For poultry lovers looking to add more birds to their flock, the Chocolate Orpington makes an excellent chicken choice. A superstar breed in the chicken world, the Chocolate Orpington is not only fabulous but also extremely friendly. They are an absolute delight to own and come in a variety of eye-catching colors, including Diamond Jubilee, blue, chocolate, black, and lemon cuckoo.
If you’re interested in learning more about this bird breed, read this article for an in-depth guide on Chocolate Orpington care.
Quick Facts about the Chocolate Orpington
|Species Name:||Gallus gallus domesticus|
|Care Level:||Low to medium|
|Temperament:||Sweet and social|
|Color Form:||Blue, chocolate, black, lemon cuckoo|
|Size:||8 – 10 pounds|
|Diet:||Grains, vegetables, fruits, chicken feed|
|Minimum Tank Size:||4 sq.ft. per chicken|
|Habitat:||Chicken coop and outside run|
|Compatibility:||Good with most farm animals and pets|
Chocolate Orpington Overview
The Chocolate Orpington was originally developed by William Cook in England during the late 1800s. He wanted to create a dual-purpose hen that was both a productive egg layer and a pretty poultry. Thus, the Chocolate Orpington chicken was created. Not only can the breed lay 3 to 5 eggs per week, but it is also used for exhibition shows. Initially, the breed was only available in black. This was a conscious decision as the black feathers concealed the soot and dirt that were prevalent in England’s city streets during the height of the Industrial Revolution. Friendly, fluffy, and feathery, the Chocolate Orpington makes a wonderful addition to any chicken coop.
How Much Do Chocolate Orpington Chickens Cost?
The price of a Chocolate Orpington chick ranges from $5 to $35. However, the average monthly upkeep cost to keep your chickens happy and healthy is $70. This includes bedding, chicken feed, vet bills, and more.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
The Chocolate Orpington is a very placid and pleasant bird. Because of their docile demeanor, these chickens make the perfect playmates or pets for almost anybody. When it comes to their status within your flock, the Chocolate Orpington chicken will typically fall into the middle of the pecking order. This can lead to them getting picked on by more assertive birds.
The Chocolate Orpington is not the most active chicken and loves to eat, thus making them prone to obesity. They lack foraging skills because why would they work for food when it’s available right under their beaks?
Appearance & Varieties
The Chocolate Orpington is a large breed with a single upright comb. They have heart-shaped bodies that are heavy, broad, and positioned low to the ground. The back is short and curved. The breed has reddish eyes, wattles, and combs. The flesh and beak are typically white or pale pink. The Chocolate Orpington can weigh between eight and 10 pounds and come in a variety of color choices. The luxurious plumage not only makes the Chocolate Orpington lovely to cuddle but also hardy to the cold.
How to Take Care of Chocolate Orpingtons
Despite being a low-energy bird, the Chocolate Orpington does like her space. Give each chicken at least four-square-feet of coop space. If your flock is mixed, give them at least six square feet. This is because the Chocolate Orpington will probably get bullied by more assertive flock members and needs plenty of room to escape. Ensure that each bird has eight to 10 inches of perching space so they can easily unfold and stretch their wings. Nesting boxes should be 12×12 inches. The confined outside roaming space should be at least eight to 10 feet long. Straw, wood shavings, or hemp should be used as bedding inside the coop. Make sure to thoroughly clean out the coop and replace the bedding every week. If you allow your Chocolate Orpington chickens to free range, always keep a close eye on them.
Do Chocolate Orpington Chickens Get Along with Other Pets?
Chocolate Orpington chickens should only be kept with other chickens or bird types, such as ducks. This breed tends to fall into lower ranks on the flock pecking order and can be picked on. Because of this, it’s imperative that you socialize your chickens with other flock members from the get-go. The best way to do this is to allow the new birds to free range first and then slowly let the existing flock out from their enclosure. When the new chickens meet the existing ones for the first time, there may be some initial squabbles and scraps as a new pecking order is established. Never rush the introduction process and only stop the jostling if one of the birds gets injured.
What to Feed Your Chocolate Orpington Chicken
You should be feeding your Chocolate Orpington chickens high-quality feed that contains at least 20% protein. In addition to the regular chicken food, offer them grit, oyster shells, and veggies in separate bowls. Always ensure there is clean, fresh water available for your flock.
Keeping Your Chocolate Orpington Chicken Healthy
While the Chocolate Orpington chicken is generally a healthy and hardy breed, they do have a tendency to become obese. Always keep an eye on their weight and how much food they’re consuming. Excess weight can cause egg-laying problems such as egg binding and prolapse.
Use spot treatment to treat parasite problems like lice, ticks, and worms. Since Chocolate Orpington feathers are so thick and dense, pests love to hide in their plumage. You should de-worm your birds twice a year, or if you notice worms in their feces. You also need to regularly check your chickens for health conditions like impacted crops, bumblefoot, and spraddle legs.
Chocolate Orpington chickens easily become broody and make amazing moms. In fact, they have been known to hatch eggs from other hens! This breed will lay between 200 to 280 light brown eggs per year and four to five eggs per week.
Are Chocolate Orpington Chickens Suitable For You?
If you’re on the hunt for a friendly chicken breed to add to your flock, the Chocolate Orpington could be perfect for you. These birds are gentle, loving, and won’t pick a fight with anyone. Moreover, they can comfortably live outside all year long.
Chocolate Orpington chickens are easy to care for, a joy to breed and raise, and make perfect pets for both large farms and small backyard coops.
Featured Image Credit: Lilly Trott, Shutterstock