The chicken is among the most widespread domesticated animals on the planet. It is a sub-species of the red jungle fowl, a wild species of bird that was selectively bred to create the modern chicken. Bone fragments of the red jungle fowl found in China dating back to around 5,400 BC suggest that they were domesticated by man over 7,000 years ago. Modern chickens have been selectively bred to accentuate certain characteristics such as good quality meat and prolific egg laying. They have also been bred for showing purposes, with selective breeding emphasizing plumage and other characteristics.
Chickens are among the most popular food sources on the planet. Although they are usually kept for commercial reasons such as egg producing and for their meat, they are also kept by some people as pets. Certain breeds are better as pets than others due to their personalities, while others are better at handling certain weather conditions. Some are bred almost entirely for show and have little commercial value other than for the pet trade.
As such a popular and common commercial animal, many breeds have arisen through selective breeding. Here’s a look at some of the most popular chicken breeds.
Chicken Breed #10: Orpington
First bred in 1886, the Orpington was named after the town it originated from in the south eastern English county of Kent. While it was bred for meat and egg laying, it is also a popular show bird and pet. The original Orpington chicken was black, which was deliberate as a way to help disguise the soot and dirt that was present in London at the time it was developed.
The Orpington chicken is a large, rounded bird with males reaching around 4.5kg and 3.5kg for females. They are a friendly and docile breed and are a good bird to have around the garden. They are quite hardy, and their plentiful feathers help to keep them warm in colder weather. They are available in a range of colors, with the buff variety being the most popular.