The Orpington is a British breed of chicken. It was bred in the late nineteenth century by William Cook of Orpington, at that time in Kent in south-east England.[5]: 115  It was intended to be a dual-purpose breed, to be reared both for eggs and for meat, but soon became exclusively a show bird.[6][7]

Orpington
A buff hen
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Standard
Traits
Weight
  • Male:
    3.60–4.55 kg[1]
  • Female:
    2.70–3.60 kg
Skin colourwhite
Egg colourbrown[2]: 228 
Comb typemedium single
Classification
APAEnglish[3]
PCGBsoft feather: heavy[4]

History

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The original Black Orpington was bred by William Cook in 1886 in Orpington, which at that time was in Kent in south-east England.[5]: 115  He crossed Minorcas, Langshans and Plymouth Rocks to create a new hybrid bird. He selected a black bird that would exhibit well by hiding the dirt and soot of London.[8]: 158  When the breed was shown in Madison Square Gardens in 1895, its popularity soared.[5]: 115  Cook also bred the Orpington Duck.[9]: 74 

Seven colour varieties are recognised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain: black, blue, buff, cuckoo, jubilee, spangled and white.[10]: 248  The Entente Européenne recognises thirteen colours, and lists two more.[11] In the United States four colours – black, blue, buff and white – were added to the Standard of Perfection of the American Poultry Association in 1960.[3]

A bantam Orpington was bred by Herman Kuhn in Germany in the early twentieth century.[8]: 254  Only the colours black, blue, buff and white are recognised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain,[10]: 249  but several others have been bred;[8]: 254  the Entente Européenne lists sixteen, of which eleven are recognised.[11] The bantam rarely takes flight.[8]: 254 

In the UK, the club dedicated to the breed is the Orpington Club, which merged with the Orpington Bantam Club in 1975.[citation needed] The United Orpington Club is the American breeder's club, and the Orpington Club of Australia is the Australian club for the breed.

The sex-linked recessive chocolate plumage color of chickens was first seen in Orpington bantams, and has since been introduced to other breeds.[12]

Characteristics

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There are two similar but different standards for Orpingtons. The first is published by the Poultry Club of Great Britain and asks for a weight from 3.60 to 4.55 kg for cocks and 2.70 to 3.60 kg for hens.[1] They also ask for a heavy, broad body with a low stance, with fluffed-out feathers which make it look large; the down from the body covers most of the legs. Other characteristics of their Orpingtons are a curvy shape with a short back and U-shaped underline, and a small head with a medium single comb.

Orpingtons lay about 175 to 200[8]: 158  medium to large[5]: 115  light-brown eggs a year.

It was said that at one time Orpingtons were capable of laying as many as 340[5]: 115  eggs per year. The decline in production was due to breeders selecting for looks over utility.[13]: 98 

References

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  1. ^ a b The Orpington Breed Standards. The Orpington Club. Accessed August 2014.
  2. ^ Victoria Roberts (2008). British poultry standards: complete specifications and judging points of all standardized breeds and varieties of poultry as compiled by the specialist breed clubs and recognised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 9781405156424.
  3. ^ a b APA Recognized Breeds and Varieties: As of January 1, 2012. American Poultry Association. Archived 4 November 2017.
  4. ^ Breed Classification. Poultry Club of Great Britain. Archived 12 June 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e Pam Percy (2006). The Field Guide to Chickens. St. Paul, Minnesota: Voyageur Press. ISBN 9780760324738.
  6. ^ Chickens: Soft Feather: Heavy. Poultry Club of Great Britain. Archived 18 November 2018.
  7. ^ Orpington. Poultry Club of Great Britain. Accessed October 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e Esther Verhoff (2003). The Complete Encyclopedia of Chickens. Lisse, Netherlands: Rebo International. ISBN 9789036615921.
  9. ^ Dave Holderread (2011). Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks, 2nd edition. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing. ISBN 9781603427456.
  10. ^ a b J. Ian H. Allonby, Philippe B. Wilson (editors) (2018). British Poultry Standards: complete specifications and judging points of all standardized breeds and varieties of poultry as compiled by the specialist breed clubs and recognised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain, seventh edition. Chichester; Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley Blackwell. ISBN 9781119509141.
  11. ^ a b Liste des races et variétés homologuée dans les pays EE (28.04.2013). Entente Européenne d'Aviculture et de Cuniculture. Archived 16 June 2013.
  12. ^ Li; Bed'hom; Marthay; et al. (20 November 2018). "A missense mutation in TYRP1 causes the chocolate plumage color in chicken and alters melanosome structure" (PDF). Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research. doi:10.1111/pcmr.12753.
  13. ^ Carol Ekarius (2007). Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing. ISBN 9781580176675.