I don’t say this very often, but for the Australorp, perhaps it’s time? Yep. I’m doing it…
The Australorp just might be the perfect beginner’s breed of chicken! 😊
The Australorp is a sweet-natured, chilled out, low-maintenance, fuss-free, friendly chicken who will ask for very little and give a lot in return.
Despite their laid-back personalities they have an epic work ethic and are champion egg layers. These Aussie girls pop like corn!
Australorps earned their place in the poultry charts with their next-level egg stats and their pet-worthy personalities. They don’t do drama, they don’t peck, they’re not even noisy: they’re just laid-back-layers who get along with everyone and crack on with the job. In fact, they rarely take a day off.
If you want eggs, and lots of them, delivered with a smile (they would if they could) then you can’t afford to overlook this Sheila.
Tempted to stop reading right now and bust a move to the local breeders to bag a bundle of fluffy Australorp chicks? That’s fair dinkum, and I can understand why.
But, to get the best from your birdies, you need to know how to care for them and what to egg-spect when they swagger into your coop.
Give it ten minutes, a brew, and 40 fast facts, and then you can go get your Australorps. Deal?
Clucking for something specific? Cluck here to flap to it…
- Where Do Australorp Chickens Come From?
- Why Are They Called Australorps?
- What do Australorps Look Like?
- What do Baby Australorps Look Like?
- How Many Eggs Do Australorps Lay?
- Record Number of Eggs Laid by A Chicken
- How Big Are Australorp’s Eggs?
- What Color Eggs Does an Australorp Lay?
- When do Australorp Hens Start to Lay?
- When do Australorp Hens Stop Laying?
- Do Australorps Lay in the Winter?
- Do Australorps Make Good Pets?
- Are Australorp chickens friendly?
- Are Australorps Good with Kids?
- Are Australorps Suitable for Beginners?
- Do Australorps Mix Well with Other Breeds?
- Are Australorp Roosters Aggressive?
- Are Australorps Noisy?
- How Much Space Do Australorps Need?
- What Are Australorp Chickens Good For?
- How to Tell an Australorp Hen from Rooster
- How Big Are Australorp Chickens?
- Can You Get Australorp Bantams?
- What Colors do Austrolorps Come In?
- Black Australorps
- White Australorps
- Blue Australorps
- Black Australorp or Black Jersey Giant?
- Black Australorp or Black Orpington?
- Are Australorps Suited to Warmer Climates?
- Are Australorps Cold Hardy?
- Do Australorps Have Health Issues?
- How Long do Australorps Live For?
- Are Australorp Hens Broody?
- Are Australorps Good for Meat?
- What do Australorps Eat?
- Where To Buy Australorps?
- 15 Reasons Why We Love Australorps
- 3 Reasons Why Australorps Aren’t Right for You
- Are Australorps the Right Chicken Breed for Me?
MEET THE AUSTRALORP
Where Do Australorp Chickens Come From?
Australorps are Aussie chooks! They’re Australia’s take on English Orpingtons - or should I say - they’re Australian Orpingtons…hence the name.
Australorps were developed in Australia in the 1920s. The aim was to take Mr Cook’s English Orpington – bred for its impressive size and meat yield – and develop it into a great heat-hardy, dual-purpose bird where egg production came first, and meat production was a secondary use. They nailed it!
The Australians were egg-sperimenting by match-making big-bottomed Orpingtons with egg-heavy chickens like Rhode Island Reds, Minorcas, Langshan, and possibly Plymouth Rocks.
The resulting Australorp chicken was slimmer looking than the Orpington, and better suited to hot climates, but this was mainly down to her choice of wardrobe than her actual size. Those silky slick feathers are very slimming.
Why Are They Called Australorps?
If your Austrolorp is ever naughty and you want to ‘full name’ them, then you’ll need to shout “stop that right now you naughty little Australian Utility Black Orpington’ across the yard. Not very catchy, is it?
Thankfully, the name was abbreviated to Australorp to save some us all some syllables, but you’ll sometimes still hear them referred to as Australian Orpingtons, Australs, or Australian Laying Orpingtons.
What Are Australorp Chickens Good For?
Australorps are technically dual purpose since they’re a large breed that can be used for meat and they also lay well. That said, they aren’t the best choice of chook for meat because it takes them so long to get fat enough for Sunday dinner.
I’d argue they are dual purpose: but as egg layers and perfect poultry pets.
Do Australorps Make Good Pets?
Australorps make great pets. They’re friendly❤️, manageable, easy to care for, not problematic or demanding, and they mix well with other breeds. It’s a big old thumbs up for pet potential!
Sometimes it’s nice to hear what fellow backyard birdy lovers think. A whopping 96% of Australorp owners told us they would keep the same breed again in a heartbeat. They love their ladies!
Are Australorp Chickens Friendly?
Lol! I can’t believe you asked that. Australorps are super-friendly chickens. They can start off a bit shy, bless ‘em, but I think it’s right that you should have to earn their trust. Once they know you are the chief treat giver, you’ll have a friend for life.
What do Australorps Look Like?
Australorps are big birds with a proud, upright, strut-your-sexy-stuff stance. They carry their tails and their heads high. Rightly so! They’re awesome.
Australorps are full-breasted with solid, deep bodies and red wattles, earlobes, and combs – which are held upright and shouldn’t have any more than seven points to them, ideally just five.
Their cleanly shaven legs should be black or slate blue and their skin, including the soles of their feet, should be white. They should have four toes on each foot, shiny black eyes, and dark-colored beaks.
The most common colored Black Australorp has beautiful, iridescent, close-knit black feathers which look oil-like with a greenish sheen to them, like shot silk in stunning greens and blues.
What do Baby Australorps Look Like?
Australorp chicks are cute, curious, fluffy little bundles of lovableness. They’re mainly black with some yellow or white on their ‘ickle bellies and spots on their wings.
Just to warn you, if you go ‘just to look’ at some Australorp chicks, you won’t be leaving empty handed. I mean, look at them!
How to Tell an Australorp Hen from Rooster
Want to know if you have a bloke or a Sheila?
At about 6 weeks old your Australorp chicks will enter their teenage stage (good cluck with that) and cockerels will start to grow longer wattles and combs which will be bright red. Female wattles will stay on the smaller side and their combs will stay pink.
Australorp roosters will grow larger from this point forward too and will have a longer saddle, longer tail feathers, and grow hackle feathers around their necks, shoulders, and tails.
Australorps do mature quite early, at 16-20 weeks, so you’ll know the sex of your chickens for sure by then. If your pal pops out an egg…she’s a she(ila).
How Big Are Australorp Chickens?
Australorp chickens are quite heavy birds, like their predecessors, Orpingtons, who were primarily meat birds.
Australorp males weigh 8½-10lbs when mature, and 7-8lbs as cockerels.
Australorp hens weigh 6½-9lbs when mature, and 5-7 lbs as pullets.
Can You Get Australorp Bantams?
Yes! Mini egg machines are available if you’re short on space!
- Australorp bantam roosters weigh 2-4lbs when mature and around 2lbs as cockerels.
- Australorp bantam hens weigh 1.7-4lb when mature and around 2lbs as pullets.
These lovely little ladies would have to be some of my all-time favourites! Bold statement I know! The girls I have owned have always been so incredibly calm, patient, curious and fabulous layers all year round. I just adore them.
What Colors do Australorps Come In?
In the US only the original Black Australorp is recognized officially by the American Poultry Association, but there are more varieties available to buy in the US and recognized in other countries.
Australia recognizes Black, Blue, and White Australorps, and in South Africa they also have Buff, Golden, Splash, and Wheaten laced Australorps.
Black Australorps: The original color: the epitome of the sexy black and red outfit! Black feathers with an iridescent green sheen, accessorized with red wattles and combs.
White Australorps are harder to get hold of and have snowy white plumage all over their bodies, necks, and tails. In show-land, even a tinge of yellow and they’re out! Harsh.
Blue Australorps are slate blue with dark lacing. They’re arguably the most attractive of the varieties.
Black Australorp or Black Jersey Giant?
People often mix up these two black-feathered, big-bottomed beauties. There is a simple way to be sure which breed you’re looking at though.
Black Australorps have pinky-white skin, and their feet are always white on the bottom. Black Jersey Giants have a yellowish skin tone and the bottoms of their feet are always yellow.
Black Australorp or Black Orpington?
Sometimes it’s hard to know the English ancestor from the Aussie offspring!
Both the Black Orpington and the Black Australorp have a beautiful beetle-green sheen to their black feathers, red combs, and wattles.
Orpingtons, however, have looser feathers, so they look fluffier and less defined than Australorps. Orpingtons have feathering to their legs too, whereas Australorps are clean-legged ladies.
Are Australorps Suited to Warmer Climates?
Australorps are Australian, so yes, they can handle the heat very well. They do need constant access to shade and water though, especially Black Australorps, whose feathers get frazzled fast meaning they’re more susceptible to heat stroke.
Are Australorps Cold Hardy?
Australorps are cold hardy chickens. Yep, I did just say they did great in the heat, but despite their Aussie upbringing, their large booties and compact feathers give them great insulation when they need it. They are all-weather Trevors.
Do Australorps Have Health Issues?
Australorps are healthy, hardy chickens with no specific health issues.
Australorp chickens have a simple, silky plumage, which makes for a low-maintenance hairdo and minimizes the risk of ticks and parasites. They can handle most conditions well, though Black Australorps can suffer from heatstroke if they aren’t provided with adequate shade in the hot summers. Speaking of health, do you know how to complete a hen health check on your Australorp ladies? If not, let Chickenpedia show you how. It is quick and easy, and could literally save the life of your ladies. I can’t recommend their Chicken Health Course enough.
How Long do Australorps Live For?
Australorp chickens live for 6-10 years. Compared to your average backyard chicken, that’s a decent lifespan.
The happier and healthier they are, the more years you’ll be able to enjoy their plucky personalities. So, make sure you nurture your flock with the right chicken nutrition.
How Many Eggs Do Australorps Lay?
Australorps are cracking layers and lay 250 -300 eggs🥚 a year.
According to the Livestock Conservancy, Australorps proved that they were worth their weight in eggs in 1922/1923 when six Australorp hens laid 1857 eggs in a year. That’s 309.5 eggs per hen on average, and this display of productivity is what wowed the world and launched their popularity! Orders for Australorp chicks flooded in from the US, England, Canada, Mexico, and South Africa.
What Do Australorp Keepers Say?
Wondering if that’s realistic for today’s Australorps? It certainly is! We asked 228 Australorp owners how many eggs they scooped up per hen and 61% said they could count on five eggs each week. 31% boasted a sensational six eggs each week!
Record Number of Eggs Laid by A Chicken
The record for laying the most eggs in a year is held by the White Leghorn hen that laid 371 eggs in 365 days.
The record number of eggs laid by an Australorp hen is 364 in 365 days. That’s pretty close to record stats and was achieved in a farming competition in Australia: no fancy lighting, just hard-yakka. You go girl.
How Big Are Australorp’s Eggs?
Australorp eggs are said to be medium or large and weigh in at an average of 1.8 ounce or 52 grams.
What Color Eggs Do Australorps Lay?
Australorp eggs are pale brown with dark brown speckles.
Most Australorp owners say they can bank on at least five light brown, medium-sized eggs a week. 91% of Australorp owners said they get 5 or more per week and 98% of owners said they would keep Australorps again without hesitation”
When do Australorp Hens Start to Lay?
Australorp pullets start laying earlier than most chicken breeds, at 16-20 weeks.
When do Australorp Hens Stop Laying Eggs?
Australorp hens will start to slow down egg production a little at about 4 years old, and they’ll continue to slow their rate of lay until they retire from laying at about five years old. They’re still adorable as pets though, even after their egg days are over. Remember, they are animals, so anything is possible and you can have ladies laying up to 7 years of age, but it is rare.
Do Australorps Lay in the Winter?
Australorps lay all year round. They’ll lay those eggs come rain or shine and won’t likely take a break in the winter months like some other breeds.
Are Australorp Hens Broody?
Australorps are considered to be ‘average’ in broodiness. I’m not sure any Mom should be called average, but hey ho.
Australorps are bred to lay, so broodiness has been bred out of them. It’s our fault, not theirs, if they don’t feel like sitting pretty.
Once those hatchlings peep though, even the most reluctant momma Orpingtons are smitten and they make great chick-moms.
That being said, I have had a very protective broody girl called Sapphire that I would put up there with the best of them when it came to sitting one eggs. She was extremely protective over her clutch and was a good momma when they hatched too. Breeds definitely have tendencies, but each girl is still unique.
Meet Anna the Mumsie Australorp
Anna is a 4-year-old Australorp who shares her farm with 100 other chickens. That’s right, Anna’s human has 101 chickens, so for Karin to say that her Australorp is one of the friendliest and the best mama of them all…well that’s Australorp marketing right there!
“Anna was one of our first chickens. We had her as one of eight chickens, four years ago, now we have 101! She’s always been one of our friendliest hens, and she’s our best momma. She raises at least one clutch of chicks a year.” (Karin, owner of Old Trails Farm, Washington)
Are Australorps Good for Meat?
Australorps aren’t the best chicken breed for meat production. Whilst they start laying earlier than other breeds, it takes them longer to mature and be considered table ready. Their Grandad Orpington, for example, would have been table ready in 16-24 weeks, but an Australorp takes 5-6 months.
When fully grown, an Australorp can reach a market weight of 6-9 pound or 3-4kgs. Wait too long though and the meat isn’t as tender. Timing is key!
KEEPING & CARING FOR AUSTRALORPS
Are Australorps Good with Kids?
Australorps are an eggs-eptionally good chicken choice for kids. They are so kid-friendly that they’ve found their way into the 4H scheme. They’re relaxed about being handled and friendly little souls. They’d happily become house hens and sit on the sofa with you.
Are Australorps Suitable for Beginners?
Australorps are the perfect beginner’s chicken breed. You will want more chickens after starting your chicken journey with Australorps but just remember not all breeds are as laid-back and snuggly as these lovelies!
I’d say they’re arguably the best beginner breed for egg production. They’re amongst the easiest to care for of all the best layers with the added bonus that Australorps aren’t prone to suffering from becoming egg-bound like some other prolific egg-laying chickens.
WARNING: Australorps love treats! It’s one of my top tips for getting chickens use to being handled by your kids. Make it a family affair, get the kids involved, get your dog or other pets around and hand out tasty treats like meal worms or fresh berries and corn to your hens and they will eat right out of your hands. This is one of the best and easiest ways to learn how to pick them up and handle chickens. Our friends over at Chickenpedia will teach you how to do a hen health check, so getting in early and learning how to handle your clucks is essential to being a successful chicken parent.
Do Australorps Mix Well with Other Breeds?
Australorps mix well with other chicken breeds because they aren’t at all argumentative or aggressive. They’re a calm and quiet breed, they’re not pushy, and there’s no drama. They’re just chilling out laying eggs dude.
Australorps will happily take their place in the middle of the pecking order, with the only worry being that they could be bullied by more aggressive breeds.
Are Australorp Roosters Aggressive?
Australorp roosters aren’t aggressive like other breeds. This is another reason they make for a great beginner’s bird, as finding out you have a rooster in the coop won’t be the end of the world. They still make great pets.
They don’t tend to fight over their ladies too much – but for the right girl - they can hold their own.
Are Australorps Noisy?
Australorps are said to be one of the quietest chicken breeds about. They aren’t noisy, chatty, chickens.
I feel a disclaimer is required. There are some Australorp mommas & papas who will find this statement laughable. There are always some chickens – with every breed – who have more to say than others!
How Much Space Do Australorps Need?
Australorps can tolerate smaller spaces well because they’re calm and collected, but like most big breeds, they will enjoy free-ranging and scratching for bugs and munchies in the yard. They need to stay active to stay healthy!
What do Australorps Eat?
Australorps don’t have any unique dietary requirements, and as they love to forage, you won’t need to supplement their chicken feed too much. Find out how picking the best layer feed will help your Australorp lay more eggs here.
Where To Buy Australorp Chickens?
Most good hatcheries will stock black Australorps which should cost between $2 and $5. You can get other colors, but they’ll cost you a little more. If you want a guide on what to look for when buying quality chicks, please click here.
Name Ideas for Australorp Chickens
Going to go for it? What will you call them?
Their Australian heritage makes Aussie names easy pickings. How about Harold and Madge? Scott & Charlene? Too obvious? Bouncer!?
Then there are the eggy names like Popper and Scramble, or the names that suit black chickens like Noir or Smudge. Or perhaps it’s their stunning feathers that glisten gorgeous greens and blues in the sun that leads you call them Sapphire and Emerald. It would give you an excuse to complete the collection by getting a Ruby and Diamond (Rhode Island Red & Leghorn) Check out hundreds of potential Australorp names here.
AUSTRALORPS PROS & CONS
I’m not biased (I so am) but you don’t have to be a math whizz to spot the clues here…
13 Reasons Why We Love Australorps
- Great Egg Layers
- Lay all year round
- Friendly with people
- Great for kids
- Sociable with other chicken breeds & pets
- Can tolerate the cold well
- Can tolerate the heat well
- Low maintenance
- Hardy & healthy
- Beautiful birds
- Not too broody but still good Mommas
- Early to mature for egg laying purposes
3 Reasons Why Australorps Aren’t Right for You
- Slow to mature for meat purposes
- Not the fanciest breed
- May be picked on by bolshy birds in your flock
Are Australorps the Right Chicken Breed for Me?
If you want an aggressive, noisy, sickly chicken that lays hardly any eggs and refuses to even acknowledge you when you have the cheek to feed them, then the Australorp isn’t the chicken for you. You should probably look into cranky cats or something.
If you’re looking for a chicken who delivers yummy eggs almost every day, asks for very little in return, and is easy-going and loveable, then yep! You’ve found your perfect poultry pal here.
Eggs-ellent Choice, Sheila!
Do you have your own record-breaking Austa-beaut at home?
Come on then…how many has she managed? Let’s hear your eggs-eptional Australorp egg stats…
If you were hoping to hear that Australorps are all they’re made out to be, then I hope I’ve cracked it! It’s very hard to find a reason not to become team Australorp.
Even these egg-bomb hens won’t lay if they’re not happy and healthy.
Any chicken will score your hospitality with eggs. No yummies - no eggs. No cozy coop - no eggs. Treats and fuss - lots of eggs for the nice lady.
Host the perfect poultry hotel with Chickenpedia’s egg-septional chicken-care course. From healthcare to housing and nutrition to nasty parasites, Chickenpedia has all the information, guidance, and support you’ll need to help your hen help you!