The Buckeye was first bred and developed in 1896, by a Warren, Ohio resident named Nettie Metcalf. The Buckeye is the only American breed of chicken known to have been developed by a woman, despite the fact that women were customarily given charge of the household poultry flock throughout much of U.S. history. Metcalf crossbred Barred Plymouth Rocks, Buff Cochins, and some black breasted red games to produce the Buckeye. Her goal was a functional breed that could produce well in the bitter Midwest winters. Contrary to popular belief the Buckeye breed was created before the Rhode Island Red breed and Metcalf actually sent birds to the RIR breeders for them to improve their breed.
The Buckeye was admitted to the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection in 1904. Entrance into the Standard of Perfection signifies official certification as a breed by the Association, and thus allows Buckeyes to be entered into poultry shows and judged according to the breed standard. The recognition of Buckeyes in the Standard has been a significant factor in its survival. In the past, largely due its lack of color variations, the Buckeye has not been an especially popular exhibition breed, but there is growing interest in the exhibition poultry fancy for this dual-purpose variety of bird. Not adopted by commercial operations, the Buckeye has generally been a bird of smaller farm flocks. Today the breed status is listed as threatened by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, threatened being defined as Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the United States, with seven or fewer primary breeding flocks, and estimated global population less than 5,000.
The Buckeye is the only purely American breed to sport a pea comb, and this combined with its stocky build, makes it a supremely cold hardy chicken. It's primary color is a mahogany red with black tails, the male weighs an average of 9lb, and the hen 6.5lb. The Buckeye also bears some traits of Game fowl in frame and disposition, being assertive in character and a very good forager and generally calm. Despite its game heritage, it tolerates confinement well, although it will be much happier and produce better if allowed to range on grass. The Buckeye is said by breeders to be disinclined towards feather picking. A good meat producer and layer of between 150 and 200 brown eggs per year, the Buckeye is a dual purpose chicken well–suited to small farmyard and backyard flocks.