There’s a lot of bloggers who write about what breed of chicken they should get or the top 5 list of best chickens. I always love readings these posts. Before getting chickens, I already knew I was a chicken person. Kind of like how you know if you are a dog or cat person (or not). But after actually getting our small flock last May, I’ve been amazed at how many chance run-ins I’ve had with other chicken folk. And chickens, I’ve found, are grounds for a “connection” – more so than cats or dogs. I mean, I find myself whipping out my phone to show off my chicken photos and compare with other “chicken people” than I ever did with my dog (even though he’s so photogenic – see picture below). Who knew chickens would be such a catalyst for making new friends?
So, I figure its time to add my own two cents on the great chicken breed debate. Starting today, I’m going to share my own experiences with four breeds in four posts; Buff Orpingtons, Lavender Orpingtons, Blue Orpingtons and Barred Rocks. To start, let’s talk about Blue Orpingtons.
William Cook is given credit for developing the first Orpington breed in 1886. The original Orpington was black, but within a decade the White and Buff Orpington were introduced. The history of Blue Opringtons is a little fuzzier, but it appears they were also introduced around the turn of the century. Blue Orpingtons are a dual purpose bird. They are quite large at 8 – 8 ½ pounds and their fluffy plumage only adds to the large look. The blue gene in Blue Orpingtons does not breed true – so you may end up with a blue, splash or black coloring when you buy a Blue Orpington chick. Egg production is supposed to be good and the breed is very cold hardy.
Bluebell is our gorgeous Blue Orpington. I mean, just look at her. She’s a very pretty bird. She’s also quite larger than the other girls – at least a solid pound heavier. On the positive side, she is quite docile, gets along well with the other gals and is, well like I said before, pretty. However, Bluebell is not the smartest tack in the flock. In fact, we often (lovingly) call her dumb bell as a nick-name. Also, contrary to the breeds description as “good layers, Bluebell lays the fewest and tiniest eggs that are often misshapen and speckled. Good thing she’s pretty! Bluebell also has assigned herself the role as “coop guard”. Whenever my husband or I check for eggs or clean the coop she’s right there with a “whatcha doing?” look. She spends a lot more time in the coop during the day than any of the other girls and seems to watch over them and the eggs. I do wonder if we had fertile eggs, if she would be a good broody mom since she’s so attentive. But for now, we can’t find out since roosters are a no-no in our city.