Orpington chickens are hardy, medium-sized chickens that love to eat. To keep them healthy and laying at maximum capacity, you can expect a mature Orpington to eat around ¼ lb of quality layer feed per day on average (plus some treats).
What Do You Feed Buff Orpington Chickens?
An Orpington’s dietary needs are not much different from other backyard breeds.
They are good layers though, laying around 200-250 medium to large light brown eggs a year. So, it’s important to provide them a good layer feed when they start laying.
To keep it simple, here are the two different types of feeds you should provide based on their age:
0-6 weeks old - Newborn chicks require a starter feed that contains all the minerals and nutrients they need to grow up nice and healthy. Starter feeds are typically high in protein with around 20-22%
7-24 weeks old - You can switch to a pullet feed after around 6 weeks of age. This feed will be in the 14-16% protein range and help provide everything they need until they mature to laying age.
24 weeks onwards - Orpingtons typically become point-of-lay age at around 6 months. This could be a couple of weeks sooner, or later of course. You’ll know when they start laying though, and when they do it’s time to provide a good layer feed.
Layer feeds are around 15-18% protein and contain all the nutrients, added calcium, and other minerals chickens need to lay at their best.
Scraps, Treats, and More
Outside of commercial feed, chickens love a little variation in their diet. Plus, let’s be honest, giving leftovers and table scraps is a great easy to recycle and save wastage.
It’s always a good idea to check that the foods you’re giving your chickens are safe for them to eat. Generally speaking, however, most fruits and vegetables help add some additional good nutrition into their diets.
Ideally, you’ll be able to provide some room for your chickens to roam free-range, too. If you do, they’ll more than likely find some insects, small animals, and plants to gobble up.
Chicken are great foragers, and they have a good idea of how much and what they should be eating. It’s your job to provide the food, and they’ll take care of the rest by eating what they need.
How Much to Feed Orpington Chickens per Day?
Overfeeding and underfeeding is always a concern - but it really needn’t be.
Generally speaking, you should have enough feed available for your chickens to eat as they wish throughout the day and they’ll eat what they need.
The general rule of thumb is that medium-sized adult breeds like Orpingtons will eat a minimum of ¼ lb of feed per day.
So, the math on this is that for a flock of 10 chickens you’ll need to put out at least 2 ½ lbs of feed per day.
Personally, I put out a little more than this and I split it across morning and evening. This way I get a good idea of how much my chickens are eating throughout the day.
As for concerns, if your chooks are eating a lot more than expected, it’s probably not a big deal. If they’re eating a lot less than expected, however, this is usually a sign that something is not right.
How Much Do Orpington Chickens Weigh?
One way of gauging if your Orpingtons are healthy and eating the right amount is to weigh them.
Chickens can vary in weight, so this is only a rough guideline. But taking these weights from Wikipedia, on average adult Orpingtons weigh:
- Males (roosters) - 3.6-4.55 kg (8-10 lbs)
- Females (hens) - 2.70-3.60 kg (6-8 lbs)
There are bantam Orpingtons, so if you see a mini version that weighs a lot more it’s likely a bantam.
Are Orpingtons Good Meat Birds?
If you’re feeding up your Orpington with the end goal of having them on your table, they’re fit for this purpose.
Orpingtons have been selectively bred to be dual-purpose birds. This means they are used for both their egg production and meat.
Orpingtons are one of the most common backyard breeds, mostly due to the fact that they’re easy to look after and are great layers.
Their feeding needs are pretty simple. The bulk of their diet (90%) should come from a good commercial feed. All this involves is keeping their feeder topped up and keeping an eye on it so you know they’re eating enough.
In addition to commercial feed, you can share some leftovers and other foods that are good for them to add some variety.
Whether you’re new to raising chickens, or just Orpingtons, I know how it feels at first. Don’t worry though, chickens come across like greedy food monsters but they’re good at knowing how much feed they need.
Image credits - Header photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash