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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Poultry Breeds - Orpington Chickens

Poultry Breeds - Orpington Chickens


blkorp.jpgOrigin: The Orpington originates from Great Britain in the late 1800’s during the end of the “Hen Fever” that ignited an interest in peculiar breeds of chickens. This breed was developed by William Cook, a coachman who lived in Orpington, Kent. The Orpington was developed by crossbreeding a Minorca and a Black Plymouth Rock. From that offspring chickens were bred with clean-legged Langshans. William Cook set out to develop a breed of chicken that has a dual-purpose in eggs and table meat.

Characteristics: The Orpington is a large fowl with soft feathering that masks the true size of the bird. The feathering allows the endurance of cold temperatures better than other breeds. The Orpington is considered an active fowl and does well free-range or confined. Their personality is calm and gentle; however, their docile disposition leads to bullying by more aggressive breeds. This fowl has a deep breast with a curved back, short legs with thighs covered by thick feathering. The Orpington has either a single or rose comb (depending on the standards of the country), red wattles and white earlobes. The hen does tend to go broody and is thought to be a good mother. The hen is a sitter.

Standard Weights:

  • APA Standards:
    • Cock: 10 lbs; Hen: 8 lbs; Cockerel: 8 ½ lbs; Pullet: 7 lbs.
  • Australian Standards:
    • Cock: 4.55-6.35 kg; Hen: 3.40-4.80 kg; Cockerel:  1.41 kg-1.58kg; Pullet: 1.19kg-1.36kg
  • PCGB Standards:
    • Male: 4.5 kg;  Female: 3.6 kg
  • Poultry Club of South Africa
    • Cock: 5.5 kg; Hen: 4.0 kg; Cockerel: 4.5 kg; Pullet:3.5 kg


Skin Color: White

Egg Shell Color: Brown

Use: The Orpington is considered a dual-purpose bird for eggs and table meat. This fowl has ornamental uses. In 1886, the Black Orpington was the winner of the Grand Prize at the Crystal Palace Poultry Show in London.


Chicken Breeds and Varieties (A2880), John L. Skinner, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ekarius, Carol. "Chickens: Orpington." Pocketful of Poultry: Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Turkeys. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub., 2007. 124-25. Print.

Lewis, Celia. "Breed Profiles: Orpington." The Illustrated Guide to Chickens: How to Choose Them, How to Keep Them. New York: Skyhorse Pub., 2011. 129-30. Print.

"ORPINGTON | Poultry Club South Africa." Poultry Club South Africa. Blue Dot Group, June 2012. Web. 06 July 2015.

"Orpington Chicken." The Livestock Conservancy. The Livestock Conservancy, n.d. Web. 06 July 2015.

"Orpington Standard." The Orpington Club of Australia. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 July 2015.

Roberts, Victoria. British Poultry Standards (6th Edition). Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 6 July 2015.


Watt Publishing, 122 S. Wesley Ave., Mt. Morris, IL 61054 USA


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Updated November 18, 1996



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