Lavender Orpington Hen vs Rooster – How to Tell the Difference?
The Lavender Orpington is a regal chicken breed also called the Self-Blue Orpington. William Cook produced the Orpington breed in the 1800s in the Kent village of Orpington, England. He envisioned creating a soft-feathered and hardy dual-purpose bird because the existing English chicken breeds were somewhat skinny.
William Cook and other individuals embarked on creating many Orpington patterns and colors, including the Lavender that was added in the mid-1990s by Priscilla Middleton, an English breeder.
Lavender is a rare bird color, and creating it requires a hen and rooster with the lavender gene to produce a lavender chick. Moreover, the breeder should use precise genetics and be careful because the lavender gene is closely associated with the ‘’tail shredder’’ gene that causes retarded feather development.
The first step in creating exceptional Lavender Orpingtons is correctly differentiating the males and females. Though challenging, here are tips for telling a rooster and hen apart.
At What Age Can You Sex Lavender Orpington Chicks?
You can tell the sex of a Lavender Orpington chick as early as when they are a day old. Male and female chicks have pale yellow feathers with hints of Lavender and gray, so it is not easy to tell them apart by a casual look.
The sure options for sexing day-old chicks are DNA testing and vent sexing. In vent sexing, your chick’s vent is gently pushed so that the genitals are extruded. At this age, you can easily injure your chick’s genitals, so the practice is best handled by an expert.
Difference Between Baby Lavender Orpington Hen and Rooster
Poultry keepers who are not in a rush to know their bird’s gender can wait until a Lavender Orpington starts laying eggs to ascertain that it is female. Nonetheless, there are several differences you will notice in your birds at different ages to indicate their genders. Here is a guide on what to look for.
Unfortunately, knowing the sex of your Lavender Orpington chicks at 0-6 weeks old is challenging. This is because they have the same feather colors and have no combs or wattles. As chicks, your male and female Lavender Orpingntons will have buff-colored downs.
The males might have pale, whitish streaks at the upper wing joints on their downs. Sometimes, the females have faint brown lines along their backs and brownish spots on their heads. In most cases, the males have longer tails than the females.
At 6-8 weeks, it is easy to sex your Lavender Orpingtons because they have started developing wattles and combs at this time. The wattles and combs of roosters are generally redder compared to the hens’.
Moreover, roosters’ wattles and combs will grow bigger and faster than the hens’. Unfortunately, Lavender Orpingtons do not have big combs and wattles, so it might not be as easy to sex them using this method as it is with other chicken breeds.
When your Lavender Orpington turns 12 weeks old, you can easily know whether it is male or female. The chicken will start growing feathers around its neck. These feathers are called hackle feathers. Your Lavender Orpington will also begin developing its saddle feathers.
These are feathers at the base of the tails and on the sides. The feathers of a rooster will be pointier and longer than a hen’s. Roosters at 12 weeks old will start strutting more confidently with their chests out to assert dominance over the submissive females. The plumage of roosters is also shinier than that of hens.
Difference Between Adult Lavender Orpington Hen and Rooster
When your chickens clock 20 weeks, they should have all their adult plumage, so telling them apart will be easy. Rooster Lavender Orpingtons will have pointed cape feathers on their backs, shoulders, and necks. Sickle-shaped feathers will spill over their lower backs and rumps, but these are not as highly arched and iridescent as other rooster breeds.
The wattles and combs of male Lavender Orpingtons are bright red and larger than those in females. Roosters often roam independently and are quite aggressive in protecting their flock. They weigh around ten pounds.
Adult lavender Orpington hens have round and large vents from passing eggs. Their pubic bones are also wider spread from egg laying. Hens will have smaller feet and thinner legs as they age because their bodies are less muscular than rooster bodies. They weigh about 6-8 pounds. Lavender Orpington hens will often stick together to maximize their safety.
Their combs lie close to their heads, and the wattles are short and lie close to their necks. The wattles and combs are faded red. Though Lavender Orpington hens are not as loud as males, they talk to each other through chirps and gentle clucks.
When do Lavender Orpington Roosters Start Crowing?
The sure-fire option of knowing a rooster is the familiar cock-a-doodle-do crow. Hens might crow in some instances as they try and imitate their male counterparts. Lavender Orpington roosters will often start making squeaks at four weeks old as they stick out their necks.
They will fully crow at about 6-8 weeks old. Thankfully, Lavender Orpington roosters are not as loud as other chicken breeds, so you might not need a collar to muffle their crowing.
When do Lavender Orpington Hens Start Laying?
Lavender Orpington hens will start laying eggs at 22-28 weeks, about six months old. The hens lay about 3-5 medium-sized brown eggs weekly, adding to 200-280 annually.
They will lay eggs reliably throughout, even in the winter. Egg production in Lavender Orpingtons wanes when they turn 4-5 years. At this point, most people turn them into table birds.
Lavender Orpingtons are rare because of their recessive coloring. Knowing whether your chicken is male or female early allows you to plan your breeding so that you can increase your flock.
Thankfully, Lavender Orpingtons are easy to care for because of their adaptability and friendly nature. Moreover, they assure you of handsome profits with the many eggs they will produce.