Australorp Chicken Breed Guide: Origin, Weight, Meat / Egg Production and More

Australorp Chicken Breed Guide: Origin, Characteristics, Weight, Egg Production and More

The name Australorp may sound familiar to you, and you’re right. The Australorp chicken breed was developed in Australia and is very famous for laying more than 300 eggs in a single year! That’s almost one egg every day! So if you are into high-volume egg production, this family-friendly chicken breed may be the one you have been looking for. But don’t get too excited yet. Just like other chicken breeds, Australorps also have some drawbacks. Although they are only a few of them, you should still know how to handle them. So if you are eager to know more about this great-laying chicken breed, this comprehensive guide has everything you need.

The Origin of Australorp Chicken Breed

Australorps’ colorful history started back between 1890 and 1900. During those years, some Black Orpington chickens from the backyard of William Cook and Joseph Partington in England were brought to Australia. At that time, the Black Orpingtons were already refined for producing high-quality chicken meat. On the other hand, the Australian breeders only wanted to have a breed with superb egg-laying skills.

The Black Orpington chickens were then crossbred with the other breeds such as Minorca, Rhode Island Red, Langshan, and White Leghorn. One day, the Aussie breed developers realized that Black Orpington and Rhode Island Red are of good combination. The result was not only successful. They have created a unique, prolific egg-laying chicken. And that’s how the first Australian Black Orpington chick was born!

From 1922 to 1923, several egg-laying contests were held and all the competitors were Australian-bred Orpingtons. An Australorp hen laid 347 eggs in 365 days, while another one laid 354 eggs in just one year. But wait, here comes the real winner – an Australorp hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days!!! It set a new world record for a hen laying the most number of eggs in 1 year! And take note, they did not need help from artificial lighting!

In 1929, the American Poultry Association (APA) has recognized the Black Australorp as a standard breed. During the same year, the Australorp breed was admitted to the Standard of Perfection, used by the judges of the American Poultry Association during contests and exhibitions. On the other hand, the Australian Poultry Standards has already recognized the three color variants – black, blue, and white.

By the mid-1920s, this new chicken breed was introduced to the rest of the world and was welcomed with open arms. Shortly after, the chickens were sent back to England while some of them were brought to the United States. Other names were called to the breed, such as Australs and Australian Laying Orpingtons. However, they realized that the new breed would better be called Australorp (Short for Australian and Orpington).


Characteristics of Australorp Chickens

As mentioned above, the Australorp breed has been recognized by the Australian Poultry Standards in three different color varieties:

  • the original glossy black
  • the blue one with blue-gray feathers which is quite rare
  • and the White Australorp which is not so popular and can be thought of as a crossbreed with a White Leghorn

Nevertheless, the Australorp black version is the only one being recognized by APA’s Standard of Perfection. There were other newer colors but are not being recognized as the primary ones because of their breeding considerations. One of them is dubbed as “Splash,” which has mixed colors of gray and white, and some noticeable sprinkles of blue.

This unique variation is actually the result of two blue Australorps. Their chicks may also have different splashes. Other colors but are not well-known include golden and buff which are usually seen in South Africa.

Apparently, some people get confused with some physical similarities between the Black Orpington and the Black Australorp. But if you will take a closer look, you will notice that Black Orpington is bigger.

This is probably because Orpington was developed for meat consumption, while Australorp is a record-holder in terms of egg production. Aside from this, Australorp hens continue to lay eggs even during the winter season.

All Australorp color variations have dark beaks, jet-black eyes, and close-fitting black feathers which give off beetle green sheen when spotted by sunlight. They have an upright comb, which is as red as their wattles and earlobes.

Their heavyweight body is very upright and has a well-rounded breast, while their tails are astonishingly high. Each foot has four toes, while their featherless legs can either be black or blue.  Below is the photo of black Australorp chicks.

Black Australorp Chicks


How Heavy are Australorp Chickens?

The Australorp is a medium-sized breed, where males Australorp weigh is between 8 and 9 pounds (7 to 4.10 kilos) while females can weigh between 5 and 7 pounds (2.25 to 3.15 kilos). Pullets and cockerels are about 1 pound lighter than their adult versions.

Interestingly, this Australian-originated breed also has a bantam version. The male bantams weigh about 3-4 pounds (1.3-1.8 kilos), while the female ones weigh about 2-4pounds (0.9-1.8 kilos). Their pullet and cockerel versions are about 2 pounds only.

How do Australorp Chickens Behave?

Despite having an intimidating appearance, black Australorp’s docile behavior is well-loved by children! In fact, you can carry and cuddle them without the fear of being pecked. They are not aggressive, not unless they sense the presence of danger or predators.

Noted to be one of the friendliest chicken breeds, this dual-purpose breed is quiet but very sociable and is very unlikely to be in trouble with other breeds. On the contrary, they are the ones that are likely to get bullied by those more aggressive breeds.

However, they may sometimes peck a chicken that you are holding. But no need to worry, they can just feel a bit of jealousy. You just need to show them that you are fair and that you are not favoring any of them.

Australorp can also easily handle noise and fuss, and therefore you don’t have to worry once you present them in front of a huge crowd during contests and exhibitions. This super-friendly breed does have complaints if you confine them. But still, they will enjoy more when free-range.

This Australian breed is also very energetic, thus making them be great foragers, too. No wonder, they can live from about 6 to 10 years provided. But obviously, it will happen if you don’t give them proper care.


Are Australorp Chickens Heat Tolerant or Cold Hardy?

In general, Australorp chickens are cold hardy pets and do well even during winter seasons. No wonder, their lay eggs most of the days in the year in any kind of weather.

On the other hand, these gentle but excellent egg layers are not so tolerant during hotter days. They tend to be more susceptible to heatstroke as compared to other breeds. Their heat-sensitive feathers will remind you that they need access to shades.


What and How Should You Feed Australorps?

Feeding Australorps is almost similar to feeding other breeds. You should provide starter feed to the baby chicks once they start eating. Don’t give them chicken scratch yet. Otherwise, they might suffer from diarrhea.

Ideally, you should switch to growing feed when your chicken reaches 8-10 weeks of age. But because Australorp chicks grow faster than other breeds, you may try giving them early. And don’t forget to give them fresh, clean water.

Adult Australorps love to roam around the backyard and are good foragers. They can easily find worms, bugs, and seeds. Use this opportunity to give them less chicken scratch. However, make sure they are free from parasitic diseases.

That being said, Australorp hens can start laying eggs as early as 16 weeks of age. At this stage, you should already give them laying feed. Although they are known to be egg-laying machines, lack of calcium in the feed will give you positive results.


Black Australorps Egg Production

Black Australorps Egg Production

Australorp hens are world record holders! On average, they can lay 250 eggs a year. This is equivalent to 4 to 5 eggs a week! Well, weekends are probably their rest days. And let’s not forget, they also go into molting period to renew their feathers.

These illustrious ladies can start laying eggs as young as 16 weeks old. That’s 6-8 weeks earlier than the average age of other egg-laying hens! That’s because they grow faster than the other breeds. Incubating their eggs also does not need too much heat.

Australorp eggs are light-brown, medium-sized, and have white skin. Unlike their Black Orpington counterpart; Australorps are less likely to get broody while you may prefer if you are into egg production. The black australorp egg color is light brown.


Are Australorps Good for Meat Production?

While Australorps are very fond of laying eggs, this heritage breed is not officially a meat bird, unlike the Black Orpington. Nevertheless, their meat production is at an above-average level. Their meat is tender and tasty, but you may have to wait for 6 months before they reach their full weight.

However, you can start slaughtering them once they reach 16-18 weeks of age.

In general, Australorp broilers require less feed in a free-range system. This means that they also great money-savers.


Do Australorps Have Health Issues?

Generally speaking, Australorps have almost no health issues as they are both hot-tolerant and cold-hardy birds especially if you provide them with a balanced diet and enough sunlight. But again, their black feathers will require you to provide shade to avoid heatstroke during summer.

Australorp chickens need no special care and attention. But just like other breeds, they are prone to diseases if you don’t give them the necessary vaccinations when they were still young. Deworming them regularly is a must. Here are some of the most common diseases among chickens:

  • Avian Influenza
  • Botulism
  • Bumblefoot
  • Coccidiosis
  • Fowl Cholera
  • Fowlpox
  • Gumboro
  • Infectious Bronchitis
  • Infectious Coryza
  • Marek’s Disease
  • Newcastle Disease
  • Salmonellosis


How to Take Care of Australorps?

As mention earlier, Australorps have no special needs. Just like other breeds, they should always be protected against parasites and predators. Their coop should have proper ventilation and not overcrowded.

The Australorp breed is not exempted from the annual molting period, or the time of the year when they will replace their feathers naturally. This usually starts when they are 18 weeks of age. During this period, they may not lay eggs as many as they usually do so don’t force them to. Instead, give them the extra attention they need.

The ideal space for average-sized chickens inside a coup is 3-4 square feet per chicken, while free-range chickens need about 8-10 square feet in the run. But because the Australorp breed is huge and heavy, you would want to give them more space.

If you want to get the most of their superb egg-laying ability, make sure their nesting boxes are spacious enough comfortable to sit on. But more importantly, give them enough water and maintain a clean environment.


Australorp Breed Pros and Cons

Now, you may be wondering. Given the fact that Australorps have almost all the wonderful characteristics of a chicken, what possible disadvantages that they can have?

Well, here are some of them, along with a summary of their advantages.


Advantages of Rasing Australorp

  • Australorps are not only friendly to humans but to other animals, too. So if you have cats, dogs, or other poultry animals, you’ll have no issues mixing them.
  • You also have nothing to worry about when it comes to pecking order because they are likely to be in the middle. Therefore, you’ll find them easier to introduce to your existing flock.
  • Both roosters and hens are typically quiet. They only tend to be noisy once they see predators.
  • Australorp hens start early when it comes to laying eggs. This means you are likely to enjoy your ROI (Return on Investment) earlier, too.
  • On top of being the best brown egg layers and producers of high-quality eggs, Australorps are excellent mothers, too.
  • Just like the Orpingtons, Australorps also don’t fly high. Therefore, you only need to build low fences which are easier to make.
  • Australorps have this ability to adapt whether in confinement or free-range, making them ideal in backyards and urban settings.
  • Being cold-hardy birds, they also have fair tolerance against hotter days as long you provide them with sufficient shade.
  • They are very easy to manage, making them ideal also for beginners.

Disadvantages of Rasing Australorp

  • If you are expecting to have broody hens, their performance is somehow unreliable.
  • Black Australorps are not so much available outside Australia, Europe, and in the US. So if you’re living in Asia and you want to raise them, you’ll probably have a hard time having them.
  • Unfortunately, there is also a shortage of blue and white varieties.
  • Their incapability of flying high makes them difficult to escape from bigger predators.

As you can clearly observe, the cons are very minimal are not of huge concern.



Australorps are truly impressive in terms of egg production, meat production, and temperament. Their versatility when it comes to weather is a great money saver. Although chickens tend to slow down in laying eggs as they grow older, Australorp hens optimize their ability during their peak period.

No wonder, many chicken farmers agree that this dual-purpose breed is a true champion and Jack of all trades. Raising this Australorp breed is worth your time and money, whether your purpose is to have them as pets or as a source of income. But still, it will depend on how you raise them.




About Us

Breeding Chickens is a free guide to raising and breeding chickens. We cover every topic related to chicken like incubation, taking care of baby chickens, feeding guide, chicken diseases and how to prevent them, designing a chicken house, chicken breeding, and a lot more. We publish an article regularly so please don't forget to subscribe to our mailing list.

error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top