’s nickname of “Buckeye State”.

This is the only chicken breed known to have been developed by a woman. And Buckeye chicken is also the only one in the American Class to have a pea comb.

In 1896 Mrs. Nettie Metcalf first bred and developed Buckeye chicken in Warren, Ohio. She crossbred Barred Plymouth Rocks, Buff Cochins, and some black breasted red games for producing this breed.

Her main goal was to develop a functional cold hardy breed that could produce well in the bitter Midwest winters, and she was eminently successful.

Buckeye chicken was admitted to the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1904. There is a bantam variety of this chicken breed available.

Buckeye Chicken Characteristics

Buckeye chicken is quite similar to the Rhode Island Red chicken breed. That’s why some people confuse this breed with Rhode Island Red. But the Buckeyes, structurally are very different from a Rhode Island Red. They have more muscular thighs and are more slanted with broader backs.

Buckeyes had a similar appearance to the Cornish chicken during the early 1900s. They are large in size and sturdy chickens with broad breasts and bodies. They have very meaty thighs and strong wings. They have close, tight plumage and the primary color is a mahogany red with black tails.

Sometimes roosters have other dark feathering. Both roosters and hens have pea combs with small to medium sized wattles and the hens have black tips.

Buckeye chicken is the only pure American chicken breed which has a pea comb. Their small pea combs and relatively large body size make them a winter hardy breed. Comb, earlobes and wattles of Buckeye chicken are of red color. They have featherless yellow legs and the skin color is yellow.

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Buckeye hens are good layers and lay good number of brown eggs. On an average, Buckeye roosters weight about 4.1 kg and hens about 2.9 kg. Photo from Wikipedia.


Buckeye chickens have their own unique personalities. They are very active and excellent foragers. So, they are ideal for free range system. They also do well in confinement as long as they have enough space or run to move around. But they will be much happier and produce better if allowed to range on grass.

They are unflappable and calm bird. They are also very friendly and easily handled. Buckeye chickens are extremely winter hardy. Hens produce eggs throughout the winter season. Hens are also very friendly and can be very good as pets.

They are good layers and sometimes go broody and raise chicks. But the roosters are aggressive sometimes and can be territorial during the breeding season. Buckeye chickens are slow to grow compared to other breeds.

Pullets will start laying eggs at their 6 to 6 and a half months of age. They are docile, and both roosters and hens are reportedly very good mouse hunters. So they can be a good choice for your backyard or pasture. See full breed profile of Buckeye chicken below.

Breed NameBuckeye
Other NameOnce Called ‘Pea Combed Rhode Island Red
Breed PurposeDual Purpose
Breed TemperamentActive, Hardy, Friendly, Bears Confinement Well, Docile
Breed SizeLarge
Climate ToleranceAll Climates/But Extremely Cold Hardy
Egg ColorBrown
Egg SizeMedium
Egg ProductivityMedium
Feathered LegsNo

The Good

  • Very beautiful
  • Active
  • Very hardy
  • Docile
  • Curious
  • Gentle
  • Very friendly
  • Great foragers
  • Bears confinement well
  • Great meat birds
  • Good layers
  • Good size brown eggs
  • Cold hardy and heat tolerant
  • Great dual purpose breed
  • Both roosters and hens are great mouse hunters

The Bad

  • Roosters can be aggressive sometimes

Is Buckeye Chicken Good for You?

Buckeye chicken is good for you if you…….

  • Want to raise some very beautiful chickens.
  • Are willing to raise some very active and hardy chicken breed.
  • Are living somewhere with cold climates and searching for some excellent cold hardy chicken breeds.
  • Want to raise some friendly chickens.
  • Want to raise some chickens as pets.
  • Are searching for such chicken which are great foragers and can bears confinement well at the same time.
  • Prefer raising dual purpose breeds which are good for meat and also lay good amount of eggs.

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