Buff Orpington Duck: Complete Breed Guide

Buff Orpington Duck: Complete Breed Guide

The Buff Orpington duck is the epitome of a dual-purpose duck. For someone looking for one single “do-it-all” breed, this would be one of my first recommendations.

They were created in Orpington, Kent, UK by a man named William Cook, who also created the Buff Orpington chicken. Buff was a popular and in-demand color at the time. They were created from a mix of Cayuga, Runner, Aylesbury, and Rouen ducks. Cook also created Black, Blue, Chocolate, and White Orpington ducks, which are possibly extinct now.

buff orpington duck foraging
Buff Orpington. Photo courtesy of Kayli at thegaagirl.blogspot.com

Even though buff is the only recognized color, Buff Orpingtons still produce two other colors when bred: blond and brown. The buff color is due to a blue dilution gene, which does not breed true.

Buff Orpingtons have orange feet and legs. Drakes typically have yellow bills and ducks have orange-brown bills. Drakes also have a brown head.

They were first showed in 1897. They were standardized in Britain in 1910 and in the United States in 1914. They are listed by the The Livestock Conservancy as threatened. In a 2015 census, 1088 breeding birds were found.

buff orpington duck breed infographic

Some people call them Buff Orpingtons. Others call them Buffs. Others refer to them as Orpingtons. Either way, they lay a fairly generous sum of 150-220 eggs a year. They weigh 5 to 8 pounds, and they gain weight quickly, which means they can be butchered by 8-10 weeks. They also have white pinfeathers. Even though they are not raised commercially for meat, they make an excellent meat bird for a homestead or small farm.

They don’t fly, are good foragers, are fairly docile, and are relatively good mothers and broodies. They’re also pretty and uniquely colored.

Overall, they’re a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a duck breed they can use for both meat and eggs.


buff orpington drake exhibition
A male Buff Orpington at an exhibition. Photo used with permission from The Domestic Waterfowl Club of Great Britain.
female buff orpington duck exhibition
A female Buff Orpington at an exhibition. Photo used with permission from The Domestic Waterfowl Club of Great Britain.
male and female buff orpington exhibition
A Buff Orpington pair at an exhibition. Photo used with permission from The Domestic Waterfowl Club of Great Britain.
buff orpington duckling
A Buff Orpington duckling. Photo used with permission from The Domestic Waterfowl Club of Great Britain.

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  1. Hello I have 2 ducks I adopted, I was told they are pecking ducks but doing my research they seem like they are actually Buff Orpington ducks! So my question is I’m having the hardest time figuring out if I have two females or a female and a Duke now the bigger one looked like it was mating with the smaller one but they’re both the same colour basically they don’t have a defined headline or anything so I’m wondering if anyone could help me figure out if they’re both female or if one is male because I don’t want her to be over bread if there is only one female and that I have to get another female duck so she is not hurt…they seem to quack the same but if they are both female and the darker on EIS a little bigger…why would she be “humping” the other female??

    1. Hi Jackie,

      Well, if the seller thought they were Pekins, I think it’s unlikely that they’re really purebred Buff Orpingtons. Maybe they’re a Pekin cross that happened to look like Buff Orpingtons? I’ve also seen ducks that were supposed to be purebred Buff Orpingtons but that didn’t have correct coloring (the drake had a light head), so either that person’s ducks were backyard mixes that looked like Buffs, or they were Buffs that had been bred carelessly and no longer had accurate breed characteristics.

      Yes, actually, females will sometimes look like they’re mating other females, and drakes will also mount other drakes. Sometimes it’s a dominance thing and sometimes it’s the result of strong hormones, if they don’t have any of the opposite sex around.

      If their quacks are the same, then I think they probably are both females. Do they have drake curls? If they’re adults, that’s a good way to tell if you have males or females.


    1. Hi Amber,

      I suggest taking all your ducks’ eggs. If you want them to hatch ducklings, just wait until she goes broody (if she does–not all Buff Orpingtons go broody) and then give her some eggs back. I put a fake egg in my ducks’ nests, because if I take them all, some ducks will be discouraged from laying there. Or you could just leave one real egg in the nest, but don’t let them pile up, or they’ll rot, get dirty, bake in the heat, or be discovered by egg-loving animals.


    1. The RBST and Poultry Club of Great Britain both classify Buff Orpington ducks as “light,” while the Livestock Conservancy and APA Standard of Perfection classify them as “medium.”

      So I don’t know. I’ll consider updating the graphic when I get a chance.

      Hannah Miller