The Orpington Chicken is a large bird from the English class of chickens. It is a bold, upright breed with a wide chest, broad back and smallish head and tail. The Orpington chicken was bred as a dual-purpose breed (meat production and eggs), but its popularity grew as a show bird rather than a utility breed.Their large size and soft appearance together with their rich colour and gentle contours make them very attractive.
The original Orpington (the Black Orpington) was developed in 1886 by William Cook. He crossed Minorcas, Langshans and Plymouth Rocks to create the new hybrid bird. Cook named the breed after his home town in Kent. The first Orpingtons looked very much like the Langshan and were black. Between 1889 and 1905, Cook also created white, buff and blue colored Orpingtons. The breed was famous for its great egg-capacity.
Orpington chickens weigh around 7 - 10 pounds. They have soft, profuse feathering, which almost hides the legs of the bird. They have a curvy shape with a short back and U-shaped underline. Their head is small with a small comb despite being a large chicken and their temperament is usually tame. Besides the original colours (black, white, buff, blue), lots of other varieties exist today, e.g. porcelain, red, mottled and birchen. The original colours are still the most widely bred varieties. Orpingtons lay between 110 and 160 eggs a year. Orpington chickens do not stop laying in the winter. Their eggs are tinted and range from small to large depending on the heredity of the breed. Hens tend to go broody more than other heavy egg breeds, which is to say occasionally.