|Conservation status||Common (Australia), recovering (elsewhere)|
|Other names||Black Australorp, Australian Orpington|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|Dual purpose breed|
|Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus)|
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (May 2010)|
It is a large, soft-feathered bird, with white toenails, black legs and beak, and a moderately large and upright single comb, with five distinct points. The Australorp is hardy, docile, and a good egg-layer, as well as a meat bird.
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).
The origin of the name "Australorp" seems to be shrouded in as much controversy as the attempts to obtain agreement between the States over a suitable national Standard. The earliest claim to the name was made by one of poultry fancy's institutions, Wiliam Wallace Scott, before the First World War. From 1925 Wal Scott set to work to have Australorp recognized as a breed with the Poultry Society as he developed the breed. Equally as persuasive a claim came in 1919 from Arthur Harwood who suggested that the "Australian Laying Orpingtons" be named "Australs". The letters "orp" were suggested as a suffix to denote the major breed in the fowl's development. A further overseas claim to the name came from Britain's W. Powell-Owen who drafted the British Standard for the breed in 1921 following the importation of the "Australian Utility Black Orpingtons." It is certain that the name "Australorp" was being used in the early 1920s when the breed was launched internationally. In 1929, the Australorp was admitted to the Standard of Perfection.
Colours & Varieties
The Australorp, like many breeds of chicken, comes in both bantam and standard size and multiple colours.
The Australorp currently has three recognised colours according to the Australian Poultry Standard; black, white and blue. Prior to 2012 only Blue and Black were recognised but in the 2nd edition of the standard white was added. A fourth colour, splash, exists but is not regonised and is not showable. The black Australorp is the most common colour, and has glossy black feathers and a lustrous green sheen (known as beetle green). The blue Australorp has a grey-blue plumage, the white Australorp is a pure white bird and splash is a white bird with randomly spotted black and grey feathers.
It was the egg laying performance of Australorps which attracted world attention when in 1922-23 a team of six hens set a world record of 1857 eggs at an average of 309.5 eggs per hen for a 365 consecutive day trial. It must be remembered that these figures were achieved without the lighting regimes of the modern intensive shed. Such performances had importation orders flooding in from England, 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 exceptional large, heritage utility breeds of chicken.
|Cock||3.9 - 4.7 kg||8.6 - 10.3 lbs|
|Hen||3.3 - 4.2 kg||7.3 - 9.2 lbs|
|Cockerel||3.2 - 3.6 kg||7 - 7.9 lbs|
|Pullet||3.0 - 3.6 kg||6.6 - 7.9 lbs|
|Cock||1.2 kg||2.6 lbs|
|Hen||790 g||1.7 lbs|
|Cockerel||1.6 - 2.1 kg||3.5 - 4.6 lbs|
|Pullet||1.3 - 1.9 kg||2.9 - 4.2 lbs|
- "Australorp Chicken". Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- Backyard Poultry - Naturally, Alanna Moore, Bolwarrah Press, Bolwarrah, Vic, Australia, 1998. ISBN 0-9585590-1-5
- The American Standard of Perfection 1998 Edition, American Poultry Association, INC., Mendon, MA.
- The Australian Poultry Standard 1998 Edition .
- http://www.australorps.com/4.html - The Australorp Club of Australia: The Australian Poultry Standard for the Australorp.
- Australorp Club of Australia Inc — contains pictures and information on the Australian Standards.
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