Little Orpington Annie the Perfect Backyard Poultry Choice for Suburbia Egglayers

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The Orpington chicken is a breed named for the English village of the same name. An excellent egg-layer and of good quality meat, this barnyard fowl may be exactly what suburbia America is seeking.

Chickens Being Allowed in Residential Areas as Domestic Livestock

In recent years, it has been not only trendy but actually legalized to own your own chickens, even in the city. Municipalities are legalizing ‘barnyard’ animals for backyard use. Many towns and cities are now permitting two hens ‘for egg-laying purposes’ in residential areas. The Orpington chicken is ideal for they are tame, calm birds, heavyset and therefore flightless as well as good egg-producers. Having a male Orpington might be beneficial too for the males are very protective of their female harem, although the females will brood easily (seek to hide a nest and hatch chicks) so consideration here must be observed as well.

Orpington chicken, fluffy feathers and feathered legs and feet

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Their thick plumage which often extends down over their legs and even their feet giving them the appearance of wearing pantaloons has been a coveted quality for show-birds. Their thick plumage also makes them very cold-weather tolerant. They do require shelter though as their thick fluffy feathers do not shed water well.

Origin of the Buff Orpington Chicken Breed

The breed Orpington was first bred by William Cook in the year 1886. A cross-breed of Langhan and Minorcas and Plymouth Rock breeds of chicken produced the first ‘hybrid’ Orpington bird. William Cook selected a black chicken for these hybrids in order that the bird would also be dark or black in order ' conceal the dirt and the soot of late 19th century London.'

Other color birds would be purposefully bred and when the Orpington breed was first shown in competition at Madison Square Gardens (1895) interest in the breed exploded. Their unique feathering was a of massive appeal, their renown as egg-layers and quality meat notwithstanding.

I had several ‘Buff Orpington’ hens back when I was a teenager on the farm and raised chickens. My favorite hen I named “Little Orpington Annie,’ as you might surmise from the title. Every day I would collect the eggs, and she always produced at least one egg daily. Slightly smaller than the typical Grade-A medium egg, but she was reliable. Residential home that now are permitted to have a small number (usually just two) hens can expect to get a dozen or more eggs per week from their backyard livestock with very little effort.

The Orpington hens (as well as other breeds of chicken) would free-range in the enclosed back yards, eating grasses and new shoots, bugs and worms and whatever else you can provide, even normal kitchen refuse s fine for them. Things like potato peelings, tops of vegetables like celery, carrot, beets, cabbage and lettuce refuse and etc. The quality of the eggs you receive will surpass any store brand’s eggs and being pesticide-free, healthier and filled with more nutrients for you. The yolks will be of a much brighter color and greater eye-appeal.

Chicken Eggs Raised on a Farm

chicken eggs of many colors, naturally

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Living here in the city I seldom see an egg that comes anywhere near what a free-range chicken egg looks or tastes like. The yolk is bright orange, the flavor is indescribable except for that once you've had a READ farm-fresh egg, store-bought ones seem flavorless.

But apart from all this, my main remembrance of Little Orpington Annie was how easily tamed she (and Orpingtons in general) are. They become quite docile, often coming to you when called. They will peck food right from your hand, and they seem to enjoy a good petting of their thick back feathers and being picked up and held, carried around.


Kaleidoscope Acres
Posted on Feb 9, 2010
carol roach
Posted on Feb 5, 2010