Lavender Orpingtons are a captivating sight in the world of poultry. Their unique lavender hue, combined with their gentle nature, has made them increasingly popular among chicken enthusiasts.
Originating from the Orpington family in England, these chickens are not just about beauty; they come with a rich history and notable characteristics.
From their origins to their care needs, this article delves deep into the world of Lavender Orpingtons, providing details that are both informative and fascinating. Read on to learn more about this beautiful breed.
Lavender Orpington Chicken Overview
|Dual-purpose (meat and eggs)
|Rooster: 8–10 lbs (3.6–4.5 kg);
Hen: 6–8 lbs (2.7–3.6 kg)
|Friendly, docile, curious
|170–200 eggs per year
|Medium to large
|Known for Broodiness:
|$6–$45 per chick
Lavender Orpington Origin and History
The Lavender Orpington has deep roots in the village of Orpington in Kent, England, with its origin being linked to the broader history of the Orpington breed.
In the 19th century, many English chickens were perceived as frail. Recognizing this, William Cook, whose vision was to create a robust and nourishing breed, embarked on his breeding journey.
Cook bred the Black Orpington, the first Orpington chicken, laying the foundation for various Orpington breeds, including white, red, and the prized Buff Orpington.
By 1891, Orpington chickens had made it to the United States. When Cook began exhibiting his prized Orpingtons at American poultry shows, the breed quickly became very popular.
Fast forward to the mid-1900s, the Lavender Orpington emerged, adding to the Orpington family. Priscilla Middleton, a British poultry breeder, introduced this breed after years of meticulous cross-breeding.
The journey for this breed wasn’t always easy. During the mid-20th century, the Orpington breed fell out of favor, finding itself on the endangered list of the American Livestock Breed Conservancy until fairly recently.
Today, Lavender Orpingtons are celebrated not just for their beauty but also for their dual-purpose bird qualities. Their friendly nature and ease of care make them a favorite in many chicken coops.
Lavender Orpington Appearance and Breed Standard
Lavender Orpingtons boast a unique lavender color that some might mistake for gray. The breed’s feather color is a result of the lavender gene, a dilute of the black base color, giving them their signature hue.
These chickens are large, fluffy, and well-feathered, making them a standout in any chicken coop.
Unlike some chicken breeds, Lavender Orpingtons have no muffs or beards. They have a single red comb with five points and medium-sized red wattles.
Their beaks and legs harmoniously match the color of their feathers, and they have rounded backs and short tails, adding to their distinct appearance.
In terms of breed standards, it’s important to note that the Lavender Orpington is currently not officially recognized as a color variety in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
As with all Orpingtons, these chickens should have a large, broad body and stand low to the ground.
Their well-rounded body, feathered legs, and distinct lavender plumage combine to create an eye-catching and impressive chicken.
If you’re interested in seeing these wonderful chickens, watch the video below:
Lavender Orpington Size and Weight
While highly sought after due to their beautiful lavender plumage, Lavender Orpington chickens also exhibit size and weight consistent with the Orpington breed’s standard characteristics.
When discussing their size and weight, it’s essential to note the distinction between hens and roosters. Adult hens usually weigh around 6 to 8 pounds, while roosters are slightly heavier, averaging 8 to 10 pounds.
The fact that they were developed for both eggs and meat explains why they grow so big.
This weight makes them one of the larger chicken breeds, and their fluffy appearance can sometimes make them seem much bigger than they actually are.
As backyard flock members, the Lavender Orpington’s size and weight contribute to their charm, making them a substantial and valuable addition to any poultry enthusiast’s collection.
Lavender Orpington Temperament and Behavior
Having spent years observing Lavender Orpingtons in my own backyard, I can attest to their gentle and affectionate temperament. These chickens were happy to be around people and would follow me around the yard.
Their calm disposition makes them a pleasure to handle, and their ability to form strong bonds with both people and fellow chickens is truly endearing.
They’re curious, cuddly, and relatively intelligent, making delightful companions in the backyard.
These traits make them ideal for families, especially those with children. Even Lavender Orpington roosters are less aggressive than other rooster breeds, ensuring a peaceful backyard environment.
However, their docile nature also means they’re often found lower in the pecking order. This means they might get picked on by more dominant breeds of chicken. Hence, it is essential to keep an eye on how they get along with the rest of the flock.
Overall, if you’re looking for a gentle, friendly, and somewhat laid-back chicken, the Lavender Orpington might be the perfect breed to add to your flock.
Egg Production and Broodiness of Lavender Orpingtons
When it comes to producing eggs, Lavender Orpingtons are quite impressive. These chickens are good egg layers, producing between 170 and 200 eggs per year.
Moreover, they have a natural tendency to become broody. So, if you’re looking to hatch eggs naturally, a Lavender Orpington hen can be an excellent choice.
They are known to be excellent mothers, taking good care of their chicks. However, their broodiness can sometimes be seen as a disadvantage for those who prefer continuous egg production without interruptions.
During broodiness, hens may take a break from laying eggs as they focus on incubating a clutch of eggs to hatch into chicks.
While their broodiness highlights their potential for raising chicks, it’s important for poultry keepers seeking high egg yields to plan ways to manage or reduce broodiness in their Lavender Orpington flock.
Noise Levels of Lavender Orpingtons
When it comes to chickens, Lavender Orpingtons are as quiet as they come. They occasionally communicate with each other through soft clucks and chirps, but these sounds are often so subtle that they go unnoticed.
Their quiet nature is complemented by their docile behavior. They are not known for being flighty or nervous, making them easy to manage, especially for beginners.
These chickens are adaptable, making sure that their noise levels are kept to a minimum whether you have a large yard or a small coop.
So, if you’re considering adding to your flock, know that with Lavender Orpingtons, you’re not just getting a visually stunning bird but also a peaceful companion.
Their muted conversations and calm demeanor make them a joy to raise, especially if you value peace and quiet in your surroundings.
How to Take Care of Your Lavender Orpington Chicken
The Lavender Orpington has become a popular breed due to its distinctive color and gentle demeanor. Their unique appearance and docile nature make them stand out.
However, like all chickens, they have specific care needs. This section offers insights on how to raise Lavender Orpingtons properly.
This care guide will come in very handy whether you are an experienced poultry keeper or a beginner who wants to know about the Lavender Orpington.
Lifespan and Health Issues
Lavender Orpingtons are robust birds with a lifespan of 8 to 10 years. However, they are prone to certain illnesses and health issues if not given proper care, much like any other animal.
Obesity is the most common health issue for Lavender Orpingtons. They are also known to be good foragers, though they might lean towards the lazier side, preferring to stay close to feeders.
Encourage your chickens to move around if they appear to be quickly gaining weight. One way to do this is to hang treats like cabbage just out of reach.
Moreover, their thick feathers can be a breeding ground for pests like lice, mites, and worms. To prevent such issues, it is essential to regularly check the area under their wings and around their vents.
Having a balanced diet is essential to your Lavender Orpington’s health and well-being. Their diet should include a mix of grains, vegetables, and protein sources.
Lavender Orpington chicks require a diet high in protein until they are at least 16 weeks old to promote optimal growth. This food should contain 20% or more protein.
As they mature, they stop being picky eaters and will eat just about anything. They’ll happily munch on seeds, grass, and insects if you let them free-range. Mealworms are also a very good source of protein for them.
When I feed my Lavender Orpingtons, I do it first thing in the morning so they have time to move around and absorb all the nutrition they need.
Whenever possible, I also try to ferment the chicken feed I give them for improved digestion and enhanced nutrient absorption.
Coop Setup and Roaming
When considering adding a Lavender Orpington to your flock, it’s crucial to ensure adequate space in the chicken coop and roaming area.
Each bird should have at least 2 to 3 square feet of space, although 8 to 10 square feet is preferable, especially for a mixed flock.
Lavender Orpingtons also need places to roost. They are big chickens, and each should have 10 to 12 inches of space on a perch.
Ensure the perches are low when setting up their coop to prevent leg injuries when they jump down.
Given their size, they appreciate a bit more room to move around, forage, and enjoy a good dust bath. If you have enough space, a chicken run is a great addition as well. These chickens can’t fly very high, so a 3-foot fence should suffice.
When free-ranging, Lavender Orpingtons are in their element, wandering around the yard and foraging. However, they can sometimes be oblivious to potential threats. The addition of a rooster can help with this issue.
Lavender Orpingtons are known for their thick, fluffy feathers, which provide them with natural insulation. This makes them particularly resilient to cold temperatures, ensuring they stay warm in the winter.
However, during the hotter months, providing them with plenty of shade and cool water is essential to prevent overheating. Their rich lavender color, although beautiful, can also fade with excessive sunlight.
Regularly checking their coop for proper ventilation can also help maintain a comfortable temperature.
Remember, a comfortable chicken is a happy chicken, and ensuring the right temperature is crucial for their overall well-being.
Breeding Lavender Orpington Chickens
The Lavender Orpington’s color is a result of the recessive lavender gene, which provides a consistent hue across its feathers. For a chick to display this color, both parents must carry the lavender gene.
When breeding Lavender Orpingtons, understanding genetics is crucial. Only Orpingtons with two copies of the lavender gene will exhibit the color.
Those with one copy will look like the regular black Orpington and are called Split Lavender Orpingtons.
The offspring of two pure Lavender Orpingtons will always share the breed’s distinctive lavender color. However, breeding them isn’t always easy.
The lavender gene can sometimes cause feather issues. Some chicks might grow feathers slowly, and some adult chickens might have black lines on their backs.
Moreover, breeding chickens with these issues can introduce a lethal factor that can be harmful to future generations.
Hence, picking healthy chickens is important when planning to have more Lavender Orpington chicks. This way, the next generation stays strong and healthy, and the beautiful lavender color continues to shine.
How Much Does a Lavender Orpington Chicken Cost?
Lavender Orpingtons are a unique and visually striking breed, and their price reflects their rarity and appeal.
Since lavender is a rare and sought-after color variety in the poultry world, Lavender Orpingtons are usually more expensive compared to more common breeds.
Depending on the breeder, the gender, and the chick’s age when purchased, the price of a Lavender Orpington can range from $6 to $45.
Particularly expensive are the Lavender Orpington pullets, which can cost as much as $45. On the other hand, males are usually more affordable, with prices as low as $6 per chick.
If you want to expand your flock, buying in bulk might be a wise choice, as many breeders offer discounts for larger quantities.
For those passionate about hatching, purchasing Lavender Orpington eggs is also an option, providing a hands-on experience from the beginning of the chick’s life.
Is the Lavender Orpington Breed Right for You?
Deciding if the Lavender Orpington is a breed that’s right for your flock requires understanding their unique characteristics and temperament.
Lavender Orpingtons are docile, making them an excellent choice for families with children.
They are friendly and often seek human interaction. They’re not just gentle; they’re also quite striking with their lavender-colored feathers.
In terms of care, they’re relatively low-maintenance, adaptable to various environments, and consistent in their egg-laying.
However, there are some considerations to keep in mind. While they’re known to be broody, this can be an advantage if you’re looking to hatch chicks naturally.
On the other hand, if continuous egg production is your primary goal, their broodiness might pose a challenge.
Furthermore, since Orpingtons do best when given the chance to roam freely, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough space to let them do so.
If you’re seeking a chicken with a friendly disposition, consistent egg production, and a unique appearance, the Lavender Orpington might just be the perfect addition to your flock.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Rare Are Lavender Orpington Chickens?
Although the lavender color of Lavender Orpingtons is a lovely sight, it is also linked to challenges in breeding. This makes them a rarity in the poultry world.
Moreover, the Lavender Orpington is a newer addition to the Orpington breed, which has only recently been removed from the American Livestock Breed Conservatory’s endangered breed list.
This makes the lavender variety even more uncommon. Due to these complexities in breeding and the challenges associated with maintaining the desired lavender color, these chickens are indeed quite rare.
Are Lavender Orpington Chickens Good for Beginners?
Lavender Orpington chickens are often a top choice for beginners because of their docile nature, which makes them easy to handle.
These chickens are also known to be broody, often showing a strong desire to hatch and care for chicks. This trait can be a plus for beginners interested in expanding their flock naturally.
Furthermore, their hardiness in various climates means less worry about extreme weather conditions. However, since they can be rare and slightly pricier, beginners should be prepared for a bit of an investment.
Are Lavender Orpingtons Hard to Raise?
Lavender Orpingtons are relatively easy to care for and are known for their hardiness. They can thrive in various weather conditions, from hot summers to cold winters.
While not necessarily hard to raise, they do come with their own considerations. Due to their heavier build, they can be more susceptible to certain health issues if not properly managed during the raising process.
Moreover, their gentle nature can also make them more prone to being lower in the pecking order and potentially getting bullied by more assertive flock members while raising them.
What Is the Difference Between English and American Lavender Orpingtons?
English and American Lavender Orpingtons are similar in appearance, with just some subtle differences. English Lavender Orpingtons were developed in the United Kingdom, adhering to the original Orpington breed standards.
These chickens often have looser-fitting feathers, shorter bodies, and shorter legs. They are also broad across the back and have a more rounded shape.
On the other hand, American Lavender Orpingtons were bred in the United States, potentially with variations in their physical traits and color intensity.
What Is the Difference Between a Blue Orpington and a Lavender Orpington?
The Lavender Orpington and Blue Orpington are both striking chicken breeds, but they have distinct differences. Blue Orpingtons are darker in color, often with dark-edged feathers, known as lacing.
In contrast, Lavender Orpingtons are purplish or blue-gray in color. They don’t exhibit lacing and instead feature a consistent and even color throughout their feathers.
Another notable difference between them is that Lavender Orpingtons breed true. Meanwhile, Blue Orpingtons have a less predictable breeding outcome, not always resulting in blue chicks.
Do you have any personal experiences or insights about this remarkable breed? Feel free to share your thoughts about Lavender Orpingtons in the comment section below.