All About Orpington Chickens

Orpington Chicken: Color of Eggs, Varieties, Origin, and Use

Promoted by Purely Poultry

Breed: Orpington chicken

Origin: 1886, Black Orpington, County Kent, England, from a Black Langshan-Black Minorca-Black Plymouth Rock cross. The Buff and White varieties were used to make up the Black Orpingtons. Cochin blood was introduced into some of the earlier strains, proven by some of the more loosely feathered specimens exhibited. The first Black Orpington came to America in 1890, and was exhibited at the Boston Show the same year. It was in 1895, however, that the Black Orpingtons were made into a large exhibit at the Madison Square Garden in New York, and its popularity soared.

Varieties: Buff Orpington chicken, Black Orpington chicken, White Orpington chicken, Blue Orpington chicken

Temperament: Generally friendly, easily handled and calm

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Egg Color: Light brown to dark brown eggs

Egg Size: Large to extra large

Laying Habits: On average, 175 to 200 eggs per year


Skin Color: White

Weight: Cock, 10 pounds; Hen, 8 pounds; Cockerel, 8.5 pounds; Pullets, 7 pounds

Standard Description: The plumage of Orpingtons is important in order to maintain the ideal type of the breed. The feathers should be broad and smooth fitting on the deep and massive body of the fowl. The appearance of great massiveness, however, should not be secured by developing extreme length of feathers in the plumage. The sides of the body sometimes erroneously referred to as the “fluff” should be comparatively straight with full, but not profuse, feathering.

Comb: Single, of medium size, perfectly straight and upright with five well-defined points.

Popular Use: A general-purpose chicken used often for meat and eggs. Excellent rate of growth in some lines.

It isn’t really an Orpington if it has: Yellow beak, shanks, feet or skin.

Testimonial from an Orpington Chicken Owner: “I have a few heritage chicken breeds in my backyard and the Buff Orpington is one of my favorites. They are a beautiful chicken with feathers the color of the sun. Most manuals include them as a friendly chicken that works well in a backyard and in a family setting with children. I agree with that since my first Buff Orpington, aptly named Buff, was so friendly she’d sit on your lap and imitate your voice. Our Buff Orpington rooster is friendly and definitely not given to aggressive behavior. But, I do have to say that our final Buff Orpington, Kate, breaks the mold and is possibly the meanest chicken we own. She will not hesitate to peck and does not like to be handled. Overall, this is a breed I would definitely add to my flock in the future. They are generally friendly birds that are cold hardy, heat tolerant and are good brown egg layers through the winter.” – Pam Freeman at Pam’s Backyard Chickens

Sources: The Standard of Perfection, 2001 and the Orpington breed overview from The Livestock Conservancy.

Learn about other chicken breeds from Backyard Poultry, including Marans chickens, Wyandotte chickens, and Brahma chickens.

Presented by: Purely Poultry

Originally the February 2016 Breed of the Month and regularly vetted for accuracy.


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