We've now played with seven
varieties of chickens, and Black Australorps are currently in first or
As the name suggests,
Black Australorps were developed Down Under from
Orpington chickens at the turn of the twentieth
century. In the 1920s, Australorps became famous for laying an
of 309.5 eggs per hen per year, a figure that compares favorably with
current modern hybrids. One Australorp hen laid 364 eggs in
another year. However, most Australorps clock in closer to
an average of 250 eggs per year.
So far, I haven't been
as impressed by the egg-laying abilities of our Australorps as I'd
hoped. Compared to our Golden Comets (a hybrid egg-laying breed),
Australorp eggs seem small and not as numerous. Our pullets stopped
laying when stressed this winter, but, to be fair, I started
the pullets late in the spring and they weren't in full lay. I'll report more on how the
Australorps do in the egg department next year.
In every other way, our
Australorps have been pros. They've foraged better than any other
breed, coming in first among this year's breeds in feed
to meat ratio.
They're on the shy side, which turns out to be a positive point since
it tempts them to hunt in the woods rather than in my garden. And
the rooster is always on watch for predators but has yet to act
aggressively toward me.
Some sources suggest
that Australorps even make good mothers. We added the Cuckoo Marans to our flock for that
purpose, but would be thrilled if an Australorp hen or two decided to
set this spring.
Our chicken waterer never spills on uneven
terrain or when faced with rowdy chickens.
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