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Orpington Breed Facts
Orpington Breed Facts
Conservation Status: Heritage Breed and we are no longer on the list!
R44 ORPINGTON, BLACK
R117 ORPINGTON, BLUE
R1010 ORPINGTON, LAVENDAR
Comb: Single Comb
Use: Eggs, Meat
Egg Color: Light Brown
Egg Size: Large – 190-200 per year
Average Weight: Rooster 10 lbs., Hen 8 lbs.
Temperament: Friendly, great personality, very docile but prone to go broody
Characteristics: Large and Bantam size full thick plumage, deep massive body, cold hardy
APA Class: English
Color Description: APA recognized Black White Blue Buff…but why stop there? The colors are growing by the year.
Breed Details: Now they came to be around 1850 in England oddly enough in the village or Orpington and originally they were black. They were introduced as a breed in 1886 by William Cook he crossed black Minorcas with Black Plymouth Rocks and bred the offspring to Langshan's had clean legs. Once the Black Orpington was created additional colors came White, Buff, Blue, Jubilee, Cuckoo, and others. Today there are 2 lines though; the English line and the American line. Well since we had a European Great Dane you know we prefer the look of the English line.
Why? Well, preference only all birds are beautiful but we just like big butts and we cannot lie (oh terribly sorry that went a bit sideways) English Orpingtons tend to look more robust; with fuller feathers, a larger body and resembling a larger cochin. The American Orpington is just as pretty but the plumage is not quite as thick.
Orpingtons joined the APA in 1902 with four official recognized colors: black, white, blue and buff.
However, we all know we don't stop there in Orpington land: Chocolate, Chocolate Cuckoo, Jubilee, Isabel, Lavender, Isabell Cuckoo, Black Mottled, Chocolate Mottled, Lavender Mottled, Lavender Cuckoo, Crele, and we want them ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you do not already have Orpingtons in your flock, you are truly missing out. They are a good dual-purpose bird and very winter hardy. Orpingtons are great layers (and setters so be ready) But they make the best moms too! We find them to be very lovable and easy going in our flocks.
Conservation Status: Recovering
Egg Color: Cream to Brown
Egg Size: Medium – 200-240 per year
Average Weight: Rooster 7.5- 9 lbs, Hen 6-7 lbs
Temperament: Docile, Not Broody
Characteristics: Good forager, likes to range
APA Class: English
Color Description: Speckled feathering with primary dark brown or mahogany colors with black and iridescent blue feathers with white ends which bring in more white after molting.
Breed Description: The Sussex is an ancient breed, believed to have originated in England around the time of the Roman conquest near 43 AD, making them one of the oldest known breeds. There are many varieties, but the Speckled Sussex is one of the prettiest and most popular.
Until the introduction popularity of the modern Cornish Cross, the Sussex was the most popular breed for meat in England. However, its white skin is often not appealing to consumers in the USA. In addition to their white skin, they also have white legs and feet. Topping off their strikingly beautiful look is their bright red comb and wattle giving them a cheerful alert appearance which makes them cold hardy. One of the many reasons the Sussex has been popular for so long is that it is a calm, docile breed, the hens are not broody but are good layers.
Children will find the Speckled Sussex works well as a great starter chicken. The Speckled Sussex is the very breed of chicken who found their way into the heart of our very own Doodle Do Spa’s Chicken Whisperer at the mere age of 5 years old and began her lifelong passion and devotion to chickens, other feathered friends and animals and it has never waned…. And, our flock thanks “Bessie” that Speckled Sussex every day for the magic that she unlocked!
Red Cochin Bantam (Frizzle)
Red Cochin Bantam (Frizzle)
Conservation Status: Recovering
NPIP Code: W179 W140
Comb: Single Comb
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Size: Small, 100 per year
Average Weight: Rooster 2 lbs., Hen 1.75 lbs.
Temperament: Gentle, Calm and friendly
Characteristics: Broody, handles confinement well, cold hardy
APA Class: Bantam
Color Description: Red with red wattles and red earlobes, feathered yellow legs
Breed Details: Cochin Bantam chickens were developed from Chinese ancestry and exported to Britain and America during the 1800s. Some Cochin strains may not have actually been bred down from larger Cochins, but may have come from different Chinese ancient birds, and perhaps from a type of Chinese bird that was already bantam size. American breeders have bred Cochin Bantams to maximize their fluffy, rounded look. Unfortunately, this has resulted in some birds with legs that are excessively short; creating a waddled walk….although cute. Cochin Bantams are kept mainly as show birds and as backyard pets. Some have called them “garden ornaments.”
Cochin Bantams love to sit on eggs. They go broody often and, if you don’t intervene, they will stay broody for a long time. Even if you remove the eggs from the nest, they will likely still sit. If you don’t want them to hatch eggs, you must intervene and break their broodiness in order to keep them in good health.
Cochin bantam chickens are mediocre when it comes to hardiness. Their heavy feathering does help them to insulate well in the cold, but they are prone to getting wet. A wet Cochin is a miserable Cochin and can lead to a dead Cochin.
If the heavy feathering on your Cochin Bantams’ feet or legs gets wet, they are highly susceptible to frostbite. If the frostbite is severe enough, they can lose their legs or die from infection. It is imperative that you keep these birds dry.
You will also need to ensure that your Cochins stay out of the mud. Even if the temperatures aren’t low enough to freeze, muddy legs and bodies can lead to miserable and even sick chickens. A DRY Cochin is a HAPPY one!
Cochin Bantams also don’t do as well in heat as other breeds. Their dense feathering makes it harder for them to keep their body temperatures down. If you live in an area that regularly has hot days, you’ll need to take extra measures to ensure your Cochins are cool enough with ample shade and fans.
The frizzled varieties of Cochin Bantams are less hardy than the regular-feathered varieties. The frizzle feathers don’t insulate as well, so frizzle chickens (of all breeds) do worse in hot, cold, windy, and wet conditions than their regular-feathered counterparts.
Most chicken keepers keep their Cochin Bantam chickens confined to a run or small yard. Cochins must have both a dry, insulated coop and a dry covered run. Cochins for the most part are unable to fly and will need lower roosting bars than your average bantam. If your coop door is very high off the ground, you’ll need to ensure you install a ramp, ladder, or steps so they can access the coop without injury. You will also want to plan for predator protection.
Cochins generally get along with other chickens very well if they are properly introduced. They can be very protective of their flock and home, so if you introduce new birds, take the time to do it slowly and closely supervise all interactions. Cochin roosters can also be aggressive to each other, although this is not uncommon with any rooster.
The wind swept feather curls of the frizzle Cochin’s appearance is simply adorable. It is important to know that "frizzle" is not a breed, it is a genetic characteristic of the feathers that curl upwards. Any breed can carry this gene or be paired with an existing frizzle to result in offspring that may become a frizzle.
Due to the nature of the frizzle gene, it is rare that you will get two birds that look exactly alike. While all 'frizzle' chicks purchased will have a parent that has the frizzle appearance, how your chick feathers grow will be part of what makes it unique. It can range from a high level of curled feathers, moderate curl, or in some cases remain smooth.
If the level of frizzle appearance is important, it is recommended to order several to ensure you get 1 or more with your desired appearance. The "F" gene (frizzle) allows the feathers to curl forward instead of lying flat like a smooth-feathered chicken. To avoid the offspring getting “frazzled” in which the bird's feathers are so brittle they break and give the chicken a featherless, naked appearance, do not breed two frizzles together. It is recommended to always breed a frizzle chicken with a smooth chicken to avoid feather breakage. The results will yield 50% of the offspring being frizzle and 50% with the smooth gene. When ordering a frizzle chick, you may not know if your chick will have the frizzled appearance until his/her feathers grow in.
Awareness of their care is important because their feathers curl forward, they leave the chicken more vulnerable to having their skin pecked and having feathers pulled out. Chicken breeds with frizzled feathers are rare and very gorgeous but they do require extra care in their daily lives and can be a fantastic loving addition to your lives.
Ancona Breed Facts
Ancona Breed Facts
Conservation Status: Threatened
NPIP Code: R6
Comb: Rose & Single Comb
Egg Color: White
Egg Size: Large – 200-220 per year
Average Weight: Rooster 6 lbs. Hen 4.5 lbs.
Temperament: Highly Active
Characteristics: Excellent layers generally non- setters. Heat tolerant tends to get frost bite.
APA Class: Heritage Mediterranean
Color Description: Black / Beetle Green ground tipped with white.
Breed Description: All around the Mediterranean there are small-bodied landrace chicken breeds that lay a large number of white eggs. Several of these have traditionally been bred for centuries, and geographic isolation has contributed to their unique qualities. The Ancona chicken is one of these.
The Ancona was originally bred in the Italian central east coast in the Marche region, and gets its name from the seaport city, Ancona. They were developed from a mixture of breeds, including early Leghorns, resulting in a hardy and prolific bird.
The breed existed for centuries before being “discovered” by English poultry enthusiasts around 1850, where it was maintained until a second importation in 1883 when it began to gain some popularity. Around 1888 Ancona chickens from England arrived in America. The first importation was made by Francis A. Mortimer of Pottsville, PA, but he died soon after and interest in the breed waned. In 1906, H.C. Sheppard of Berea, OH, also imported some of the best Anconas he could find in England, where they were increasing in popularity, and they soon became a well-known and popular breed.
Ancona chickens were recognized in the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection in 1898 for the single comb variety (largely on the strength of their popularity in England) and in 1914 for the rose comb variety.
Early imports were coarsely mottled, and were often more white than black which few people found attractive. But by 1906, Anconas in England had become darker, and in America, the darkest birds were preferred so that many show winners were almost black. This color preference caused a revival of interest in the Black Leghorn, so eventually fanciers chose their breed based on their personal preference.
The current Ancona chicken standard calls for a distinct plumage color pattern – black ground color mottled white (v-shaped specks). On the ideal bird, one out of every five feathers is tipped with white. As with other mottled colored breeds of poultry, there is a tendency for the mottles to increase in size and quantity as the chicken ages – historically called “going gray” – so darker birds are preferred when they are young. Older breeding birds that were nicely mottled when in their prime can be used for breeding even after exhibiting too much white in their plumage. But a word of caution, young stock should not be culled for excessive white too early as many, when mature, will be nicely colored.
The breed has many similarities to Leghorn chickens, and has even been referred to as Mottled Leghorns by some poultry men. They are the same size as Leghorn chickens and nearly the same shape. However, they differ in that the back on Ancona chickens slants downward from shoulders to tail and shows a slight angle where these two sections of the body meet. While the Leghorns may be referred to as “flighty”, Anconas may be referred to as “pheasant-like.”
Ancona chickens have clean, bright yellow legs, often with a few black mottles, reddish bay/orange-red eyes, and yellow beaks with black stripes on the upper mandibles, white or pale-yellow skin, and white ear lobes. Single combs are more common, but they can also have rose combs. The single comb on females tends to flop to one side. Males weigh 6 lbs. and females weigh 4.5 lbs.
Both varieties are non-sitters (not broody) and excellent layers of white-shelled eggs. Anconas can lay about 220 eggs per year. The chicks hatch a canary and black in down color, and feather and grow quickly. Pullets will often begin laying at five months of age.
Ancona chickens are very hardy, fertile, and prolific. They can be a bit wild in their habits – easily flying to avoid potential dangers and ranging over a great area when foraging. They stand frost and snow quite well, although care must be taken with the single combed variety to avoid frostbite. They are not as prolific annual layers as Leghorns, but they surpass Leghorns as winter layers.
This chicken was once very popular and one of the prime egg producers in Europe. They are currently popular in the US and England, but are rare in the native area of the breed, Italy. However, in 2000, an initiative was launched to re-establish Anconas in the Marche region to preserve their biodiversity.
*Our flock was obtained from
P. Allen Smith at Moss Mountain Farm
Extremely Rare Numbers Unknown
Comb: Single Comb followed by a Tassel
Egg Color: White
Egg Size: Small– fair layer
Average Weight: Rooster 1.5 lbs. Hens 1.25 lbs.
Temperament: Active, Gentle, Bears confinement well
Characteristics: Very calm, joyful
Recognized by the American Bantam Association
Color Description: Mille Fleur and Porcelain
Breed Details: The Pyncheon is a rare American breed of true bantam chicken. It is an old breed, developed in the Northeastern United States. The Pyncheon's ancestors are thought to have been brought there from the Netherlands or from Belgium. It is recognized by the American Bantam Association, but not by the American Poultry Association (yet)!
The Pyncheon has a simple crest followed by a tassel (a comb that grows back), similar to that of the Sulmtaler breed. The breed is one of the rarest bantams, although they have been around for a long time.
The Pyncheon breed has a long history, but sadly they disappeared from ornamental bird shows for most of the 20th century. It was even thought that the breed was extinct. However, thanks to the efforts of dedicated breeders, the Pyncheon made a comeback, and each year this historic breed gains popularity in its homeland.
It is very possible that the first descendants of the breed came from Belgium, where the Mille Fleur color pattern originated, this theory gains strength thanks to the information provided by breeders from the Flemish region, where you can even find families with the name of Pyncheon.
Many of these people suggest that the breed may have been created by a Belgian poultry breeder named Pyncheon who named it after his, in the same way Sir John Sebright named the chicken breed he created after him.
According to prominent American novelist and short story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, he wrote about them in 1850 and noted their antiquity at the time. The breed is mentioned in his novel The House of the Seven Gables.
Unfortunately, there is very little information available about the Pyncheon, which makes locating historical details a challenge.
The current numbers of this breed in the United States are unknown, but breeders are working to rekindle interest in this very special little breed.