Buff Orpington Duck – Breed Profile & Facts
Also known as Buff, in short, the Buff Orpington duck breed belongs to the waterfowl species of ducks under the Anatidae family. Besides, Buff Orpington duck is a multipurpose breed of ducks kept for both meat and eggs.
These friendly ducks are also attractive and docile. Often praised as “pond ornaments” or farm pets, thanks to their graceful beauty and friendly nature. Their compatibility with other poultry birds is moderate, meaning that they can co-exist with other poultry in the same living space without a problem.
Buff Orpington Duck are hardy, large, and easy to raise. Their care level is moderate and can thrive best in varied temperature conditions. The color for this duck breed consists of a buff body with yellow feet. Read on to learn more about Buff Orpington Ducks’ history, characteristics, care needs, behavior, and lifespan among other things.
History of Buff Orpington Duck
Buff Orpington ducks’ history starts in England. This is the place where these ducks were developed. William Cook, a renowned poultry breeder from Kent is accredited with developing this duck breed.
Initially, the Buff Orpington duck breed was developed by crossbreeding Indian Runner, Rouen, Cayuga, and Aylesbury ducks.
Cook’s ingenious breeding tactics led to the creation of the Buff, Blue, White, and Black Orpington duck varieties. The main reason why Cook attempted to create these multiple colors was to capitalize mainly on the buff-colored plumage fad growing in popularity across Europe at the start of the 20th Century.
Buff Orpington breed was introduced in the US for the first time in 1908 by Cook. The ducks were displayed at the Madison Square Garden Show at the time. It was until 1914 that the first batch of Buff Orpington duck was granted entry in the American Standard of Perfection book.
The Buff Orpington duck breed was only listed as “Buff. This unusual labeling of a breed by a poultry association makes it the only instance of a given breed being listed using only its color.
The Buff Orpington breed of ducks was standardized in Britain in 1910. But the Blue Orpington duck variety was standardized in 1926. Members of Buff Orpington ducks were more popular in Europe (on a commercial farming scale) than in the US.
Buff Orpington Duck Characteristics
Buff Orpington ducks are excellent free-ranging birds. You can allow them to patrol around their duck house, run, coop, and in the pond to routinely forage for nearly half their diet. Usually, these birds are left to wander in the backyard starting from the springtime through the end of the fall season.
Buff Orpington drakes tend to be loyal to their hens by keeping a watchful eye on the entire flock while free-ranging.
Buffs are naturally intelligent backyard poultry. You can train them to free-range to learn and master their designated boundaries. Start your training using some millet or lettuce to help them acquire their free-ranging skills and routine.
These birds can live comfortably in your backyard or on a small homestead if you provide them with a safe, clean and spacious duck house. You can even make them feel comfortable by providing the necessary features to make their life exciting.
Buff Orpington duck breed can also thrive on a large homestead or animal farm with access to a large free-ranging area. It is wise to keep one drake with five hens to help check on their procreation rates.
Here are additional characteristics and features that best describe the Buff Orpington duck breed:
– Size & Weight
Members of the Buff Orpington duck breed are considered “light class”. Their 6 to 8-pound weight elevates their status to the upper levels of size class designation. These birds are characterized by their oval head and medium-length bill. Their bodies are broad shaped with long curved necks that give them that characteristic “graceful” style.
The Buff Orpington duck’s body carriage is usually 20 degrees above on a horizontal plane. Their tail is distinctly curled while the wings on hens and drakes are short and small, limiting their ability to fly.
The shank and feet come in a shade of orange to yellow with the bill appearing yellow on drakes and a shade of brown or orange on hens. Both drakes and hens have a buff plumage that is often in a “fawn brown” shade.
A mature Buff Orpington hen can weigh an average of 5 to 6 pounds. Adult drakes typically weigh from 6 to 8 pounds. Their rapid weight gain is the main reason they are popular meat ducks. Regardless of their gender, ducks of this breed can quickly reach the butcher’s weight in 8 to 10 weeks.
The typical behavior and temperament of the Buff Orpington duck breed are almost similar to that of other duck breeds. These birds are known to be lively, calm, intelligent, and curious backyard poultry. They spend a great amount of their time foraging for food and exploring their surrounding throughout the day.
The Buff Orpington ducks are naturally docile. Their liveliness makes them a great selection of birds to free-range in areas that are secured from potential predators. These lovely birds do not cause a big fuss when people get around their living space. However, they are capable of alerting you whenever strangers and intruders encroach on their territories.
These duck breeds can live comfortably in both warm and cold climates. This is attributed to the fact that their feathers are built in such a way to keep them warm. They keep themselves cool in warm weather by constantly swimming in the water when necessary.
When subjected to the right conditions, safe environment, and most appropriate diet, Buff Orpington ducks can live up to 8 to 12 years. This is because they are moderately easy in terms of taking care of their needs.
Just like other domesticated ducks, Buffs need maximum protection from predators. For that reason, you should consider providing protection in areas they spend most of their time in, especially during the day. An enclosed duck house is recommended to keep them safe and comfortable in times of extremely bad weather conditions.
A clean source of water is also essential when it comes to the survival of the Buff Orpington duck breed. Their free-ranging area needs fencing off to keep out dangerous animals or thieves and to prevent them from wandering too far.
– Egg Production
On average, Buff Orpington hens can lay 180 to 245 eggs per year. Their eggs are usually white and large in size. A mature Buff Orpington hen can lay as many as three to four eggs in one week.
Ducks belonging to his breed are likely to go broody after laying eggs for a given period of time. These hens are likely to gather up duck eggs that they come across and claim to be their own regardless of whether they belong to them or not.
Furthermore, these hens are excellent sitters. But it is necessary to invest in a few incubators to help increase your flock of ducks. Once they hatch, these Buff Orpington ducks make great mothers.
They are protective and extremely caring for their baby ducklings. They spend most of their time watching over their young ones while teaching them to adapt ways of ducks both in water and on land.
– Meat Production
Buff Orpington ducks produce high-quality meat. Even though the Pekin duck breed leads in meat production, this breed is always kept for its robustly flavored meat.
Even though commercial farms prefer raising larger Pekin duck breed for meat, some find Buff Orpington duck meat to be superior. This is why a great number of poultry farmers opt to raise Buffs in their homesteads and on residential farms.
Buff Orpington Duck Care
Buff Orpington ducks are among the easiest and most affordable breeds of domesticated ducks to look after. These backyard ducks require basic needs such as feeding, proper nutrition, shelter, and good health. If you fulfill all these requirements, your Buffs will grow become productive in a matter of few weeks.
– Feeding & Nutrition
The best part of raising ducks in your backyard is that they can eat different types of food. Even those in the wild eat a wide variety of foods while foraging all day long. Ducks may eat worms, small fish, weeds, algae, insects, berries, and seeds.
Even those in captivity can eat all these things but this can pose some challenges to their keepers. The main challenge can arise when preparing a complete meal for them using whole foods. So, if you are planning to start raising Buff Orpington ducks, you need to consider feeding them a commercial blend of nutritionally balanced foods.
Any of those foods listed above can still supplement their dietary needs when given in moderation. Small quantities of fruits, veggies, lettuce, and healthy chicken scrap can also become part of their diet. Most importantly, your Buffs should have access to a considerable amount of sand, gravel, or grit to help in their digestion.
You may allow your Buffs to free-range during the day and provide them with an enclosed shelter during the night or when the weather conditions become unfavorable for them. Their enclosed house should offer at least four square feet of living space per bird.
If you are raising them in an enclosed habitat, ensure that their enclosure has a coop. Plus, each bird must have at least ten square feet of exterior space for easy roaming.
The more space you provide them, the happier and comfortable they will become. Don’t forget to add a small water tub, pond, or swimming pool to their habitat to help them cool off during hot summer months.
– Health Problems
Keeping your Buff Orpington ducks’ health should be your priority. This is because ducks are susceptible to parasites and worms, especially when they dig around in search of insects and other edibles. Therefore, they should be dewormed severally each year to keep them safe from dangerous worms and other parasites.
Grooming is not so necessary when handling your Buff Orpington ducks. But when they get extremely muddy, you may take them to a water source for a thorough bath.
Make sure they get healthy food and clean, fresh drinking water daily to maintain their good health. Most significantly, have a local veterinarian come occasionally to check on their progress.
Can Buff Orpington Ducks Fly?
Just like most domesticated duck breeds, the Buff Orpington breed cannot truly fly. Instead, they can only flap their little wings to lift their feet a couple of inches off the ground. This is followed by bolstering themselves forward for about one foot or so.
How Much do Buff Orpington Ducks Cost?
On average, Buff Orpington ducklings can cost between $2.5 and $10 each. However, the cost may depend on factors such as the number of ducklings you want to buy. Alternatively, you can buy eggs to hatch on your own at home. This is a relatively expensive way of acquiring Buff Orpington Ducks compared to buying baby duckling from accredited hatcheries.
Adult ducks are usually costly. A single one can vary from $15 to $40 or more depending on their meat and egg quality. The rarity of the Buff Orpington duck breed can also serve as a determining factor for availability, selection, and price in some areas.
Are Buff Orpington Ducks Loud?
Buff Orpington ducks are social, friendly, and gentle birds. That is why they make excellent pets for families. Buffs are not as noisy as some other breeds of ducks.
However, they are likely to alert you in case they spot strangers, intruders, and predators encroaching on their living space. Otherwise, they will remain calm, peaceful, and laidback while roaming and exploring their surroundings.
Do Buff Orpington ducks fit your needs. If so, then you should acquire a few to add to your existing backyard poultry birds. Buffs are interesting, calm, and hardy birds that can supply you with fresh tasty eggs and flavored meat across the year.
They can also offer you daily interactions when raised as pets. Buffs are also smart, friendly, curious, and intelligent to have around your family. Your kids will find them fascinating and quite pleasant to play around with them.