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Some years back I set out to purchase a particular breed of chicken to supplement the chickens that we already had living on our school grounds.
It had been suggested to me that buff orpington hens were particularly beautiful (which they are) as well as being friendly and gentle which indeed they are.
I trawled through a variety of websites and selling pages to discover that buff orpingtons are quite hard to come by; many breeders living miles from my area. Being a rare breed of chicken they also cost more than I had planned to pay.
I did eventually find someone selling buff orpingtons at a reasonable cost and only a 45 min drive away. I rang up, put in an order for 3 hens and was told that they would be ready to collect in three weeks as they were not quite at point of lay.
Well, when the time came to collect the hens the breeder rang to apologise to say that her partner had sold all but one of the 'buffs' but that she had a white orpington as well as a yellow brahma hen that I could have instead along with the remaining buff hen. Being geared up to buy some hens off I went to complete my purchase.
This is Miss Snowball who escaped from her box on the ride home and thoroughly enjoyed watching the world go by.
This is when I should have been somewhat suspicious but nevertheless I was determined to get at least one buff hen. Within two weeks of introducing the new hens the only buff one turned out to be a cockerel. Upon registering a complaint with the seller she was very apologetical - she claimed she hadn't realised it was a cockeral. However, when I attempted to contact her again - all her details had been taken down from the selling site.
I have since managed to build up my own flock of buff orpingtons through purchasing hatching eggs from different sources so that I now can breed and sell my own lovely hens. I have also discovered that it is easy to distinguish between the hens and cockerals at an early age. Never mind - lesson learned. Buyer Beware.
New 'hens' enjoying a dust bath: