Introducing Burford Browns
The Burford Brown is considered one of Britain’s favourite hens.
These chickens lay dark brown, chocolate-colored eggs with thick shells and delicious orange yolks.
The Burford Brown hen is a prevalent breed of chicken throughout the United Kingdom; many famous people, including the Royal Family, have kept these beautiful hens due to their wonderful eggs.
This breed was first bred in the Cotswolds in the 1940s by Mabel Pearman, who lived in Burford. Any guesses where they get their name?
Read on to find out how to care for this breed, including their dietary requirements, the amount of space they need and how many delicious eggs you can expect from them.
Personality & Temperament
Characteristics in a Flock
Food and Diet Requirements
Common Health Issues
Coop & Run Needs
Burford Brown FAQs
Are Burford Browns Right for You?
Burford Brown Chicken Breed Information
|For Beginners?||Some chicken experience is preferred|
|Cost:||≈£50 per hen – quite expensive|
|Maintenance:||Very easy to care for as long as you have plenty of space to allow them to free-range|
|Average Lifespan:||6 years +|
|Point of Lay Age:||4 months|
|Bird Weight:||2.5 – 2.8kg|
|Broodiness:||Generally not, but can be on occasion|
|Child Friendliness:||Very child friendly, they love human company and especially children|
|Cold Resistance:||They’re used to UK winters and are quite hardy|
|Egg Output:||4 – 5 eggs a week|
|Egg Colors:||Dark brown|
|Feather Color(s):||Copper, Black, Blue and Green|
Personality & Temperament of Burford Browns
The Burford Browns make excellent garden pets. They are always alert and cheerful and can easily be domesticated to make good family pets, as they are good with children.
They do not adapt well to small spaces; they need space to roam.
These brown birds are UK-bred hardy chickens and can cope well with Britain’s harshest winters.
Apart from the occasional egg song and chatting with their friends, they are quiet birds, so they are a good choice for an urban garden, if you have a large enough space.
Due to their excellent breeding, they can be disease free if well looked after and kept in the right conditions.
They are not known for broodiness, but it can happen.
Characteristics in a Flock
They are good chickens to mix with other breeds, but they should be fully matured so no bullying or anti-social behavior occurs from other members of the flock.
Egg Laying Capabilities
The Burford Brown are appreciated for their incredible brown egg-laying ability.
These beautiful chickens are excellent producers of glossy, dark brown thick-shelled eggs, with a dense texture and a fantastic flavor, and they are one of the best brown egg producers.
They mature quickly and start laying eggs from 21-25 weeks of age. They can lay around 220 -240 top-quality eggs in the first year, with eggs weighing approximately 60g.
They lay well throughout Spring, Summer, and Autumn, and have a well-deserved break in the Winter.
Their regular laying will continue for many years if they are well cared for and are kept in the right conditions.
Burford Brown Appearance
These hens are well-proportioned medium-sized chickens. They’re slightly bigger than a hybrid chicken, weighing around 2.5 – 2.8kg.
Most of these hens have copper-colored neck and chest feathers that can grow down to their abdomen, with black, shiny, blue-green pearlescent feathers over the body and wings.
Some hens may have more dark brown colored feathers over their bodies, and some may have feathered feet and legs.
The feathers are silky and soft to the touch.
They have a single red comb with well-defined points, which is upright. Their wattles and ear lobes are also red.
Their eyes are a brown copper color, and their beaks are black, with a brown tip.
These chickens are only available in one place in the UK. The company that breed them do not sell hatching eggs, chicks or roosters and so there are no varieties.
These chickens have no varieties in color or sizing, unlike the Marans, Wyandottes, Orpingtons, and Brahmas, of which there are many varieties.
Burford Brown Chicken Care
Food and Diet Requirements
Diet is essential to hens and requires good quality layer feed from the point of lay (about four months of age).
They will supplement their diet with grass, clover, and other greens, as well as insects and bugs from all the foraging they love to do.
They will also require access to oyster shells (for additional calcium) and grit given in a separate dish. Don’t mix this with their usual food.
Grit generally isn’t required if free ranging is allowed, but it should be provided if they are restricted due to avian flu guidelines.
Extra protein may be required during molting. Fresh, clean water must always be available too.
Common Burford Brown Health Issues
These birds are bred at a consistently high standard, ensuring their hens are disease resistant and maintain their prolific egg-laying ability.
Due to their excellent breeding, they can be disease free if well cared for.
All chickens may suffer from the occasional parasites, such as worms, lice, and mites, but these problems are easily treated with the correct medication.
They are UK-bred hardy chickens and can cope well with Britain’s harshest winters and warm summers.
Just make sure they have dry shelter and shade to protect them from the elements.
Coop & Run Needs
They require about 7–8 inches (17–20cm) of roosting space within the coop and 1 foot (30cm) square in the nest boxes.
These chickens do not do well with confinement and love to free range.
A minimum area of 107 square feet (10 square meters) per hen is recommended to allow them to forage and prevent boredom.
Due to their love of free-ranging and roaming, they must be protected from predators.
The use of appropriate fencing to help keep these chickens safe and secure is an important part of their care. Chicken wire or hardware cloth are the most popular choices.
A Brief Background of Burford Browns
In 1980, Mr. Lee-Woolf (Mabel Pearman’s grandson) began commercially raising Burford Browns, at the Millhampost farm, near Winchcombe.
He supplied the eggs for the London department store; Fortnum & Mason.
Other well-known London stores also saw the appeal and started selling these high-quality brown eggs.
During those early years, the eggs from these hens were unique. British supermarkets and shops only offered low-priced, light-colored eggs from hybrid chickens.
These white eggs were considered the standard hen’s egg and were produced in quantity over quality from commercial, industrial egg producers.
After a few years, Mr. Lee-Woolf decided to move to the Coach House farm on Broadway and joined Clarence House, where the egg brand began to grow under the renowned ‘Clarence Court’ label.
This label gave a quality status to their chicken eggs.
After this, they soon became famous, and significant British supermarkets (Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose) across the UK started selling these eggs.
The eggs are also available through online shopping, Ocado, and Amazon Fresh.
For the first time, British consumers could buy superior-quality dark brown eggs.
After many successful years, Philip Lee-Woolfe and his wife Janet decided to part ways with the Clarence Court label to spend their time raising their beautiful chickens under the new company Legbars of Broadway.
They also sell point-of-lay hens so that everyone can enjoy keeping these extraordinary chickens in their gardens, where they can enjoy their incredible brown eggs.
The Burford Brown hen is available only from Legbars of Broadway.
The line of breeding or heritage is still being determined. Legbars of Broadway do not sell hatching eggs, chicks, cockerels, or roosters; this is so they can keep the Burford Brown breed at a consistently high standard.
Any Burford Brown cockerels or chicks for sale online will not be a genuine Burford Brown but a crossbreed.
Burford Brown FAQ
What is special about Burford Brown eggs?
The Burford Brown eggs have a rich dark shell, and a deep orange yolk.
Their excellent quality makes them the first choice for poaching, cooking, and making delicious cakes.
The eggs are perfect for any occasion.
The dark brown color comes from the pigment protoporphyrin which is derived from the hemoglobin in their blood.
The protoporphyrin produces reddish-brown colors.
As the laying season progresses, the eggs can get paler but will return to a dark color once the hen has had some time off from laying.
How are Burford Brown’s eggs so orange?
The color of the yolk is determined by the chicken’s diet and food variety.
The color comes from carotenoid pigments found in plants.
Carotenoids give fruit and vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, their much deeper color.
Carotenoids are also found in green plants, and they are responsible for the absorption of sunlight.
Legbars of Broadway prides themselves on the husbandry and care of their chickens, providing plenty of space to roam and forage, which is why their eggs are such good quality.
The color of the yolk can indicate the chicken’s health or if additives have been added to their food.
Are Burford Browns Right for You and Your Flock?
Burford Brown hens are hardy peaceful birds and prolific layers of beautiful eggs.
These beautiful chickens require regular care,and plenty of space. If you let them free-range, they will be happy little chickens.
They can be one of the more expensive breeds, but the extra cost is well worth it for the quality of the eggs that they produce.
We’d love to hear from you if you’ve raised these birds, let us know about your experience in the comments below!