Orpington looks like the best fit for me, but...

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by squabnrabbit, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. squabnrabbit

    squabnrabbit Just Hatched

    Oct 22, 2016
    I think that the Orpington breed would work best for where I am and what I am looking for in my chickens. That said I could certainly be guided to another similar breed if they meet my requirements. I chose the Orpington because they are cold hardy and will lay all winter (hello 6ish months of winter). Among the other dual purpose breeds these are said to be the most cold resistant. I can have roosters in the town I will be in so I plan to replace stock from my own hens.
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Orpingtons are a fine breed. They're about as winter hardy as most other heavy breeds, I wouldn't say they're exceptional about it though. Lovely personalities. Mind, they are quite broody, and when a hen is brooding she isn't laying, so they may see gaps in production during the spring/summer (broody season) due to this.

    No breed will lay all winter, not Orps or any other one. The best winter layers are also the best summer layers and best all around production fowl, which would be Sex Links and Leghorns. If you're looking strictly at egg production, you want one of those breeds. I would put Orpington egg production on par with most other common backyard breeds, Production Reds, Barred Rocks, Wyandottes, Australorps, Sussex, Easter Eggers, etc. That is to say pretty good, but still not as good as the industrial level Sex Links and Leghorns.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
  3. squabnrabbit

    squabnrabbit Just Hatched

    Oct 22, 2016
    My sister had multiple dual purpose breeds to start on the same property. The only ones that dropped any eggs in winter were the Orps. They slowed down in winter but still were laying. She heated the chicken shed with a heat lamp and had some CFLs in to supplement light in the deep dark of winter.

    Where I can order eggs from locally(ish) has a 25 minimum order which is more than I was planning to get at start. So I may end up just ordering a few different breeds to try out for my first year. Then keep the ones that produce in winter and cull the rest. I plan to make capons of roosters that are not destined to be breeders.

    I may also go with ducks instead of chickens or just get some of both and see what works best for me.
  4. CertifiedChaser

    CertifiedChaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2016
    Edmond, OK

    I hate speaking without experience but I try and be as knowledgeable about these subject matters as I can to at least contribute. I've always loved ducks so I'm probably biased but I know they are generally more cold tolerant than chickens as they have quite a bit of fat on their bodies. So maybe a good egg laying breed of duck like some khaki campbells or golden300 if put in a warm shelter would be better for you? I don't know how well they lay through winter, I imagine with all animals things tend to slow down in the cold a bit, but I feel they would be more suitable to the cold in Montana than most egg laying chicken breeds. They would require quite a bit of water as well though.

    PS: Sorry for what feels like stalking!
  5. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    I have a group of red stars, and they are great at laying all through winter here in northern CO. My aunt always had Orps though, and if I recall, she was getting a fair amount over winter too, so they are probably fairly close competition. However, I don't like Orps lol, they're too blah for my taste. They all look the exact same and don't have near as much personality as my Red Stars. But I'm being biased, Peaches and her crew are my lead hens and best layers, andy aunt just "has hens", doesn't spend much time with them so her Orps are skittish.

    Red stars are awesome dual purpose though. Mature fast and are laying by 20 weeks, so it makes it easy on me when I'm getting fresh layers every spring and theyre laying by summer. That and the cockerels are obvious from day one, so no accidentally getting a bucket load of roos. ;)
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016
  6. lbenedict15

    lbenedict15 Just Hatched

    Jul 17, 2016
    Moriah, New York
    I will say that my Orps do lay all winter long, but do seem to slow down a bit. I have three right now, and generally get one of their eggs a day in the winter. The more time you spend with them, the easier they are to tell apart. Polly is the lightest in color and the smallest, Sassy has a floppy comb, and Disco is the biggest and darkest in color. I will also say that I just introduced two Red Dtars to the flock this year, Rosie and Marilyn, and I am very happy with their egg production. Even with it cooling off, days getting shorter, and they only started laying a month ago, I can expect quiet a few of their eggs in a week. Most of my eggs are coming from them at this point. I like variety in my flock, so I am always trying something new!
  7. My Orpington lay all winter long also...I have nothing bad to say about the breed...Excellent, friendly Birds....I also have Speckled Sussex...Another happy friendly breed.....

  8. squabnrabbit

    squabnrabbit Just Hatched

    Oct 22, 2016
    Ha. Not stalking. I have numerous forums I read and post too. Nice to see I am not the only one bouncing around for information.

    In looking for chicken breeds cold hardiness and winter egg production was the primary need. Though with climate shifting here it seems we won't be getting quite so cold as I remember when I was a child.

    I had thought about getting some meat chickens and some egg layers, but the hybrids are frankenchickens and frankly I refuse to raise an animal that grows so fast it is more likely to die than live. A 30% loss rate is rather high and such a waste of my time and money. Dual purpose breeds really sound perfect since I get both the things the chickens are supposed to provide with some brooding ability thrown in. An animal that can't reproduce on its own is a breed that doesn't really have a place on a small homestead.

    If the chickens work out well I may get a few geese or turkeys.
  9. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    I think almost every breed will lay the first winter. I've noticed laying ability even with my multi breeds seems more dependent on molting than it does on the individual breed. My California greys and EE's have been excellent winter layers. Some of the chickens I've had that are known for being cold hardy weren't exceptional winter layers. My older hens are molting in unison now so I'm waiting for the late spring pullets to start laying which they should do any day. Meanwhile the ducks have cranked up and are keeping us well supplied with eggs.

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