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Delington: (Orpington X Delaware)
A delington is a cross of a Orpington rooster and Delaware hens. I developed this cross in 2011 by thinking hey Delaware's are friendly and good layers of brown eggs. Buff Orpingtons are friendly also good brown egg layers and are described as plump and juicy. So I said what a perfect match and they are everything I had hoped for and I absolutely love them.
Delingtons are color sex-able at birth and that is another reason I love them. Delington hens are nice and heavy, calm and friendly. They lay a nice large to extra large brown eggs. Their eggs are bigger then my Delaware and they lay more eggs then my Orpingtons. They also lay there eggs early in the morning earlier then all of my other breeds. This is by far my favorite "Breed". You will not find these at any hatchery.
My first year I tried the Buff verity , my second year I had Buff and Black and 3rd year I tried Lavender which turned out black with brown mixed in, along with with the Lemon Cuckoo (they look like a buff with white strips or barring called cuckoo). They turned out 70% solid with 30% barred. My plans for last year were to use my Lemon Blue Cuckoo Orpington "Precious" but had such a ugly personality that I decided not to use him. He has since moved to a new home. My back up rooster Mellow Yellow was not the most fertile rooster in the world. I had to throw out half of the eggs I put in the incubator due to them being unfertilized. I did get some very nice hens out of him though.
What to expect when breeding for Delingtons.
I have found that the rooster (an Orpington) plays the most important role in breeding for the perfect Delington. So select a rooster with the most desired personality along with the size & shape you want for your Delingtons.
Year one: I had Delaware hens from Cackle Hatchery and a Buff Orpington roo, named Buff, from Privett Hatchery. The Delaware hens were supper layers and Buff was perfect in shape size and personality.
The offspring: Females hatched out a buff/reddish color and the males were white/light yellow. As they grew the pullets continued to darken into a beautiful buff color and took on the Orpington shape. Many people thought they were Orps. The roos grew to look like Delaware roosters. White with black or brownish neck tail & wing feathers. The roosters I butchered at 20 weeks. They dressed out at about 4lbs. Not as big as the Cornish cross but they had a lot of flavor.
Year two: I sill had Buff & his hens in a breeding pen. And in a second pen I had a black Orpington named Haidrian but I will refer to him as Black. We are not quite sure if he was pure Orpington or not. He was tall and leaner then Buff and wasn't the smartest roo in the world. He was 1 of 3 to chose from and he was the best of that group. I had ordered Orpingtons along with several other breeds from a not so well known hatchery and I don't think anything was pure like they said it was.
The offspring: The female chicks hatched out pure black and the males were black with a with spot on there head (sorry I don't have pics). The pullets stayed black and the males began to bar out until they looked like Barred Rocks. This was not the best batch. The hens were flighty, loud and lets just say Nuts!!! The hens were a little leaner then Buffs offspring but the Barred roos were a little heavier. They were also harder to dress out with the black feathers left a lot of black ink in the pin feathers. Needless to say Black didn't make it a second season. The hens never mellowed and I sold all of them. They gave Delingtons a bad name. And it was all because of the roo. The Delaware hens I used were from the same hatch as the hens in with Buff and their offspring turned out as good as the first year.
Third year: Buff retired, Black went into the stew pot and now I have a Lavender and a Lemon Cuckoo to work with along with 2nd generation Delaware hens (Cackle hatchery X Whitmore farms Heritage Delaware) Ka-blu-ee or Blue, the lavender, was small for a Orpington but he had a nice personality. Mellow Yellow was a big brute and as culm as you could get. I think his size hindered him because his fertility was poor.
The offspring: Blue's chicks hatched out all black or chocolate females. Males black with spot on head just like Black's male chicks. Mellows female chicks hatched out buff. The males were white or yellow. Blue's hens turned out black or Black with Brown (these are very pretty) Males were barred. Mellows hens turned out big and were buff, lemon and lemon cuckoo. Males looked like Delaware roos. Hens from both Blue and Mellow are really nice. Being from heritage stock I don't think they lay as well as the hens from Buff but they are nice anyway.
I have been wanting to try for a Chocolate Delington but I haven't gotten my hand on a Chocolate Orpington rooster yet. But I have to say my first batch from hatchery stock will always be my favorite.