The Black Orpington was created and introduced in 1886 by William Cook. This new hybrid bird was then named after William\’s residence in Kent. To create the black he crossed it with Minorcas, Plymouth Rock and Langshans. The White Orpington followed 3 years later and was a cross between a White Leghorn and a Black Hamburg and a White Dorking. This was not such a popular colour at the time. The Buff Orpington was introduced later as people wanted a buff coloured bird. The Queen Mother was apparently a keeper of this bird.
Orpingtons are birds which like to be free range. They have a very strong tendency to go broody and therefore make great mothers. Their eggs are small and pinkish. They are greedy birds and need exercise to keep fit. Their wingspan is short therefore they can be kept in areas with low fences.
The standard colours for an Orpington are black (single or rose comb), blue (laced) buff and white. They are a heavy but loosely feathered bird which makes it look large. The blues and blacks are the largest colours. The buffs and whites are slightly smaller. The dark colours have dark eyes and legs while the paler colours have red eyes and white legs.
Black Orpington Cockerel
Photo’s supplie by Orpington breeders Jane and Nigel Allman at Jubilee & Spangled Orpingtons