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Exhibition of Non Standard

Orpington Colours


What Colour is that Orpington again?

By Martin Doulton on behalf of the Club Management Committee

In the May 2012 Club newsletter our ‘Emiterus’ life member Dallas Smith outlined some thoughts on the new version of the (2011 APS) standards, the growth in non- standard colours and some suggestions on how to tackle the issue from a Club perspective. This article together with much conversation at the Royal National Canberra Show and Club AGM clearly identified that as a club we need to address the issue of the clarification of new colours shown on an Orpington body as well as the standardization of non- standard colours. 

With new colours being brought in by Avgen the management committee thought that we had a little more time to develop a considered policy and process and meet the commitments outlined at the 2012 AGM. However previous examples;


  • Exhibition of bantam Chocolate Orpingtons

  • At an Open Show in WA, a Large Crele Orpington was awarded the status of Best Orpington in show

  • Birds being advertised for sale as Jurassic Orpingtons;

  • Birds being advertised for sale as pure Bred Buff/ Blue Orpingtons ( and ‘bred from Show stock’)

  • That a Splash cannot be considered for a major award at a Club/National Show;

meaning that clarity (aka the Clubs Policy) on what can and can’t be considered an Orpington colour and in what circumstances any non- Standard colours can be shown needs to be set out.

Therefore the purpose of this article seeks to clarify the following questions in a FAQ format.

Q1. What are the standard colours of Orpingtons accepted for exhibition at any show held in Australia which adopts the Australian Poultry Standards?

A1. The Australian Poultry Standards 2011 edition confirms that only FIVE (5) colours of Orpington are accepted for exhibition in both Large (or Standard) and Bantam (sizes). These are Black, Blue, Buff, White and Cuckoo. In addition under the descriptors contained in the 2011 APS edition ALL colours are to be judged to the same point’s allocation which is now 30 points for Colour and Plumage.

Q2. When can a non- standard colour be exhibited?

A2. Technically speaking an Orpington of a non-standard colour (aka anything other than the 5 standard colours described above) should not be shown at any show that adopts the Australian Poultry standards.  However some of the confusion with what can and shouldn’t be shown rests with the acronyms AOC- Any Other Colour and AORC- Any Other Recognised Colour.  So this response is in multiple parts;

A2.1 In any show using the APS standards where an Orpington Class is put on a standard Colour can be exhibited in an AOC class where this colour does not have its own Colour Class. Eg Class 101 Black Class 102- AOC. In this context AOC means that Blue, Buff, White and Cuckoo can compete together in the same class. In this case AOC means Any Other Colour as stipulated by the Breed Standard.  

A2.2. Non-standard Orpington Colours can be shown when the class clearly specifies that any bird entered is a developmental/work in progress (WIP) only. Such classes are to be found at all Orpington Club of Australia National and Feature shows with the principle purpose to showcase the developmental colours in an exhibition environment. The fowl entered in these developmental/WIP classes are not currently eligible for section or Ch Bird in show honours.

 The additional factor is that birds entered in these classes should be an AORC- Any Other Recognised Colour- as can be found in the APS Standards. This position also applies for Rare Breed and New Variety Shows who also put on such classes. With such classes each colour shown must be supported by the appropriate colour standard and which must be supplied on request from the Club Secretary. The Club already has a number of non-standard colour profiles on file (and as available on the website) and now has a process for determining how a non- standard colour fits on an Orpington!

Q3. I have hatched a bird that isn’t an Orpington APS standard colour and would like to show it?

A3. If this is the case, and while the genetics of this bird might be questionable, the owner should review the Non Standard colour charts found on the Club website. If this colour is not found here a submission of the appropriate APS standard Colour, including photo, should be made to the Club on what the owner thinks the colour of this bird is. This submission will then be circulated around the Colour Working Party Group to ratify this colour as to how it should appear on an Orpington body. If ratified by the Working Group the Colour will then be published on the Club website as information for Exhibitors and judges alike. This ratification does not mean that this newly ratified colour is eligible for exhibition for anything other than a WIP/Developmental Class.

Q4. How are new colours standardised?

 A4. With ten years between APS editions it’s obvious that a process needs to be put in place for new colours/breeds to become standardised in a more timely fashion. As a breed club we have a duty to protect the history and integrity of the breed to ensure it is not compromised by fashionable names, fads or money. We have to ensure that the breed is protected against false claims and that hybrid cross bred’s (either between Orpington Colours or by crossing with another breed) are not approved for consideration as a standard Orpington until they look like an Orpington, breed true for a requisite number of generations and are held in multiple breeders hands.

Currently the Club Management Committee is seeking information from our sister Orpington Clubs around the world about their Colour standards and how their practice for adopting new colours is undertaken.  A position paper on this matter is being prepared for consideration before and discussion at the 2013 AGM.

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