Due to their friendly nature, great laying ability and adaptations to Australian demands and climate, Australorps are fantastic additions to any backyard poultry set-up. They are prolific egg producers, easy to house and are fantastic birds for young families. For these reasons, Poultry Australia would not hesitate to recommend this fantastic breed!
Good egg production
Good meat production
Cold climate hardy: Yes
Rare breed: No
Colour: Light brown
Quantity: 4-6 eggs/hen/week
Australorps are an Australian native breed. Their name ‘Australorp’ is derived from and is a shorter version of ‘Australian black Orpington’. As this suggests, they were developed in Australia from black Orpingtons. However, at the time that Australorps were being developed, Australian farmers wanted a good dual-purpose bird, like the Orpington, but with a greater emphasis on egg production. As a result of breeding Orpingtons with Rhode Island Reds, Langshans and white Leghorns, the Australorp was created. The hopes of increasing egg production exceeded expectations - currently, an Australorp holds the record for the most eggs laid in 365 days, with a grand total of 364!
Australorps are of decent size, weighing 3-4kg (hens ~ 3.1kg; roosters ~ 3.9kg). However, bantam varieties, weighing 0.7-1.2kg (hens ~ 0.85kg; roosters ~ 1.1 kg), are also available. While it may not be realistic to expect 364 eggs a year from Australorps, they can be expected to produce 250-300 medium-large light brown eggs per year. In terms of appearance, there are black, white and blue Australorps, with back being the most common and blue being relatively rare. While there aren’t excessive colour varieties, the soft feathers of Australorps are beautiful and glisten with greenish tones in sunlight.
The popularity of Australorps has made a comeback over recent years as they make great family-friendly backyard birds. Due to their largish size, they aren’t great fliers. Therefore, their wings need not be clipped, and fencing can be relatively low. They are happy in confined spaces but enjoy foraging freely to supplement their diet with worms and grubs from the ground. While they may be initially timid and shy, they quickly warm to humans and have a genial and compassionate demeanour - making them great companions throughout their 6-10 year lifespan. Reports vary on the broodiness of Australorps, with some suggesting they rarely show broody behaviour, while others say they are often broody and are good sitters. With this in mind, whether an Australorp will go broody on you likely depends on where they are sourced from.