The Buff Orpington breed is a great choice for a backyard chicken - beautiful with a nice personality and winter hardiness. The breed originated in Orpington, Kent, United Kingdom in the late 1800's. There are Black Orpingtons, White Orpingtons, Blue Orpingtons (somewhat rare), and Buff Orpingtons - the Buff color being the most prevalent. They are raised for the purposes of both meat and egg production (a "dual purpose" breed).
Their temperment is calm and friendly, as opposed to flighty, skittish or agressive. I had read that in a flock containing different breeds of chickens, Buff Orpingtons were often "picked on" because of their relative docility. So when we knew we would only be able to have five birds, we decided all five should be Buffs, rather than a mixed flock. Here they are in the afternoon sun. Their color really looks golden in natural sunlight.
Orpington -- These are the sweetest breed. Orphs are so social, almost like a dog. One of the best kid-friendly birds and they produce an egg a day!
Picture from ngm.nationalgeographic.com
For a great breed review and pictures of Orpington's reacting with children as pets see: http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/orpington/reviews/4288
WILL ORPINGTONS SUIT YOU ?
Orpingtons are a majestic and proud bird with a grace and beauty that fits their stature.
They have a placid nature and are not easily spooked and are easily hand tamed so make great pets or an impressive addition to any flock.
They lay between 120 to 160 medium sized eggs per year and are reasonably hardy so can cope with the British winters although due to their profuse feathering they do not like getting wet.
They are a large soft feathered breed so the best way to look at it is one Orpington is equal to two normal sized hens when working out space
Being on the placid side plenty of room for exercise is important , low entrance ramps and perches and a large enough entrance hole to the poultry house are all things that should be considered before purchasing your Orps.
ORPINGTON THOUGHTS !
The Orpington has been progressing and changing for well over 100 years and as with all domestic creatures man continues to try to alter and manipulate certain traits to reach a desired goal.
Every breeder has an idea of what they feel is the perfect specimen and depending on who has influence at the time, this tends to set the standards as to what people decide to breed. The poultry show world is no different to any other group of collective opinions and subtle changes to a birds characteristics are decided by the collective as desirable and this then becomes the norm.
In my opinion variety is the spice of life, is improvement of a colour variety that has been around for over 100 years possible or is it only possible to try to emulate certain traits that are deemed desirable at the time.
William Cook created the Orpington as the ultimate all round utility bird but the modern Orpington does not resemble the birds Cook first introduced in the 1800’s.
But the modern Orpington is truly a thing of beauty, by careful selection the creation of a bird of such flowing contours with substance and grace has developed into what is known as “ The Orpington shape “.
The aim of the Orpington enthusiasts to maintain this desired look is a continual struggle but this enthusiasm for perfection has kept the Orpington at the forefront of the poultry world. The Orpington continues to be the most popular breed of choice for both the showman and the garden poultry keeper.
|The Orpington is a breed for all occasions. They can lay up to 200 eggs in a year, are thick and meaty birds for cooking, and are easily relaxed for showing. They're a true triple threat in the chicken world! They tend to be a good choice for any chicken enthusiast just getting into the hobby or for any farmer needing a top-notch reliable chicken around the yard.|
|Orpingtons are friendly and relaxed, so much so that they can be training to feed from the hand. They are perfectly content in confinement, which goes along with why they make such good show chickens. They're very active and like to roam around exploring, yet they aren't too concerned when there isn't too much space to do so. They tend to like each other and don't get into arguments or squabbles either.|
|Orpingtons are huge and heavy with nice, squared bodies fit for both egg laying and meat production. The loose feather that characterizes the breed accentuates its broadness, culminating in a short but smooth sweep in the tail region. Orpingtons stand very low, at times even so low that their bottom feathers touch the ground. They have a single medium comb on their head with red ear-lobes and eyes. The most common colors are black, buff, white, and blue laced.|
|Orpingtons don't require much extra attention other than a clean run with dry bedding as their feathers will easily get wet and dirty from being so full and loose. Regardless, they're too heavy to fly and don't have very long legs for their body type, so a short fence is all that's really needed to keep them from escaping. If, however, you want to keep their original coloring, it's best to keep them out of the sun as much as possible, so adding plenty of shade along their run is imperative, otherwise their coloring will start to fade.|
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