They are calm and friendly chicken breed that a few years ago had been listed as endangered by the Livestock Conservancy. Lavender Orpington chickens are a unique breed that will gift you with affection.
This chicken breed will make a good option for beginners who want to have birds that are easy to get along with.
They will not only make good pets, but they will utilize any chicken scraps like celery stems. Lavender orpingtons will also keep your egg tray full and provide a cheap source of white meat.
History of the lavender orpington
The development of this chicken breed was engineered in the 1880s by a reputable chicken enthusiast by the name William Cook.
In the UK, farmers wanted a chicken breed that could offer much meat as well as lay a substantive number of eggs enough for the market.
At the time, the only available chicken breeds could not lay as many eggs that were required to satisfy the growing demand.
Slow maturing chickens that were there meant that the demand for chicken meet could not be met. This saw them loose many opportunities to make a token out of chicken farming with consumers turning to other meat sources like beef and pork.
The name orpington was derived from a small remote village where the development of this breed kicked off. Thus, the lavender orpington got the name from the village.
Farmers got the much waited dual purpose chicken breed they were waiting for and eggs were in bountiful with the meat being served on every table across the United Kingdom.
William Cook the took several of his birds to the US where the black orpington became a hit. This was followed by intensive breeding where other color varieties like buff, white and red were birthed.
After several years small scale farming was overtaken by large commercial farms where most of the work was mechanized. The transition saw these chickens replaced by other breeds like the Cinnamon chickens.
Several years later the lavender orpington were almost extinct with the Livestock Conservancy listing them as endangered.
Today, they are now back again after successful breeding.
Features of lavender orpington
They have a dense plumage and one would think the birds are very large. The feathers do not grow towards the body like in game birds but rather grow somehow outwards like the Buff Brahma chicken.
Lavender orpington chicken breed have red combs, wattles and earlobes. The comb is single with well-marked peaks in a lavender rooster.
These chickens have a short plump beak that is cone shaped and dark in color. The eyes are reddish bay but they can sometimes vary depending on the strain.
English Lavender Orpington chickens have a curvy back with a medium tail in hens that point backwards. The feet, legs and shanks are grey in color.
On each foot there are four toes that are well spaced. Some varieties of lavender orpington chickens have feathered feet while others don’t.
These birds are clean feathered and with a silky or a fluffy feel upon touch.
Lavender orpington chickens have the best personalities you can admire in a chicken and are among the friendliest chicken breeds. These chooks are calm quiet and very docile.
If you live in an urban setting this are the birds you should consider because they will not disturb your neighbors with noise like Hamburg’s do . My orpington hens only open their mouths when singing the egg song.
Do you love pet chickens? Here they are. Orpington chickens love attention and will love it most when you hold them on your lap and cuddle. Call them for tasty treats like mango and peanuts and they will come running.
They will not harm your young kids and will follow you around the backyard or offer company as you go on with your chores.
Lavender orpington roosters are non-aggressive but roosters are not the kind to be trusted with kids. Their temper and attitude may shift and turn wild.
Because they are generally calm, lavender orpington chickens will from time to time face get harassed by other chicken breeds ranking top on the pecking order.
The dense and thick plumage covering these chickens makes them withstand cold and extreme low temperatures like the Orloff chickens.
This feature makes these chickens withstand winter easily and survive in high altitude areas unlike other chickens.
However, they are not heat tolerant chickens and during summer they suffer from heat stress because of these dense feathers. They also tend to drink a lot of water to try and cool their baking bodies.
During such a time, provide good shaded places where they can shelter from direct sunlight. Sufficient clean drinking water will also ensure their bodies are kept cool.
When winter falls, the large combs are easily affected by frostbites. Smear Vaseline jelly and restrict them from exploring outdoors to keep them safe.
Because these birds are heavy, consider putting their roost bars low. This will ensure they will perch on them with ease without falling.
Can lavender orpington chicken be free ranged?
Yes! These chickens will do very well when allowed to explore out on their own. Although they are lazy and prefer staying around the feeders like Cochin bantams, they will do well out.
The problem with letting these birds out is that they are not predator savvy. They will concentrate so much with searching for grubs and forget to look for predators like hawks and possums.
Their dense feathering makes it easy for these cold hardy chickens to roam out when cold. Orpingtons are good foragers and they will take their time to feed. If your compound is well fenced, let them out since they are not good flyers.
Egg laying and meat production
Unlike other birds that are early eggers, lavender orpington chickens will reach laying maturity late at 28 weeks. In a year, female lavender orpington will lay 150 to 200 light brown eggs in a year.
Although they are good layers, they will not outlay other egg machines like the black star chickens.
These chickens are also extremely broody and if you have eggs you intent to hatch without an incubator, these chickens will do the job.
They have good mothering ability and will raise their chicks very well. These chickens will also foster the young of other chicken breeds as their own.
Lavender Orpington chicks for sale can be found from reputable hatcheries like myers hatchery. You can place your order and they will give you the shipping guidelines.
If you want much meat, choose the orpingtons. Males weigh 10lbs while hens weigh8lbs. With such weight, you are sure the amount of carcass to expect.
These birds have a nice white skin and the tiny feathers are less seen on the carcass. They are big enough to fit in your chicken plucker where the feathers will be removed without bruising the carcass.
Lavender Orpington will live from 5 to 8 years. These chickens will live longer when kept as pets because they will likely be getting the best care.
There are stories of chickens that have lived for more than 10 years. Others have said to have lived for 20 years and died of old age.
But to better answer how long these chickens can live, read more on how long chickens can live. The period of life of your chickens will be determined on what the birds are raised for.
Meat birds are likely to live for a few months and will be butchered as soon as they attain the right market weight.
Laying hens will live until they cannot live as expected when they are culled. Lavender orpington cockerels and roosters are likely not going to live long because they are mainly preferred for meat. Only a few males selected for breeding will be allowed to live for long.
Lavender orpington hen vs. rooster
There are physical differences that can be seen with your naked eyes between a hen and a rooster. These features will help you differentiate the two.
What if the birds are young? How do you tell the gender difference in lavender orpington chicks? Some chicken breeds can be sexed at birth because they have different feathers, markings or a certain color difference between males and females.
Chicken breeds that can be sexed at hatching are known as sex links. Examples of sex links are cinnamon queens, golden comets, ISA brown and black star chickens.
Since lavender orpington chicks are not sex links, the best method to use is vent sexing. Vent sexing is where the vents of the young chooks ere opened to expose the sex organs. This way, the sexor can tell the difference.
The table below will help you understand the difference between a hen and a rooster.
|They will lay eggs and often get broody||Do not lay eggs and will never get broody|
|Short feathers on tails, hackles and saddles||Long feathers on tails, hackles and saddles|
|Short spurs on the legs||Long spurs will grow in mature roosters|
|They do not crow||They crow often|
The lavender orpington chickens are a good choice for many beginners. They are hardy calm and sweet and most of all a gift of love will make you love them.
These chickens are good egg layers and can offer much meat. Being a dual purpose chicken breed, they are the favorite for you who want both products and a pet too.