The Orpington breed was created in 1886 by William Cook, who crossed Minorcas, Langshans and Plymouth Rocks, and named the breed after his hometown. He first created black Orpingtons and then went on to create white, buff and blue colored. The original purpose of the breed was to be dual-purpose, for both egg and meat production. However, the breed soon became popular as a show breed. Orpingtons are large, with a soft appearance and rich colors. Today, the breed also comes in porcelain, red, mottled and birchen, although these are less common than the original colors.
Orpingtons are good backyard birds. They are friendly and gentle, which makes them appropriate both for beginners and families with young children. These chickens are heavy and thus unable to fly. Their build allows them to be comfortable even in cold weather. Rain does penetrate their feathers, though, so they must be kept dry. Orpingtons will lay between 110 and 160 eggs a year, and continue to lay eggs throughout the winter.