It's quite possible you already have a golden buff chicken among your flock and don't realize it. That's because they are marketed under a variety of names by hatcheries and breeders. If you've got a Red Star, Golden Comet, Cinnamon Queen, Isa Brown or Gold Sex-Link, you've got a golden buff under one of her many pseudonyms.
The golden buff isn't a recognized breed, but a hybrid cross of various types. That includes the leghorn and Rhode Island red. "Golden buff" is really a misnomer, as the hens are more reddish-brown than gold. That's one reason it goes by so many different names. The bird sold by hatcheries matures to approximately 4 pounds if female and 6 pounds if male. It's a hardy bird that does well in cold climates. While the hens are famous for their egg production, the roosters make good meat birds.
The golden buff is a sex-linked breed, so only the hens boast the buff hue. Roosters are white with light reddish-brown tones around the neck and wings and on the tail feathers. The great advantage of a sex-linked breed is that there's no wondering whether it's male or female in chickhood. It generally takes an experienced eye to tell the difference between day-old male and female chicks, but an amateur can easily tell a golden buff chick's gender.
Because they're such friendly, calm chickens, golden buffs are a good choice for people just starting out with poultry. That's true of the roosters as well as the hens. If you want to keep a rooster—no matter what type of hen you have—a golden buff makes sense because he generally isn't aggressive with people. These quiet birds do well either free-range or in confinement.
Golden buff hens produce large brown eggs. A typical hen lays five eggs or more a week, with an annual production of approximately 250. Pullets mature early, so they start laying at approximately 5 months of age. If you want to raise your own golden buffs, be patient. These hens don't go broody easily. That means they'll want to lay and sit on a clutch of eggs for three weeks until chicks hatch.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.