The Russian Orloff is a very rare Historical breed of chicken that was developed in Russia/Siberia… in a very cold and hostile climate. Russian Orloffs have been seen standing in cool water to help fend off summer heat. The birds are very hearty.
They do well in mixed flocks and are becoming more and more popular in the United States as an all purpose breed, after nearly becoming extinct in the last century.
The “Orloff” is a bearded, muffed, small walnut combed breed . There is mention in literature about the breed that was estimated to have been published in 1774. It is clear that the description written about is of the Orloff, but the breed was called “Chlianskaia” and then later called “Russians”. This may be a corruption of or based on Ghilan, a Persian province where the breed was most common and possibly the breeds site of origin.
The name Orloff is taken from Count Orloff- Techesmensky, a man who was enthusiastic enough about the breed to bring them into the eyes of Europe and the American public.
Initial imports were mainly black in color. Early APA standards refer to the Orloff as having a “rose comb”. But, when you read the description, it is obvious that the comb is what is now called a walnut or strawberry comb and not a true rose comb.
When first imported from Russia, Orloffs were heavily boned, hard-muscled, meat fowl and looked similar to many kinds of popular game breeds.
At the beginning of the century, a hatchery in Pennsylvania is said to have hatched Orloffs exclusively and in seven different colors. The hatchery is believed to have been operated for over twenty years and closed around the time of World War II.
ABA currently recognizes three varieties of Russian Orloff. 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.
It is extremely rare to see any color but Spangled Russian Orloffs in the US. They lay a nice medium size egg several times a week and the breed also comes in a Bantam variety.
Today the Russian Orloff is still rare in the United States and Canada, but it is rapidly becoming more popular because of its quiet nature and winter egg laying habits.
Watch the following video to see how tame and talkative our little Russian Orloff hen is. She is a sweetheart and our Roo is just as nice.
Photo of our Russian Orloff Bantam Hen.