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The Australorp Chicken

Black Australorp Cockerel

History

The Australorp chicken was developed as a utility breed in Australia in the 1920s from the Black Orpington primarily for egg production rather than for its meat. The name originates from the club which was founded for them, The Austral Orpington Club. They are excellent layers of tinted eggs and hold the world record for egg production as a hen of the breed laid 364 eggs in 365 days! They are smaller and neater than Orpingtons but still have a lot of meat on them. The feathers of the black birds have a wonderful beetle-green sheen and they have a prominent dark eye. Their comb is single and evenly serrated while their earlobes are red as are their medium length wattles. Their black legs are strong and free from feathers and they have 4 toes.

Behaviour

The Australorp is an active breed and they are fast growers with hens reaching point of

Australorp hen

lay at around five months of age. They are amazingly productive and are not prone to broodiness. They make good pets as they are calm and friendly birds although they are a little heavy for children to pick up. There is a ¼ sized bantam version though which would be much more suitable for children to keep as pets. They will happily live in runs but they do enjoy being allowed to free range. They aren’t good fliers so fencing doesn’t need to be particularly high. They are also very hardy and will stand cold weather well. An Australorp cock will weigh in at around 8½ lbs while the hens tend to be in the region of 6½lbs.

Varieties

There are two colours the black which has feathers with a lustrous green sheen and the blue whose feathers are slate blue feathers with darker lacing.

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