The Buff Orpington was developed in England by William Cook beginning in the late 1800s. Cook first produced the Black Orpington, naming them “Orpingtons” after the town in which he lived. Later breeding programs produced additional “varieties,” such as the Buff Orpington.
Cook’s Buff Orpingtons were bred from entirely different parentage than his Black Orpingtons. Golden Spangled Hamburg, Dorking, and Buff Cochin were all used in the mix, according to Thomas Fletcher McGrew in The Book of Poultry (1921). Cook received some criticism for his insistence on attaching the Orpington name to birds of entire different origin, yet the name stuck.
Buff Orpingtons were first shown in England in 1894. They were soon exported to America and introduced into the APA Standard in 1902. In addition to William Cook’s skill with breeding, he was considered as a “shrewd dealer” and a “clever writer.” He promoted his birds very successfully in England and abroad [Standard-bred Orpingtons, Black Buff and White, Their Practical Qualities, edited by John Henry Drevenstedt, 1911].
Cook’s original goal was to have a bird that was of good utility, both as an egg layer and for table use. Buff Orpingtons, like other English breeds are white-skinned, which the English preferred or yellow, with “rich golden buff” feathering. They are plump, have a reasonably fast growth rate, are large-bodied and excellent for table use at around 22 weeks. They are also good winter layers of brown eggs.
In addition to their utility, Buffs are perhaps best known for their calm, friendly temperament.
They lay large brown eggs. They are able to thrive in both free-range and in confinement rearing, though we recommend giving them plenty of space.
(Click to enlarge photos.)
AT A GLANCE
- Good brown egg layers
- Dual-purpose for meat and eggs
- Calm temperament
- 10 pound cocks
- 8 1/2 pound cockerels
- 8 pound hens