Are Lavender Orpingtons Docile or Aggressive?

One of the coolest, and sometimes one of the most confusing, things about domestic chickens is that all of the breeds are different. In terms of essential physical characteristics, this is obvious, but also in terms of attitude and social behavior. Some are standoffish, some are mean, and some are super friendly.

Lavender Orpington rooster being defensive of hen
Lavender Orpington rooster being defensive of hen

Let’s look at Lavender Orpingtons today, one of the most beautiful and also rarest Orpington varieties. Are Lavender Orpingtons docile or aggressive?

Lavender Orpingtons tend to be very docile and friendly. They very rarely fight among themselves and are often friendly and affectionate toward human owners. However, the breed suffers from reduced predator response, and hens can still be pretty ornery when they’re broody, which is frequently!

If you want a calm, collected and serene chicken it is difficult to do better than a Lavender Orpington.

They get along famously well with people and other calm chickens, and they can even become friends with other animals. Fights and squabbles are very rare out of them.

There’s more you’ll want to know, though, so keep reading!

Lavender Orpingtons are Famously Docile

I should point out that Lavender Orpingtons are not special among other Orpington varieties when it comes to docility and friendliness. All Orpingtons have a well-deserved reputation for being calm, collected, quiet, and friendly.

Even though Lavender Orpingtons are not an officially recognized Orp variety in the UK or in the US, and despite having only been around since the early 1990s, they have shown all signs of being consistent, behaviorally, with their better-established cousins.

With rare individual exceptions, if you get one of these chickens, you can be assured that you’ll have one of the calmest kinds around.

They Don’t Have Great Defensive Instincts!

One thing that I should point out is that Lavender Orpingtons, again like all Orpingtons, are so docile and so calm that their nature can work against them in some cases. Specifically, I’m talking about protection against and response to predators!

It’s true! Whereas most chickens are reasonably alert to the presence of and approach of predators, these birds are known to be a little bit “slow on the draw” you might say.

Now, to be fair, domestic chickens are somewhat distant from their ancient jungle foul ancestors which, as a matter of survival, must be highly alert to the presence of any possible threat that might kill and eat them.

But these chickens, because they were domesticated for sociability and easy handling, lack these razor-sharp survival instincts by comparison. But Orpingtons, at least some of them, seem genuinely unaware of the notion that there are any other animals out there that might want to kill and eat them.

I watched more than a few react way too slowly to the obvious presence of a dangerous predator. Even Lavender Orpington roosters aren’t quite as “on guard” as you might like!

This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but something to keep in mind if you have lots of predators in your area.

Lavender Orpington hen and rooster
Lavender Orpington hen and rooster

Are Lavender Orpingtons Good Pets?

Yes, definitely! Now, I should define the difference between a “pet” and a “backyard” chicken though to some owners the terms are synonymous. When I talk about a pet chicken, I am talking about one that could be expected to fill all the roles of a more traditional pet.

I’m talking about coming up to you when it knows you are there, allowing itself to be picked up, petted and generally interacted with.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of calm and friendly chickens out there, but that doesn’t mean they’ll put up with a lot of personal space interactions like that.

Lavender Orpingtons seem decidedly different…

They don’t mind petting. Most don’t mind being picked up, even the roosters if you socialize them well enough from an early age. Most are even entirely content to sit on your lap and hang out with you!

I know a few folks that have Orpingtons and they’ve told me they are even a little bit too friendly, following them around the property while they are doing chores- just like a faithful dog would.

It’s certainly interesting behavior out of any chicken, but if you really want a closer “pet” relationship with your birds, you won’t be disappointed with one of these beauties.

Lavender Orpington hen and rooster
Lavender Orpington hen and rooster

The Hens are Still Highly Broody

One more thing to keep in mind when it comes to the overall friendliness of Lavender Orpingtons, and it’s really more of a cautionary statement than anything:

Pretty much all hens that are intent on hatching eggs and raising their chicks, commonly known as going broodyin chicken keeper parlance, tend to get standoffish, aggressive and sometimes downright mean. Those are just motherly instincts, you know?

Well, the trick is that all Orpington varieties, including our lavender lovelies here, are infamously broody. These are some hardcore mommies that are determined to hatch all the eggs that they can.

That’s great if you want to naturally expand your flock, but not so great if you just want to collect eggs with a minimum fuss.

If you try to take eggs away from a broody Lavender Orp hen, you’ll need to be prepared for a tussle. And considering how large and physically powerful these birds are- hens can tip the scales at 8 pounds or a little more- it might be quite the fracas!

It doesn’t mean your hen doesn’t like you: She’s just doing what comes naturally for her and her babies, even if the eggs aren’t fertilized and viable.

But this is something you should keep in mind if you’re expecting nothing but placid, pleasant days out of your chickens. Broodiness can be managed but it is an instinct that is very, very difficult to fully extinguish in chickens, including Lavenders!

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