Posted Sep 15, 2014
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.