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 Post subject: The Orpington - a stately breed
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:22 am 
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TWO FACED
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I am posting this here as I recently was asked to do an article about Orpingtons and I posted it on another forum [by request] only to find this 'article of mine' on an overseas forum 2 days later posted by a member there [date and time were proof it was stolen] - the matter has subsequently been 'resolved' but this is a deliberate post with this 'header' to avoid any future 'conflict of interests'


First – I am putting in a part of an article I was recently asked to do – the article covers various things - this section is on basic ‘type’

Male Characteristics

CARRIAGE :- to be bold, upright and graceful; giving the appearance of an active fowl

TYPE:-
Body - this should be deep and broad with a cobby appearance. With a back that needs to be nicely curved
with a somewhat short concave outline. The saddle must be wide while rising slightly, with a full hackle.
The breast should be broad, deep and well rounded; not flat.
The wings are to be small, nicely formed and carried closely to the body, the ends almost hidden by the saddle hackle.
A rather short tail, compact flowing and high, on a level with the birds eyes/head. No higher than the head preferred.
The head must be small and neat, but giving the impression of fullness over the eyes. The beak must be ‘strong’ and nicely curved. With eyes that are large, bold and appear to be soulful.
Remember that the comb is single, small, firmly set on head, evenly serrated and free from side sprigs. No other form of comb is permitted at this time.
A smooth face is essential, with wattles of medium length that should be somewhat rectangular and nicely rounded at the bottom. The ear-lobes should be small and elongated.
The neck should be of medium length, compact, curved nicely giving the impression of ‘gracefulness’ and with a full hackle.
All plumage should be reasonably profuse and close. Not soft, loose and fluffy as in the Cochin or close and hard as in the Game Fowl.
The legs and feet should be short and solid, giving a ‘solid, stocky’ appearance. The thighs should be almost hidden by the body feathers and set well apart. Four toes on each foot, straight and well spread.
Handling, firm.

Female Characteristics
The characteristics are similar to that of the male. The cushion should wide and almost flat in appearance with a slight rising to the tail. This is to give the back a graceful appearance with an outline approaching concave.

Serious Defects

Side sprigs on comb. White in ear-lobes. Feathers on shanks or feet. Long legs. Any deformity. Yellow skin or yellow on the shanks or feet of any variety. Any yellow or ‘sappiness’ in the White. Coarseness in head, legs or feathers. General disqualifications and Serious Defects as per the Australian Poultry Standards [APS].


This post needs to be done as I have been receiving a LOT of queries regards “what is a good Orpington?” I will NOT apologise if anyone feels I have ‘trodden on toes’ in certain parts of this answer = I have been involved in breeding Orps my whole life – the Cuckoo and Black have been in my family since 1947 [and I am NOT young]

All this content is MY opinion only and others are more than welcome to come in and post their own ideas/advise

First and foremost – DON’T BUY ON IMPULSE as you WILL get burnt [usually big time!!!!] I have even been burnt :roll: [smilie=a_doh.gif] ! only buy at Auction IF you have a long time breeder/exhibitor there to help you decide = when ‘viewing/examining’ the birds prior to the start of the auction they WILL take yr arm and walk you away if the birds are not good enough = well I would anyway!!!! Actually I have done that :lol:

Always do your homework – make sure the breeder is well known to be reputable/honest [some really are only trying to ‘cash in’ and sell everything, crap included!].
I have no concerns about anyone contacting the Club and asking about me, but if a breeder seems unnerved when you say you are going to contact the ‘Club’ = walk away! The Club can advise if the breeder exhibits birds regularly and if so the quality of same – this can help to establish if the lines are good. Often the Club can advise where the lines originate from.
Always acquire the best birds you can – always acquire them from a reputable breeder = if possible WAIT another 5-6months after you decide to get the breed and save a bit more = go the extra few yards to get good birds from good lines = it is worth the wait!


The Orpington is NOT hard to keep they are just bigger than most other breeds

To keep Orps [or any of the largest breeds] exclusively on deep litter = allow 2½mt X 2½mt PER BIRD [that is NOT 2½mt squared = that is 2½mt BY 2½mt] and make totally certain the litter is kept dry and changed about every 3-4 months – they can do well free ranging but if grown out free ranging they will never reach their full potential size wise as the free ranging reduces the amount of protein they require for correct growth = as with all breeds, large birds need a lot of good quality feed [with about 20% protein as a guide] –
with adult birds = mid Spring up the greens thus reducing the protein to help get any Winter fat off them then mid Autumn reverse the process so they have fat stores for Winter and for showing

Make sure all roosts and nesting boxes are no higher than ½ - ¾mt [unless you want them to land with a real thump and potentially a broken leg as they WILL land with a decided THUMP – a 3yr old rooster can weigh 6+kg depending on the colour/line]

The Orpington is a heavily feathered breed and need their rears trimmed for natural breeding otherwise you need to Artificially Inseminate = not easy with such a large breed
The feathers grow back early each Autumn so you don’t need to worry about that

Of course they will eat a bit more than the smaller breeds
They require housing that allows them plenty of room to move around and will also protect them from the heat. They tend to do better in cooler climates but many are successfully breeding them where the summer temps get to 40 and sometimes above, making sure they have fridge chilled water that also has cordial bottle iceblocks in it – in my opinion no Orp owner should ever wet their birds to keep them cool = due to the amount of feathering and other factors they will most often get sick as a result – if needs be use air-conditioning to keep the air cool thus keeping them cool on days 35c and over. I have air conditioners but also use the chilled and frozen water

They are a complacent/docile breed with only the odd random ‘narky’ rooster and the rare ‘flighty’ hen.
Overall the saying “you can throw them at a brick wall and they will come back for more” applies to this breed BUT DON’T THROW THEM AT A WALL = it WILL KILL THEM !!!! I used that saying only to indicate the overall temperament of the breed.

They look gangly and ugly as teenagers and MANY sell them off at this stage not realising they are probably selling a future best in show winner [I know someone that has done this] – the breed takes 2-3years to fully grow out and should not start to be assessed for quality until the are 9½ to 10months old. Only culling [killing] up to that age for obvious defects


They grow out to be graceful elegant looking birds that will become very humanised if interacted with regularly and can be very long lived [one of my girls will be 19 this coming August] the roosters are viable breeders for 8-9 years the hens for as long as they are laying = at 18yrs old my elderly hen became a mother and her sister also became a mother aged 17½ yrs old]

As they grow so large I recommend the chicks are given vitamins for at least the first 5-7months – I also recommend they are fed ‘Turkey and Meat Bird Starter’ to age 9 weeks then ‘Turkey and Meat Bird Grower’ until the first egg is laid then and only then start to introduce other feed stuffs that have a lesser protein content eg: the 3 Gs = grains greens grubs
Now I KNOW I will get shot down [by some] for that statement but it DOES work much better than = “Oh but they are so cute so I give them treats” or “ I let them free range from 16 weeks but they just don’t seem to grow as well” and 9 times out of 10 then go on to say “My chicks have Cocci what do I do now?” or ‘They just haven’t grown as well as I thought they would” my answer is always the same “If you had of fed them properly to start with they would have a good resistance and they would have grown properly as well” = many hate me for saying this is the BEST way to grow out Orpingtons [std size] as they say “Oh but my OEGs or Leghorns [or what ever] really do do well if I change them at 16 weeks onto adult food” but I remind them I am NOT talking about those breeds I am talking about ORPINGTONS and they will argue for a bit longer then just shut up – as I stand my ground and keep saying Orpingtons Orpingtons Orpingtons until the breed name gets in their heads.

I exclusively feed my chicks the way I mentioned here and except for the time immediately after the heat and fires of 09 [49c during the day and 35c at night for 4 days/5 nights when I did go against my better judgement and out of desperation wet my birds] I had not experienced Cocci in any of my pens.
My birds range [as adults] from 3.5 to 5kg for a hen and 5-10.89kg for a rooster. For me it works and I am happy with the results.

Of course I am more than happy for others to come in here and put other stuff/give their opinions over mine = the more educated info here the better.


staged growth patterns =

Now – when I say ‘cull’ I mean KILL – I do not believe in keeping/growing out and then later selling a less than quality bird and have kept a less than quality bird on 2 occasions due to the colour in question [being extremely rare]

Also do not ‘view’ the birds daily – yes look at them when you tend to them but don’t LOOK at them – you need to see them with fresh eyes at each culling session = to see them but not view them means you will ‘see’ them properly when viewing them [sorry for sounding slightly Nanny McPhee there!]

Now = this needs to be said –
A dear friend [now sadly departed] told me years ago

Quote Lance =
“Breed the best to the best and hope for the best,
Choose the best and cull the rest
Don’t feed what you don’t need.”
End quote

New chicks - fat little fluff balls – if any are decidedly smaller from the same parents/hatch = cull them - if any obvious defects/deformities cull them – do not waste feed on them!

2 weeks old – feathers well on the way to growing in – excluding Blacks = these are soooo slow to feather up – cull for any now obvious defects/deformities

4 weeks old – most of those ‘first feathers’ are grown in and they should look ‘bright eyed and cheerful/energetic’ – cull for now obvious defects – lower the amount of heat they are receiving by 25%

7-8 weeks take the birds ‘off heat’ if they are fully feathered up [allowing for the Blacks] look for now obvious defects

12 weeks look for more defects and cull – these ones will be big enough to go on the dinner table – be aware they are now entering the gangly teenage stage so be careful not to cull just because they look like shite! ONLY cull for actual defects. At this age any deformities would not be present as they have been culled previous

16 weeks as per 12 weeks – at this cull all ‘defective’ birds should be in your freezer and the remainder are borderline ‘ugly’ gangly teenagers and you are now wondering “what am I doing???? These are sooooo yuk!” keep them they will grow out of this stage!

20 weeks look at their heads and legs – pretty heads & solid legs = these are to be ‘tagged’ to be looked at again at 9-10 months old [loose cable ties on a leg is good, make notes re each of these birds and take pictures to go with the notes (close up head shots and full body side on shots) ] – separate the cockerels and pullets into sex differentiated pens = you do not want the pullets being trodden by a dozen or more ckls when their hormones kick in ! Make sure the pens give enough room for the birds to move freely

10 months look closely at the tagged birds - if the heads are no longer ‘pretty’ and the legs don’t appear solid still at this age = put different coloured tags on them and take more pics and keep an eye on them to see how they go, they may improve and impress at the next ‘viewing’. Look at the chest and back of all – a full round deep broad chest and a good neat back line = keep growing those out – if any of the pretty faced solid legged have a good chest/backline – watch these closer at the next viewing

If any ckls impress and there are hens available and laying = put them together twice a day [for 15mins only] to do test matings – ensuring the ckls stay together during the day and all night to alleviate any problems of fighting

By 12 months you have proof on the ground if the ckls are worth keeping re offspring – you have shown them, if you want to - and you can then choose the best of the soon to be 1st year roosters to keep and those you will rehouse.

Keep the pullets separate until they have been shown and once gone through their first moult mate them to test breed to find out what they will ‘throw’ in their offspring – then decide which brand new 1st year hens you will keep to work with

Don’t be tempted to just grow out and later sell everything you have hatched as you WILL give yourself a very bad name and you will be contributing to damaging/destroying a wonderful breed

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 Post subject: Re: The Orpington - a stately breed
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:01 pm 
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Seriously good info there


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 Post subject: Re: The Orpington - a stately breed
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:40 pm 
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This is by far the best helpful information I have found on the entire internet you are my new found hero. Alec


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 Post subject: Re: The Orpington - a stately breed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:59 am 
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Alec wrote:
This is by far the best helpful information I have found on the entire internet you are my new found hero. Alec


:lol: :oops: :) :-D [smilie=thanks.gif] she says while curtsying sidesplit.gif

seriously = if I hadn’t of been asked to do the article then had it stolen = it wouldn’t be here now

I have been knocked on another Australian Forum [privately, not ON that forum] for even posting it – but those that know me know I speak my mind, and that I do apologise and admit when I am wrong – but this time – posting my OWN work = I’m not wrong

I prefer this forum as it is rare that anyone is nasty here [other than me when I am Caffeine deprived and in a ‘grumpy old woman mood’ sidesplit.gif and even then I apologise before I start :-D :lol: or when I have finished the ‘rant’]


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 Post subject: Re: The Orpington - a stately breed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:11 am 
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That is such good reading Sue you should write a book ;) you deserve few of these a_bravo.gif a_bravo.gif a_bravo.gif a_bravo.gif a_bravo.gif I always love reading your posts because you have such good knowledge and your happy to share it grumpy or not on this friendly forum. [smilie=thanks.gif]

LooLoo


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 Post subject: Re: The Orpington - a stately breed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:24 am 
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LooLoo wrote:
you should write a book ;) nah!! Too many out there already and too much hard work!!!! and my work is 'stolen' regularly anyway = I will just wait then take action to get compensation instead MWAHAHAHAHA [smilie=a_goodjobson.gif]
you deserve few of these a_bravo.gif a_bravo.gif a_bravo.gif a_bravo.gif a_bravo.gif thanks :-D but it all started with a simple question :lol: so that one that asked is the one that should be clapped = th_clap.gif th_clap.gif th_clap.gif
I always love reading your posts because your happy to share it grumpy or not on this friendly forum. [smilie=thanks.gif]
well as you know = its HARD to shut me up!! sidesplit.gif
LooLoo


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 Post subject: Re: The Orpington - a stately breed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:50 am
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Location: Brisbane
Sooz,
It was great reading first time around th_clap.gif , having the other threads added, will certainly help those with less experience.

A little off topic, some of the basic points raised carry across to other breeds, with the exception that in general each breed have their own particular traits that all make the breed. It is vital to understand the type, characterstics of the breed, learn how they grow (patterns of growth) etc.

Rhode Red


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 Post subject: Re: The Orpington - a stately breed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:37 pm 
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Fantastic post there I have no interest in orpingtons really but I found your article fantastic to read you had me at 'first'. thankyou for sharing!


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 Post subject: Re: The Orpington - a stately breed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:47 pm 
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That is one rocking good article YES can you do one on waterfowl! Love your work soozorps

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 Post subject: Re: The Orpington - a stately breed
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:32 pm 
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You might have converted me to orps now!!!!! that is an orsum post soozorps, honest and to the point, love it!!!! good point about the no th_Noooo.gif nasty stuff here th_Noooo.gif so true :-D



Raf

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