Originating from the town of Orpington in Kent, they were first bred in 1886 by William Cook who cross bred Minorcas, Landshans and Plymouth Rocks. The first Orpington chickens were black in colour. In recent times the Orpington are more bred for show than their original dual purpose meat and eggs. Modern Orpingtons are larger and have more feathers than the original strains. They are very friendly birds and make great pets for those just wanting a few hens for the garden or for those with children, and are not prone to be flighty so you don’t need large fences to keep them in, although keeping the fox out is a different problem. Breeding Blue Orpingtons you get a mixture of blue (50%), black (25%) and splash (25%) chicks.
The Welsummer is named after the village of Welsum in Holland although the breed was originally developed in the area along the river Ysel to the north of Deventer, Holland at about the same time as the Barnevelders (1900-1913). The Dutch bred it from the partridge Cochin, partridge Wyandotte and partridge Leghorn, the Barnevelder and Rhode Island Red. It was first imported into this country in 1928 for its large brown egg. The Welsummer is a large, upright, active bird with a broad back, full breast and large full tail. They head has a single comb, medium wattles, almond shaped ear lobes and a strong, short beak. They have yellow legs which fade to pale yellow in summer and reddish bay eyes.