The Chocolate Orpington

The Chocolate Orpington is a relatively new colour of Orpington and currently to my knowledge only exists in bantam size although I’m sure it won’t be long before they are crossed into large fowl.

Chocolate Orpington Bantam
Chocolate Orpington Bantam Male owned by Matt Hanson.

The choc gene responsible for the chocolate colour was discovered by the late Dr. Clive Carefoot around 1993-1994. It is a rare Sex-Linked Recessive gene that is basically a dilution of black pigment. This means that out of a pair of genes, the female will be chocolate with just one copy of the gene but the male requires two copies of the choc gene to look chocolate. This also means that black males can look black, but can be carrying one copy of the chocolate gene which can be passed to his prodgeny.

Chocolate Orpingtons are slow to feather up. This is thought to be a direct result of the choc gene. Black Orpingtons are slow at feathering up but Chocolate Orps are even slower. They lay a slightly tinted egg.

Chocolate Orpingtons breed true – but there are some breeding combinations that are worth noting:

  • Chocolate Male X Chocolate Female = 100% Chocolate
  • Black Male X Chocolate Female = 50% Black Males carrying Chocolate, 50% Black Females
  • Chocolate Male X Black Female = 50% Black Males carrying Chocolate, 50% Chocolate Females
  • Black Male carrying Chocolate X Chocolate Female = 25% Chocolate Males, 25% Black Males carrying Chocolate, 25% Chocolate Females, 25% Black Females
  • Black Male carrying Chocolate X Black Female = 25% Black Males carrying Chocolate, 25% Black Males, 25% Chocolate Females, 25% Black Females.

Black males carrying the chocolate gene are called ‘Split’ cockerels.

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Tim Daniels

Tim is the founder of the poultrykeeper website and lives in Herefordshire, UK. He keeps Cream Legbar chickens, Silver Sebright bantams and hybrid layers for eggs, Abacot Ranger ducks, Brecon Buff geese and some quail.

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