Orpington Bantam Chicken
The original Black Orpington Bantam Chicken was bred by William Cook in 1886 by crossing Minorcas, Langshans and Plymouth Rocks to create a new hybrid bird. Cook selected a black bird that would exhibit well by hiding the dirt and soot of London. When the breed was shown in Madison Square Gardens in 1895, its popularity soared. Cook also bred the Orpington Duck.
The original colors of the Orpington Bantam Chicken are black, white, buff, blue and splash. Although there are many additional varieties recognized throughout the world, only the original colors are recognized by the American Standard, the Buff being the most common color. In the beginning of the twentieth century, Herman Kuhn of Germany developed a Bantam variety. The Bantam retains the appearance of the full-size bird, but in a smaller size. There is a large variety of colors in the Bantam version, including black, blue laced, white, buff, red, buff black laced, barred, buff Columbian, and birchen. The Bantam retains the friendly personality of the Standard breed, and seldom or never flies.
Characteristics: The orpington bantam chicken is the miniature size of the Buff Orpington Standard chicken and admitted to the American Poultry Standard of Perfection in 1960. This poultry variety of the Orpington chicken breed makes for a good backyard chicken and egg production. They have a very docile temperament, withstand cold weather well and are adaptable to either confinement or free range. Though when around other breeds of chickens they will be bullied, they are not aggressive.
- Standard Weights: Male – 40 oz./Hen – 36 oz.
- Skin Color: White
- Egg Shell Color: Brown/About 150 eggs/year
- Use: Exhibition
- Origin: England
Bantams are suitable for smaller backyards as they do not need as much space as other breeds. Bantam hens are also used as laying hens, with some breeds laying up to 150 eggs per year. However, Bantam eggs are only about one-half to one-third the size of a regular hen egg. The Bantam chicken eats the same foods as a normal chicken. In commercial situations they are fed grain-based foods because this is convenient and efficient for the producer. Chickens in the wild eat more insects and vegetation than grains.
In contrast, the Bantam rooster is famous in rural areas throughout the United Kingdom and the United States for its aggressive, “puffed-up” disposition that can be comedic in stature. It is often called a “Banty” in the rural United States.
Many bantam hens are renowned for hatching and brooding. They are very protective mothers and will attack anything that gets near their young.
Bantams do have a higher mortality rate when they are kept as backyard pets. They are easy targets for hawks, cats, foxes, or any other small predator.