The Australorp Chicken is a large, dual-purpose breed which was developed in Australia in the early 1900’s. According to the Australorp Club of Australia. "Large importations to Australia of William Cooks original strains of Black Orpingtons were made in the late nineteenth century. As the looser feathered exhibition-type Orpington evolved, the original birds were bred on in Australia as superior layers and meat birds and became known as Utility Black Orpingtons. Some Australian Langshan blood was infused. The name Australorp was adopted in Australia by 1930."
Types: Bantam and Largefowl
Varieties (Single Comb): Black, Blue
Uses: Eggs and Meat
Bantam: 1.5 - 2lb
Largefowl: 6.5 - 8.5lb
Personality: The Australorp is a gentle bird, that usually blends into the family and a mixed flock with ease.
Broody: Yes, hatchery stock less inclined
Preferred climate: Any
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg production: Excellent (5/week)
Egg color: Brown
Egg size: Extra large
What else you should know:
In extremely cold weather, the Australorp can develop frostbitten or chapped combs. Rubbing oil onto the combs and wattles will help, but heating the coop is the only way to completely avoid frostbite.
The Australorp looks very similar to the Jersey Giant breed. If you are confused, take a close look at your birds feet. Australorps have black legs with white soles. Jersey Giants have yellow soles.
Calm Chicken, dual purpose bird, friendly personality, beautiful chickens, home meat production
vocal adult chickens
beetle green sheen, inquisitive birds, pretty black feathers, lovely brown eggs, great foragers
We chose Australorps chickens because they are both good layers, and decent sized meat birds. It has always been our intention to grow our flock naturally so we wanted to have a rooster or two plus the layers, culling other roosters out at twenty or so weeks to go to the dinner table.
We have not been disappointed with the Australorps. They have been great layers, and the roosters have been pretty tasty. Our second generation began laying around sixteen weeks, as expected. Their egg production did diminish considerably when the days got shorter.
I live in Colorado, and this breed has been great in the winter, where we get as cold as -20, and in the summer, when we get as hot as 98.
Our first generation Australorps have been great mothers, although we did see some pecking deaths of our mixed chicks (we also have Americaunas and Barred Rocks, and keep them together), so in the future we will isolate the broody hens with clutches of eggs for the safety of the newborns.
I do caution anyone with children or who is even mildly afraid of birds against keeping Australorp roosters. While my hens have been very mild mannered and easy to care for, my Australorp rooster was aggressive and mean. He would charge me when I entered the coop for chores, and even charged the kids if they went in. He was the first chicken to go to the dinner table..
From AnnieSullivan Oct 29 2013 12:54PM
Curious, productive and a lot of fun
If I could only keep one breed of chicken, the Australorp would be a serious contender for my top pick. My favorite aspect of these birds is their personality, but they’re also productive chickens.
Black Australorps aren’t the fanciest looking birds. The hens are solid black and not the most iridescent of the black breeds I’ve kept, but they’re sturdy and cute with a build that’s a nice mix of sleek and round.
This breed can have rather large combs and a very upright stance. Don’t be too quick to assume that your young Australorp is a rooster by either of those traits. I have one with a small comb while the other has a large comb. The large combed hen was unusually bossy and outgoing as a pullet, and I was nearly certain she was a rooster until her first molt.
Australorps are a dual purpose breed that makes a decent meat bird and can be very productive layers. They have fairly light colored pinkish brown eggs that are a nice large, but not over-sized egg.
I love hearing chickens so I adore these gals, but if you’re looking for a quiet breed, Australorps may not be your best choice. One of my girls was the loudest chick I’ve ever raised and the other is one of the most vocal adult chickens I’ve ever kept. She isn’t particularly loud in volume, but she constantly growls and talks to herself.
Australorps are energetic, social and exceptionally curious. One of my Australorps is constantly at my side while I’m in the coop. If I’m checking the nest boxes, she runs up the ramps to check them along with me. She helps to clean out the coop and rides around on my shoulder.
She’s very perceptive and always figures out if I’m trying to sneak a treat to another chicken, in which case she and her fellow Australorp are always there making sure they get some, too. Australorps are active foragers and mine are my best bug hunters.
If you’re looking for an outgoing, personable chicken, the Australorp is an incredibly entertaining addition to a flock..
From gardenfairy Sep 15 2014 9:17PM
Great Eggs; Poor Companionship
My Australorps were great layers. They produced 5-6 eggs a week that were extra-large to extra-jumbo sized. Two of our hens regularly produce double yolkers which was always a fun treat for the family. The flavoring of the eggs is good, and the coloring of the shell is a healthy brown.
Socially, these gals aren't the greatest. Though non-aggressive, they do prefer to keep a slight distance from visitors, especially young children. They will tolerate being held, but typically attempt escape in order to avoid handling. Perhaps in relation to their decreased socialization, they are very quiet birds, and I believe they would do well in small suburban areas.
In appearance they are fairly plain. If you look closely, however, their feathers do have a gorgeous dichromatic green hue, but beyond that this breed is not for show.
They are a hardy breed, and they fared well through our painfully long and cold winters.
As our family has grown- six kids in counting now- I find myself torn between the desire to own this breed again. Their lack of social drive, though fine by me, is not a great quality in regards to the children's desires of gallivanting around the farm and pursuing their petting zoo dreams. Though I was very attached to them, I prefer my livestock to develop a bond with me, and that just did not exist on their part. But those double yolkers....
From Anniecalkins May 28 2015 3:49PM