A chicken breed of Australian origin, Australorps are known for their prolific egg-laying ability and are developed as utility breeds. Breeders broke numerous world records for the number of eggs laid by this breed in the 1920s, and it has continued to be a popular breed in Western nations ever since. The Australian Poultry Standards has recognized it among eight breeds of poultry that are native to Australia. In the United States of America, the breed is only recognized in black. It is also recognized in gold, buff, and white in Australia, and the South African Poultry Club also recognizes wheat laced and golden.
Origin Of Australorp:
Australorp stock was originally imported to Australia from England as Black Orpington stock from William Cook and Joseph Partington’s Black Orpington yards between 1890 and the early 1900s with Rhode Island Red. A combination of this stock and out-crossings of white leghorn, langshan, and Minorca blood improved the utility of the imported eggs. The use of Plymouth Rock blood is also reported. It was utility features that were emphasized by the early breeders. This generation of birds was known as Austral-orps (Australian Black Orpingtons).
Trying to reach an agreement between the states over a national Standard seems to be shrouded in controversy as much as the origin of the name “Australorp.”. In the early years of the poultry industry, a poultry institution, William Wallace Scott, initiated the claim to the name. The Poultry Society was first approached by Wal Scott in 1925 about recognizing Australorps as a breed. Similarly persuasive was Arthur Harwood’s suggestion in 1919 that the “Australian Laying Orpingtons” be called “Australs.”
We suggested the letters “orp” as a suffix to denote the breed that best represents the fowl’s development. In 1921 following the import of “Australian Utility Black Orpingtons,” British draftsman W. Powell-Owen established the British Standard for the breed. “Australorp” had already been accepted by the public during the early 1920s when the breed was introduced to the world. As of 1929, the Australorp was part of the Standard of Perfection.
Characteristics Of Australorps:
Australorps come in both bantam and standard sizes. Australorp is recognized as having three distinct colors, black, white, and blue, according to the Australian Poultry Standard. Despite their recognition in the second edition of the Australian Poultry Standards in 2011, white Australorps have not been reported since 1949. Aside from buff and splash, there are four more colors recognized by the Poultry Club South Africa: golden, wheaten laced, and wheaten laced rover.
Black Australorps have intense beetle-green sheens and dark eyes; their bodies are deep and highly active. The AustaWhite cross made them very popular in the 1930s and 1940s when they were one side of the successful AustaWhite hen. Many Midwestern farms bred between Australorp and White Leghorn to replace purebreds. The cross laid tinted eggs that some markets considered inferior because of their broodiness. As a result, it suffered from hybrid crosses of “Hyline” and “DeKalb.” Australorps are good egg producers and hold the record for the most eggs laid in 365 days in an Australian trap nest test, with one hen laying 364 eggs.
Egg Of Australorps:
An egg-laying record was set by Australorps in 1922-1923 when six hens laid 1857 eggs during a trial spanning 365 consecutive days for an average of 309.5 eggs per bird. Despite the lack of lighting regimens common to the modern intensive shed, these figures still hold up. Performances such as these brought in import orders from England, the United States of America, South Africa, Canada, and Mexico. The eggs of an Australorp hatch into light browns after about 250 layings every year. A new record was set when a hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days.  They are also renowned for being good nest sitters and mothers, making them one of the most popular largest heritage utility breeds.
Are You A Good Candidate For The Australorp?
Whether you need a hen that can lay an abundance of eggs, fits in well with your current flock, or is easy-care, the Australorp is a good choice. Though they are often a bit shy at first, they become friendly and lovable barnyard companions as soon as they warm up to you. The roosters, in particular, possess a gentle disposition and don’t have a mean bone in their bodies.
Breeds of this kind are calm, quiet, and non-aggressive. In the pecking order, they are likely to be somewhere in the middle. Keeping an eye on your flock’s more aggressive birds is a good idea, as they can bully less aggressive breeds. The breed is very easy to handle, making it a great candidate for farm programs like the 4H here in the US.
Fortunately, they are also excellent exhibition birds, frequently bringing their owners ribbons for their efforts once they get used to the fuss and noise. They are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions, from hot climates such as Australia to cooler places such as the midwest of the United States. It really is an all-around bird when it comes to the weather. Australorps enjoy foraging, but they can be aloof towards predators when they are threatened. Their black feathers indeed provide good camouflage under certain conditions. However, it can be problematic in other situations where they would stand out.
Having the Australorp in your flock is a wonderful experience. These birds are easygoing and friendly, making them great for beginners since they require little in the way of ‘special care and are easy to handle since they get used to being handled very quickly. You will enjoy having this bird as part of your flock. The birds lay many delicious eggs, aren’t flighty or noisy, and can withstand cold temperatures.