Australorp is the name of the breed, compiled from the words "Australian" and "Orlington". Australorp was bred in Australia around 1890. The basis was the black Orlington imported from England. The first australorpes were exclusively black in color. The black australorp is still the most widespread and well-known variety today.
But the Australian-born is not a purebred Orlington of the Australian line. Red Rhode Islands were used in the development of the Australorp to improve the productive qualities of Orlington from 1890 to 1900. A little later, the Menorca breed of chickens, white leghorn and Lanshan chicken were added to the Australorpes. There is even mention of an admixture of Plymouthrocks. At the same time, the English Orlington itself is also a hybrid of Menorca, Leghorns and Lanshan chickens. In other words, backcrossing was used in the breeding of Australorp.
In the photo there is a chicken and a rooster of the Crood Lanshan breed.
The resulting result was called the Australian Black Orpint at the time.
Assumptions where the name "Australorp" came from are as contradictory as attempts by poultry farmers in different countries to agree on a single standard for chickens of this breed.
Colors of australorp in the standards of different countries
In the parent country of the breed - Australia, only three colors of Australorp are recognized: black, white and blue. In South Africa, other colors are adopted: red, wheat, gold and silver. The Soviet Union at one time "decided not to lag behind" and on the basis of a black Australorp and a white Plymouth Rock, bred a new breed - "Black and White Australorp". True, in terms of exterior and productive characteristics, this breed has little in common with the original Australorp. You can even say that they have only a common name.
Description of the original breed of chickens australorp
The original Australorp is a breed of chicken meat and egg direction. Like many other breeds, the Australorp has a "twin" - a dwarf form.
Weight of original australorpes
Large form, kg
Dwarf form, kg
3,0 — 3,6
3,9 — 4,7
3,3 — 4,2
1,3 — 1,9
3,2 — 3,6
1,6 — 2,1
In the photo is a dwarf australorp.
Australorp has high egg production. In an industrial setting, they receive 300 eggs a year, but experts note that the owner of chickens of this breed should not expect more than 250 eggs in a private courtyard. In Russian conditions, with a cold winter and a short daylight hours, chickens can lay no more than 190 eggs. The average weight of eggs is 65 g. The color of the shell is beige.
Australorp hens standard
Since the standards of autralorps have not yet been clearly agreed upon, australorp chickens may differ in body structure from each other. This is well illustrated by the photos of the white and blue australorpes.
Common to all types of chickens: red combs, catkins, lobes and unfeathered dark metatarsals.
Overall impression: a massive stocky bird. The head is small, with a single crest. The beak is dark and short. The neck is set high, forming a perpendicular to the body. The neck is covered with a long feather. The chest is wide, convex, well muscled. The back and loin are wide and straight. The wings are tightly pressed against the body. The body is short and deep.
The bushy tail is set almost vertically. The rooster has short tail braids, which, together with the tail feathers, gives the impression of a bunch of feathers. In a chicken, the appearance of the tail varies greatly depending on the splendor of the plumage of the rest of the body. Sometimes the tail of chickens is almost invisible.
The tips of the toes and nails are light, the sole of the paws is white.
A blemish for the breed is whitish or white lobes.
Important! This purebred bird has very soft feathers.
Australorp hens have shorter legs than roosters and often look like feather balls. The appearance of chickens depends on the direction of their breeding: productive or exhibition. Show birds are more exotic, but unproductive.
In black australorpes, the feathers are cast in an emerald sheen. There may be light spots on the belly and under the wings of black australorpes. Interestingly, australorpus black chickens are piebald in the down stage and turn black only after molting.
Australorp three-day chicken.
Pros of the breed
High adaptability to any climatic conditions. Bred on a hot continent, the Australorp hen breed tolerates cold climates well. Chickens are quite capable of walking in the snow. But for the prosperous life of these birds in the hen house there must be 10 degrees Celsius. Resistance to summer heat in these chickens was laid even during the breeding of the breed. Calm temperament and friendly character. Australorpes don't chase other chickens. Good meat and egg performance. They fly badly. Good brood hens and hens. An adult bird is resistant to disease.
Cons of the breed
Demanding feed. With a lack of nutrients, Australorphean hens begin to "pour" eggs. This is the main reason why australorpes have not yet become widespread in private backyards. In the conditions of a subsidiary farm, it is difficult to provide chickens with a balanced diet.
The breed is relatively late maturing. Chickens ripen only by 6 months, and most often they begin to lay eggs at 8 months. Productivity drops after the first year of life.
The breeding flock usually consists of 10-15 layers and one rooster. When keeping more than one family, it must be remembered that with all the peaceful nature of this breed, roosters can fight. Moreover, males are much heavier and more active than females.
Important! When breeding, it is recommended to leave in the herd a "spare" late-maturing cockerel, corresponding to the breed standard.
In case of low reproductive capacity of the main rooster, it is replaced by a young one. A good rooster can be used for 5 years.
Australorp black and white
With the original name retained, in fact, this is a different breed of chickens. The black-and-white variety was bred at the Leningrad Institute of Poultry, crossing a black australorp with a white plymouth rock.
The result was a marbled color similar to that of other variegated breeds.
The black-and-white line has lost a lot of meat productivity. An adult chicken weighs about 2 kg, a rooster - 2.5 kg. Egg production is similar to the original Australorp: up to 190 eggs per year. The eggs are somewhat smaller. Egg weight 55 g. The shell is beige.
Description of the black-and-white line
Russian "Australians" have a small head with a medium-sized dark beak. The comb is pinkish. The color of the comb, lobes and earrings is red. The body is sleek, located at an angle of 45 ° to the horizon. In general, the black-and-white rooster gives the impression of a fragile bird. The neck is shorter than that of the parent breed and visually continues the upper line of the body.
The pectoral muscles are moderately developed. The tail is set vertically and is very similar to that of a chicken. The braids are short. The legs are longer than those of the black australorp. The color of the paws can be light or spotted. The shins are not feathered.
The skin of chickens of this breed is white. The down is light. Day-old chicks are most often yellow, but can be black or spotted.
That is, the development of an embryo in an egg laid by such a hen can begin even without fertilization by a rooster. What caused this mutation is unknown.
Pros of the black-and-white line
Chickens of this breed have good adaptability to Russian climatic conditions. Chickens do well in both outdoor and cage housing. They have a calm character. Non-aggressive. The main advantage of the breed is its resistance to pullorosis. The meat of this breed is distinguished by its high taste. Due to the white skin and a large number of white feathers, the carcasses of slaughtered chickens have a good presentation.
Feedback from the owners of both lines
Denis Zvyagintsev, s. Krasnoselie
Since we live far from all sorts of breeding farms, we ordered a black australorp hatching egg on the Internet. I liked the look of the birds very much. Well, what can I say, appearance is the main advantage of these chickens. If you need meat, it is better to use broiler strains. If eggs are needed, it is better to use egg crosses. The productivity of specially bred industrial crosses is much higher, and the "useful" lifespan is the same. In Australorp, egg production decreases in the second year of life, that is, only young birds need to be left for the next year, and Loman-Brown has fewer eggs in the second year. And it is better to feed these blackies with industrial compound feed so that the eggs are normal. And such food is expensive. But the "Australians" have a plus, of course. Firstly, a purebred bird will remain in the second year, there will be no splitting. Secondly, they are simply beautiful.
Petr Kachalov, p. Cherries
The wife promoted the purchase of Australian chickens. At first, they wanted black, but it turned out that they were difficult to get. Then they settled on the black-and-white Russian selection. The wife was even glad, they say, I love the motley ones. We bought it. The neighbors did not understand how these expensive "motley" ones differ from their free pies. Well, yes, the eggs are larger than those of outbreds, and even then not always. In general, the village did not appreciate the breed. From myself I will say that I really liked their equanimity. We have Jack Russell the dog. He loves to drive chickens, because they constantly panic. The beast was not lucky with the Russian australorpes. The chickens flatly refused to run away. And since they do not run away, then it is not interesting to drive.
In Russia, the Australian chicken has not become widespread, primarily due to the demand for feed. Even industrial compound feed can not always be of high quality, and in order to independently compile a balanced diet, you will have to get a zootechnical education. It is easier to get by with domestic unpretentious chickens. But connoisseurs of a beautiful bird are happy to give birth to black australoropus, which shine in the sun with an emerald sheen.