We recently started raising Lavender Orpington Chickens this year, and WOW! They’re a wonderful, friendly breed, especially for children!
Every minute I’ve spent with mine, I’ve fallen more and more in love – and I’m sure you will, too!
5 Amazing Lavender Orpington Chicken Facts
Here is where we’ll reveal some very interesting facts about the beautiful breed that is the Lavender Orpington:
- Although the Lavender Orpington is a relatively new variety, they have acquired the title of a “designer bird.”
- The Lavender Orpington is described as a rare bird,however, you’d be surprised at how many breeders across the US sell it.
- They are incredibly fluffy and cute!
- They have a profusion of feathers that make them seem much larger than they actually are.
- Their feather color is a dilution of the black gene – and Lavender Orpingtons “breed true!”
What are Lavender Orpington Chickens?
The Orpington is a chicken breed created in the 1880’s in Kent, England by William Cook. The goal of this breed was to create a chicken that could provide both major poultry food sources: meat and eggs.
The resultant Orpington was a breed that was both large enough for the table and that provided a large quantity of eggs. Orpingtons are famous for averaging about 200 lovely brown eggs per year!
The first Orpingtons were Black Orpingtons, and this breed was so popular that it quickly found itself on both sides of the Atlantic, filling coops and spreading flavor to dining tables in both the current UK and in the Americas.
After his success with the Black, William Cook played around with other fowl colorings, Buff being the most commonly-known of his other successes.
The groundwork of variety was set during Cook’s time. Since then, the dark coloring of the Blacks was diluted with the reds of the Buffs, and over time, this dilution created a splash plumage and another variant called “Blue”. This blue was taken one step further to create a more genetically-stable slate-blue coloring that has the more official moniker “self-blue.”
What is the Color of a Lavender Orpington?
The color’s official title is “lavender”, but what you’ll get is a grey bird with a violet shimmer in the sunlight.
To create the lavender coloring of the feathers, breeders reduce the pigmentation in black feathers. Over time, this dilution becomes more and more pronounced, until the resultant feathers look lavender.
This is a truly beautiful color that can easily trick the eye regarding what it really is.
Don’t worry though – Lavender Orpingtons breed true, so if you breed a rooster and a hen, you can be sure the resulting chicks will be Lavender too!
The Lavender gene is recessive, so both parents must be Lavender to get chicks of the same coloring – so don’t breed a Buff hen with a Lavender rooster and expect soft, grey colored chicks!
Some Lavender Orpingtons have a darker head and its color lightens towards the tail feathers, others have lighter heads and darker tail feathers, still others have light heads and necks and darker body coloring.
Regardless of how prominent the Black coloring is, the purple shimmer is present across its whole downy body, making for truly remarkable-looking birds.
Sometimes Lavender Orpingtons can have a bit of yellow in their coats. Sadly, these yellow-coaters should not be used for breeding, as the yellow will carry through future generations. Their combs, wattles, and earlobes are red.
What Are Lavender Orpington Feathers Like?
Lavender Orpingtons are fluffy-looking birds whose thick feathers excel at dealing with cold weather. One of the characteristics of these fluffy feathers is that your birds may appear larger (and heavier) than they actually are.
Their feathers stop at their legs, and these birds wear no feathers on their legs.
How Large Do Lavender Orpingtons Get?
Lavender Orpingtons mature moderately early, and are considered heavy birds (they’re one of the more giant chicken breeds). Each one weighs in at 7 to 8.5 pounds (3.8 to 3.86 kilos). Some males can even reach 10 pounds (4.5 kg). This is a sizable chicken that can feed a family, much as William Cook intended when he created the Orpingtons 140 years ago.
What are Lavender Orpington Roosters Like?
Like all other variations of Orpington chickens, Lavender Orpington roosters generally exhibit the standard docile and even temperament. We have several Orpington roosters (both Buff and Lavender), and each is friendly to humans, and very gentle with his hens.
However, just remember that roosters CAN sometimes exhibit aggressive or possessive tendencies when their hens are threatened by a predator, but this is quite rare. You can learn how to deal with a naughty rooster here.
What are Lavender Orpington Hens Like?
Lavender Orpington chickens are quite docile, friendly, and calm. They love foraging and seeing the sights on your farm.
They can make excellent pets that are a genuine treat to have around. Females occasionally can go broody, which can be a great benefit when you are trying to create a next generation of Lavender Orpingtons.
How Many Lavender Orpington Eggs are Laid Each Year?
Lavender Orpingtons are excellent egg layers. A single hen can lay as many as 280 brown eggs in a year. The best part about these eggs is their size: very large.
Do Lavender Orpington Chickens Come In Bantam Size?
As a matter of fact, they do. Many major hatcheries will carry a bantam variation of the Lavender Orpington chicken. Bantams make great pets, although their eggs tend to be smaller. You can learn more about raising bantams here.
Are Lavender Orpington Chickens Rare?
Yes. Because it’s recessive, and both parents must have the genes, Lavender Orpington chickens are rare. However, they’re becoming more popular because of their excellent personalities, and more and more breeders are offering them for sale.
Even more rare are Frizzled Lavender Orpington chickens! These beauties have frizzled feathers, and are not just friendly, they’re absolutely adorable! You can learn more about frizzles here. They’re a great pet for adults AND children!
What is the Difference Between Blue Orpington and Lavender Orpington Chickens?
One of the biggest differences between Blue and Lavender Orpingtons is the predictability. Blue Orpingtons do NOT breed true; Lavender Orpingtons WILL breed true.
If you mate a Lavender Orpington with another Lavender Orpington, you’ve have a new clutch of Lavender Orpingtons. If you are breeding Blue Orpingtons, a look at this chart could be helpful in navigating the complexities of their genetics.
Another excellent explanation between the two different colors is here
What is a “Pure English Lavender Orpington”?
A Pure English Lavender Orpington is just another name for a Lavender Orpington chick that’s the result of two parents of the same soft-grey coloring.
Can I Buy Lavender Orpington Chicks? Where are Lavender Orpington Chicks for Sale?
- Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon, MO, generally offers Lavender Orpington chicks, but their availability depends on the year and the season.
- Purely Poultry in Fremont, WI offers day-olds that are female, male, or unsexed.
- Hoover’s Hatchery, in Rudd, IA, offers a variety of Lavender Orpingtons. They even provide a handy chart that you can use to anticipate your orders.
Can I Buy Lavender Orpington Hatching Eggs?
- Chicken Scratch Poultry, based in McLeansboro, IL, offers Hatching Eggs. Be sure to follow the instructions on their web page to ensure that you are getting the product you are after.
- Meyer Hatchery in Polk, OH, also offers hatching eggs.
- Itty Bitty Chicken Farm in South Carolina also sells Lavender Orpinton eggs (which is where I get mine from)
If you are looking for a lovely chicken that walks just this side of rare, is famous both for its abundance of dinner meat and an extra-large annual delivery of extra-large eggs, a Lavender Orpington chicken could well be for you!
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.