Lavender Orpingtons are a shimmering, grayish, silver color with a definite purple tone. Orpington Chickens, in general, are big, round, fluffy chickens and could arguably be the softest of all the breeds. Combine that soft fluffiness with a shimmering lavender-gray color, and Lavender Orpingtons are chickens to behold!
The lavender color is similar to the blue color, but is lighter in general and with purple overtones. Lavender Orpingtons are extremely rare, and not many people have actually laid eyes on a Lavender Orpington. They could be categorized as designer chickens, and are fabulous for poultry connoisseurs and collectors as well as for flock owners who want a truly special breed.
Gray colors in chickens are always rare and exciting, but there is another reason lavender is such a sought-after color. Although Lavender Orpingtons do resemble Blue Orpingtons in their shimmering gray coloring, genetically the Lavender is very different from the Blue. When Blue Chickens are bred together, the offspring will be a variety of colors: black, splash (mostly white with gray splashes), and variations of the blue color. The Lavender Orpingtons, however, will breed true, meaning that all offspring of two Lavender Orpingtons will be Lavender.
Lavender Orpingtons have pretty, single red combs, which are set off beautifully against the lavender feathering, which is usually a bit darker on the head. These would look especially striking combined with Buff Orpingtons – creating a flock of silver and gold big fluffy birds.
Lavender Orpingtons have lots of feathers – the fluffiness makes them seem to have extra feathers, especially on the thighs. They are cold hardy and sound chickens.
Production: Lavender Orpingtons are the ultimate heritage, dual purpose chicken. They make good meat birds, growing to a heavy table weight with nice looking white skin. They are also productive at egg laying, producing 175-200 very large brown eggs per year. Many Lavender Orpington hens will go broody and hatch their own chicks.
Temperament: Like the much more common Buff Orpington, Lavender Orpingtons are large, calm, and friendly birds. They have been described as ‘lap chickens’ by many. They are great with children, and they also make good pet chickens. They are heavy and wide chickens, and thus are not good at flying, which makes them quite easy to contain even with short fencing.
History: The Orpington Chicken breed is one of the premier breeds of Great Britain. The breed was developed by William Cook by crossing Minorca males with Black Plymouth Rock hens, and then breeding the offspring of that cross to Langshans with clean legs. The outcome was the Orpington with everything that the British public of the mid-nineteenth century wanted and desired in a chicken. He named them after his hometown, Orpington, England. The breed was a wild success, and within 10 years, Orpington Chickens were a mainstay of British poultry enthusiasts.