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A breed of chicken, named after the town in Kent (then a village), where its founder, William Cook farmed. The breed was first introduced in 1886 as a black variety, but other colours followed - the white in 1889, the buff in 1894 and the blue in 1907. the Orpington was bred as a dual-purpose breed, but its popularity grew as a show bird rather than a utility breed.
The plumage is jet black with a beetle-green sheen. The comb of both sexes is medium in size and coral pink in colour; the legs and feet are blue/black. The White variety has snow-white plumage and ivory coloured legs and feet. The comb is a bright red and medium in size. The plumage of the Buff is, as the name suggests, buff in colour with white legs and feet. Both the male and females have a bright red comb. The Blue variety has slate-blue plumage with a darker colour observed in the cock birds than the hens. Both sexes have a bright red comb and medium sized black or blue legs.
The Orpington produces a well-shaped table bird with succulent meat, and the hens lay around 120 tinted brown eggs a year - they are small for the size of the bird. A mature Orpington cockerel can weigh 6kg and a hen 3.5kg - the smallest varieties are the White or Buff at 4kg and 3kg respectively.
The breed is threatened with extinction and supported by the breeders club: Black Lane, Head Farm, Nateby, Nr. Preston, Lancashire, PR3 0LH. See 'Rare Breeds Survival Trust'