Australorp Chicken – Characteristics, Origin, Breed Info and Lifespan

Black-Australorp chicken breed

If you are looking for a good egg-laying chicken for your poultry farm, then the Australorp chicken breed is what you need.

In this article, you will get full details about the Australorp chickens.

You will learn about their history, origin, characteristics and lifespan.

Also, you will get to see reasons why this chicken is a good breed for you and probably disadvantages of having this breed if any.

After reading this article till the end, you will have enough information that will help you to decide whether this chicken is the best breed for you or not.

So, if you are ready to get all the details, let’s dive right in.

What is an Australorp chicken?

The Australorp Chicken is the Australorp version of the English Orpington Chicken. 

When you consider the honorary National bird of Australia, you refer to the Australorp Chicken.

Its unique name is a short form of Australian Black Orpington.

This breed of chicken comes in various varieties and colours.

Although it has an Australian origin, the Australorp chicken is considered English.

What is the Origin And History of Australorp  Chickens?

As earlier stated, the Australorp is an Australian quintessence of the Orpington chicken breed.

Following the footsteps of Mr William Cook of Orpington, the Australians set out to reproduce a more egg-laying version of the Orpington.

And the Australorps came into existence.

Therefore, Australorp chicken was a chicken invention invented out of necessity.

The Australians wanted a bird that was a source of meat as well as a prolific egg provider.

So, they began the process of modifying the Orpington breed to fulfil this need.

In that regard, they made many crosses with the Rhode Island Reds, Minorcas, White Leghorns and Langshans. 

There was no record if the Orpington was crossed with the Plymouth Rock chickens as well.

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But in the end, a cross produced the Australorp chicken breed. 

Egg-laying was the necessity of its invention. 

To validate the essence of its invention, the Australorp breed was put into an egg-laying contest.

This contest was to find out the breed which lays the most eggs. 

A year into the contest, an Australorp laid 347 eggs in 365 days. 

After this massive victory by the Australorp breed, the Australian poultry farming industry bloomed.

And many became interested in the Australorp chicken.

However, in the 1930s, they lost their place in the industry.

This was as a result of the cross between the white Leghorn.

Although it produced a more productive breed –  the Austra white.

Australorp chicken

What are the Characteristics of Australorp Chickens?

Talking about the Australorps, we refer to the Australian major chicken invention. 

Although its fame has spread across many countries, its unique characteristics still stand in these new environments.

What are the striking features of the Australorps?

Here is how you can identify the Australorp Chicken breed;

1. Australorps have unique black feathers with a touch of iridescent green:

You can easily identify the Australorps owing to the green iridescence on their Feathers.

The green sheen is a genetic imprint from the crosses used to procreate them.

Also, these feathers are close-fitted.

Making them have an upright carriage 

2. They are large and fluffy birds:

Australorps are large and fluffy chickens.

Currently, the are the American Poultry Association classification as heavy and soft birds. 

3. The Australorp chicken has a solid body:

Usually, they have a deep solid body. 

Also, they look round and full.

When fed well, they can be really fat.

4. Australorp chickens do not have feathers on their legs:

Unlike the Cochin Chicken breed, the legs of the Australorps are clean of feathers.

Usually, the legs are slate blue or black in colour. 

While the soles of their feet are white or pale in colour.

Each foot has four toes.

Read also;
Brahma Chicken – Characteristics, Origin, Breed Info and Lifespan

5. The Australorp Breed have Reddish Face:

Both their wattles, comb and earlobes are red in colour. 

However, the beak of the Australorps are dark in colour and their eyes black.

6. Usually, the Australorps weighs between 6½lb-11lb:

As earlier stated, the Australorps are heavy birds. 

This can be accounted for by their weight. 

The roosters weigh more than hens. 

7. The Australorp chickens have a variety of colours:

In Australia, the colours of the Australorp breed they recognize are the black, white and blue varieties. 

Australorp_Blue_and_Black_large chickens

8. They are free rangers and great foragers:

The Australorps are free rangers. 

Just like the police, they love roaming and patrolling the yard. 

This routine keeps the bugs and worms away from your home. 

Being great foragers gives them enough tasty snacks such as insects, seeds and grass.

9. Australorps are non-aggressive:

You will never find an aggressive, pushy or mean Australorp. 

Also, they are not giving to bully.

10. Overall the Australorps are a healthy breed:

Due to the many genetic makeups of this breed, they have a very strong immune system.

READ THIS NEXT:  Orpington Chicken – Characteristics, Origin, Breed Info and Lifespan

They rarely suffer from any significant chicken illness.

Unless the usual parasites such as lice, mites and worms.

Table summarizing the Australorp chicken breed information

Skin colourWhite
Egg colourLight brown.
Comb typeSingle
Setter/BroodyNo
Especially DocileYes
UseDual-purpose breed: eggs, meat Principally for Eggs
Cold HardinessHardy in winter
Conservation statusAustralia: common | United Kingdom: at risk | Elsewhere: recovering
Heat ToleranceNot very heat tolerant.
Also Known AsBlack Australorp Australian Orpington Or Australs.
PersonalityCurious, fluffy and large
Country of originAustralia
StandardAustralorp Club of Australia 
Bears ConfinementBears confinement well
WeightMale: 8½ – 10 ½ lbs or 3.9 – 4.7 Kg
Female: 6½ – 8 lbs or 3.0 – 3.6 Kg
VarietiesBuff, Splash, Wheaten faced and Golden

Why Choose Australorp Chickens?

If you’re considering the perfect chicken breed to add to your flock, the Australorps can serve as a perfect fit. 

The Australorp Chicken has defining characteristics that make them a viable option for the backyard.

Here are some of the reasons why you should choose the Australorps;

1. Australorps are phenomenal record-breaking egg-ceptional egg layers:

Compared to the other chicken breeds, the Australorp Chicken breed are great layers. 

Usually, they layer over 5 eggs in a week. 

However, this also depends on how they are fed.

2. They handle Cold Well:

Although they are not feathery like the Cochin chickens, the Australorp chicken handles cold well.

They are not usually affected by the winter cold. 

Unless they are ill.

3. Australorps are not noisy:

The Australorp Chickens are calm and docile. 

This makes it a viable option if you’re living in a residential area.

4. Australorps are ideal for beginners:

If you’re looking for a chicken that you can easily care for, then get the Australorp breed.

It’s ideal for beginners

Reason being that they are not demanding.

5. Australorp chickens are “All Weather” chickens:

Choosing an Australorp to add to the backyard will keep you in business all day long.

The Australorp thrives in almost any climate.

What are the Disadvantages of having the Australorp Chickens?

The Australorp Chicken does not have many disadvantages. 

You can’t just love this bird.

Its strong immunity makes it resistant to diseases.

However, the fact that it doesn’t tolerate heat well makes it a little cranky during the hot weather.

This makes them a little noisy during summer. 

australorp-chickens

Frequently Asked Questions About Australorp  chickens

1. What is the lifespan of Australorp chickens?

The Australorp chicken breed can live up to 8+ years.

If properly taken care of, they can live longer.

Say 10 years

2. Are Australorp Chickens Good For Meat?

Yes, the Australorps are good meat providers.

However, its egglaying ability superimposes its use for meat.

But when cooked, it can serve as a table fowl fit for dinner. 

3. Can Australorp chickens be trained as pets?

Australorps have a very lovely disposition which makes them great pets.

The Australorp chicken has this feminine attribute that makes them great attraction. 

You need to have enough patience to encourage for them to make great pets.

Because they are shy.

And once they overcome that shyness, you have a friend for life.

They enjoy been held and cuddled. 

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Naturally, they enjoy human company and are great with children.

4. Are Australorp Chickens Good Egg Layers?

Yes, they are.

Actually, egg-laying is the essence of their invention. Their egg-laying ability makes them a good option to add to the chicken flock.

5. How Often Do Australorp Chickens Lay Eggs?

Usually, they lay about 4-5 eggs in a week.

And this keeps on through winter or summer.

Without human help. 

The current record of Australorps in egglaying is about 364 eggs in 365 days. (Say What!!!)

A record that’s unlikely to be beaten by another breed I think.

But on average, they can lay about 200-250 per year.

6. What do Australorp Chickens eat to Grow Big?

Feeding this breed is not a herculean task.

The Australorps at 18 weeks will grow big using the standard 16% layer pellet during the laying season.

When they are molting, feed them with a feed of 18-20% protein.

This helps in their feather regrowth.

Adding am extra calcium to the feed of the hens will make the eggshells strong. 

Do not mix calcium with their regular feed. 

However, if you all them to free-range, they can add tasty grubs and bugs to the diet. 

Also, they enjoy pests like ticks, caterpillars and even slugs. Veggies and plants can be great for them as well.

7. How Fast do Australorp Chickens Grow?

Usually, at the 7th to 8th week, the distinction between the hens and roosters begin to show.

The Roosters will become more bold, assertive and stand much more upright.

However, the hens will keep a low profile, be less curious and always stay back.

By 16-20 weeks, they begin to lay eggs. 

8. Are Australorp Chickens Noisy?

No, they are not.

They have a calm disposition. 

Basically, this attribute makes it a great candidate for exhibitions and show rings.

But when they see a predator, they go all loud. This can be so loud that your neighbours have to call 911.

We cannot say the roosters are calm.

Because they make lots of noise. 

If you’re leaving in town, we suggest you leave the Australorp roosters out from the flock.

Or your neighbours will come knocking each day.

9. What is the Habitat and Environment of Australorp Chickens?

These birds are naturally large.

Therefore, they need at least 4 square feet each inside the coop.

Using the standard 8 inches perching space will be tight for them.

Therefore, we suggest 10 or 11 inches of perching space.

You will also need to make available standard-sized nesting boxes about 12×12 inches. 

They love to forage, therefore a free-ranging system will them enough room for fun and run.

Although they are not aggressive, they love plenty of their “me space”. Therefore, 8 square feet of open space per chicken will do.

Also, give the Australian pride some variety in the room. Something like perches of differing heights, quiet spots and dust bathing areas.

This keeps them busy and engages them all day.

Keeping them both physically and mentally sound.

Conclusion  

The Australorp Chicken is a chicken born out of necessity. 

Although good for meat, it’s best for egg-laying. 

If properly taken care of, it can live longer than its estimated lifespan of 8 years.

So, what is the decision for you…

Are you getting the Australorp chicken for your poultry farm?

Let me know in the comment section below.

References

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