The Orpington chicken breed was originally developed in England in 1886. It was named as ‘Orpington’ after the town of Orpington, Kent, in south-east England. It was developed mainly to be an excellent layer with good meat quality.
Now Orpington chickens are wonderful dual purpose bird and among the top choices for small farms because they are docile, sweet and grow nice and large.
They lay eggs and produce tasty meat and the hens go broody easily. You can have a natural setup for the Orpington chickens where they will reproduce and continue for generations.
This chicken breed is also very cold hardy and produce eggs well through frigid winters and dark, short days.
Nowadays, Orpington chicken is a popular and attractive breed mainly for it’s large size, soft appearance and it’s rich color and gentle contours. It is also popular as a show bird.
Orpington Chicken Characteristics
Orpington chickens are heavy in size but loosely feathered, appearing massive. They have better feathering than some other breeds, and their feathering allows them to endure cold temperatures. They are very cold hardy birds. There are two similar but different standards for Orpington chickens.
The first one asks for a weight from 3.6kg to 4.55kg for roosters and 2.7kg to 3.6kg for hens by the Poultry Club of Great Britain. They also ask or a broad body with a low stance, heavy and with fluffed-out feathers which make it look large (the down from the body covers most of the legs).
Other characteristics of their Orpington chickens include a curvy shape with a short back and U-shaped underline and a small head with medium single comb.
The skin color of Orpington chicken is white. Hens lay larger light brown colored eggs. They are pretty good layers and on an average, hens lay about 3-4 eggs per week. They reach maturity earlier.
On an average, male Orpington chickens weight around 3.6kg to 4.55kg and females weight around 2.7kg to 3.6kg. Buff, Black, White, and Blue Orpington’s are recognized color varieties of this chicken breed.
Orpington chickens are good birds to have. They are gentle and docile, calm and patient. They are also great with kids.
|Breed Purpose||Dual Purpose|
|Breed Temperament||Calm, Friendly, Bears Confinement well, Easily Handled, Docile, Quite|
|Breed Size||Heavy (2.7kg – 4.55 kg)|
|Climate Tolerance||All Climates (very cold hardy)|
|Egg Color||Light Brown|
|Egg Productivity||Good (about 3-4 eggs/week)|
|Rarity||Buff is Common (others rare)|
|Varieties||Buff, Black, White, and Blue|
- Very friendly
- Good layers
- Go broody and hens are great mothers
- Good with kids
- Lay larger light brown eggs
- Not noisy
- Winter hardy
- A lot of them look same (hard to tell apart without leg bands)
- Can get beat up by bossier chickens
Is Orpington Chicken Good for You?
Orpington chickens are good for you if you…….
- Are willing to raise dual purpose chicken breed.
- Want to have beautiful chickens with good temperament.
- Have children and want to raise some friendly chickens.
- Want to produce large eggs and good quality tasty meat.
- Are looking for broody chickens which are great mothers also.
- Are looking for larger birds for your backyard or small farm.
- Live somewhere in cold areas and looking for cold hardy chickens.
Interesting Facts about Orpington Chickens
Orpington chickens are a popular breed among backyard chicken keepers. These birds are known for their friendly personalities and excellent egg-laying abilities, making them a favorite among those who want to keep chickens for both companionship and fresh eggs.
Here we are trying to list some interesting and lesser-known facts about Orpington chickens:
- Orpington chickens come in four recognized colors: black, blue, buff, and white. Each color has its own unique characteristics and personality traits.
- The Buff Orpington is the most popular color variant of the breed. It is known for its docile demeanor and excellent egg-laying abilities.
- Orpington chickens were developed by William Cook, who aimed to create chickens that were both good egg layers and suitable for meat production.
- Orpington chickens were initially bred as a utility breed, meaning they were valued for their meat and egg-laying abilities rather than their appearance.
- Orpington chickens have a large, round body with a broad breast and thick thighs. They are also heavily feathered, which helps to keep them warm in colder temperatures.
- Orpington hens are excellent mothers and can often be observed brooding over their eggs until they hatch.
- Orpington chickens are a hardy breed and can adapt well to a variety of climates.
- Orpington chickens are known for being calm and friendly, making them a great choice for families with children.
- Orpington chickens can lay up to 200 eggs per year, making them a reliable source of fresh eggs.
- Orpington chickens are prone to becoming overweight, so it’s important to monitor their food intake and provide them with plenty of space to move around.
- Orpington chickens are not known for being great flyers, so they are unlikely to fly over fences or escape from their enclosure.
- Orpington chickens are a popular breed for exhibition showing due to their striking appearance and calm demeanor.
- Orpington chickens can be trained to do tricks and respond to basic commands, making them a fun and interactive addition to any backyard flock.
- Orpington chickens are known for being relatively quiet, which is another reason why they are a great choice for urban or suburban chicken keepers.
- Orpington chickens have a reputation for being good-natured and easy to handle, which makes them a great choice for first-time chicken keepers.
- Orpington chickens are considered a dual-purpose breed, meaning they are valued for both their meat and egg-laying abilities.
- Orpington chickens are relatively large, with roosters weighing up to 10 pounds and hens weighing up to 8 pounds.
- Orpington chickens are known for their beautiful plumage, which is soft and fluffy to the touch.
- Orpington chickens are tolerant of cold temperatures, but can struggle in hot and humid climates.
- Orpington chickens are not aggressive towards other chickens or humans, making them a peaceful addition to any flock.
- Orpington chickens have a lifespan of up to 9 years, making them a long-term investment for backyard chicken keepers.
Best Tips for Raising Orpington Chickens
Raising Orpington chickens is relatively easy and simple, and the beginners also can raise them easily. These friendly, docile birds are known for their excellent egg-laying abilities and striking appearance, making them a popular choice among backyard chicken keepers.
However, like any other livestock, raising Orpington chickens requires proper care and attention to ensure their health and well-being. Now, we are going to share some best tips for raising these beautiful chickens.
1. Provide Adequate Space
Orpington chickens require plenty of space to move around and exercise. As a general rule of thumb, provide at least 4 square feet of coop space and 10 square feet of outdoor run space per bird.
2. Keep Them Safe
Ensure your Orpingtons’ coop is secure and predator-proof. This means using sturdy materials for the coop and run, installing locks on all doors and windows, and regularly checking for signs of predators.
3. Provide Clean Water
Clean water is essential for the health of your Orpington chickens. Invest in a high-quality waterer and change the water daily, or more frequently during hot weather.
4. Offer Nutritious Feed
Provide your Orpingtons with a nutritious feed that meets their dietary needs. A balanced chicken feed should contain protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
5. Supplement with Treats
In addition to their regular feed, Orpington chickens enjoy a variety of treats such as fruits, vegetables, and mealworms. However, treats should only make up a small portion of their diet to avoid nutritional imbalances.
6. Provide Grit
Grit helps chickens digest their food and absorb nutrients. Provide your Orpingtons with grit either in a separate container or mixed in with their feed.
7. Allow for Dust Bathing
Chickens love to dust bathe to keep themselves clean and healthy. Provide a designated dust bath area with sand, dirt, or wood ash.
8. Keep Their Coop Clean
A clean coop helps prevent the spread of disease and bacteria. Clean the coop and nesting boxes regularly, and replace bedding as needed.
9. Monitor for Signs of Illness
Orpington chickens are generally hardy, but can still fall ill. Watch for signs of illness such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or unusual behavior, and seek veterinary care if necessary.
10. Provide Adequate Ventilation
Good ventilation is essential for a healthy coop environment. Ensure there is adequate airflow without causing drafts, which can cause respiratory issues.
11. Use Natural Remedies for Common Issues
Many common chicken health issues can be treated with natural remedies such as apple cider vinegar, garlic, and herbs. Research safe remedies for common issues such as mites or respiratory infections.
12. Create a Comfortable Nesting Area
Provide a comfortable nesting area for your Orpington hens to lay their eggs. This should include soft bedding material such as straw or shavings, and privacy to encourage broodiness.
13. Practice Good Biosecurity
Prevent the spread of disease by practicing good biosecurity measures such as changing clothes and shoes before entering the coop, limiting visitors, and quarantining new birds.
14. Introduce New Birds Slowly
When introducing new birds to your flock, do so slowly and carefully to prevent aggression. Quarantine new birds in a separate area for at least two weeks before integrating them into the flock.
15. Manage Temperatures
Orpington chickens can tolerate cold temperatures, but struggle in hot and humid climates. Provide adequate shade and ventilation during hot weather to keep your birds comfortable.
16. Check for Egg Production
Regularly check for egg production to ensure your Orpingtons are healthy and laying reliably. If you notice a decrease in egg production or abnormal eggs, investigate the cause and make any necessary changes.
17. Monitor for Broodiness
Orpington hens are known for their broodiness and may become aggressive when sitting on a clutch of eggs. If you don’t want your hens to hatch eggs, provide a different nesting area or remove eggs daily.
18. Trim Their Nails
Overgrown nails can cause discomfort and even injury to your Orpingtons. Regularly trim their nails using sharp poultry scissors.
19. Provide Perches
Chickens love to perch, so provide roosting poles or branches in their coop. This also helps keep them off the ground and away from predators.
20. Socialize Them
Orpington chickens are social animals and enjoy interacting with humans and other birds. Spend time socializing with your flock regularly to strengthen your bond and ensure their well-being.
21. Enjoy Your Flock
Most importantly, enjoy your flock of Orpington chickens! These friendly, docile birds are sure to bring joy and entertainment to your backyard. Take the time to observe their behavior, learn about their personalities, and appreciate their unique qualities.