Orpington thoughts


 The Orpington has been progressing and changing for well over 100 years and as with all domestic creatures man continues to try to alter and manipulate certain traits to reach a desired goal. Every breeder has an idea of what they feel is the perfect specimen and depending on who has influence at the time, this tends to set the standards as to what people decide to breed. The poultry show world is no different to any other group of collective opinions and subtle changes to a birds characteristics are decided by the collective as desirable and this then becomes the norm.

In my opinion variety is the spice of life, is improvement of a colour variety that has been around for over 100 years possible or is it only possible to try to emulate certain traits that are deemed desirable at the time. William Cook created the Orpington as the ultimate all round utility bird but the modern Orpington does not resemble the birds Cook first introduced in the 1800’s.

But the modern Orpington is truly a thing of beauty, by careful selection the creation of a bird of such flowing contours with substance and grace has developed into  what is known as “ The Orpington shape “. The aim of the Orpington enthusiasts to maintain this desired look is a continual struggle but this enthusiasm for perfection has kept the Orpington at the forefront of the poultry world.  The Orpington continues to be the most popular breed of choice for both the showman and the garden poultry keeper.

 Apart from the standard Orpington colours that many dedicated breeders and showmen have spent many years preserving and perfecting for us to marvel at, enjoy and possibly purchase there are an endless list of new and rare colours that await enthusiastic breeders to take on and perfect. These non standard varieties are many many generations away from reaching the ideal type but hey Rome wasn’t built in a day.


Above is myself with Bob Follows in 2011

During Bob’s many years of breeding poultry he created and promoted many of the varied colours now found in Orpingtons today.

A genius in selection of type and genetic make up of the Orpington breed he will be sadly missed as a breeder.