The Orpington chicken is a large English bird that is considered a dual-purpose breed. It’s large enough to be used for meat, but it also produces several eggs each year and rivals the best egg-laying breeds. It was originally black but quickly expanded to include white, blue, buff, and splash. If you are interested in Orpington chickens, keep reading while we investigate the splash variety to help you decide if it’s right for your coop.
Quick Facts about the Splash Orpington Chicken
|Species Name:||G. domesticus|
|Minimum Cage Size:||10′ W x 10′ L x 6′ H|
Splash Orpington Overview
Orpington chickens are plump and fuzzy, often weighing more than 10 pounds, so many breeders use them for their meat. Owners often describe this breed as having a good carcass, which means it’s easy to get the meat off the bone. However, Orpington hens can lay more than 300 eggs per year, which is more than enough for most families and can even bring in a profit at the farmer’s market. Besides being a hard worker on the farm, many people keep Orpington chickens as a backyard pet due to their friendly temperament and fluffy appearance.
How Much Do Splash Orpington Chickens Cost?
You can expect to spend between $20-$50 for your Splash Orpington, depending on how close you live to a breeder. Since most Orpington chickens are black or blue, you may need to pay more for the splash color. Genetic testing to better ensure that you get a healthy chicken might also add to the cost.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
Orpingtons are extremely docile and friendly. They are also broody and can help sit on the eggs that other mothers leave behind, so owners often pair them with non-broody breeds like the Leghorn or the Rhode Island Red. Children like to keep this bird as a pet because it will often let you pick it up, and it enjoys being around people. It will follow you around as you take care of your daily tasks, but it’s too large to fly, so you don’t need to worry about high fencing if you choose to keep one in the yard.
Appearance & Varieties
The primary way to identify the Splash Orpington chicken from other Orpington varieties is by its feathers. The splash designation refers to the unique light blue or white feathers covering its body with spots of black and dark blue feathers mixed in. This pattern makes the chicken appear as if someone splashed it with dirt, hence the name. It is usually between 5-8 pounds and can be even larger, with some chickens reaching 10 pounds. It has a fluffy appearance that makes it look larger than it is.
How to Take Care of Splash Orpington Chicken
Habitat, Cage Conditions & Set-up
Your Splash Orpington chicken is extremely hardy and can handle cold temperatures that would leave many other breeds with frostbite or worse. Part of their durability has to do with their small comb. The larger combs that hang from some chickens are especially prone to frostbite. The Orpington chicken is also quite plump with fluffy feathers that supply plenty of insulation.
However, your chicken will still need shelter from freezing weather and snow, as well as rain, sunlight, and heat. You can keep a backyard chicken in a cage roughly 10′ W x 10′ L x 6′ H. At least part of the cage should have solid covering to provide shelter and shade. If you want your chicken to lay eggs, it is better to keep it in a coop. This device is a little more complex than most pet habitats, so we recommend purchasing it, especially if this is your first chicken.
Do Splash Orpington Chickens Get Along with Other Pets?
The Splash Orpington chicken is not aggressive and will not become aggressive toward other pets or humans. While it may attract cats’ attention, its large size will often prevent the cats from attacking, and they can usually cohabitate without problems. However, several dog breeds have deeply ingrained instincts that will cause them to attack the chicken, so your bird will need to be protected.
If you’re planning on keeping your Splash Orpington in a coop with other chickens, you will need to make sure the other breeds are not aggressive as its docile nature will make it an easy target. Most experts recommend giving a new bird a trial run in a coop to see if they get along before purchasing.
What to Feed Your Splash Orpington Chicken
You will need to supply your pet with plenty of water, and you will need to replace it each day to keep it fresh. Most experts also recommend a hanging feeder filled with a high-quality feed that they can access as needed. There are several brands available, and we recommend a brand without any harmful preservatives. You can also feed your Splash Orpington chicken beans, garlic, raw potatoes, and various citrus fruits as a snack, but you will need to avoid other fruits and other foods that contain lots of sugar because it can lead to obesity.
Keeping Your Splash Orpington Chicken Healthy
Keeping your Splash Orpington chicken healthy is not difficult and only requires you to shelter your chicken so it can hide from the hot sun and get out of the rain. It’s not prone to flying, so you don’t need a cover over the entire enclosure, but you will need to watch out for hawks and other birds of prey. Ensure your chicken has plenty of room to move around, and it will also welcome some company. Spending time with it each day can help reduce any anxiety your bird might be experiencing and help it live a long, happy life.
You will also need to get your Splash Orpington dewormed regularly to keep them from spreading throughout the coop, and you will need to check it regularly for lice, mites, and other parasites that could spread disease.
Many people enjoy breeding this bird with other breeds to create new and unique hybrids. It has several traits that breeders hope to pass on, like its size, egg-laying ability, fluffy feather, friendly temperament, and more. The Ameraucana and Silky are popular mixes to begin experimenting with breeding.
Are Splash Orpington Chickens Suitable for You?
Splash Orpington chickens are an ideal breed for children and inexperienced users. They make great pets, but you can use them for meat or their strong egg-laying abilities. All these attributes make this one of the most versatile breeds you can get. Its friendly nature means you can house it with other chickens without experiencing many problems, just be sure it doesn’t get bullied.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over our look into this amazing chicken and learned something new. If we have convinced you to give one of these birds a try in your coop, please share this guide to the Splash Orpington chicken on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Werner Rebel, Shutterstock