Origin, diffusion and economic characteristics
The Orpington duck is a duck with a bizarre history and selection, created by one of the greatest poultry breeders ever, William Cook of Kent, who not only did not achieve the minimum goal that its creator had set , that is, to beat the creature of Mrs. Campbell, but which has also proved difficult in breeding because of a complex genetic makeup. However, appearance can sometimes hide pleasant surprises.
The end of the nineteenth century for the British breeders was a very hectic moment: the entry of the Indian Corritrette from Indonesia had brought a lot of euphoria and many worked on cross-breeding projects between indigenous strains and, in fact, the Indian Corritories.
The Orpington duck was born in this context, from the experiment to create a duck that was perfect for the purposes that were most interesting at the end of the nineteenth century: the production of large eggs and the attitude as a meat duck, as a "table bird ”to quote the British. The premises are the same as those that made it possible to create the Campbell Duck and the Abacot Ranger, moreover they have several aspects in common: the use of the Indian corrector, the extreme variety of the first generations, due to the fact that in the In the early years of the selection work, emphasis and attention were paid to productivity rather than to the standardization of the shape and color of the plumage, the historical period and finally the ultimate goal of the selection.
The Orpington Duck was created by initially crossing in three separate groups: Correctors x Aylesbury, Correctors x Rouen and Correctors x Cayuga. Subsequently, the offspring were crossed with each other until a stable "buff" plumage was obtained.
The "buff" coloring in Orpington and the khaki coloring in Campbell are today the most famous colors. Subsequently, the blue, blue with bib, black, white and chocolate colors were created for Orpington, all in the first half of the twentieth century.
In the early twentieth century, it was also very common throughout England to create real spawning challenges between ducks of various breeds and the same breed. Unfortunately, the Orpington were almost always beaten by the Campbell and very often also by the Indian Corritrette and their popularity, therefore, was greatly affected. Orpington, however, came first in the race to recognize the breed, 16 years before the Campbell, in 1910 against Campbell's 1926.
And if the official hero that the market and history have decreed is undoubtedly the Campbell duck, however, not everything is as it seems, because sometimes the appearance, as we said, can be misleading. This is demonstrated by a letter from Mrs. Campbell who in 1923, 3 years before reluctantly "accepting" the first standard of her beloved Kaki Campbell, explained: "Then came the fashion for the buff. Mr W. Cook was just presenting his Buff Orpington and I thought I was going to the buff color too, but I failed. They would then come out khaki. "
William Cook, who was a great breeder and breeder of domestic ducks such as the Rouen, Aylesbury, Indian Corritories; when he created the Orpington chickens, and the Orpington duck gave them both the name of his farm, "Orpington House", in fact, located in a small village called St. Mary Cray in Kent. The term "buff", still very fashionable in the UK today, derives instead from the nickname that the soldiers of the "East Kent Regiment" had, precisely "The Buffs", so called because of the color of their uniform. Thus the reasons why, in the same years, both Mrs. Campbell and Mr. Oscar Gray had given the creatures "military" names and with strong nationalistic caricature, they come back to memory.
The term "buff" not only encompasses that wave of nationalism that the end of imperialism brought back from the colonies to the motherlands, causing the outbreak of World War I in 1914, but also describes all the nuances that this breed from the coloring of the unstable plumage carries in its genetic makeup.
It was AFM Stevenson, secretary and President of the "Buff Orpington Duck Club" to explain in a small volume "Ducks" published by "The Feathered World", in 1926, that the "buff" coloring had the same characteristics that afflict the ducks with the blue coloring: they are carriers of heterozygosity, an incomplete dominant feature, with only one blue gene. In short, the "buff" behaves like blue, in fact Stevenson described two versions of the "buff": the real one, standard with a darker and reddish color and the light one, also called "pale" and "blond". This is the exact scheme: Buff Orpington (Bl / bl +), Pale or Blond Orpington (Bl / Bl), Brown or Kaki Orpintgon (bl + / bl +), where the "pale" or "blond" stands for the splash and the "brown "Or" khaki "stands for black and" buff "stands for blue. When the genotype of the "buff" coloring standard is the set of dark phase, dusky mallard, dilution of the brown gene (and here it is the same as Campbell kaki) to which is added the dilution of the buff gene and the insertion of a single blue and gene dilution that brings the beak brilliance.
The differences in plumage are substantial: the "blond" or "pale" in the male is noted for a very light fawn, tending to beige, not reddish at all, colors that derive from the double blue gene. The female is also much lighter than the "buff". The head of the pale or blond male is much lighter tending towards blue, compared to the head of the "buff" male which is an intense brown. In the "brown" or "kaki" the female has a design very similar to the khaki, slightly lighter, the male has the back of a strong brown, in both there is no blue.
Characteristically, Orpington is a quiet, sociable, never aggressive duck, ideal for breeding in large groups with several males, which are very rarely aggressive. An excellent laying breed that produces large, basically white eggs, in the third year the females lay eggs of 90 g! Raised outdoors they lay more than 100 eggs per year, if raised indoors with an appropriate photoperiod, they abundantly exceed 200 eggs. It is certainly not as famous as "cousin" Campbell and it is not as flashy as Streicher or Cayuga, but it is a beautiful duck to be bred, to be studied year after year, which gives the attentive breeder more and more strong emotions.
curated by Giacomo Cellini
Males: maximum 3 kg
Females: maximum 2,5 kg
Orpinton fulva (photo www.avicoliornamentali.it)
Female Orpinton duck (website photo)
Male Orpinton duck (website photo)
Breed standard - FIAV
I - General
Minimum weight g. 65
Shell color: white to green.
Male and female: 16
II - Type and Address for Selection
Very active duck, medium size, raised and elegant habit.
III - Standard
General Appearance and Characteristics of the Breed
1 - Form
Trunk: elongated and cylindrical: kept clearly above the horizontal. About two thirds of the length of the body in front of the tarsi.
Head: elongated and narrow; dry and well curved, with a flat forehead and a smooth throat.
Beak: medium length; slightly concave top. In the orange-colored male with dark claw, the presence of light green shades to be judged with clemency. In the orange-colored female with dark nail, light brown shades are allowed. In females that lay their beaks, they can temporarily vary and lighten up to a lead color.
Eyes: dark iris; stand tall. 5) + lively
Neck: medium length and not too strong; slightly arched.
Back: long and almost straight; well rounded on the sides.
Wings: well tightened to the body; that cover the back well, the tips must not cross.
Chest: full, well rounded and raised
Legs: medium length legs; hidden by plumage. Medium length tarsi; bone structure not too strong; orange red.
Belly: full, which does not crawl.
Too low or too detected habit; coarse body; keel in the chest. Beak in the male of very green color. In the female presence of green in the beak. Strongly crossed wings
2 - Weight
Male: kg. 3.0
Female: kg. 2.5
3 - Plumage
Conformation: smooth and well tightened to the body.
IV - Colors
Head and upper part of the neck of uniform chocolate brown color which ends in a distinct way beyond the middle of the neck through a well-defined line. Lower part of the neck, chest, coverts, hips and lower part of the brown leather tail as uniform as possible. Lower part of the back brown red with as little blue as possible; a lighter white leather is admitted in the belly, in the sides, from the tarsi to the tail, in the remiges and in the tail, all with a light bluish tint in the coverts of the wings and blue traces on the tail and in the curls of the tail.
Brown regular brown yellow leather all over the body. Remigors and coverers of the slightly clearer wings must be judged with clemency.
Serious Defects: in the two sexes presence of white feathers; marbled background color, especially in young subjects.
Male: blue head; wing covers of trope blue.
Female: background color too dark and with drawing presence; coverts of bluish wings; drawn eyebrow.