Last Updated: April 16, 2021
The Orpington chicken comes in various colors, including the traditional blue, black, buff, and white. Today, they also come in a plethora of other shades, including the most sought-after Silver laced.
More and more small farms and urban backyard chicken enthusiasts choose to raise the Silver Laced Orpington chicken breed the most of all the other Orpington varieties. Their wholesome personalities, size, and purpose make them irresistible.
However, before keeping these chickens, it would be best to have in-depth knowledge about them.
Quick Facts About Silver Laced Orpingtons
|Species Name:||Gallus gallus domesticus|
|Care Level:||Requires attention, easy to maintain|
|Temperament:||Docile, gentle, calm, social, easy-going|
|Color Form:||Silver Lace Patterns|
|Lifespan:||Eight years or more|
|Size:||Large, Male (13-15Lbs), Female (9-12lbs)|
|Diet:||Chicken Feeds, fruits, Mealworms, occasional veggies|
|Minimum Enclosure Size:||4-5 square feet per chicken|
Silver Laced Orpington Overview
The Silver Laced Orpington chicken breed is an English Orpington chicken color variety. The development of Orpington chickens originally began in Great Britain in 1886 during the “Hen Fever” period that sparked an interest in peculiar chicken breeds.
William Cook, a coachman living in the Kent town of Orpington, England, developed this species by crossing a Minorca and a Black Plymouth Rock. He later bred the offspring with a Langshan breed to establish the first Black Orpington chicken breed, a multipurpose chicken for eggs and table meat.
This new bird earned its name after Orpington, its town of origin. After black, the next color to be developed was the Buff strain, White, Blue, and Splash. William Cook continued to create other strains such as the Silver Laced and Diamond Jubilee by including other breeds like Dorkings and Hamburgs in the breeding process.
The birds became a huge success in England, and soon, the exportation of these birds began, reaching the U.S. in 1891. Although its original creation purpose was for meat and laying eggs, today, most homesteaders have been fascinated and fallen in love with this chicken, keeping them as pets.
How Much Do Silver Laced Orpingtons Cost?
These English birds are among the most popular varieties, thanks to their incredible egg-laying abilities, tender table meat, and disposition. For this reason, together with the chicken’s rarity and unique coloration, these fowl’s prices can be relatively high, with a Silver Laced chick ranging between $5-$35 each.
However, these chickens are certainly rewarding as they don’t require much maintenance and are decent egg layers, producing 150-190 eggs annually. A single egg from this fowl can go up to $6-$7.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
Although you might find their sizes intimidating, the Silver Laced Orpingtons are the most laid-back, gentle, and calm birds. These chickens are popular among families with children because they are social, amiable, docile, friendly, easy-going, and enjoy cuddling.
They also love attention and can follow you around or make little noises to show their love and demand attention. However, they can become quite defensive if bullied.
The Silver Laced Orpingtons love to free-range, although they also thrive in confinement. And, they are incredible mothers.
Appearance & Varieties
A Silver Laced Orpington is exceptionally gigantic with a fast growth rate. Adult males weigh from 13-15lbs while the females’ weight ranges are 9-12 lbs.
The Silver Laced Orpingtons have small heads with large, sharp eyes, short and curved beaks, and little ears that rest on a stout, medium-length, and fully-feathered neck. They have dense, broad bodies with beautifully curved backs that have a short concave appearance.
This bird’s carriage is full, broad, and rising with comprehensive and well-rounded breasts with a stance that’s close to the ground. It also has a short, compact flowing tail that is high, though not higher than the head.
Although they have nicely formed wings, these chickens can’t fly due to their large sizes, meaning they can be well-contained.
Silver Laced Orpingtons have massive, loose, fluffy, and full plumage that allows them to withstand cold winters and appear cuddly. However, the feathers are close and hard, making them not so soft to touch. They also lack feathers on their legs.
One of these gentle giants’ outstanding qualities is their intricate crisp and clear Silver laced patterns on their feathers that contrast with the fowl’s body. They have pinkish white skin and legs though some have had yellow legs as well.
The Silver Laced Orpington chicken breeds lay jumbo-sized light-brown eggs.
How to Take Care of Silver Laced Orpingtons
Are you trying to figure out the best way to rear your Silver Laced Orpington? The good thing is, you can raise this nearly modern breed just like any other chicken. However, being a less native breed, how do you know if you are rearing it correctly?
These birds are large breeds, meaning they require extensive and spacious enclosures to prevent overcrowding. Therefore, offer each bird about 4-5 square feet of space in the coop.
And, since they are foragers, they sometimes prefer to free-range in search of food. For this reason, you can construct a 10-12 square feet space per bird in the run.
However, these fowls are generally lazy and mainly thrive in coops and confinements. But you don’t need to be concerned about their flying space in captivity as they are huge and not inclined to fly.
The most important thing to consider when making this poultry’s enclosure is that Silver Laced Orpington are prone to overheating due to their heavy plumage. Therefore, it would be best to offer them enough shade and ventilation in the habitats.
Like other fully-feathered chicken breeds, Silver Laced Orpingtons can stink if they are too many in the habitats, and their bedding is wet. The best way to ensuring odor-free shelters is by using suitable bedding that is a good moisture absorber, floor insulator and gives the chicken a chance to play in the dust.
The most commonly used beddings are woodchips and sawdust. Straws are also typical, only that they are harder to shovel out when cleaning and not so absorbent. You can also use dry leaves during summer.
Thankfully, Silver Laced Orpingtons are hardy winter birds. However, they need adequate housing and warm temperatures during severe winters to prevent frostbites.
These birds also fare well during hot summers, although they can succumb to heat if you don’t provide shade and ventilated shelters during hot climates.
Since they are good layers, they need long hours of light to lay eggs. You can provide them at least 14 hours of daylight throughout the year. However, they are tolerant to winter and can continue to lay through the dimly-lit seasons, too.
Do Silver Laced Orpingtons Get Along with Other Pets?
Silver Laced Orpington chicken breeds are not aggressive and bossy birds and can coexist with equally gentle birds. However, tend to be picked on by other bully birds easily.
Despite their gentle personalities, they don’t tolerate bullying from the other animals. For this reason, they use their sizes to defend themselves during disputes.
Naturally, cats and dogs have predator profiles, especially towards chickens. This means that the Silver Laced Orpingtons do not coexist with these pets unless you train your other pets to approach your poultry.
You can monitor their interactions and separate them if your chicken feels threatened by the other household pets. It would also be best to build the chicken’s shelter a bit high above the ground to prevent predators’ interference.
What to Feed Your Silver Laced Orpington
Due to their large sizes, Silver Laced Orpingtons can be greedy feeders. Therefore, it would be best for owners to offer the birds unrestricted access to chicken feeds. You can provide these birds regular layer and broiler feeds depending on your ultimate goal in rearing the chickens.
It’s equally important to supplement their feed with vital vitamins and minerals from healthy treats like fruits and worms and plenty of water. Vitamins like calcium in these foods help the fowls to build healthy feathers and strong eggshells.
Also, feed them veggies in moderation as certain vegetables like asparagus can alter your egg’s flavor. But since these chickens are heavy feeders, you could unconsciously expose them to obesity if you readily avail the feeds with no exercise. Consider placing their food at a greater distance from them to force them to move and exercise when reaching for food.
Keeping Your Silver Laced Orpington Healthy
First, ensure that your chickens can access clean water and suitable feeds daily. It is equally important to allow them to free-range and exercise to prevent weight-related issues.
Apart from feeds, you can ensure your chicken’s good health by keeping their shelters clean, dry, and free of smell. It would be best if you did this by scooping their old droppings and replacing their bedding regularly. Use absorbent beddings that can be mixed with litter top to make compost.
It is equally essential to offer your poultry dust baths to get rid of the parasites by themselves. Also, check their thick feathers for lice and mites and take them to the vet for intense treatment.
Breeding the Silver Laced Orpingtons requires time and patience when striving to produce feather patterns that are up to standard. For instance, since the Silver Laced Orpington chicken breeds have a full plumage, it would help if you trim your rooster’s feathers for successful and less strenuous mating.
It’s equally important to keep a good ratio of hens to roosters when breeding, preferably one mature roaster for ten hens. A sexually mature rooster can mate up to 30 times a day.
The good thing is that this chicken species quickly become broody, with their incubation period lasting approximately 21 days. The hens are good mothers and tend to pass their admirable traits to the offspring.
Interestingly, these Orpington strains can even hatch other chicken’s or poultry species’ eggs and raise the chicks with great concern. The roosters tend to be overprotective of the chicks and may switch places with the brooding hen to keep watch over the young.
Are Silver Laced Orpingtons Suitable for You?
It is hard not to fall for the gentle, calm, cuddly, friendly, and beautifully-colored Silver Laced Orpington chicken breeds.
These poultry species are easy to maintain, requiring less care and management. However, giving them additional care and attention will help them bond with you more, stay healthy, produce more eggs, and develop tender meat.
You don’t have to worry about space as these chickens can thrive in confined spaces and adapt to any climatic conditions. They are also friendly, gentle, and highly recommended as kid’s pets. Plus, the fact that they are not noisy birds makes them suitable for urban dwellers too.
Featured Image: galitsin, Shutterstock
An avid animal lover, Roland started this blog to help all varieties of pets and their owners on their journey to living their best lives.