Spangled Russian Orloff
|Country of origin||
|Egg color||light brown|
|PCGB||rare soft feather: heavy|
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 Orlov 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 Great 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 Livestock 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 3.6 kilograms (7.9 lb) and hens about 3 kg (6.6 lb). Orloffs are primarily suited to meat production, but hens are reasonable layers of light brown eggs and do not usually go broody. In general temperament, they are known to be relatively calm birds.
- Orlov Trotter, a horse breed named after the same Russian family
- Ekarius, Carol (2007). Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. 210 MAS MoCA Way, North Adams MA 01247: Storey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58017-667-5.
- Graham, Chris (2006). Choosing and Keeping Chickens. 2-4 Heron Quays London E14 4JP: Octopus Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7938-0601-0.
- Percy, Pam (2006). The Field Guide to Chickens. Suite 200, 380 Jackson St, St Paul MN 55101: Voyageur Press. ISBN 0-7603-2473-5.