Few chicken breeds evoke the charm and utility of the Australorp, a breed that has left a mark on poultry enthusiasts and backyard farmers alike. With its striking appearance, friendly disposition, and prolific egg-laying ability, they have earned its place in the hearts of poultry keepers around the world. In this blog, we'll delve into the history, unique characteristics, and the many reasons why Australorps continue to be a cherished choice among those who appreciate both form and function in their feathered friends.
History of the Australorp Chicken
In the early 1900s, Australian breeders actively developed the Australorp breed through selective breeding of various chicken breeds, including the Black Orpington and Rhode Island Red, among others. Their goal was to create a chicken that excelled in egg production. These chickens were subsequently introduced to other countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, where they garnered recognition for their exceptional egg-laying ability and became featured stars in poultry shows.
Australorps have a friendly and docile temperament, making them great for backyard flocks. They are dual-purpose birds, although their primary claim to fame is their egg production.
- Docile and Friendly: They generally have a calm and friendly disposition. They tend to be less aggressive and more approachable than some other chicken breeds, making them perfect for backyard flocks and family settings. My Pet Chicken has voted them as one of the Best Chicken Breeds for Beginners.
- Tolerant of Handling: Australorps are tolerant of handling by humans. They are easily trained and are gentle, which can make them good choices for those who enjoy interacting with their chickens.
- Curious and Active: While they have a generally calm temperament, Australorps are also curious birds. They enjoy foraging and exploring their surroundings, which can be beneficial foragers in free-range or semi-free-range environments.
- Broody Tendencies: Some Australorp hens have a tendency to go broody, which means they may become more protective and less interested in laying eggs for a period when they are trying to hatch a clutch of eggs. This broody behavior can vary from one individual to another.
The Appearance of Australorp Chickens
- Feather Colors: Black, Blue, and White. The most common variety of Australorp is the Black Australorp. Black Australorps have glossy black feathers that often exhibit a greenish or purplish sheen in certain lighting conditions. Their plumage is uniform in color, including their feathers, wings, and tail.
- Body Type and Weight: Australorps have a medium to large-sized body with a well-rounded, broad, and deep chest. They have a slightly elongated and well-balanced body shape. The roosters typically weight between 8-10 pounds and the hens weight 6-8 pounds.
- Comb and Wattles: They have single combs that are medium-sized and upright. Their wattles (the fleshy, dangling growths under the beak) are also medium-sized and typically red in color.
- Clean Legs and Feet: Australorps have clean, feather free legs that are typically dark gray or black in color.
Egg Color and Production
Australorp chickens have excellent egg-laying abilities!
- Egg Color: Australorp hens lay brown eggs. The shade of brown can vary, but their eggs are generally light to medium brown in color.
- Egg Production Rate: Australorps have a consistent and high egg production. On average, a healthy Australorp hen can lay approximately 250 to 300 eggs per year, although some well-cared-for individuals may lay even more. This breed's ability to lay a high number of eggs contributed to its popularity, and it has set several egg-laying records in the past.
Care and Health of Australorp Chickens
Australorp chickens are hardy and adaptable but do better in cold weather climates vs. hot weather climates. With proper care and attention, they can live healthy and productive lives, laying an abundance of eggs for years to come. The average life span of this chicken breed is 5-8 years.
My Pet Chicken has Black Australorp baby chicks for sale.
Do you have any Australorp chickens in your flock? Share with us in the comments below.