The Australorp Chicken is a breed of large fowls that was developed in Australia. This is known to be a very hardy breed, being one of the largest heritage utility breeds of chicken. However, a bantam variety of the breed is also found. Other than being a dual purpose breed (meat and eggs), they are also equally popular as ornamental birds for their vibrantly-colored feathers and good looks. Farming and taking care of these birds is easy since they can bear confinement well and are resistant to most of the common poultry diseases.
|Other Names/Nicknames||Black Australorp, Australian Orpington; Austral|
|Characteristics||Large size birds with soft feathers bird and have very dark beady eyes; they have 4 toes and the legs do not bear feathers|
|Plumage/Feather Colors||3 types:
Glossy black with lustrous green sheen;
Slate blue with dark lacing;
White (but is rarely found)
|Comb||Yes; large, non-crested, moderately upright, single, red, with five points|
|Personality/Temperament||Active, docile, not loud, sweet, shy, good with children and other birds, cold-hardy|
|Purposes/Uses||Egg, meat, show, ornamental|
|Eggs||Normally up to 250 per year; shell is tinted and/or brown in color|
|Laying Age||6 months|
|Height (Size)||Large (tall)|
Male: 3.20–4.10 kg;
Female: 2.250–3.10 kg;
Bantam Cocks/Roosters: 0.96–1.23 kg;
Bantam Hens: 0.79–1.04 kg
|Diet||General chicken diet|
|Country of Origin||Australia|
|Conservation Status||Australia: common,
United Kingdom: at risk,
|Standards and Qualification Information||APA, ABA, PCGB, APS
History and Development
The Australorp chicken originated as the ‘Australian Laying Orpingtons’ which were formerly called the ‘Utility Type Orpingtons’.
During the late 1800s, the early Black Orpingtons were imported into Australia, where they had been refined for utility purposes. The Australians started valuing this breed immediately because of its egg-laying ability, and continued breeding them along the lines of the original type.
In 1919, Arthur Harwood suggested that the breed ‘Australian Laying Orpingtons’ be named “Australs”, while the suffix “orp” was suggested for denoting the major breed in the development of this bird.
In the 1920s, this flock was again exported back to Australia as the ‘Australorps’, after it was genetically modified in Britain. This breed was imported to the USA soon after, in the 1920s. Fortunately, unlike the Black Orpingtons, the Australops have not undergone any genetic change or alteration over the years till date.
Meat & Egg Production
This breed is known for its excellent laying abilities, with around 200-250 eggs per year. The eggs are medium to large with a light brown pigmentation.
These are well-fleshed fowls yielding white, tender meat. Since these chickens are also well-known as good nest sitters and mothers, they are quite lucrative in the meat market. Their market weight is between 5.5 and 7.5 lbs.
- In 1922-23, during a 365 day egg laying trial, six of the female Australorps had set a world record laying an average of 309.5 eggs each.
- A new egg-laying record has also been set after a hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days.