If you live in the United States, or even throughout most of Europe, chances are that you will never see a Russian Orloff Chicken. This is one of the rarer breeds out there. In fact, technically, in the United States, it is no longer regarded as a breed of chicken.
It is not allowed at chicken shows. Why? Simply because nobody is breeding them anymore. There is not any interest in the breed. Of course, we are still going to tell you a little bit about it anyway!
The Non-Russian Origin of the Orloff chicken
You would think that this chicken breed came from Russia, wouldn’t you? It is right there in the name! Well, it doesn’t. Although, for a long while we actually thought it did.
What we do know is that the Russian Orloff chicken became popular because of Russia. It was heavily bred by Alexei Grigoryevich Orlov.
He lived in Russia during the 1700s, and it is he who is the reason why this chicken breed spread around the world. Obviously, we do not know why he pushed it so heavily, but he did.
The origin of the Orloff chicken breed is from Persia (now Iran), a lot earlier than the 1700s. No one actually knows what breeds the Russian Orloff chicken was bred from, although one can assume that a good number of these breeds are now extinct.
Once the breed hit Russia, it quickly spread throughout the rest of Europe. Although, it never took the mantle from more productive birds out there. In the United States, it pretty much never became a thing, even though the breeders were working exceedingly hard to make it happen.
The Appearance of the Orloff Chicken
The look of the Orloff is pretty ‘basic’. Some people have described this chicken as almost game-like. So, pretty similar to some of the wild birds people shoot to tuck into e.g. pheasant.
The standout feature of the Russian Orloff chicken is the fact that it has both a small walnut comb and a small wattle. This means that if you live in a colder area, the Russian Orloff would be great for you as it is far less susceptible to frostbite in comparison to other breeds of chicken.
There is also a bantam version of the Russian Orloff available. Or, at least there was. This appeared in Germany in 1920. However, we do not believe that this is a breed that is currently being raised.
If it is, then it certainly is not being done on a commercial basis. It seems to be pretty confined to private chicken breeders and, thus, if you want to get your hands on a bantam version, it is going to be pretty difficult.
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The Russian Orloff Chicken Meat
In the past, the Russian Orloff chicken was raised primarily for meat. That is still the case today.
So, if you are looking for a quality meat bird, then the Orloff may be the perfect choice for you. It is ready for slaughter at quite a young age. At the age of 24 weeks (6 months), the Orloff rooster will weigh at around 6.5 lb while the hen 5 lb.
Average weight of the Orloff chickens at maturity is 8 lb for roosters and 6.5 lb for hens.
Although, do bear in mind that this is a breed that is difficult to actually breed. The Russian Orloff chicken doesn’t brood that much, so you may need to have some broodier chickens in your flock to raise the eggs that the Russian Orloff won’t touch.
Orloff Chicken Eggs and Egg Laying
If you are looking for a chicken primarily for eggs, then the Orloff probably is not for you. Yes. It is able to produce a rather sizeable number of eggs each year, but there are so many other chickens that can do this a lot better.
You must remember that the Orloff is a breed that has never been designed to be chicken for eggs laying.
It has always been a meat chicken breed. Of course, the lack of interest from breeders in developing the Orloff chicken means that it is unlikely to ever produce a whopping number of eggs.
The Russian Orloff hens are laying tinted shell eggs and may brood.
Of course, you could always put in the hard work yourself and try and breed some Russian Orloff egg layers, but this is work that is going to be pretty much in vain because, simply, no matter what you do, there will always be a better chicken.
The Friendly Temperament of this Chicken
The Russian Orloff chicken is regarded as one of the most docile and friendliest chicken breeds. Seriously. This is a bird that is pretty much going to cause you zero issues when you are raising them.
This is why this is a bird that we highly recommend for families. Even your young children will be able to get up close and personal with the Russian Orloff. This is a bird that even likes to be held!
It is important to note that this is a chicken breed that enjoys a lot of space. It is an exploring and foraging bird. So, if you have a smaller yard, then please do not raise the Russian Orloff chicken.
It needs a lot of space, it is the best if it is kept as free range chicken. And, as you are about to see in a short while, it needs that exercise due to the number of calories that it will be consuming!
This is a chicken that eats a lot. It is unreal just how much food the Russian Orloff wants to chow down on. So, do bear this in mind when you own one of these chickens. You will want to ensure that it is not over-indulging itself. The bird is going to be prone to obesity because of that.
As we mentioned before; this bird is also quite a timid and friendly bird. Normally, this is not going to be posing too much of an issue.
However, if you pair your Russian Orloff up with some more aggressive bird species, then your Orloff is likely to be ‘bullied’. This can impact eating habits and egg production.
Some people also report that this is a breed that works best in flocks of other Orloff chickens. So, pick up 6-8 of these at a time. Try to avoid having just 1 or 2. They do not thrive quite as well like that.