If there was ever a trendy chicken for the backyard coop, it would have to be the Lavender Orpington! They were considered endangered up until 2016 but renewed interest in the breed has drastically improved their numbers.
The Orpington is a dual purpose chicken and one of the friendliest and most beautiful birds for the backyard.
You can find them in different colors and patterns but in this guide, we learn about Lavender Orpingtons, their egg production, personality, and whether they are a good fit as a backyard chicken.
Let’s start by looking at their history…
The Breed History
In 1886, poultry hobbyist Mr. William Cook lived in the village of Orpington in Kent in England and decided to develop a chicken that would be a fair egg layer while also providing good quality table fare. During this time, the average English chicken lacked meat on their carcass and wasn’t considered appetizing at all.
He also wanted a bird that was dark in color that would camouflage the soot and dirt in the city created during the industrial revolution.
There simply wasn’t a chicken that could prove its weight in gold in both the egg laying and meat departments; that was until prized Black Orpingtons were produced. This was the birth of the first Orpington chickens. William Cook combined the Barred Rock, Minorca, and the Langshan to create the traits he desired in a chicken breed including the various plumage color patterns in Orpingtons that we know today.
NOTEThe Black Orpingtons were the most popular chicken breed in England towards the end of the 1880s but were soon replaced by the Buff Orpington.
The common Buff Orpington was developed from different breeds to the original black strain such as the Cochin, Hamburg, and the Dorking. Today, the Buff Orpington is a treasure of the chicken coop and one of the most popular chickens for backyard keepers.
NOTEOnly five years ago the Orpington chicken was considered endangered; however, the breed was removed from the critical list in 2016 thanks to dedicated breeders, breed clubs, and growing interest among homesteaders.
The Lavender Orpington is considered a new color variant of the Orpington family.
It is their lavender coloring that separates them from the more common Orpington colors such as black, blue, and buff.
The Lavender Orpington was refined in the 1990s in the UK by a dedicated poultry breeder, Priscilla Middleton. It took her many years of selecting the right chicken breeds including refinement of their size and plumage to produce the lavender coloring.
They are bred across the UK and Europe and later migrated to the US where they have also become a firm favorite among poultry fanciers and backyard chicken keepers.
Are Lavender Orpingtons Rare?
Lavender Orpingtons are described as a rare and specialty breed; however, you will find quite a few breeders selling Lavender Orpingtons online, but buyers should beware that this doesn’t guarantee good quality stock.
If you are looking for quality Lavenders or breeding stock, it is best to find a hobby farm or local breeder specializing in Lavender Orpington chickens.
Some would call them “designer chickens” in the poultry world while others consider them lap chickens because of their calm nature. Whether you are looking for a pet chicken or a beauty for the coop, one thing’s for sure, you can’t go wrong with Lavenders.
Lavenders are large sized birds with a broad body, upright stance, and a deep curved back giving them a heavyset and compact appearance.
Lavender Orpingtons are heavily feathered birds but their plumage is described as tight which means that it sits close to the body.
The slim feathers create a contoured appearance and also make these Lavender Orpington chickens smooth to the touch.
Lavender chickens have blue or slate-colored legs and feet that are not feathered. Some will have few feathers on their shanks, but if they are bred with feathers on the shanks, they are not accepted in the show ring.
Their ear lobes, combs, and wattles are deep red, and their eyes a reddish bay color.
Orpingtons have a medium-sized single comb with five points and a horn colored beak.
The Lavender Orpington roosters weigh 10 lbs and the hens weigh 8 lbs.
Lavender Orpingtons don’t have a breed standard but their color should consist of a blend of light purple and blue with gray tones.
Birds that are exposed to many hours of sunlight will develop orange and yellow undertones in their feathers because the sun naturally lightens their color.
Are Lavender Orpingtons the Same as Blue Orpingtons?
Lavender Orpingtons are known as self-blue because they breed true and all the offspring will be self blue too. Lavender Orpingtons are genetically self blue while Blue Orpingtons are not.
What to Expect When Breeding Lavender Orpingtons?
The Lavender color is a recessive diluting gene which means that both parents must carry the lavender gene for baby chicks to show as pure lavender. Because lavenders breed true, when two lavender Orpingtons are paired they will produce Lavender Orpington chicks.
The Orpington lavender recessive gene can also be used to breed other colors.
FUN FACTThe lavender gene is responsible for poor or abnormal growth of feathers which is most noticeable in the tail.
To avoid abnormal feather formation in Lavender Orpington chicks, it is important to select birds with good feather development or split parentage.
Split parentage involves the use of one parent of another color and in the case of Lavenders, the Black Orpington (hen or cockerel) is used to improve the genetic line while upholding the lavender color.
So, if you want to breed pure color chicks lavender parents or split-color parents carrying the lavender gene should be used. It’s best to try breeding during spring, fertilized eggs are more frequent during that season.
Orpingtons Bantam Lavender
Some breeders have been successful in producing a purple-colored Orpington bantam; however, the bantams are merely bred as a hobby and not recognized by the American Poultry Association or any poultry clubs.
Are Lavender Orpingtons Dual Purpose?
As both egg layers and meat chickens they are excellent dual purpose birds. Lavender Orpingtons possess a clean white skin and because they can reach a weight of between 8-10 lbs they provide a fair amount of meat.
They also lay between 170-200 eggs each year which is the reason they are considered a productive egg layer.
How Old are Lavender Orpingtons When They Start Laying?
Lavender Orpington pullets should start laying eggs at around 24 weeks of age but some keepers have waited for longer for their Lavender Orpington pullets to start laying, some waiting up to 8 months before their specialty breed chickens will begin to produce eggs.
What Color Eggs Do Lavender Orpingtons Lay?
You can expect large light brown eggs to be laid by your Lavender Orpington hen.
The lighter Buff Orpington tends to lay a tinted or cream colored egg while the darker types produce large brown eggs.
Are Lavender Orpingtons Good for Meat?
Orpingtons are one of the most popular breeds for meat because of their large size and weight.
They are also hardy chickens and can tolerate various conditions which contributed to their popularity as meat birds in the 1890s.
Are Lavender Orpington Hens Broody?
A Lavender Orpington hen will go broody at least once a year and can be quite stubborn if you want her to get off the nest. But for those looking to hatch lavender orpington eggs, these tough and broody hens will do well to hatch and raise chicks.
Should your hen become broody and all that you’re interested in is egg production, you will need to be patient in discouraging her from the nest.
Orpingtons are friendly but they can also be persistent when they want to hatch chicks, so you’ll have to be patient to end her broodiness.
Consider placing an ice pack underneath her when she’s acting broody or block her access to the nest.
DID YOU KNOW?A hen that is broody for four days will take 2 weeks before she starts laying eggs again.
The longer they’re left in the nest, the longer they will take to start producing eggs.
Behavior and Temperament
If you want an intelligent and docile chicken that is easy to care for then the Lavender Orpington breed is a great choice. These friendly chickens are curious about their environment and will enjoy spending time with you in the garden.
Their gentle personality and relaxed nature also make them outstanding pets for children.
If you want an idea of what it is like raising Lavender Orpingtons, this video is for you.
Even the Lavender Orpington roosters are described as friendly birds because they are considered less aggressive compared to other breeds or rooster breeds.
When you keep Lavender Orpingtons be mindful of more aggressive breeds that tend to bully them in the coop. Orpingtons are generally in the middle of the pecking order but can be intimidated by more assertive breeds in the backyard flock.
Do Lavender Orpingtons Get Along with Other Pets?
Yes, when you raise them with other animals they get along with just about every creature.
They are calm and quiet birds which is the reason they make such great backyard chickens.
There is no need to worry about apologizing to the neighbor because of your squawking hens but don’t count on the rooster to be quiet!
They may not crow as frequently as other chickens but when they do, they let out a deep, loud crow.
The Lavender Orpington chicken enjoys free ranging even if for a short while in the backyard. Because they are naturally curious, they like to explore new things and will follow you in the garden especially if you have their favorite treats in hand!
You might be surprised to hear that Lavender Orpingtons are actually quite lazy! They can eat around ¼ lb of food daily and will continue to eat if you offer them treats. They can quickly become overweight leading to health issues such as arthritis.
By free ranging they get their daily exercise which helps to keep their weight down and their joints mobile.
Food to avoid
Raw potatoes are toxic to Orpingtons, make sure to avoid them.
Lice and Mites
One of the easiest ways to keep your Lavenders looking their best is not to bathe them, they definitely won’t appreciate getting wet.
They do appreciate a good dust bath so prepare an area where they can cover themselves in soft dry sand to prevent lice and mites from taking hold.
Consider an indoor dust bath you can use inside the chicken coop. These dust baths also lessen the amount of time you would have to take to treat every chicken in your flock against an infestation of external parasites.
Remember when I mentioned that Lavender Orpington chickens can reach between 8-10 lbs?
Well, they can weigh a lot more if they get fed too many treats! Because Orpington chickens are so food-driven and they’re a dual purpose bird, they can add a lot of size in a short period.
Too much weight places immense strain on their joints increasing their risk of arthritis and leg injuries caused by jumping off the roost. These jumps can also cause them to land on a sharp object piercing their foot and causing an infection known as Bumblefoot.
You can prevent leg problems in Orpington chickens by providing a low roost and nest box that is easy for hens to reach.
Orpingtons are big birds so they need space to move around and feel comfortable inside their chicken coop. For Orpington chickens, lavender hens and roosters need 10 square feet of space per bird.
The nest box should be at least 12 x 12 inches wide and deep to accommodate one Orpington hen.
How Long Do Lavender Orpingtons Live?
This chicken breed can live up to 8 years old. To help them reach their golden years, reduce their experience of stress by giving them a large coop, good feed, and time to forage.
Is The Lavender Orpington Right for You?
Lavender Orpingtons are one of the most beautiful chicken breeds in the world. They lay a brown egg color and only become broody once a year compared to other hens such as Silkies and even the Buff Orpington that go broody a few times a year.
Interestingly, Lavender Orpington chickens always breed true so if you pair two lavenders together you will get pure Lavender Orpington chicks.
As docile chickens, they get along with pretty much all breeds and pets but you have to be aware of bullying and feather picking by more assertive breeds.
Lavender Orpington chickens are the designer birds of the chicken world. They are large chickens and fully feathered, giving them a compact and robust appearance but in the beautiful shade of lavender, they certainly make an impressive addition to the backyard coop.
Lavender Orpington hens lay an egg color that is light brown or tinted and medium to large in size. You can expect up to 200 eggs per year but some Orpington hens can lay close to 250 eggs each year.
They are docile chickens that are quiet compared to other breeds that are similar in stature and even the roosters exhibit this trait, making them great family pets for children.
Quality Lavenders are unique and hard to find but there is more to their color than meets the eye. Their color background actually consists of the Blue and Black Orpington that carry the recessive lavender gene.
You can also breed two quality Lavender chickens together to produce pure lavender colored baby chicks.
Feel Free To Share!
If you are passionate about Lavender Orpington chickens and you’ve enjoyed our guide, please feel free to share your love and interest in the breed with your fellow chicken enthusiasts!
Should you want Orpington chickens, lavender is simply a stunning color in the chicken coop. Along with their appearance, they have friendly personalities and are perfect egg layers for cold climates.
(1) Lavender Orpington chicken by Oregon Department of Agriculture – licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0