Poultry Profile: Orpington

Breed type: heavy dual purpose
Colours: Black, buff, white
Mature weight: 3.5-4.5kg
Temperament: docile, chicks can be underdogs in mixed coops
docile; diurnal; capable of limited flight and can be seen roosting in trees at night
Egg production: 200-250 eggs

The Orpington looks a lot bigger than it actually is thanks to its loose feathers, but is still a heavy bird, with a rooster weighing up to almost 5kg. It also has a good life span, from 8-15 years with healthy birds often laying almost all year round.
Originally bred to be an egg producer and a meat bird, the Orpington is named for the English village where breeder William Cook lived.

He cross bred Minorcas, Plymouth Rocks and Langshans to create the original black Orpington but the breed now includes buff and white coloured birds. The white Orpington was created by breeding in white Leghorns, black Hamburgs and white Dorkings. The buff Orpington comes from crossing gold spangled Hamburgs with red Dorkings and Bluff Cochins. All these colours are said to be solid.
Their popularity as a meat bird saw them take the US by storm in the 1890s but the Orpington never became a commercial prospect partly because of its white skin.

The breed is known for being quite docile and in fact almost too docile, with chicks quickly becoming the underdogs if put into a brooder with other breeds.
Hens are known for being broody, make good mothers, and tend to do well whether running around free range or locked up in a coop.

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