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Breed Spotlight: Orpington Chickens

Orpington chickens are the cuddle chickens of the coop! These fluffy birds are comfortable in the flock, as well as on your lap.

Orpingtons have it all: the fluffy look, the eggstraordinary egg production, dual-purpose qualities, and a mothering disposition. 

We’ve put together a quick and simple breed spotlight so you can get the facts without the fuss. Find out if the Orpington breed is the right chicken for you.

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Orpington Chicken Breed Profile

Orpington Pronunciation:

awr-ping-tuh n

Orpington Chicken Personality:

Orpingtons are loveable, lap-sitting beauties. They have a very docile personality and are incredibly courteous, causing them to be susceptible at times to bullying from other chickens.

These birds are the epitome of “Mother Hen” and are natural nannies of eggs and baby chicks alike.  

Orpingtons are extremely friendly and an excellent addition to your flock for young children and new flock owners. They even made it onto our list of the five best chicken breeds for kids!

Size:

Orpington chickens are large, with the males weighing 10 pounds and the female 8 pounds. A hen stands 10-12 inches high while a rooster can be as tall as 14-16 inches.

Appearance:

Orpingtons have loose feathers to the top of their legs, which makes them look larger. They have a single medium comb, white skin, and a curvy but broad body. 

Orpington Chicken Variations:

Color:

  • Black
  • White
  • Buff
  • Blue
  • Lavender (not recognized by APA)

Size:

  • Standard
  • Bantam

Laying Skills:

Orpington lay around 300 eggs per year but can lay as high as 340. 

Orpington Chicken Eggs:

Orpington eggs are large and are light to dark brown eggs.

Free-Ranging Skills:

Orpingtons do well in free-range but don’t forage for natural sources of food well. They love to run in the open but will need feed in the coop to sustain their diet.

Best Climate for Orpington Chickens:

Orpingtons are extremely cold hardy. They do not do as well in the heat, so a climate that doesn’t have long periods of high temps is best.

History:

William Cook bred Orpingtons, a coachman living in Orpington, Kent, in the U.K. Dual purpose birds had arrived from the U.S., and although praised for their breeding, the British did not like the yellow skin. 

So Cook crossed a Minorca rooster with a Black Plymouth Rock hen. He then took that offspring and bred it to a clean-legged Langshan, giving us the Orpington. They soared in popularity in Britain, making Cook a very wealthy man. 

Although Orpingtons arrived in the U.S. in 1891, Cook brought over a large number of Orpingtons in 1903 and showed them in America.

Fun Orpington Chicken Fact:

Orpingtons became a favorite of the Royal family. Queen Victoria had a flock as well as Queen Elizabeth, with the Buff color believed to be her favorite. Even Prince Charles champions the Orpington chickens. 

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