Want a chicken that has actually won awards for the number of eggs that is able to lay? Well, the Australian Australorp Chicken may tickle you fancy.
Shall we take a little look at why the Australorp makes a perfect chicken for backyard owners?
Australorp Chicken Characteristics at a Glance
|Eggs||250 eggs per year|
|Use||Eggs + Meat (dual Purpose)|
|Weight||Male Standard: 7-9 lb (3.20-4.10 kg) |
Male Bantam: 34-43 oz (960-1230 g)
Female Standard: 4.9-6.8 lb (2.25-3.1 kg)
Female Bantam: 27.8-36.7 oz (790-1040 g)
|Country of origin||Australia|
The Origins of the Australorp Chicken
Despite the Australorp Chicken being firmly regarded as Australian, it didn’t really start the journey in that country. Although, it is fair to say that the chicken was refined in Australia.
Instead, this chicken began life in England. They came from Orpington Chicken. This, in turn, ended up being crossed with the Rhode Island Red. A lot more chickens were added to the mix over the years, although nobody really knows what.
There were so many people trying to refine this breed that we ended up with a lot of chickens contributing to that pie. However, the result was the Australorp Chicken, which is probably one of the most popular chicken breeds in the world.
The breed name came by combining the words Australia and Orpington.
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The Look of the Australorp chicken
The Australorp can be found in both Bantam and normal sizes with single comb type. It can also be found in three colors:
- black Australorp
- blue Australorp
- white Australorp
(well, technically there are more, but only three are officially recognized in Australia).
They are a soft feather heavy breed (males can reach up to 9 pounds in size!), which demonstrates their original purpose.
This was to be a good dual-purpose breed. Although, they very quickly became used for their egg-laying capabilities. To be honest, the chicken doesn’t look drastically different from the standard Orpington or Rhode Island Red.
This was a chicken bred for practicality, not for looking fantastic (although, it does arguably look really fantastic!)
Australorp Chicken Eggs
We can’t think of a single chicken that has the ability to lay as many eggs per year as the Australorp chicken. Seriously. On average, the hen will give you around 250 brown shell eggs.
While we do not think this is a verified ‘world record’, we have heard some mutterings that an Australorp hen currently holds the record for eggs laid.
One Australorp hen was able to pump out 364 eggs in a year! We doubt that your chicken would ever be able to lay that amount, but a good three hundred certainly wouldn’t be outside of the realms of possibility, surely?
Obviously, when your chickens are laying this many eggs, we probably do not need to tell you that it is going to be laying them year around. This is one of only a few chicken breeds that seems to be able to continue to lay eggs, even through molting. So, it has that going for it.
If you could introduce a couple of these chickens into your flock, then we have no doubt that you are going to be rolling in more eggs than you need. Three or four hens is probably enough to keep a family stocked up on eggs for a good few years.
Raising Australorp as a Meat Breed
Let’s not forget that the Australorp chicken was originally devised to be a dual purpose bird. Even now, it is still one of the heaviest of all the chicken breeds.
This means that it is going to be fantastic when it comes to meat production. However, outside of a few of the Australorp roosters, this breed isn’t really used commercially for meat production nowadays. Let’s be honest on this one for a second.
If you have a chicken that is pumping out eggs in the quantity that the Australorp does? Do you really want to slaughter it? We are probably going to say; no.
That being said, if you are a backyard chicken owner that is looking for a good dual purpose breed, then know that it is going to be a good meat producer later on down the line.
Read more about Best chickens for meat.
Personality – Is the Australorp the Right Chicken For You?
The Australorp is a large chicken. They are active, yet gentle. We don’t know if you have much experience with larger chicken breeds, but you will often find that it is the larger chickens that are the most friendly to be around.
We probably wouldn’t recommend the Australorp chicken for those who want to get up personal with their flock. Some people have reported this chicken breed as a little bit on the skittish side.
But, for those who want a chicken that does well in both cold and heat, is not going to be scared of you, and not cause issues with the other chickens that you already have, then we reckon that this chicken is going to be a safe bet for you.