Imported Blue Orpingtons
Blue Black Splash as hatched
|There is no controversy about who created the Orpington breed of chicken. All
sources state that it was William Cook, an Englishman who named the Orpington
after his home town in Kent. The Black Orpington was the original bird and this
was developed in 1886. Crossings between Black Minorcas and Black Plymouth
Rocks were then bred to a Clean-legged Langshan resulting in the new breed.
The original Orpingtons looked very much like black Langshans and were not as
profusely feathered as today's Orpingtons. The Black Orpington was first shown
in 1886 at the Crystal Palace, London. Show enthusiasts crossed the Orpington
with the Cochin to create a more impressive bird for exhibition. The Orpington
was bred as a dual purpose bird, one which would lay well through winter and
produce white meat for the table. Its large size, curved shape and soft plumage
attracted the attention of poultry fanciers who breed for exhibition purposes
more than utility factors.
After Cook had established his Black Orpingtons, he set out to create White,
Buff and Blue Orpingtons. In 1889 the White Orpington made its appearance.
These were not as popular as the Black Orpington. Later crosses with white
Wyandottes and white Sussex saw a revival of interest in the White Orpington.
The White Orpington should be white apart from a red face and comb. They lay
160 to 180 brown or tinted eggs per annum.
The Buff Orpington has the Lincolnshire Buff in its ancestry which was Cook's
attempt to remove the Cochin influence. As a result, the Buff Orpington tends to
be more closely feathered than the other colours. The Buff Orpington should be
a rich, golden colour with no suggestion of red. The legs are white and clean.
The cock bird weighs between 7 and 10 pounds. HM Queen Elizabeth the
Queen Mother was once the Patron of the Buff Orpington Club which was
formed in 1898 and had her own stud of top quality Buff Orpingtons. The Buff
Orpington is the most popular of the varieties and became the symbol of the
Orpington Rugby Football Club.
In 1890, Cook exported Black Orpingtons to Australia. From these birds,
Australian breeders established what was first known as the Austral Orpington
but then as the Australorp. It is a good show bird and an excellent layer. By 1905
Cook had also bred a Blue Orpington. As this bird was developed just before
World War I, it had little chance of becoming popular. At the time, the breed was
famed for its egg production.
The docile Orpington is a large, heavy bird weighing from seven to ten pounds.
The soft, abundant plumage almost hides the legs. The head is small with a
single, erect comb having five distinct points. The darker colours have dark eyes
and legs, while the paler colours have red eyes and white legs. The chickens
are not particularly fast to feather up.
From the side, the impression is of a U shape underbody and a short back which
appears somewhat concave. The tail is compact and short, the feathers rising
high and sweeping over to the rear. The gentle curves and soft feathering make
for a very attractive bird. They are friendly and with such fluffy plumage continue
to thrive and produce well in cold weather.
The Orpington continues to lay through winter. The average output per annum
is between 110 and 160 tinted white to light brown eggs. Broodiness is a trait
with the Orpington and they are good mothers. They cope well when confined.
Today the Orpington comes in a number of varieties including jubilee, red, gold-
and silver-laced and mottled. They are quite intelligent for chickens and can
even learn simple tricks. If handled while young, they remain very quiet and
friendly. Their docile nature makes them popular for families with small children.
There is a bantam variety.
Orpingtons were recognised by the American Poultry Association (APA) in 1902.
The only colours recognised are black, white, buff and blue. The American
Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists the Orpington as 'recovering'. The Rare
Breeds Survival Trust of the United Kingdom lists the Orpington as 'endangered'
and the Buff Orpington as 'at risk'.
|History of the Orpington
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|Blue Orpington Hatching Eggs
If you are ordering Blue Orpington hatching eggs please be aware we have one
black cuckoo Orpington hen in our blue Orpington coop along with 5 blue orpington
hens. She is in there because she is a superb layer where the Blue Orps are
lacking. We are raising replacement Blue Orpington chicks from this pen and
hopefully from this hen.
The chicks from this hen will be sex linked in this hatch only because our roosters
are solid blue orpingtons. What that means is that you will only get blue and black
pullets from this hen, if you hatch any rooster chicks from this hen they will be
cuckoo (white dot on their head). All the pullets from this hen will be solid blue or
back and will be classified as Blue Orpingtons. Again if any chicks hatched from this
pen has a white dot on their head (or cuckoo pattern) they will be cockerels, you will
not have to wait till they are feathered out to know what they are.
This only applies to chicks from the black cuckoo hen, all other chicks will
be solid blue black or splash and not sex linked.