Black Orpington Chicken | Breed Profile & Care Guide (With Facts)


Black Orpington Chicken is a chicken that is a part of the Burdett family, These birds have an impressive foraging ability that keeps them busy all day long.

But what makes them truly special is their lineageā€”a mix of Minorcas, Langshans, and Plymouth Rocks.

It’s no wonder they’re highly sought after by backyard chicken keepers.

One thing to note is that black Orpingtons aren’t known for their flying skills.

They prefer sitting around with their feathered elegance rather than taking flight.

So if you’re in search of a breed that combines beauty and personality, look no further than the black Orpington.

Quick Breed Overview

The black Orpington is a continental breed of chicken that belongs to the Burdett family.

According to The Field Guide To Chickens, and the British Poultry Standards, Here are some key features of this breed:

NameBlack Orpington
Breed TypeContinental
Egg SizeMedium to Large [1]
Egg ColorLight Brown [2]
– Male Chickens4.55 kg (10 lb) [2]
– Female Chickens3.60 kg (8 lb)
– Male Hens3.60 kg (8 lb)
– Female Hens2.70 kg (6 lb)
Life Span8-9 years
Maturity PeriodApproximately 22 weeks

To further explain this animal the following are the topics that are covered in this article

What Are the Physical Features Of Black Orpington Chicken?

Black Orpington chickens come in various sizes, with males weighing around 4.55kg (10lb) and females weighing approximately 3.60kg (8lb).

Hens, on the other hand, tend to be slightly lighter, with males weighing about 3.60 kg (8lb) and females around 2.70 kg (6lb) according to British Poultry Standards.[2]

One of the striking features of Black Orpingtons is their beautiful jet-black feathers.

These glossy plumages give them a distinctive look that stands out in any flock.

Their legs have a greyish hue while their beaks match the black coloration of their feathers.

In terms of body structure, Black Orpingtons have a broad and deep body shape along with a low stance.

This unique physique adds to their overall appeal and makes them easily recognizable among other chicken breeds.

The feathers of Black Orpingtons are thick and soft, contributing to their fluffy appearance.

This feature not only enhances their visual charm but also provides insulation against cold weather conditions.

Overall, the size and appearance of Black Orpington chickens make them an attractive choice for poultry enthusiasts who appreciate their distinct characteristics such as small heads, dense plumage, and sturdy build.

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Image Credit: My Pet Chicken

What Is the History And Origins Of Black Orpington Chicken?

The Black Orpington breed has a rich history dating back to 1886 when William Cook developed it in England at the London Dairy Show.

It is considered the oldest color of the Orpington Breed. To create the first Black Orpingtons, Cook crossed Black Minorca cocks with black Plymouth Rock hens.

He then mated the resulting black offspring with Black Langshan chickens.

Another significant contributor to the breed’s development was Joseph Partington, who aimed to create a feathery version of the Black Orpington.

He achieved this by crossing Croad Langshans with Black Cochins.

Partington showcased his creation at the London Dairy Show in the 1890s.

While these early variations of Black Orpingtons were successful, they did not match Cook’s hens in terms of egg production.

Fun Fact:  In 1930, a Black Orpington laid an impressive 361 eggs.

The primary goal behind breeding Black Orpingtons was to produce a dual-purpose chicken that excelled both in meat production and egg-laying capabilities.

This focus on versatility remains a defining characteristic of the breed.

What Is the Purpose Of Having Black Orpington Chicken?

Black Orpingtons were originally bred for their meat quality.

They were specifically developed by William Cook in the late 1800s to create a chicken breed that would excel in both meat production and egg-laying abilities.

These birds are not just known for their delicious table qualities, but they also serve as excellent layers of brown eggs.

This dual-purpose characteristic makes them highly sought after by poultry enthusiasts who desire meat and eggs from their flock.

Today, Black Orpingtons are primarily kept as exhibition birds or backyard pets.

Their striking black plumage and friendly nature make them popular choices among bird fanciers.

People enjoy having them around not only for their beauty but also for the joy of keeping a pet that can provide fresh eggs.

By understanding the purpose behind breeding Black Orpingtons and considering their unique needs, anyone can enjoy raising these beautiful birds either as exhibition animals or delightful backyard pets.

How Many Eggs Can Black Orpington Chickens Produce?

Black Orpington Chicken With It's Eggs

Orpington hens are reliable layers that can lay 170-200 medium to large light brown color eggs per year.

At one time, Orpingtons were capable of laying as many as 340 eggs per year.

However, the decline in production was due to breeders selecting looks over utility according to Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. [3]

While not the most prolific layers, their eggs are prized for their rich flavor.

The black Orpington chickens have beautiful plumage and are popular among poultry enthusiasts.

Essex Orpingtons are also known for their egg production capabilities.

Black Orpington hens may not match the output of some other chicken breeds.

However, if you value both quantity and quality, they still make an excellent choice.

Their eggs have a distinct taste that is highly sought after by those who appreciate flavorful eggs.

In addition to their egg-laying abilities, black Orpington chickens make great pets and exhibit friendly personalities.

They are gentle birds that get along well with humans and other animals.

Many people enjoy raising black Orpington chicks not only for their egg production but also for the joy they bring to a backyard flock.

Overall, while black Orpington hens may not be the highest producers in terms of sheer numbers, they make up for it with their delightful personalities and delicious eggs.

If you are looking for an egg laying breed check our article on the  Dixie Rainbow Chicken that lays 245+ Eggs.

What Are the Varieties Of Black Orpington Chicken?

Varieties of Orpington Chickens

Black Orpingtons are not the only color variety available.

There are plenty of other options to choose from.

Here are some of the different varieties of Orpingtons:

  • Blue: These Orpingtons have a stunning blue coloration that sets them apart.
  • Buff: The buff variety displays a warm, golden hue that is quite eye-catching.
  • White: For those looking for a pristine and elegant appearance, white Orpingtons are an excellent choice.
  • Lavender: With their unique lavender-gray feathers, these Orpingtons add a touch of sophistication to any flock.
  • Splash: The splash variety features a striking pattern of black and white feathers, creating a captivating look.

Each variety has its distinct appearance, but they all share the same general characteristics as the blackbird.

Despite the array of colors available, black Orpingtons remain the most commonly seen among this breed.

What Is the Temperament And Behaviour Of Black Orpington Chicken?

Black Orpingtons, also known as Orpington chickens, are beloved for their calm and friendly temperament.

They make excellent additions to family flocks due to their docile nature and easy handling.

These chickens are known to be tolerant of confinement but also enjoy the freedom of free-ranging if given the opportunity.

One of the remarkable characteristics of Black Orpingtons is their ability to adapt well to various environments.

However, it’s important to note that they may not thrive in hotter climates.

Their dense feathering can make them more susceptible to heat stress compared to other breeds.

In terms of behavior, Black Orpingtons exhibit a laid-back attitude toward life.

They tend to be gentle and patient, making them suitable companions for children and other pets.

Their friendly attitude makes them an ideal choice for those looking for a breed that is easy to interact with.

When considering adding Black Orpingtons to your flock, keep in mind their preference for a moderate climate.

Ensure they have access to shade and plenty of fresh water during the hot summer months.

Related Read: Blue Australorp Chicken: A Unique and Versatile Breed

What Are the Benefits Of Having Black Orpington Chickens?

Black Orpingtons are the perfect choice for those looking for a friendly and lovable pet.

These chickens have a gentle nature, making them excellent companions for both children and adults.

Their large size and fluffy feathers make Black Orpingtons stand out as show birds according to The Poultry Club.[4]

With their striking appearance, they are sure to catch everyone’s attention at poultry exhibitions or fairs.

In addition to being great pets and show birds, Black Orpingtons excel as broody hens.

They have an instinct for incubating eggs and are often willing to sit on and hatch not only their eggs but also those of other breeds.

This makes them valuable contributors to your flock’s growth.

While owning Black Orpingtons comes with numerous benefits, it is important to be aware of potential complications.

These chickens can be susceptible to heat stroke during the hot summer months, so providing adequate shade and ventilation in their living area is crucial.

If you’re interested in adding Black Orpingtons to your flock, contact us today!

Due to high demand, there may be a waiting list, but we’ll do our best to accommodate your needs.

With an average weight of around 8-10 lbs (3.6-4.5 kg), Black Orpingtons are not only beautiful but also substantial birds that add value to any backyard or farmyard setting.

How You Should Take Care Of A Black Orpington Chicken?

In conclusion, caring for and maintaining black Orpington chickens is relatively easy.

These birds require regular feeding, access to fresh water, and a clean living environment.

Providing them with adequate space to roam and exercise is essential for their well-being.

Black Orpingtons are known for their large size and fluffy feathers.

They have a gentle temperament and are generally friendly toward humans, making them great additions to any backyard flock.

Originating from England in the late 1800s, black Orpingtons were bred primarily for their meat production.

However, they also excel as egg layers, providing a steady supply of brown eggs throughout the year.

There are a few important factors to note:

  • Diet: Providing a balanced diet rich in protein is essential to ensure optimal health and productivity.
  • Space: These birds require ample space to move around freely. A spacious coop or backyard area is necessary to keep them happy and healthy.
  • Weight: Due to their large size, Black Orpingtons tend to gain weight easily. Regular exercise and monitoring their food intake can help prevent obesity-related issues.
  • Feed: Providing High-quality feed specifically formulated for chickens should be provided regularly to meet their nutritional needs.
  • Information: It’s important to gather information about the breed’s specific requirements, such as temperature preferences or potential health concerns.
  • Periodic Check-ups: Regular veterinary check-ups will help ensure the overall well-being of your Black Orpington flock.


Are black Orpington chickens good pets?

Black Orpington chickens make excellent pets due to their gentle temperament.

How many eggs do black Orpington hens lay per week?

On average, black Orpington hens can lay around 3-4 eggs per week.

Can black Orpingtons tolerate cold weather?

Yes, black Orpingtons are known for their ability to withstand cold climates.

Do black Orpingtons require any special diet?

While they don’t require a special diet, it’s important to provide them with a balanced feed and occasional treats.

Are black Orpington chickens noisy?

No, black Orpington chickens are generally quiet birds and won’t cause much disturbance.


VeryWell Animals uses high-quality sources, such as scientifically reviewed studies in its articles. Discover our unique approach to fact-checking and ensuring our content remains accurate and trustworthy.
  1. Orpington Chicken, Wikipedia.
  2. British Poultry Standards, Google Books.
  3. Orpington Chicken, Wikipedia.
  4. Orpington, The Poultry Club.

Last Updated on 28 February 2024

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