Even if you are fond of chickens, you may not have heard about Australorps. It’s a somewhat rare breed, but one worth learning about! Here is a brief look at this chicken, and why you might want to include them in your coop.
The Australorp is a large, black chicken with very shiny feathers. In the sun their plumage can take on a greenish sheen that is quite pretty. They are commonly mistaken for a Black Jersey Giant, but they differ in both size and the color of the bottoms of their feet. The Australorp is smaller, averaging 6-7 pounds for hens and 7-9 pounds for roosters. They also has a pinkish-white color to the bottom of their feet as opposed to the Jersey Giants, which have yellow.
Registered and recognized as a distinct breed in 1929, the Australorp was specifically bred as a dual-purpose utility chicken. What this means is that it was meant to provide farmers with both meat and eggs. It was bred from English Orpington breed stock, which is how it got its odd name.
This breed is renowned for its prolific egg laying. Rumor has it that one hen set a record by laying 364 eggs in 365 days. The record is under dispute, but one thing is not: hens of this breed that are happy will typically lay anywhere from 250-300 eggs per year, which means they keep laying in winter! The eggs are a pretty light brown and will be medium to large in size.
This breed has added value as a meat bird. The Australorps hen is generally an excellent brooding hen, which means it will readily sit on a clutch of eggs and take good care of the chicks. Any extra roosters or laying hens can be used to put food on your table!
Besides being great meat and egg providers, this breed has a truly wonderful temperament. They are very friendly, a little shy, and so completely docile that they are often kept as pets! If you think they might be too heavy for your kids to pick up, look for the bantam version of the breed.
This is really an excellent breed to choose no matter what your needs might be. They are exceptionally winter-hardy, great layers, brooders, and good meat birds. Another bonus is that they do not generally like to fly too high, so you can keep them in a fenced area without worrying about them escaping.
So where can you get some of these wonderful birds? Check the Internet for reliable hatcheries. Typically a hatchery will send day-old chickens via mail (as a perishable item). Check to be sure that if you order fewer than ten chicks that they are shipped with heat packs. They will not need food and water for the first few days because they will have all their nourishment from their time inside the egg. Make sure that you will be available to pick them up as soon as they arrive! Follow the instructions from the hatchery and you will be able to enjoy this amazing breed of chicken for years to come!
St. James Annual Crab Feed
Join us on Saturday April 29 at 6:30pm for our annual Crab Feed! We'll have all you can eat crab, chicken, appetizers, pasta, salad, garlic bread, drinks & dessert! Adult tickets are $55, Kids 12 & under are $25*Reserve a table of 10 & get a FREE bottle of wine!