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Lavender Orpington: Breed Information, Care Guide, Egg Color and More

Our recent article on the Buff Orpington was well received and prompted folks to ask about Lavender Orpingtons – it seems that lavender is the ‘in’ color at the moment!

Orpingtons come in a large variety of colors and patterns. These past couple of years have seen a steady rise in interest for Lavender and Blues.

The Lavender Orpington is a beautiful, friendly breed that can lay up to 200 eggs each year.

In this article, we will discuss all you need to know about Lavender Orpingtons, their disposition, egg-laying capabilities, broodiness, and crucially, is it suitable for your flock?

Lavender Orpington

Let’s start by looking at the history of the Orpington breed to give you some background information.

Lavender Orpington Background


The original Orpington was created in England back in the 1880s by a fellow called William Cook who lived in the village of Orpington in Kent, England.

His vision was to create a bird that was a decent layer and suitable for the table. Up until this time, the average English chicken was a pretty skinny and unappetizing affair.

He succeeded in his endeavor, starting with the Black Orpington, which guaranteed him the success he desired on both sides of the Atlantic.

From the Black Orpington, he created several other Orpington colors – Buff being the most well-known and loved.

Mr. Cook created a ‘brand’ rather than a breed initially.

When he created the Buff Orpington, he used different breeds of fowl from the Black Orpington. The black was composed of Langshan, Barred Rock, and Minorcas, while the Buff was formulated of Cochin, Dorking, and spangled Hamburgs.

This was a bit controversial in its day but is widely accepted practice now.

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Lavender,Orpington,Chickens

 

The Orpington was on the endangered list of the American Livestock Breed Conservancy until reasonably recently.

Recent years have seen a significant surge in folks keeping poultry, and the Orpington has significantly benefitted.

The Lavender Orpington is a relatively new variety of the Orpington family. You could probably say it is a ‘designer bird.’

It started with the renowned and respected breeder Priscilla Middleton in the mid-1990s’ UK.

It has taken her many years of cross-breeding to get the exact size and type she wanted, but she has an imposing and successful line of Lavender Orpingtons now.

The bird is now widely bred throughout the UK and Europe, having breed clubs in several European countries and the UK and USA.

The USA started with Lavender Orpingtons a bit later than the UK, and the lavender is still relatively hard to find in many areas.

Although described as ‘rare,’ while searching the internet, I was amazed at how many people are breeding and selling Lavender Orpingtons!

I suspect the ‘rare’ refers to good quality stock that complies with the standards set for the Orpington hen in general.

Appearance and Temperament of Lavender Orpingtons


They are a large fluffy, friendly hen – they have a profusion of feathers, making them seem much more significant than they are.

They are known to be curious, docile, cuddly, and relatively intelligent, which makes them adorable!

As they are so calm and quiet, they are often lower in the pecking order than the more assertive ladies of your flock. They get picked on by other hens, so be aware of this and deal with it as needed.

They are said to be good foragers, although they are more likely to hang out near the feeders – being a bit on the lazy side.

Breed Standard

The Lavender Orpington is not an officially recognized color variety in the US or the UK currently.

As with all Orpingtons, the lavender should appear as a heavy, Broad-bodied bird standing low to the ground. The back should be short and curvy. The tail is a bit on the short side.

Although they are a large bird, it is pretty compact in their physique. A mature rooster will weigh around 10lb, with a mature hen weighing 8lb or so.

Orpingtons should be well feathered with broad, smooth feathers. The feathers should be ‘close’ but not ‘tight’ or ‘fluffy.’ ‘Tight’ feathers follow the body contour – best seen in-game birds and ‘fluffy’ would be loose such as a Cochin hen.

Feet and shanks are clean, slate/blue. Occasionally a bird will have a few feathers on the legs, this is not acceptable in show circles, but rigorous breeding can eliminate this.

The beak is dark/ horn colored, eyes a reddish bay color. Comb, wattles, and earlobes are red.

They are a single comb variety sporting five points.

Free-Ranging

If you’re a free-range fanatic and love to let your birds roam free, the lavender sits in the middle of the pack as far as savviness.

They love to forage and won’t go hungry when they have plenty of vegetation, bugs, and grubs to devour. But they are a tad clueless when it comes to keeping an eye out for predators.

The Orpington breed, in general, tends to get caught up in whatever it is doing while free-ranging and may miss the warning signs of a looming predator. I’ve chased a hawk or two off my Lavender Orpingtons. You can often solve this issue with the addition of a rooster to your free-range flock.

Lavenders are extremely friendly, in most cases, and will choose to spend time near you while you are out doing the chores.

If you’re looking for a nice companion free-ranger, the lavender is a great choice (mainly because the roosters do not tend to be aggressive).

Lavender Orpington Egg Laying and Health Issues

As with most Orpingtons, they are a reasonably continuous layer. They should produce around 170-200 light brown, medium-sized eggs per year.

Since Orpingtons are known to be broody, you can expect them to go broody about once a year. They make excellent mothers, so if you have any eggs that need hatching, slip them under your Orpington!

Lavender Orpingtons are heavy birds, so perches should be lower for them to avoid any leg injuries.

They are a ‘feather duster on legs,’ they are prone to lice and mites underneath all that fluff.

They enjoy a good dust bath but keep a close eye on possible infestations, especially around the vent area and under the wings. Winter is the most challenging time for them to stay clean unless you have an indoor dust bath for them.

How to Breed the Lavender Color

We have talked about the lavender gene briefly in the Blue Laced Red Wyandottes article quite recently.

In a nutshell – lavender (self-blue in the US) and (pearl grey UK) is recessive, diluting gene.

Diluting means that it modifies the base color. As an example – black is cut to lavender, and red is diluted to straw color. This is very simple but gives you an idea of what the lavender gene does.

To breed lavender offspring, each of the parent stock requires a copy of the lavender gene.

The process of creating your line of Lavenders is pretty straightforward but time-consuming.

You would need to buy from at least two or three unrelated bloodlines to ensure some measure of success in your project. If you want to find out more about this, read this.

A note of caution here: The lavender gene is closely aligned to a gene that causes retarded feather growth (known as the ‘tail shredder’ gene), which occasionally pops up in the breeding process.

Is The Lavender Orpington Right For Your Flock?

The Lavender Orpington might take a little time to get to know you, they can be shy at first, but they will soon enjoy following you for treats or lap cuddles!

They are very docile and calm – even the roosters, so they are ideal for small children to be around, although I would never leave a small child alone with any rooster.

As for tolerance to the cold, they are very cold hardy; however they don’t do well if they get wet, they can chill and die pretty quickly. The hens usually enjoy a blow-dry after a rub-down!

High temperatures and heat can be a problem for Orpingtons because of their dense feathering.

They need shade, cool water, and dust bath areas readily available to help cool them down. Another problem with excessive sunlight is that it will make the Lavender color fade a little into tan/yellow overtones in mature birds.

Although the Lavender color is not accepted by the American Poultry Association yet, it does not preclude you from exhibiting if you so wish.

Orpingtons are great as show birds – they have a calm, almost bomb-proof demeanor and tolerate a great deal of fussing and handling.

This also makes them a great project bird for the 4H club, which many young adults enjoy.

Lavender,Orpington,Chickens

Lavender Orpington: Summary

The Orpington in any color is a steady, dependable hen. They are friendly, non-aggressive, and will provide you with a decent amount of eggs.

The only disadvantage is their broodiness. If you don’t want broody hens, the Orpington is not for you.

On the other hand, if you want a hen that will sit on just about any eggs, the Orpington may be the best girl for you.

They are not inexpensive – the average price of a chick here in the US is around $21.00 or $45.00 for a dozen hatching eggs. As always – shop around; you get what you pay for!

They are most definitely calm and stately birds to add to your flock. They will reward you with eggs, chicks and love!

Our Choice for All-In-One Automatic Chicken Coop Door

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  • Works Rain or Shine so you don’t have to let them out in inclement weather.
  • Go ahead and get those extra hours of sleep or go on vacation, our door has you covered.
  • Protect your Chickens from Predators with our self-locking feature

Our Choice For Best Chicken Treats

Happy Grubs: More Calcium Than Mealworms

  • Increase Egg Production
  • Stronger Egg Shells
  • Healthy Feathers

Do you keep Lavender Orpingtons? Let us know your experience with them in the comments section below…

Read The Sapphire Gem Chicken: The Complete Info Guide

Lavender Orpington

 

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22 thoughts on “Lavender Orpington: Breed Information, Care Guide, Egg Color and More

  1. thank you for this post it was very informative if you have pictures of these birds that would be very helpful and enjoyable to look at.

    1. Hi Pamela,
      We hope to have an article on Australorps published soon. In the meantime if you have concerns about their health you can read our article on health inspections.
      Claire.

      1. I also have some I think they are singing because they are so happy I love then they make me happy

    1. We have 2 lavender orpingtons that are roosters, and they are very aggressive and mean. We do not know what we should do with them. We need to get rid of them, because they are violently harming other chickens.. What should we do?

      1. If you are in the USA, you can list them on craigslist or other classifieds for give away, if they are extremely aggressive you may consider culling.
        Claire

      2. I have 7 chickens – Marran- sixton – reds and lavender – we think the lavender is a rooster – it’s dominate but friendly- I plan to have a few broods. We have an indoor aviary. So they kee cool in the summer and warm in the winter – I like watching them eat treats. Like watermelon. Or freeze corn or peas. They enjoy peaking at the frozen foods of all sorts – I also like to put food in there water like bobbing for apples – there a joy to have around.

      3. I was fortunate to get 18 hatchlings. I lost 2 but out of the 16 that are growing up i have 8 hens & 8 roosters. They are only 3 months old but i can already see the variety of shades of grey in their feathers. I am working on the bonding with them

      4. If you catch them place their chest on the ground & gently hold their beak to the ground. You will feel them relax. Then just let them go. Do it with each rooster & they wont be aggressive with you anymore. There is a YouTube video on it

  2. I have one Buff Orpington, one Lavender, and one Blue (which is somewhat of a splash of colors
    (lavender/gray and black–actually, very beautiful.) My Buff Orp. is the oldest (20 months), but she has never gone broody so far. She is the Alpha chicken of the group of 9, but she is not a bully–unless one of them gets between her and her food! She is very friendly and loves to be hand fed. She also enjoys a bath, which I sometimes have to do because she gets a dirty “bottom” occasionally (probably because she’s too lazy to squat sufficiently for the poop to clear all of the fluff!) She is a sweetie, overall. The Lavender and the Blue are not friendly so far, but they are just over 4 months old. As I recall, my Buff was a bit shy also until she started to lay; then she became a lot friendlier. I’m hoping the same will happen with the other two because right now, they both run from me and are afraid to eat from my hand like the others. I’ve notice also that the Lavender has begun to bully one of the pullets that was raised with her. She chases her, trying to attack her and pull out feathers, which she eats. The “victim” is a Golden Cuckoo Marans, and she is very easy-going and shy. I’m not sure what’s going on with the Lavender and the feather pulling. Come to think of it, my Buff has also started feather picking the Frizzle Cochin. She will sometimes chase her to try to pull and eat her feathers. They all get lots of protein. They are currently eating the Nutrena Naturewise Starter Grower feed, and I just recently started them on Nutrena Feather Fixer (with the intention of ending the starter grower feed soon), after the younger ones turned 16 weeks old in an effort to help with feather loss. I also give them sprouted wheatberries and black soldier fly larvae. They have access to lots of oyster shells and crushed egg shells (cleaned and baked). Any advice on this issue? Thanks!

  3. I am seeing some lines that have a darker gray wing… kind of like a blue rooster does… I am assuming this is not desirable…. do you know?

  4. I’d like to know how I could order a couple Lavender chicks to add to my small flock of 5…how much would 2 hen chicks be?

    1. Hi Robbin,
      You would need to contact your local breeder for an exact price. But you should expect to pay around $15 🙂
      Claire

  5. My prettiest Lavender hen became the low hen in the flock and they pecked one eye out. I separated her and she has healed well and seems happy. I would like to have her set a bunch of chicks but wondered if a rooster would also pick on her. Do you have any suggestions on how I could do this?

    1. My Buff Orpington lived to 7 and my Lavender Orpington is almost 3. She’s ENORMOUS and incredibly sweet but a terrible layer. Like an egg every 2-3 weeks! I don’t know if that’s common to the breed or if I just have an exceptionally underachieving hen but I love her anyway! In the future though I will not purchase again for whatever that’s worth.

  6. I just got my lavender orpingtons, 7 to 8 weeks old. At what age do they lay? I’ve had other breeds of chickens for years. Any advice, or things I should watch for?

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