What are Buff Orpington Chickens?
From The United Orpington Club:
All Orpingtons originate from the same place. They can trace their roots back to Orpington, England, 1886, and William Cook. The first Orpingtons were Black. They were created by mixing Minorca, Black Plymouth Rock, and clean legged Langshans. The vision being a hardy, fast growing chicken that was a better than average egg layer and would also make a good table bird, a quality dual purpose bird. Mr Cook also preferred the black bird as it would exhibit well being able to hide the dirt and soot that was prevalent all over London during that age.
By 1890, Orpingtons were being imported to the Americas in small numbers. “Single Comb Black Orpingtons were first exhibited at the show of the Massachusetts Poultry Association, held in Boston , in 1890. Single Comb Buff Orpingtons were first exhibited at the Madison Square Garden Show, New York , in 1899, twelve single entries and one pen being the total. In 1901, the entries increased to nineteen single and one pen of Buff Orpingtons, Charles Vass, Wallace P. Willett, and Doctor Paul Kyle being the exhibitors. At New York in 1909-10, 157 Single Comb Buff, 122 Single Comb Black, 134 Single Comb White, 17 Diamond Jubilee, 5 Spangled, 25 Rose Comb Buff, 13 Rose Comb Black, and 5 Rose Comb White Orpingtons were exhibited, making a total of 478 Orpingtons-a remarkable showing for a breed of English origin in a country where there was supposed to be little demand for poultry with white skin and white or black shanks. ” (Orpington, J. H. Drevenstedt). By 1903, Mr Cook, himself, entered a large contingency of birds at Madison Square Garden and an Orpington Boon was begun!
While Black was the first variety created, Buff quickly became the more popular variety in the states. The APA accepted the Buff in 1902, Black and White in 1905 and Blue in 1923. Bantam Orpingtons, interestingly, were not created by Mr Cook. They were developed by Herman Kuhn in Germany. Bantams were accepted into the Standard of Perfection in 1960.