Perhaps the best chickens for a backyard flock are Lavender Orpington chickens. If you’re looking for a “starter” breed of chicken, look no further than these lovely birds. They are a great addition to any flock.
There are hundreds of breeds of chicken to choose from when starting or expanding your flock. There is a wide range of options, from tiny silkies to massive brahmas. But if you want chickens that are ideal for the backyard, you’ll need to be selective when choosing the breeds you bring home. The Lavender Orpington chicken is the best choice for a backyard flock in a city.
The feathers of a Lavender Orpington chicken are a silvery blue, and the chickens themselves are fluffy and friendly. They can weigh up to 6-8 pounds and look like soft, grey clouds floating through the yard due to their color and puffy appearance. They have a gentle temperament, lay plenty of eggs, and are perfect for young chicken keepers. There’s a lot to like about this breed, so it’s no surprise that it’s in high demand.
You may also want to read about the best chicken feed.
History of Lavender Orpington Chickens
William Cook in the 1800s developed the first Orpington strain and named his chickens after the nearby village of Orpington in England. Cook bred these hens to be excellent at both laying eggs and providing meat for the dinner table.
As soon as Cook started entering his prized Orpingtons into U.S. poultry shows, the breed was a smashing success. Early on, the black Orpington was joined by a variety of other colors, including white, red, and the all-time American favorite, buff.
Around the middle of the twentieth century, when large-scale poultry farms began to replace small homesteads, the Orpington breed began to decline in popularity. Over time, Orpingtons came to be recognized as a breed that is in danger of extinction. However, the breed has experienced a renaissance as a household and exhibition animal during the past thirty years or so. Orpington chickens are more sought after than ever these days.
It wasn’t until recently that the Orpington family expanded to include lavender chickens. Introduced in the late 1990s, the shade is a grayish black with a lot of white in it. The product of decades of selective breeding in the United Kingdom. Lavender Orpington chickens can only have Lavender chicks if both parents are Lavender.
Known for its friendly demeanor, the more common Buff Orpington is often called the “golden retriever” of poultry. The Lavender Orpington is quickly proving to be just as popular. These birds, when raised from young, are very sociable and eager to please their human caregivers by responding to their names, jumping onto laps, and settling in for a good long snack. Due to their mild demeanor, Lavender Orpingtons are a fantastic choice for families with young children.
Even the male birds, like roosters, have a soft disposition. Despite their protective nature, Lavender Orpington roosters rarely show aggression toward humans. If one of your Lavender Orpington chicks turns out to be a rooster while you’re living in the city, don’t worry; he’ll be easy to re-home.
Ask Yourself: Should I Get Lavender Orpington Chickens?
This breed is rare and highly sought after, making it susceptible to inbreeding. You should only buy Lavender Orpington chicks from a reputable hatchery or local breeder.
The breed is more expensive than your standard backyard hen because of its rarity and popularity. From a hatchery, a single Lavender Orpington pullet can cost up to $30.
All Orpingtons, including this breed, are not the most intelligent birds. However, they have poor flying abilities and aren’t very vigilant about protecting themselves from danger. Orpingtons will thrive in the wild if you confine them to a protected flock and closely monitor its movements.
Unfortunately, the American Poultry Association does not yet consider lavender to be a “acceptable” color for Orpingtons. This rules out the possibility of winning any ribbons at an exhibition. However, kids in 4-H and other clubs can use them as a great showpiece.
Because of their mild demeanor, Lavender Orpington chickens are frequently picked on by more feisty fowl. Be on the lookout for signs of picking and plucking.