Orpington Chickens

Orpington chickens are named after the town of Orpington in England. They are a popular brown egg laying dual-purpose variety that were bred to be excellent egg layers with good meat qualities. Because they are loosely feathered, they appear to be much heavier than their true weights. The feathers are broad and smooth fitting on the deep body of this breed. This large size and soft appearance make them an attractive breed. As such their popularity as a show bird has grown rather than use as a utility breed. They have a quiet disposition, make excellent mothers and are one of the most broody of all standard breeds. Standard weights at maturity are 10 lbs for males and 8 lbs for hens. The original colour was black as this would hide the dirt and soot in London. Orpington chickens should lay 175-200 eggs per year. They make good winter layers. Orpington chickens were developed out of a want for practical dual purpose varieties that were being displayed by american breeds, however the British wanted white skin instead of yellow. William Cook developed them by crossing Minorca roosters to black Plymouth Rock hens, and breeding that offspring to Langshan chickens. In 1886 orpington chickens were introduced to the public and within 10 years were well established and were being exported. Cook didn’t stop though and began creating many varieties in his new breed of chickens. Buff, Black, White, and Blue are the 4 colours currently recognized by the APA. Orpington chickens were brought to the US in 1891, where they were favored for their superior table qualities and unique colour. Orpingtons also competed in the first ever egg laying contest in 1887.

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