Chickens orpingtons: characteristics, care and feeding
Chickens have long been an integral element of many households. Worldwide, breeders from different countries tried to breed the most productive breed. Took on this task in England. After many years of selection, the desired result is achieved - a breed known as orpington was born.
The birthplace of the breed is the English city of Orpington, and the “father” is the breeder William Cook. Cook's goal was to breed a breed that would meet the standards prevailing in England and demonstrate high productivity. Having started its work in 1876, the breeder never finished it - the breed was bred only 30 years later, in 1906.
Did you know? One of the main expectations from the new breed was the white plumage. However, the desired color was obtained only in 1989.
By that time, Cook had already passed away. Nevertheless, the bred chickens had good productive qualities, and therefore quickly gained popularity among British poultry farmers.
A distinctive feature of the breed is a massive body, often not very agile. Orpingtons are also distinguished by scallops - they have leaf-shaped and straight-line ones. Mostly black birds are found, but the color is white, red, marble, blue, and even fawn is found - all these are different subspecies obtained as a result of selection.
Large body and black color are the key features of this breed.
|Beak||Medium in size, slightly curved.|
The English aristocrat is the most suitable description of the temperament of the orpingtons. They are characterized by calm, and not fear of a person, but habits are characterized by power and measured. In many ways, this behavior is explained by the large weight and underdeveloped wings, which does not allow them to fly.
Chickens have a hatching instinct, which allows them to breed offspring without using other breeds or an incubator.
Advantages and disadvantages
- high meat productivity;
- decrease in egg production after the 1st year of life is insignificant;
- meat has excellent taste;
- the presence of a developed instinct of incubation.
- high feed costs compared to other breeds;
- relatively low egg production;
- the need to change the manufacturer's cock;
- chickens grow and gain weight slowly enough;
- poor fertility.
Important! To clean the breed in each generation, it is necessary to use a new rooster.
Since the chicken coop serves as a place where chickens spend the most time and hatch chickens, it is necessary to equip it in such a way that the birds are as comfortable as possible.
Two main parameters that you should focus on are spaciousness and a large amount of light. Ventilation is no less important - with stagnant air, the laying capacity of chickens greatly decreases. Perches are located a little higher than the floor and are equipped with stairs - it is difficult for chickens to fly on a perch due to their size. In case the bird falls, under the perch is a soft flooring.The area is calculated based on the formula “2-3 chickens per 1 sq. M.” The temperature in the chicken coop should be kept at around 14-15 degrees. It is not necessary to heat the chicken coop - properly assembled flooring will produce heat in the winter.If it begins to rot, it must be replaced immediately - otherwise the birds can become infected with fungus and other diseases.
Important! Due to the unpretentiousness of the orpington, the litter may not change throughout the season.
Feeding troughs, drinking bowls, zone baths
Most preferred is the location of the drinkers and feeders on the floor so that the chickens have unhindered access to them. They must be covered to prevent the entry of germs and dirt. No less important are sand and ash baths, in which chickens can clean feathers - they are located on the floor in the courtyard for walks.
Patio for walks
No less important for chickens is a walking yard where they can walk during the day and breathe air. The courtyard should be connected with the chicken coop, it is recommended to cover the winter walks with a tree. Since hens cannot fly, high fences in the courtyard are not required.
Shedding and egg laying break
Orpington molt is seasonal, but has its own characteristics. Due to the density of plumage, molting is accompanied by painful sensations, and egg production is interrupted. It lasts 4-6 weeks.
Did you know? To ensure high fertilization, many farmers cut chickens under the tail part of the plumage.
How to feed an adult herd?
Although the Orpington breed is unpretentious in food, the massive size makes these hens more “gluttonous” than representatives of other breeds. In the warm seasons they need two meals, in the cold - three. For breakfast, birds should be fed with a mash, half of which is vegetables. In the evening, chickens are given high protein feed with cereals. In winter, chickens are given tops and fresh grass, which serve as a source of vitamins for chickens.
Thanks to a well-developed maternal instinct with breeding chickens, there are no special problems. However, many orpington owners prefer to resort to incubation.
For incubation, eggs of the correct form and large in size, with a smooth shell, without cracks, are most suitable. The most suitable age is from 5 days to a week. Bookmark is horizontal.
Important! The ratio of cocks to hens during fertilization should be 1:10.
Incubation itself occurs at a temperature ranging from 5 to 15 degrees Celsius and with a constant flow of air. A drop of iodine is added to the water used to moisten the air. Under the chicken, the egg has an incubation period of 21 days, in the incubator - from 19 to 23 days.
The first two months of the chickens are supposed to be kept separate from adults. This is due to the fact that adult individuals are quite massive and can inadvertently harm their children. During these two months, the chicks are fed, after which they are allowed into the general chicken coop. It is supposed to feed the chicks 6 times a day.
Since this breed is predisposed to gain weight and height in the first months of life, it is worth feeding the chicks plentifully and choosing the right food. The first food they are given after birth is a hard-boiled yolk. Next, cottage cheese is introduced into the diet, boiled in water for about two minutes to disinfect. Then, every day, the diet is replenished with a new dish - crumbly boiled millet, porridge from corn, finely chopped greens.
Important! Many breeders prefer incubation, as chickens can often crush several eggs due to their heavy weight.
This diet is maintained for the first two weeks, after which it is supplemented with boiled meat, grated vegetables, sour milk and fish products. Constant access to drinking water is required. The main requirements - the water should be warm and change four times a day.
Orpingtons today are one of the most popular breeds of England. Although chickens have some disadvantages, they are more than outweighed by the benefits.Combining beauty and unhurriedness, Orpington is a worthy representative of foggy Albion.