Spangled Russian Orloff

History of the Orloff breed

The Russian Orloff is the only distinctly Russian breed of chicken to be found in America. Russian tradition credits Count Orloff, who is said to have imported the breed from Persia. But there is also some speculation that several European breeds formed the basis or contributed to the Russian Orloff chicken. The Russian Orloff chicken was not known in England and Western Europe until 1899. But clearly the breed arrived in America much before this, being included in the American Poultry Association's standards from the first in 1875 until 1894 when it was removed due to lack of popularity. The Russian Orloff breed is currently listed as critical on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy's Conservation Priority List, and preservation of this breed is extremely important at this time.

Orloff Characteristics and Behaviour

The Russian Orloff chicken is tall, gamey-looking fowl with its upright stance and an upright erect tail is noted for its fierce look with full muffs and beard, minuscule wattles and a cushion/strawberry comb. The first APA standard lists the breed has having a rose comb (a.k.a. double comb) without a spike and solid black plumage. This lack of spike is genetically consistent with what we term today as a cushion comb, or another variant, the strawberry comb. Strawberry, cushion, and walnut combs result from the interaction of the dominant genes for rose and for pea shaped combs. The beak should be short and hooked, the eyelids heavy, and the legs yellow. The Russian Orloff chicken can be found in three color varieties: Red; White; and Spangled. The once popular Black variety is seldom seen anymore. At least three other color varieties of Russian Orloff have existed: Mottled; Black Breasted Red (Wheaten); and Buff.

The chief distinction of the Russian Orloff chicken, besides its looks, is the extreme hardiness of the breed. This is a breed that will tolerate cold and foul weather and survive when other breeds cannot. They are a very slow growing breed, and hens are fairly good layers of tinted brown eggs, producing throughout winter. They are classified as non-broody and are noted to be calm in temperament. Although known for being hard fleshed, they were originally favored for meat production and developed for the table.

Standard weights at maturity are males- 8 1/2 lbs. & hens- 6 1/2 lbs.

Click on the photo link below to view our Orloff photo album.

Spangled Russian Orloff photo album