We also use the blacks to cross out to some of our other colours that are based on black to improve them.
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Black Orpington Chicken Photos
Please click on the images below to enlarge.
Black is the oldest colour of the Orpington breed which can be traced back to 1886 when a poultryman called William Cook who resided in Orpington in Kent decided to create a new utility chicken. The first Orpingtons were the result of mating Black Minorca cocks with black Plymouth Rock hens, then mating the black offspring from these birds with the Black Langshan. Apparently Cook selected a black bird that would exhibit well by hiding the dirt and soot of London.
These utility egg / meat birds bear very little resemblance to the Black Orpingtons we see today. Orpingtons are now bred as much for their looks and temperament as for their egg laying capabilities. A healthy Black Orpington hen should lay 120 – 200 eggs per year and achieve a weight of between 8-10lbs and a cock bird should achieve a weight of between 10-12lbs. A striking feature of the Black Orpington is the vivid beetle-green sheen across the feathering which is indicative of good health and purity of colour.