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Black Australorp Chicken Origin and Characteristics

The Black Australorp chicken is one of the most popular imported chicken breeds in the Philippines and in this article we are going to clear some misunderstandings and misconceptions and give you details information all about the Black Australorp chicken breed.

Black Australorp
A Pair of Black Australorps

Black Australorp History and Origin

Black Austyralorp is one controversial chicken breed due to its complex origin. The original stock used in the development of the Australorp was imported to Australia from England out of the Black Orpington yards of William Cook and Joseph Partington in the period from 1890 to the early 1900s with Rhode Island Red. Local breeders used this stock together with judicious out-crossings of Minorca, White Leghorn, and Langshan blood to improve the utility features of the imported Orpingtons. There is even a report of some Plymouth Rock blood also being used. The emphasis of the early breeders was on utility features. At this time, the resulting birds were known as Australian Black Orpingtons (Austral-Orp), and later standardized as “Australorp”. To make it simple, the original Black Australorp is a cross or mixture of two or more birds namely Black Orpington, Rhode Island Red, Langshan, and Plymouth Rock.

Black AustralorpPhysical Characteristics

Australorp has three recognized colors according to the Australian Poultry Standard: black, white, and blue. White Australorps have been recorded since 1949 but they were only recognized in the second edition of the Australian Poultry Standards in 2011. The Poultry Club South Africa recognizes four further colors: buff, splash, wheaten laced, and golden

Of all colors, Black Australorp is the most popular in the US, Australia, the Philippines, and anywhere in the world. Aside from color difference, Australorps have the same physical characteristics as follows.

Weight

  • Male:Large: 3.20 to 4.10 kg
  • Bantam: 0.96 to 1.23 kg
  • Female:Large: 2.250 to 3.10 kg
  • Bantam: 0.79–1.04 kg

Other Physical Characteristics

  • Skin color:White
  • Egg color: Light Brown
  • Comb type: Single

Difference Between Black Australorp and Black Jersey Giant

Black Australorps and Jersey Giants are often mistaken by some people who are less familiar with both chicken breeds. Although Jersey Giants are huge, some look like Black Australorps.

The Australorp has white skin. The shanks and toes are dark slate. The undersides of the feet are pinkish-white to grayish. The Jersey Giant’s skin is yellow. The shanks and toes are black to dusky yellowish-green. The undersides of the feet are yellow.

Australorps chicks have different colors as well. They have yellowish-white from the neck down the breast and white wingtips until around 2 months. Jersey Giant chicks have almost the same color but are lighter and have yellowish and black shanks and legs. 

An Australorp hen lays large eggs with tinted (light brown to pink) shells. An Australorp hen’s rate of lay for the first year or two ranges between 200 and 280 eggs annually. According to the Livestock Conservancy, an Australorp hen once set a world record by laying an amazing 364 eggs in 365 days. Being good layers, excellent foragers, and a dark color that reduces the chance of attracting predators, Australorps are popular for pastured egg production.

A Jersey Giant hen lays extra-large eggs with brown to dark brown shells. The average production rate ranges from 175 to 185 eggs per year, although Jersey Giants bred specifically for production lay somewhat better. Hens in Cackle Hatchery’s production-bred line may lay as many as 260 eggs per year.

Misconception and Disinformation

As its history states, Australorps, particularly the Black Australorp (BA) are developed in Australia therefore it is an original Australian breed. There is no US, UK, Italian, or whatever breed of Australorp except for those coming out of Australia. Like the Rhode Island Red (RIR) which was developed in the USA, there is no UK line. Those Australorps that are said to be from Italy are just marketing hype of people who are trying to make a difference by giving their birds different identification to dictate the price. Whether it is coming from Australia, the UK, the US, or anywhere in Europe including France and Italy, it is still an Australorp. There is no such thing as the UK line, the US or American line, or the Italian line of Australorp. All of them originally came from Australia. 

Black Australorp in the Philippines

Black Australorp is among the three most popular imported heritage breeds in the Philippines. The two others are Rhode Island Red (RIR), and barred Plymouth Rock (BPR). The price of a day-old chick Australorp may depend on the availability in certain parts of the Philippines, and how much the seller is asking. Usually, the price of BA fertile eggs ranges from P30 to P60. Others are selling at P70 which is already a bit high. For chicks, a day-old can cost between P150 to P250, again, depending on supply and demand. You can check the updated price here and where to buy Black Australorp in the Philippines.

Record-holder in Egg Production

It was the egg-laying performance of Australorps that attracted world attention when in 1922–1923 a team of six hens set a world record by laying 1857 eggs for an average of 309.5 eggs per hen during a 365 consecutive day trial. These figures were achieved without the lighting regimens of the modern intensive shed. Such performances had importation orders flooding in from England, the United States of America, South Africa, Canada, and Mexico. Well-looked-after Australorps lay approximately 250 light-brown eggs per year. A new record was set when a hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days. They are also known to be good nest sitters and mothers, making them one of the most popular large heritage utility breeds of chicken.

Until today, this record has not been broken even by genetically-developed layers like Dekalb, Lohmann, and other laying breeds.

Common Questions Related to Black Australorps

What color eggs do black Australorps lay?

To this day, Black Australorps are still one of the best light brown egg layers of all the heavy breeds. Black Australorps have glossy black feathers with a greenish-purple sheen and large red combs

Are Black Australorps friendly?

Australorps are a very gentle-natured, docile breed that becomes attached to their owners as much as you will to them! They are extremely calm and are a delight in any urban or acreage backyard – they are also great for families with children because they are so tame.

Do black Australorps sit on eggs?

Black Australorps occasionally go broody – that is they start to sit on their eggs. It is more a trait of 2-year-olds than 1-year-olds. They are likely to start sitting on a batch of eggs, and then tire of the process and abandon the clutch of eggs before they are hatched.

At what age do black Australorps start laying?

The hens will start laying large brown eggs at around 5 to 6 months of age.

What age can you butcher Australorp?

First, they take a long time to reach maturity. Whereas it will take a meat breed like the Cornish Cross, for example, to reach butchering size in 8 weeks, it takes Black Australorps 6 months to reach their full size.

Can black Australorp chickens fly?

Australorps are very docile, calm chickens who are affectionate towards their chicken keepers. They’re also a heavy breed, weighing in at around 3-4kgs, therefore they struggle to fly.

Are Australorp chickens noisy?

It is a delightful, quiet bird to have in your flock. They aren’t flighty or noisy, are cold hardy, make good flock-mates, and lay an abundance of delicious eggs… Who could want more? If you have Australorps, we would love to hear from you.

How long do Australorps live?

Australorps are a very gentle-natured, docile breed that can become very attached to their owners. They are calm and a delight in any urban or acreage backyard – they are also great for families with children because they are so tame. Australorps live approximately 6 to 10 years.

What do you feed a black Australorp?

You should use crumbles or mash for chicks because it is easier for them to eat. Once they reach sixteen weeks you can begin to transition them to a 16% protein layer feed. At sixteen weeks they will be able to handle pellet feed if you want to change them over from crumble.

Can you eat Australorp roosters?

Australorps as Meat Chickens (Table Birds) Although initially bred as layers, the Australorp is considered one of the best chicken breeds for the table, being rated as having a Moderate-High “table value”. With its great level of meat production, Australorp Roosters are very popular among hobby farmers.

How do I know if my black Australorp is pure?

Their faces should be smooth and feather free. Their beaks and eyes are dark, the eyes preferably black, and their legs are slate-blue grey or black. The only part of Australorps that isn’t black or red is the underside of their feet which is pinkish-white.

How much space does a black Australorp need?

What is this? The main difference that Black Australorps have in their care is that they need a little extra space due to their larger size. If they have to stay in an enclosed pen and cannot free-range, you will probably want to provide about 8 square feet of space in a pen per bird for these chickens.

Are Australorp chickens good for the backyard?

Australorps are known for being great layers and can produce up to 300 light-brown eggs per year. They are docile which makes them easy for any family member to look after. While these chooks are a little on the heavy side, they can still thrive and live happy lives in small backyard environments.

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