Orpington chicken breed and management information

The Orpington chicken breed is a large-sized bird developed in England in the late 1800s, by William Cook. Gentle and friendly the Orpington is available in 4 recognized varieties which are the buff, blue, white and black. 

Developed to be a dual-purpose chicken breed, the Orpington gains weight fast, has good egg production, and has great table meat. It also became famous as a show bird. 

History of the Orpington Chicken Breed

William Cook, a British coachman, from the town of Orpington in Kent set out to develop a chicken breed that was fit for the weather condition and market needs in England. He needed to come up with a breed that gained weight fast, hardy, great egg-laying capabilities. 

This was after the hen fever epidemic and dual-purpose American chicken breeds were being introduced to the market in England. The dual-purpose American breeds were loved for their practicality,  but consumers’ preference was not for the yellow-colored skin. 

William cook crossed Minorca roosters and Black Plymouth Rock hens. He then crossed the resulting birds to clean-legged Langshan chickens. The resulting offspring was the black colored Orpington.  

William Introduced his breed to the market in 1886. Within 10 years,  the Orpington chicken became popular in England and began being exported to other countries. 

After the success of the black Orpington, Cook then developed other colors. He developed the white Orpington, the Buff Orpington, then Jubilee (Speckled) Orpington and the spangled Orpington. The blue and cuckoo Orpingtons were developed by A.C. Gilbert, Cook’s son in law. 

Later in the 20th century, Herman Kuhn, a german developed the Bantam variety of the Orpington, with a wide color variety including blue, black, laced, white, buff, red, barred, birchen and buff Colombian. 

Variants of the Orpington Chicken Breed

There are 4 recognized Orpington varieties by the American standard. These are:-

  • Buff Orpington
  • Blue Orpington
  • White Orpington
  • Black Orpington

Physical Characteristics of the Orpington Chicken Breed

The Orpington weighs 8.5 pounds for the cockerels and 6.5 pounds for hens. They have a broad large body, with loose soft feathers, making them appear larger. The Orpington has a curvy back and a deep breast. It has short legs. The thighs are covered by thick feathers. The shape of the Orpington is curvy, with a short back.  The head is small with a single comb. 

Orpington Chicken Breed Profile

The Orpington is active, calm and gentle. Care should be taken when mixed with other breeds, as it can be bullied by other aggressive chicken breeds.  

  • Buff Orpington Egg Color (Egg Shell Color): Light Brown.
  • Egg size: Medium to large.
  • Egg Productivity: approximately 3 to 4 eggs per week (175 to 200 eggs per year). 
  • Skin Color: White.
  • Orpington Chicken Breed Standard Weight.
    • Rooster: 8 ½  lbs
    • Hen: 6 ½  lbs
    • Cockerel: 7 ½  lbs
    • Pullet: 5 ½  lbs
  • Purpose: Meat and eggs (Dual Purpose).
  • Temperament: Calm and Gentle.
  • Size: Large.
  • Broodiness: Good Brooder and sits on eggs. 
  • Comb: Single Comb or rose comb, depending on the country’s standards. 
  • Climatic Tolerance: Endures cold temperatures. 
  • Varieties of the Orpington Chicken: Buff Orpington, blue Orpington, white Orpington, and black Orpington,  with buff Orpington being the most common. There are also Bantam Orpingtons with a variety of colors. 
  • Color Description: Different colors depending on the variety. 
  • Conservation Status: 
  • Country of Origin: United Kingdom

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About James

I grew up on a small farm. My parents used to grow food and keep animals for our sustenance. They would sell the surplus to make an extra coin to supplement the income from their jobs. I am taking the same path. I have over 40 chickens for eggs and meat. I also grow vegetables in my backyard

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