Jubilee Orpington Chickens: Complete Breed & Care Guide

Some chickens have an exquisite appearance that is just as lovely as their personality and characteristics. One of those chickens happens to be the Jubilee Orpington. These lovely birds are becoming increasingly common in North America, but they are still considered rare. Therefore, if the Jubilee Orpington has caught your eye, raising a couple is going to be a definite treat for you. Take a look at this complete breed and care guide for Jubilee Orpington chickens. You should be able to decide if this breed is right for you by the end!

jubilee orpington chickens hen

Breed Overview: Jubilee Orpington

Here are some quick facts about this chicken breed:

Weight7-8 pounds
Lifespan5-10 years
PurposeEgg and meat production
Egg Production150+ per year
Egg Size and ColorLarge and light brown
BroodinessHigh
TemperamentDocile, friendly, and quiet
Beginner-FriendlinessHigh
Cold ToleranceHigh
Heat ToleranceNone

History of the Jubilee Orpington Chicken

The Orpington chicken breed has a long history that begins in the late 1800s, over 120 years already! William Cook created this breed in England, in a little town called Orpington, Kent. After the initial success of the standard Orpington, Cook and his son in law started experimenting with color variations. Eventually, Cook developed the Jubilee Orpington, originally calling it the Diamond Jubilee to honor the Diamond Jubilee throne of Queen Victoria. To celebrate, Queen Victoria was actually gifted several of these beautiful chickens in 1977.

jubilee orpington chickens cockerel

There is some speculation that Jubilee Orpington chickens were created by crossing Speckled Sussex, Dorkings, and Spangled Old English Game chickens with Buff Orpingtons. For instance, the speckling on the feathers of the Jubilee Orpington is very similar to the Speckled Sussex.

Presently, the Jubilee Orpington is known as the rarest color variation in the US and Canada, because it has only been present in this part of the world since 2011. Meanwhile, it has existed several times longer in the UK. To this day, the Jubilee Orpington chicken is a coveted addition in many flocks.

Physical Characteristics of the Jubilee Orpington

The standard Orpington chicken is recognized among several organizations, including the Orpington Club and American Poultry Association. The Jubilee Orpington is also a recognized color variation. Therefore, it has a breed standard. Other colors aside from Jubilee include Black, Buff, Cuckoo, Spangled, and Blue.

These beloved chickens are known for being fluffy and hefty, particularly around the back end. Since they are so large, it can take around 18 months for them to fully mature and come into their gorgeous plumage. Most Jubilee Orpingtons have a reddish base with white and black speckles scattered across those feathers. There is also a slight reddish or greenish iridescence to their feathers. The beak, feet, and legs of the Jubilee Orpington are white, while their eyes, wattles, earlobes, and combs are red.

Due to their densely feathered bodies — the fluff is enough to hide their legs from view — these birds are extremely tolerant of the cold. They do not mind being out in the snow. However, their feathers are much less resistant to heat, and these chickens can easily get heat stroke during the summer.

Jubilee Orpington Temperament

jubilee orpington chickens cockerel and pullet

There is no doubt that these birds have some of the biggest hearts. Fitting that their size is also large! Jubilee Orpington chickens are absolute sweethearts who love to be with other friendly individuals. They are excellent companions for people, and they will follow around children. Jubilee Orpingtons will be delighted with sitting on your lap and getting a few pets. Anyone who is looking for a chicken who is more than an egg-layer, consider a Jubilee Orpington or several.

You do not have to worry much about Jubilee Orpington chickens fussing throughout the day or waking up the neighbors in the early morning. These are quiet birds who chat among one another at a whisper, if at all.

Due to their tolerance with being handled by people, you can also bring your Jubilee Orpington to shows. In fact, they love being held and babied so much that they would prefer it if you carried them around all the time.

Do Jubilee Orpingtons Get Along With Other Chickens and Pets?

Since Orpingtons are known for being docile and amicable, you may expect them to get along with just about anyone. Jubilee Orpingtons will get along perfectly with other Orpingtons, as well as docile chicken breeds, like Silkies, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Cochins, and Brahmas. More aggressive breeds can pose a problem for these chickens, regardless of their large size. In fact, Orpingtons are prone to being bullied in mixed flocks, so you need to be careful about which chickens you mix together.

The only time Jubilee Orpington chickens may act out in anger is when they have been confined for too long. They need plenty of space. So long as they have room to roam, Jubilee Orpington chickens will get along with docile chickens, children, and even your friendly cats and dogs.

Egg-Laying & Broodiness

jubilee orpington chick 14 day old

Searching for a productive hen to feed your family and friends plenty of fresh eggs throughout the year. A Jubilee Orpington or two is the way to go. Being that this is a dual purpose breed, they do not disappoint, no matter how you plan on utilizing them. Jubilee Orpington hens lay large, light brown eggs. While these birds are not as productive as Amberlinks and other hybrids, they can lay loads of eggs. The lowest amount is around 150 per year, but there have been reports of Jubilee Orpingtons laying 200-280 eggs a year.

One thing that may be an issue for some chicken keepers is the broodiness of this breed. Jubilee Oprington go broody often; they are excellent mothers, however. Any fertilized eggs that you would like to hatch can and should be given to your Jubilee Orpington hen.

Care Tips for the Jubilee Orpington

The Jubilee Orpington is larger than many other breeds of fowl and therefore needs far more space and food. But that isn’t all you need to care for these birds, despite them being low maintenance. Here are some care tips to help you keep your Jubilee Orpingtons happy and laying plenty of eggs:

Health Issues

Generally, the Jubilee Orpington chicken is robust, resilient, and rarely comes down sick with disease. Most Orpington owners agree that any color variation of this breed is tough, so long as they have the correct diet and plenty of room for exercise. Due to their size, the main health concern for this breed is obesity. By offering entertainment for your birds and not overfeeding them, your Jubilee Orpingtons will stay fit and trim.

The other issue is their feathers. Fluffy and thick, Orpington chickens can be infested by lice and mites easily. Inspect their feathers routinely.

Lastly, their thick plumage provides plenty of insulation in the cold, making them highly resistant to cold temperatures. Yet, those feathers are also their downfall in the summer. Jubilee Orpingtons can become overheated if they don’t have shade and cool water throughout the day. Therefore, keep an eye on your Orpingtons during the summer, and add shade to the run if necessary.

Chicken Coop

Like most chicken breeds, Jubilee Orpingtons need at least 4 square feet of space per bird in the coop. For a mixed flock, that number increases to 6 square feet. However, for these large chickens, the more space they have, the better they will do. When chickens have more space in the coop, there is less of a risk of tension, pecking, and bullying overnight. Chickens love to stretch out on their perches and have plenty of room to themselves.

In short, the coop should provide about 8-10 square feet per chicken if you have Jubilee Orpingtons.

Also, since Orpingtons lay a lot of eggs, the hens need nesting boxes that are comfortable and secure. The good news is that you don’t need to make these fowls larger boxes — a standard 12×12-inch nesting box will do just fine. If you have multiple hens, provide them with plenty of boxes, so they don’t have to be crammed inside one.

Chicken Run and Free-Ranging

Jubilee Orpington chickens love to be able to roam around a wide space, but most chicken keepers do not have the space or the time to supervise their free-ranging. Therefore, you should construct a safe chicken run for your chickens. For a flock composed of Jubilee Orpington chickens or a mixed flock, you should provide at least 10 square feet per fowl in the run. 20 square feet is even better.

Since Jubilee Orpington chickens are heavy and not that adept at flying, you do not have to worry about constructing a very high fence (unless your other chickens can go higher).

Within the run, be sure to construct places where your Orpingtons can escape the heat, bathe in dust, and drink clean water. You can also add perches outside for them.

Feeding and Nutrition

jubilee orpington chickens hen walking

Jubilee Orpingtons will eat just about anything you let them taste, but they are going to need high quality chicken feed as their main course. Furthermore, Jubilee Orpington chickens tend to be a little lazy when it comes to foraging for their own food, so you cannot count on them using the chicken run as a chance to gather bugs and other things on the ground. Like true royals, they would prefer if you gave them food in a timely manner.

Orpington chickens require 20% protein for the first 16 weeks of life. After that, you can switch them over to a normal layer feed. You can add in some leafy greens to your chicks’ feed, too.

Adult Jubilee Orpingtons should be watched when you provide them treats, because they have a tendency to sit around all day. Make sure you are not overfeeding your Orpington chickens.

Conclusion

Is the Jubilee Orpington chicken right for you? Definitely! Although rare in the United States, the Jubilee Orpington is a wonderful bird for urban and suburban backyards and farms. These birds are docile, lay plenty of eggs, and look beautiful. However, they do need a lot of space and feed to stay healthy. Overall, the Jubilee Orpington is an incredible bird and should be considered when looking for chickens to add to your flock.

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