Orpingtons in America

All Orpingtons originate from the same place. They can trace their roots back to Orpington, England, 1886, and William Cook. The first Orpingtons were Black. They were created by mixing Minorca, Black Plymouth Rock, and clean legged Langshans. The vision being a hardy, fast growing chicken that was a better than average egg layer and would also make a good table bird, a quality dual purpose bird. Mr Cook also preferred the black bird as it would exhibit well being able to hide the dirt and soot that was prevalent all over London during that age.

By 1890, Orpingtons were being imported to the Americas in small numbers. "Single Comb Black Orpingtons were first exhibited at the show of the Massachusetts Poultry Association, held in Boston , in 1890. Single Comb Buff Orpingtons were first exhibited at the Madison Square Garden Show, New York , in 1899, twelve single entries and one pen being the total. In 1901, the entries increased to nineteen single and one pen of Buff Orpingtons, Charles Vass, Wallace P. Willett, and Doctor Paul Kyle being the exhibitors. At New York in 1909-10, 157 Single Comb Buff, 122 Single Comb Black, 134 Single Comb White, 17 Diamond Jubilee, 5 Spangled, 25 Rose Comb Buff, 13 Rose Comb Black, and 5 Rose Comb White Orpingtons were exhibited, making a total of 478 Orpingtons-a remarkable showing for a breed of English origin in a country where there was supposed to be little demand for poultry with white skin and white or black shanks. " (Orpington, J. H. Drevenstedt). By 1903, Mr Cook, himself, entered a large contingency of birds at Madison Square Garden and an Orpington Boon was begun!

While Black was the first variety created, Buff quickly became the more popular variety in the states. The APA accepted the Buff in 1902, Black and White in 1905 and Blue in 1923. Bantam Orpingtons, interestingly, were not created by Mr Cook. They were developed by Herman Kuhn in Germany. Bantams were accepted into the Standard of Perfection in 1960. 

Breed Standard - APA

ECONOMIC QUALITIES: A general purpose fowl for heavy meat production and for eggs. Color of skin, white; color of egg shells, light brown to dark brown.

DISQUALIFICATIONS : Yellow beak, shanks, feet or skin. (See general Disqualifications and Cutting for Defects.)

APA VARIETIES RECOGNIZED: Black, Buff, Blue, & White. These varieties are the same in Large Fowl and Bantam.

**The APA Standard is under copywrite. For the entire Orpington standard please visit- www.amerpoultryassn.com to purchase the current Standard

APA Website

Standard Weights
          Large Fowl

Cock ……………. 10 lbs (4.5 kg UK)
Hen ………… 8 lbs (3.6 kg UK)
Cockerel ………. 8½ lbs
Pullet ……… 7 lbs

Standard Weights

Cock...............38 oz.
Hen............34 oz
Cockerel.........34 oz
Pullet.........30 oz

(UK Bantam weigh should be 1/4 the size of the Large Fowl)

Breed Standard - UK

Bold, upright and graceful ; that of an active fowl.

Type: Body deep, broad and cobby. Back nicely curved with a somewhat short, concaved outline. Saddle wide and slightly rising, with full hackle. Breast broad, deep and well rounded, not flat. Wings small, nicely formed and carried in a horizontal position, the ends almost hidden by the saddle hackle. Tail rather short, compact, flowing and high, but by no means a squirrel tail.

Head: Small and neat, fairly full over the eyes. Beak strong and nicely curved. Eyes large and bold. Comb single, small, firmly set on head, evenly serrated and free from side sprigs. In the black variety, comb may be single or rose, the latter small, straight and firm, full of fine work or small spikes, level on top (not hollow in centre), narrowing behind to a distinct peak lying well down to the head (not sticking up). Face smooth. Wattles of medium length, rather oblong and nicely rounded at the bottom. Ear-lobes small and elongated.

Neck: Of medium length, curved, compact and full with full hackle.

Legs and feet: Legs short and strong, the thighs almost hidden by the body feathers, well set apart. Toes, four, straight and well spread.

Plumage: Profuse , soft, loose and not fluffy .

Handling: Firm in body


The general characteristics are similar to those of the male. Her cushion should be wide but almost flat, and slightly rising to the tail ,and with no tendency to a ball cushion sufficient to give back a graceful appearance with an outline approaching concave.

Blue, Black, White, Jubilee, Buff, Spangled, Cuckoo. 

SERIOUS DEFECTS: Side spikes on comb. White in ear-lobes. Feathers or fluff on the shanks or feet. Long legs. Any deformity. Yellow skin or yellow on the shanks or feet of any variety. Any yellow or sappiness in the white.

DISQUALIFICATIONS : Trimming or faking.

Orpington bantams are miniatures of their large fowl counterparts and the standard for those should be followed. The Jubilee Spangled and Cuckoo do not have bantam counterparts standardised

***The full UK standard can be found by clicking the button

UK Orpington Club