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Russian Orloff-Mine Will Be A Spangled Russian Orloff
These unique chickens have muffs, beards and walnut combs. The breed is characterized by its upright stance, legs that are well placed far apart, and deep-set eyes. The resulting overall appearance has led some to describe them as vindictive, rebellious and cruel-looking. Despite appearances, the Orloff has a wonderful genteel temperament. They are calm yet alert. The Russian Orloff is a rare historical breed having been developed in Russia/Siberia in a cold hostile climate. They are becoming very popular in the US due to their calm nature and fantastic winter production of pale brown or white medium eggs. They do well in a mixed flock and have been known to stand in cool water on hot days. They are extremely friendly, calm, quiet and easily handled. The Orloff is a tall, well-feathered chicken with a somewhat game-like appearance. The head and neck are very thickly feathered. Their plumage, combined with their tiny walnut comb, small earlobes and minuscule wattles, makes the Orloff a very cold hardy breed. A truly beautiful, gentle chicken.
For most of its history, the Orloff was considered to be a product of Russia and Orlov, but modern research has discovered that the breed first appeared in Persia, and was distributed across Europe and Asia by the 17th century. However, Count Orloff, who carried the honorific Chemensky (sometimes transliterated as Techemensky), was a key promoter of the breed in the 19th century, and the breed became known in the West following his efforts.
Orloffs were first introduced to Britain in the 1920s, and were also refined a good deal in Germany; Germans created the first miniaturized bantam Orloff by 1925 The breed was once included in the American Poultry Association's breed standard, the Standard of Perfection, but it was removed due a lack of interest from breeders. In the 21st century, the Orloff remains a rare breed in the West. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists the breed as critically endangered.
The Orloff is a tall, well-feathered chicken with a somewhat game-like appearance. The head and neck are very thickly feathered. They appear in several recognized color varieties: Black, White, Spangled, Black-tailed Red, Mahogany, and Cuckoo. Their plumage, combined with their tiny walnut comb, small earlobes and minuscule wattles, makes the Orloff a very cold hardy breed. Males generally weigh 8 pounds and hens weigh 7 pounds. Orloffs are primarily suited to meat production, but hens are reasonable layers and do not usually go broody.
This large, gamey-looking fowl took its name from a Count Orloff, who imported some of them from or to somewhere and thereby got his name attached. In earlier times in Russia they were known as Chlianskiai Malay, Belgian games and a bearded European Spangled breed probably contributed to its heritage. In the US and Britain this is definitely a rare breed.
The beak should be short and hooked and the eyelids heavy. The legs should be yellow. They were developed for the table. Although a slow-growing breed, Orloffs are very hardy and resistant to harsh winter weather.
The Russian Orloff comes in Spangled (which is the only color found in the USA) but can be found also in white and black.
The Russian Orloff is again becoming a popular duel purpose breed after becoming nearly extinct in the last century. The early importations were principally black. Early APA standards refer to the Orloff as having a rose comb. It's true the APA did call the comb rose, but when you read the description it was clearly what today would be called a walnut or strawberry comb and not a true rose comb. When first imported from Russia, Orloffs were heavy boned, hard muscled, meat fowl that look similar to many popular game types. In the early part of the century a hatchery in Pennsylvania is said to have hatched Orloffs in seven colors and nothing else. It is believed to have operated for more than twenty years and closed around the time of World War II. The ABA currently recognizes three varieties. The British Standard lists four varieties--Black, Mahogany, Spangled, and White. There are at least three others--Black Breasted Red (with a Cinnamon hen), Mottled, and Buff. Today this is a very rare fowl in the United States and Canada but gaining in popularity due to its calm nature and often winter production of eggs. They do well in a mixed flock and have been known to stand in cool water on hot days.
The Orloff is well-adapted to cold weather. Harsh winters will not freeze combs or wattles. They tolerate the cold very well. Although they were developed as a meat breed, the hens are good layers even through dark winter days laying around 160 eggs annually.
Their advocates find them possessed of an austere beauty. The Orloff should have a full beard and muffs. In the Spangled variety, the hens and roosters will be a mix of golden, black and white. No two are alike, a good trait for those who would be bored by uniformity. They blend well into natural settings, making predation less of a problem.
The Orloff is so rare, the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection dropped it. So few birds were exhibited at shows that the breed is no longer recognized for showing. In 2004 the members of the Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities reported only 74. Efforts from SPPA members increased its numbers in 2006 to a reported 221.
Russian Orloff Roosters
Russian Orloff Hens
Russian Orloff Chicks
Russian Orloff Pullet