The Orpington chicken breed is an excellent choice for backyard farmers looking for a reliable, hardy, and friendly bird.
The breed originates from Orpington, Kent, England, and can withstand most climates, making it an excellent choice for many geographic areas.
Orpington chickens are a dual-purpose chicken breed bred to produce superior eggs and juicy and tender meat. Thus, the breed is a great addition to small-scale farms.
These chickens come in various colors: black, white, buff, and blue. Their docile nature and calm temperament make them easy to look after.
This breed profile will provide an overview of the Orpington chicken, discussing its origin, physical characteristics, and health issues, among other related topics. Let’s dive in and learn more about the Orpington chicken!
Table of Contents
Origin / History
The late 1800s marked the end of a widespread fascination for exotic breeds of chickens. The phenomenon was called “Hen Fever.”
Despite this, people’s passion for poultry shifted to become more practical.
During this time, the American dual-purpose chicken breeds made their way to England.
These breeds were appreciated for their practical characteristics but criticized for their yellow-tinted skin — a trait not preferred by British individuals.
William Cook, a humble coachman in the Kentish town of Orpington, England, took this opportunity to devise an ingenious idea.
However, a broad spectrum of other colors soon began to take form.
He first crossed Minorca roosters with Black Plymouth Rock hens. He later crossed the offspring with the clean-legged Langshan chickens.
The resulting breed became the Orpington chicken.
In 1886, Cook publicly unveiled this dual-purpose chicken breed that earned respect in the British market.
In a mere decade, Orpington chickens were already an English classic with robust, global exportation potential. By 1891, these chickens had made their grand debut in America.
Unlike many other poultry breeds, the Buff Orpington chicken was particularly popular with Midwestern farmers for its excellent meat and eye-catching color.
Orpington Breed Characteristics
The exceptional qualities of the Orpington chicken breed have earned them worldwide acclaim.
These birds grow rapidly, produce a generous amount of large, light to dark brown eggs, and are an excellent choice for the table.
The American Poultry Association (APA) officially acknowledges Orpington chickens as a standard breed in four distinct varieties as follows:
- Buff, in 1902
- Black, in 1905
- White, in 1905
- Blue, in 1923
Despite the varieties, all four share common features. Here is a general overview of the Orpington chicken breed.
|Orpington Chicken Breed
|Buff, Blue, White, Black, Jubilee, Lavender, Chocolate, Red
|5 to 10 years
|200 to 280 eggs per year
|$4 to $10
|Bantam: Blue, Buff, White, Black, Buff Columbian, and Birchen
Large Fowl: Blue, Buff, White, and Black
Size (Height / Weight)
The Orpington chicken is a large breed, with roosters typically reaching heights of around 16 inches and weighing between 7.94 – 10.03 pounds.
Hens weigh 5.95 to 7.94 pounds on average, with heights of up to around 12 inches.
Bantam Orpington hens typically weigh around 1.76 pounds, and bantam roosters weigh approximately 3.3 pounds.
Egg Color / Size / Production
Orpington chickens are known for their large, brown eggs. They are a heavy breed and can lay up to 200 to 280 eggs annually.
Their eggs are larger than the average chicken egg, weighing 2–2.3 ounces. The color of the eggs can range from a light brown to a deep chocolate color.
Bantam Orpington eggs are creamy in color and medium in size, weighing between 1.2 and 1.4 ounces.
The hens also have a propensity to brood, making them an excellent choice for those looking to raise chicks.
Orpington chickens are known for their beautiful colors. The most common colors include the following:
- Black Orpington – deep, glossy black with a greenish-black sheen
- Blue Orpington – steel-blue color with a black tail and hackles
- Buff Orpington – warm, golden-buff color with a deep mahogany tail and hackles
- White Orpington – pure white color with no markings
Other colors of Orpington chickens include:
- Diamond Jubilee
- Lemon Cuckoo
Orpington chickens are known for their gentle, docile nature. They are calm and friendly, making them ideal for families with children.
The chickens are content to roam around the yard and explore and are not easily startled by loud noises.
Unfortunately, their gentle and docile nature sometimes leaves them vulnerable to aggression from more dominant breeds like the Rhode Island Red and Ayam Cemani.
The Orpington chicken is a hardy breed; on average, these chickens will live for 5 to 10 years.
With proper nutrition and a safe, secure environment, Orpington chickens can live even longer.
Orpington chickens are generally hearty, but they can be prone to health problems like any other chicken.
Some common issues include mites, coccidiosis, and respiratory infections.
Despite being hardy, Orpington chickens can suffer from obesity if not given the right care. These birds have large, round bodies and can easily become overweight without adequate exercise and a healthy diet.
It’s important to check your chickens regularly for signs of illness.
Keeping your coop clean and providing a balanced diet can help to prevent many of these issues.
Cold and Heat Tolerance
Orpington chickens are popular for their hardiness and cold tolerance.
Their dense feathers keep them warm even in the coldest of winter months.
However, they are not as well adapted to warm temperatures and can be prone to heat stress and even death if exposed to very warm temperatures without proper ventilation and shade.
If you live in a climate with hot summers, it’s important to provide your Orpingtons with plenty of shade and good air circulation to help them stay cool.
Price/Where to Buy
The pricing range for Orpington chickens varies significantly. Prices ranges from $4 to $10 per chick.
The cost will depend on the birds’ age, color, quality, and availability.
Day-old sexed Jubilee Orpington chicks can price from $3.60 to $40.15, while Lavender chicks cost between $3.90 and $26.15.
Additionally, some breeders may sell eggs or chicks directly.
Contact the seller directly to learn more about their pricing and availability.
Orpington chickens are a large, dual-purpose breed popular for their docile and friendly temperament. They sport a broad body shape and full, fluffy plumage that can be black, buff, blue, silver-laced, or white.
Yes, Orpingtons are good chickens for a variety of reasons. Their easygoing temperament makes them a great choice for backyard chicken keepers. Plus, these chickens can withstand cold temperatures and other environmental factors.
Orpington chickens are excellent egg layers, producing up to 200 to 280 eggs annually. The eggs are high quality and nutritious.
Orpingtons lay large, brown eggs. Eggshell colors vary from warm, light browns to deep chocolate shades.
The Orpington is a great choice for experienced and novice chicken keepers. They are an incredibly friendly breed, often seeking out human interaction and affection.
Orpingtons are also excellent foragers but prefer to stay close to the feeders, so they are ideal for those who want to keep their chickens in a small area.
They lay a decent amount of eggs and provide a good source of meat. The Orpington is also quite hardy and can withstand cold climates with ease.
With their docile and friendly nature, fluffy and beautiful plumage, and hardiness, Orpingtons will make a great addition to any flock.