The Black Australorp is the Subaru Outback of chicken breeds – not too big, not too small, versatile, efficient, and everyone wants one (at least here in Colorado).
Black Australorps were developed in Australia from the Black Orpington around 1890, hence the name. At the same time farmers in Britain were using the Orpington for its meat, the Australians started refining the breed for its excellent egg-laying capabilities. After outcrossing the Orpington with egg-laying breeds such as the Minorca, White Leghorn, and the Langshan chicken, the Australians created a Frankenstein of egg-laying proportions in the Black Australorp.
Sometimes referred to as the egg-laying machine, these birds first made their claim to fame when 6 hens set the world record for laying 1,857 eggs over a 365-day period. That’s more than 309 eggs per bird! These records were soon broken,¦ but by more Black Australorps. The record-setting breed caught the eye of farmers the world over, leading to its introduction into England and America in the 1920s. After its arrival to North America the breed was even crossed with a White Leghorn to create the White Australorp!
Australorps are especially hardy and will thrive in almost any kind of climate. Calm, friendly, and docile, it’s hard to find a better backyard brown egg layer than an Australorp hen. At this point you’re probably wondering to yourself, what’s the catch? Well, there really isn’t one. These little birds are all they’re cracked up to be. Black Australorps will seemingly lay eggs until you tell them to stop, averaging around 250 eggs a year even in sweltering heat. Happy in confinement or free-range farms, most Australorp hens will mature to a size large enough for you to use them for their meat once they are done as layers!
These strikingly beautiful birds wear a black iridescent plumage with a greenish purple tint. While they do well in hot weather, it is important to provide shade for these birds given their jet-black attire. Being one of the most popular backyard breeds on the planet, Black Australorps also make great mothers. This can be great if you’ve got a fresh hatch of new chicks, especially if you’re not into the whole brooding baby chicks thing. These medium to large sized birds wear a single comb, are clean legged, and are classified by the APA as an English breed.
The Black Australorp gives off a dignified appearance with broad shoulders, great posture, and well-rounded breasts. They have black eyes, a black beak, and pinkish white skin. The only other part of the bird that’s not actually black or red is the underside of its feet. Bantam Black Australorps can be flighty, but standard sized ones usually don’t require any type of fence or enclosure. When mature, the Australorp will usually weigh around 5 to 7 pounds with cocks weighing around 8 pounds, making it a fair dual purpose breed.
Docile, beautiful, and productive, the Black Australorp is the perfect backyard bird.