Chicken Breeds: Australorp
The Australorp is a breed of chicken developed in Australia. It is frequently described in comparison to the Orpingtons, because the Australorp is based on Black Orpington breed stock, which was imported into Australia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Black Orpington was crossed with Rhode Island Reds and a few other breeds (including the Leghorn, Langshan, and Minorca) to create a “utility bird.”
The Australorp is a black bird whose feathers show flashes of metallic teal, green, and purple in the sun. They have a single comb, and are very weather-hardy.
Being descended from Orpingtons, the Australorp has retained the Orpington’s calm and friendly nature. The Australorp is slightly smaller than the Orpington (although still large in comparison to other chicken breeds). Roosters weigh in at about 8.5 pounds, and hens at 6.5 pounds.
Australorp chickens were bred to be useful, and they have made good on that promise. The Australorp was meant as a dual purpose meat and egg bird, and had to produce well on the rough Australian range. It was originally called the “Black Utility Orpington,” until Australian breeders decided to write up their own breed standard and give the breed an Australian prefix.
Australorp hens lay brown eggs, and plenty of them. An Australorp chicken currently holds the world’s record for egg laying, having laid 364 eggs in 365 days! In fact, the Australorp as a breed came to the world’s attention in the early 1920s, when a team of Australorps swept the existing egg laying record in a trial. Australorp chickens are an excellent choice for the backyard flock. They are record breaking egg producers, and are very docile and calm. Their easy-going nature makes them a good candidate for families with small children.
Other chicken breeds:
- Buff Orpington
- Old English Game Birds
- Ameraucana, Araucana, and Easter Egger
- Sex Link, Black Star, and Red Star
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