breeding Orpingtons colors and out crossing: questions


In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 29, 2012
I am very new to Orpingtons. Have had back yard mixed flock for several years and am rehoming everyone except the Orpingtons I recently hatched out and possibly the langshan/Orpington crosses.I currently have 1 black and 1 blue langshan/Orpington cross. The Orpingtons are 3 blue pullets, 1 blue cockerel, 3 splash, 1 pullet and 1 cockerel blue/buff Columbian and 3 more blues that I am unsure of sex on. I don't know what sex the splashes are either. I also have 6 eggs that are under a broody that have a chocolate father and black/blue mother's.

I want to breed for temperament, color and body type. Some of the stock they come from are English and some are American. I prefer the English type.

My questions to start are (what would you do); should I keep the blue/buff Columbians? (I'm concerned that they might damage the BBS lines. On the other hand, I really like their temperament, color and type.

Do I keep the langshan crosses? I don't care for the feathered legs, but I know Orps were originally developed from langshans. Could I breed out the feathered legs, if so, how many generations would that take? Should I only breed chocolates to black or can I breed to blue and splash as well?

How old will they be before they start laying/breeding? I know they take longer to mature than what I am experienced with.

What should I concentrate on first, color, body type or temperament?

If I cross out to the langshans, how many generations before their offspring are considered pure?

Any other advice?

I absolutely adore this breed!! My oldest were hatched April 28 and the next clutch hatched June 2, last clutch is due to hatch in 19 more days! I am literally counting my chickens before they hatch
It would take many, many generations for you to return to the proper appearance with your mixed breed birds. Breeders doing outcrosses breed many chicks, often hundreds in each generation, to have a large pool to select from, and cull ruthlessly to get back where they want to be. They would likely make good birds for a laying flock. Breeding is not so much about bloodlines as having birds with the correct appearance, behavior and the right egg laying characteristics, and if you try to work on too many things at once with such a small flock you will have a very hard time making progress.

You should consider each color to be a different type of Orpington, and separate them accordingly to maintain the proper color characteristics. Apart from that you can select the best offspring of each generation to keep for future breeders. You can often make good progress in improving type as the years go by. So you would want your blue/black/splash as one flock, and your chocolate project as another.

Here is a thread that might interest you, not so much for the breed but for the philosophy on breeding small flocks. Note that she started with birds that were quite good.
Thank you for the reply. You confirmed what I was thinking. I have a friend that would like to have all the mixed breeds, so that will leave me with the pure breds.

I am leaning towards keeping the blue/buff Orps as well (really like their colors, shape and personality).

Should I get a new blood line to breed to each generation? Or is it safe to breed direct related for a few generations before adding new blood line?
Depends on the quality of your stock. It is hard to get anywhere if you start with average or hatchery birds. If you have a really good start you can breed for a while, but after a while with only a small number of birds you will end up with a very small gene pool and have trouble making progress.

Keep in mind that inbreeding will intensify both positive and negative traits, so flaws will become a bigger issue unless you cull ruthlessly.

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