Lavender Orpington: The Complete Care Guide

Lavender Orpingtons are enjoying a huge wave of popularity right now.

Their stunning lavender colored feathers have make this chicken one of the most popular breeds around right now.

Orpingtons are well known for being very docile and friendly. They have also built a reputation of being a reliable egg layer.

Whilst the Orpington breed family has always been popular, the lavender color is a relatively recent addition.

Are you interested in keeping this beautifully colored chicken?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the Lavender Orpington…

Lavender Orpington

Lavender Orpington Overview

If you are looking for a regal, stately and mellow hen then you will love Orpingtons.

The Orpington chicken was created in the 1880s with the intention being to create a hardy dual purpose breed.

They have been admired ever since and have a group of loyal admirers.

Over the years some varieties of Orpington have become designer birds and have been chosen for their color as much as anything else.

The Lavender Orpington is one such variety.

People simply love the pale lavender/pearl grey/light blue coloration of the feathers. Blue or lavender is a rarity in the chicken world and an uncommon color.

She is a steady layer of light brown eggs and will lay somewhere between 3-4 each week.

Their only downfall is perhaps that they are notorious for being broody, however if you want to hatch chicks that is a positive.

However if you simply want Orpingtons to share your garden with you then they are delightfully quiet and are very unlikely to disturb close neighbors

They also do not fly, so keeping them safe is fairly easy.

Lavender Orpington
Beginner Friendly: Yes.
Lifespan: 5+ years.
Weight: Hen (8lb) and Rooster (10lb).
Color: Lavender.
Egg Production: 3-4 per week.
Egg Color: Light Brown.
Known For Broodiness: Yes.
Good With Children: Yes.
Cost of Chicken: $10-$45 per chick.

Why We Love This Breed

  • Their Lavender color is very unique and makes them distinct from other chickens.
  • Orpingtons are known for being very gentle and friendly.
  • They are excellent at keeping warm in cold temperatures.
  • She lays beautiful large light brown eggs.
  • They are very versatile and were bred to be dual purpose.

Appearance

Lavender Orpington Chicken

With all those splendidly fluffy looking feathers the Lavender Orpington can appear huge.

Whilst they are a large bird their feathers certainly do make them appear even larger.

Their comb, wattles and earlobes should all be red.

The points of the single comb should be five well defined points.

Eyes should be a reddish bay color and the beak should be a dark horn color.

Her feathers are not really fluffy like a Cochin although they do give that appearance. Their feathering should be tighter to the body giving you a clear outline of their body. Finally, their legs should be sturdy and a slate blue color. They should also have no feathers as any feathering on their legs is cause for disqualification from shows.

Size and Weight

Lavender Orpingtons are a large chicken.

The average rooster will weigh around 10lb and hens around 8lb. You can also find a bantam variety which will weigh about 34oz (rooster) and 30oz (hen).

Color Varieties

While the Orpington breed comes in several color varieties, the Lavender Orpington is just that, lavender.

This lavender coloring in chickens is very rare.

In the UK it is known as pearl grey whereas here in the US we call it lavender.

The gene that creates the lavender coloring is recessive and must be possessed by both parents.

It is a recessive diluting gene.

This means that it dilutes the dominant base color so black will become lavender and red will become a yellowish straw color.

What Is It Like To Own A Lavender Orpington?

Lavender Orpington Pullet

All Orpingtons enjoy free ranging through the yard.

However they will be equally content in a suitably large run.

They are not avid foragers and if something is not sitting under their beak, they are not going to scratch too hard for it.

She will prefer to amble back to the feeder to get something to eat.

As they enjoy eating you should manage their diet carefully.

Lavender Orpingtons do have a tendency towards obesity and that can be problematic for the hen and you.

Overweight hens have a rough time laying eggs and can suffer from all sorts of reproductive tract issues, leg and heart problems among other things. It is better to be proactive and ration their feed where necessary.

Personality

Orpingtons are known as friendly, lovable chickens that are very placid and well grounded.

When you first get your Orpingtons you may find them to be a bit reserved – however this is actually shyness! Once they get to know you, their personalities will start to shine through.

They have a docile temperament which can lead to them being picked upon by the more assertive breeds. Even the Lavender Orpington roosters are docile – they are mellow boys but just like any other rooster you need to be cautious with small children (especially in the breeding season).

Lavender Orpington hens love their humans.

They will come to you for treats as well as some special attention – they may even become lap chickens with a little encouragement.

Overall they are a steady and dependable chicken that is not known for flightiness or bursts of nervousness.

Egg Production

Lavender Orpingtons are a good layer of large light brown eggs.

They will normally produce 3-4 eggs a week (around 150-200 a year).

Of course this will depend on the strain of chicken you have.

Just like most breeds that become highly successful in the exhibition arena, the breed can be divided into exhibition birds and utility fowl. When chicken become so refined in feathering it is often to the detriment of other things like egg laying. Utility chickens retain the useful aspects of eggs but are not as successful in the exhibition arena.

I have to say my Lavender Orpington has been a poor performer in the egg department, she does however enjoy being broody.

They are known for broodiness and they can be quite determined to sit. If allowed they make great mothers and are fiercely protective of their chicks. They enjoy motherhood and given the chance some would like to be permanent broodies.

Egg Production
Eggs Per Week: 3-4 Eggs.
Color: Light Brown.
Size: Large.

Noise Levels

Orpingtons are quiet birds and rarely make any sounds.

You will occasionally hear them talking to each other but that will be about it.

This makes them ideal chickens for an urban setting as your neighbors are very unlikely to be disturbed by these lovely hens.

Facts About This Breed

  1. Lavender Orpingtons come from England.
  2. They are also called self-blue Orpingtons.
  3. Roosters will weigh around ten pounds and females around eight pounds.
  4. They tend to go broody and make very good mothers.
  5. Lavender Orpingtons are quiet which makes them perfect for the suburban backyard.

Lavender Orpington Chicken Care Guide

Lavender Orpington Chick

Health Issues

Since they do get quite large you might want to consider lowering their perches so they do not suffer from any leg issues.

The biggest issue with keeping Lavender Orpington chickens is their weight.

In general Orpingtons are a bit lazy and they would rather hang out by the feeder than forage.

So you need to watch their weight carefully.

Apart from this the usual annoying pests such as lice, mites and worms will need to be monitored and treated as and when. Some folks will treat on a regular schedule while others will treat on an as needed basis. Both approaches have their merits and there really is not a right or wrong choice.

Overall the Lavender Orpington is a healthy chicken that is not prone to any particular disease or health conditions.

Feeding

Orpington chicks will need to be fed a high protein crumble.

This crumble should be 20% or more protein for the first few weeks of their life. During this time they grow incredibly fast and need lots of energy.

Once your chicks reach the 16 week mark they can gradually be transitioned over to layer pellets.

In addition to the feed you will need separate bowls for oyster shell and insoluble grit – both are essential for the wellbeing of your hens.

Oyster shell should always be served separately from the main feed as not all hens will require it. Those hens that need it will take what they need. The insoluble grit helps the chicken to digest their food properly and makes the absorption of the nutrients easier for the gut.

Most essential of all is clean and fresh water – this should be available for Lavender Orpingtons at all times.

Coop Setup and Roaming

Orpingtons are large chickens so they will each need 8 square feet of coop space – 10 square feet would be better especially if they are sharing with more assertive breeds.

This will make sure they have enough space to keep away from any bully birds.

Surprisingly Orpingtons are low on the pecking order despite their size. More self-assured chickens can pick on them so keep an eye open for any bullying.

As for roosting space you should allow 10-12 inches per chicken on the perch. Remember they are big fluffy hens that need a good amount of space. Because they are so large, perches should be placed lower to the floor to avoid injury to their legs when hopping off the perch.

The standard 12×12 nesting box is tight for an Orpington but it will still do the job. If you think they are too cramped then you can supply them with a slightly larger open style nesting area such as a crate or a box.

Now for roaming space.

You will find that although Lavender Orpingtons do enjoy free ranging they will do so at a very leisurely pace. There is no hurrying these ladies unless you shake the treat bag.

They are not very adventurous and do not fly well at all.

So keeping them in a run is simply a matter of building a 3 foot fence.

Each chicken should have 12 square feet of coop space.

You should try to keep them active by supplying things like leaf piles to rummage through, cabbage pinatas for jumping jacks. The Orpington breed can struggle with obesity so their weight should be carefully monitored as overweight chickens suffer from lots of health problems.

Lavender Orpington Breed History

English Lavender Orpington

The history of the Orpington breed stretches back to the 1880s in rural England.

Here a William Cook from Orpington (Kent) wanted to create a chicken that was a good egg layer and a substantial table bird too.

Chickens around this time were a fairly unappealing bunch although the Victorian hen fever was creating some interesting variations.

Mr Cooks first Orpington was black.

This Black Orpington was a huge success at home and in the US markets too.

It caused a sensation in the chicken world and was the start of Cook’s empire.

Cook went on to create other Orpington colors including the Buff which is by far the most popular color.

Bantam Orpingtons were created around the 1900s and although they remain popular they are difficult to find.

The Lavender Orpington was created around the 1990s and the credit goes to an English breeder (Priscilla Middleton also from Kent).

This is still a rare chicken. Good quality Lavenders are harder to find but if you are not worried about showing your hens then many hatcheries have a selection of Lavender Orpingtons to choose from.

Should You Keep This Breed? (Summary)

There is a long history behind the Orpington’s success.

The combination of their friendly personality and egg laying has made them a backyard favorite.

However the Lavender Orpington is a recent addition to the family and has quickly grown in popularity.

Their blue/grey feathering has become irresistible for many backyard chicken keepers.

In addition to their color they make a lovely and friendly family bird. Orpingtons are good layers, are pretty quiet and have a wonderful temperament.

Whatever your reason for wanting these unusually colored chickens you will be sure to have people asking you about the breed.

Let us know any of your questions in the comments section below…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and are interested in backyard chicken health and care. Her work has been shared on HuffPost, Mother Nature Network, Community Chickens, Mother Earth News and many more outlets. Today Chris keeps 11 chickens including 4 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Rhode Island Reds and 3 Silkies. She is our backyard chicken expert at Chickens And More, and shares her knowledge on raising healthy, happy chickens with our readers. You can contact Chris at chris@chickensandmore.com

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