Located in Central Alberta, Canada

EMAIL: hawthorn@xplornet.com

PHONE: 403-788-2546

~ About Our Buff Orpingtons ~

History of the Orpington

Orpingtons are a very popular dual purpose heritage breed with a good balance of meat qualities and egg production. These birds are known for being gentle and are well suited for backyard coops. They are a hardy winter bird and when provided with proper care and lighting the hens will continue to lay light-brown eggs right through the winter months.


The first Orpingtons were created by William Cook and his son and daughter in a village near Orpington, England. William Cook introduced his first new breed, the Black Orpington in 1886. The other Orpington colors followed, including Buff which quickly gained popularity amongst exhibitors and poultry enthusiasts. Only four years after Cook first launched his original type, Joseph Partington developed his version of Orpington. These were much larger and fluffier and show judges began awarding top prizes to the impressive-looking Partington type, much to Cook's protests (his birds were known to be better layers than Partington's.) In the U.K. this profuse fluff and loose feathering has gone to extremes, and the current "English" type Orpingtons look very similar to a clean-legged Cochin.


My Buff Orpingtons are bred to adhere to the American Standard which addresses this trend which has now been making its way into Canada.  “The plumage of Orpingtons is important in order to maintain the ideal type of the breed.  The feathers should be broad and smooth fitting on the deep and massive body of the fowl.  The appearance of great massiveness however should not be secured by developing extreme length of feathers in the plumage.”


Substantial weights of 10 lbs for cocks and 8 lbs for hens are required. Hens this size require more space and larger nest boxes than the common layers or hatchery-type Orpingtons. So if you are considering high quality Buff Orpingtons for your coop, some adjustments may be needed.


ORPINGTONS FOR EXHIBITION: I consider myself very fortunate to be working with a championship bloodline of exhibition Orpingtons. These are the ideal Orpingtons - massive in size, mellow in temperament, and beautifully golden. Skilled and dedicated breeders have invested many years developing the traits of this bloodline and fine-tuning them in order to reach this level of excellence. My ambition is to continue this work, producing show-winning birds that conform to the ideals for shape, size and color as described in the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection. Some pictures of my award-winning Orpingtons are posted here: News/Events.


UTILITY TRAITS: During the past few years I had also been developing a separate strain of more utility-oriented Buff Orpingtons. Those who have bought baby chicks from me in the past would have purchased birds from this strain. The intent was to provide a better alternative to hatchery chicks by creating Buff ChicksOrpington eggsquality Orpingtons for those less interested in showing, but more concerned with highly productive, dual purpose chickens for the farm or backyard. Starting in 2013 I will no longer be carrying on with a separate Utility strain of Buff Orpingtons.


The time has come to focus my energy and resources in one direction and I have chosen to concentrate only on exhibition poultry that meet the highest standards. This does not mean letting go of the practical aspects of chicken-keeping. Egg production is an important and valuable trait and one I will not ignore. When it comes to this breed, it really is possible to have it all: Huge, meaty roosters you will be proud to serve at the table; hens that produce good numbers of eggs for the family, and the classic beauty of bred-to-standard birds for the show room or to simply admire in your backyard. These were all considered important traits when this breed was first being developed, and I feel it is worth investing the time and effort to ensure they remain.



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Buff Orpington Pair, taken May 20122012 Buff Orpington cockerel and pullet2011 CockerelBuff Orpington 2013

5 month old cockerel2012 JuvenilesBuff Hen