Uses: Dual purpose utility meat and eggs.
Eggs: 200 – 250 tinted / brown.
Origin: Kent, U.K.
Weight: Cock: 3.85 – 4.55Kg, Hen: 2.95 – 3.6Kg.
Bantam: Cock: 1.02Kg Max, Hen: 2.95-3.6Kg
Colours: Black, Blue, White (Standardised UK).
Useful to Know: Available in Bantam size, the Australorp is docile and a good choice to have around with children. They can be kept in behind a low fence.
Photo: A Blue Australorp owned by Chris Burrows. Photo courtesy Rupert Stephenson.
The Australorp is frequently overlooked by many poultry keepers yet, it has so many good things going for it! It is a hardy bird that is happy free ranging, is docile and good with children (even if a little heavy to lift up, but does exist in a bantam version) and is a good egg-layer as well as being a reasonable size white skinned meat bird.
Being fast growers, Australorps reach point of lay at about 20 to 22 weeks of age. Like the Orpington, they will generally not fly very high, making fencing easier.
Australorps get their name from their origin as ‘Australian Orpingtons’ which had been called ‘Utility Type Orpingtons’ before that. They were essentially early Black Orpingtons that originated in Orpington, Kent, exported to Australia around the late 1880’s and refined for Utility purposes. The original Orpingtons were modified in Britain, and then the ‘Australian Orpingtons’ were imported back into the UK as Australorps in the early 1920’s.
They are a large, soft-feathered bird and have either glossy black feathers with a lustrous green sheen, or slate blue with dark lacing. The white is very seldom seen. They have a single comb that is moderately large and upright, with five points and a very dark beady eye. Bantam varieties also exist in this breed. They have 4 toes and feather free legs. Look after these girls and they will lay around 200 to 250 eggs in a year for you (depending on the strain) without artificial lighting. Fortunately the breed has not been altered much, unlike the Black Orpington amongst others that has over the years changed from a utility bird into a show bird. Their eggs are medium-sized and light brown in colour.
Some stories that have emerged from Australia claim that a hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days. In 1922-23, six hens set a world record by laying (on average) 309.5 eggs each during a 365 day egg laying trial. When the breed was brought to the UK, the amazing egg laying records were not achieved and it was thought that either the UK climate was to blame, or the best egg laying stock was not sent.
Photo above right: A Blue Australorp Bantam cockerel – Best Blue Australorp at the Poultry Club of Great Britain National 2010
The following books are available. Links take you to the Amazon or other sellers’ pages for the books.
These are the breed clubs for Australorps:
- UK: The Australorp Club of Great Britain
- Australia: The Australorp Club of Australia