Australorp Chickens: Background, Temperament, Lifespan…

Australorp chickens are good birds to add on your backyard. They will do well in both hot and cold climates and are good for meat and eggs.

These chickens are a true darling of the chicken world and have some sweet qualities you can like in a chicken.

They are mellow and you don’t have to herd your curious children not to get neat an australorp rooster for fear of pecking.

Do you want to keep these black chickens? Then do not hesitate to indulge in their conversation and know more whether this is the right breed for you or not.

Let’s roll!

History of Australorp Chickens

This dual purpose breed of chicken traces its ancestry origin from Australia where they are officially recognized as the national bird.

The genesis of these chickens started when William Cook imported some Black Orpington chickens and crossed them with some Rhode Island Red brought by Joseph Partington in the 1900s.

Most chicken enthusiasts and bird hobbyists used this breeding stock and mated it with Minorca, Langshan, White Leghorn and Plymouth Rock chickens to improve on their qualities.

Back in England, Black Orpingtons were being improved to lay lots of eggs while in Australia they wanted a bird that could lays eggs and offer meat too.

The bird that was developed after mixing genes of several chicken breeds was outstanding. It could outlay all other breeds and its fame quickly spread like wild fire.

In 1923, six Australorp hens broke the record by laying a total of 1857 eggs in a span of 365 days. The following year, a single hen laid 364 eggs.

How could such amazing news not catch the headlines? This bird won the contest because she laid those eggs without extra lighting.

Years that followed these chickens were widely kept because of their egg laying ability. They were crossed with White Leghorn in 1930s to create an Austra White an egg laying machine.

Today, they are available in different color varieties like Black, Blue and White. The APA recognizes the black color variety while the other three are recognized by the Australian Poultry Society.

Characteristics of Australorp Chickens

These chickens are large and heavy birds but cannot outweigh a Jersey giant chicken. Australorp roosters weigh 8.5-10lbs while the hens weigh 6.5-8lbs.

These chickens should have black feathers all over their bodies. They have a large single comb with 7 well-marked peaks on it.

The combs, wattles and earlobes are red in color. Their beaks are short and strong and are of a black color just like their eyes.

Australorp chicken legs should be clean and free from any feathers, black or slate bluish in color. On each foot, there are four well-spaced toes with short claws.

The under feet are white in color so is the body skin. Their breasts are full and well-rounded while the tails are held high at an angle.

These chickens are not noisy and will do well when raised on urban setting.

Temperament and Hardiness

Are Australorp chickens cold hardy?

These chickens are calm, cool and friendly. They do not exhibit rowdiness like other chicken breeds and will not cause any harm to your kids.

Australorps will not mind coming to you for tasty treats like apples, strawberries and those tasty dried mealworms.

They will love to give you company and keep close to you as you carry on with your daily chores. The girls are cuddly and will sit on your lap or come to your bed for a nap.

Since these chickens are calm, they will do well when integrated with others of the same temperament. They are on the middle of the pecking order so expect them not to be pushy.

They are said to glide on the backyard because they are excellent foragers although they can tolerate confinement pretty well.

Free ranging is a good idea for me because they will collect most of their food out there. This helps lower the cost of feeding then unlike when in chicken cages.

Take care how long you keep your Australorp chicken indoors because they are prone to obesity. Let her out to utilize the sun and exercise to burn those calories.

Australorp chickens are both cold hardy and heat tolerant. They were developed on the hot climate region of Australia and have made their way to the States where the weather is very cold.

On hot days, these chickens are going to have a rough time under the sun. Their black coats will absorb more heat and they will suffer from heat stress.

More shaded areas and cold water will be a good way to keep chickens cold during summer when it is very hot.

Egg laying and Uses

These chickens have been widely raised for the high number of eggs they are able to lay. The modern Australorp hens do not lay like their ancestors but are still good egg birds,

Female Australorp chickens begin to lay when they are four months old. When they reach this age they are sexually mature to mate and the pullets prefer to hang around nesting areas.

The hens are faithful layers of 250 eggs per year translating this to around 5eggs per week. Their eggs are medium in size with a light brown egg shell.

However, when raised on a commercial setting, they are coerced to lay more eggs because they are provided with extra light.

Australorp hens will get broody, sett and once they hatch, make sweet chicken mothers. Chicks and chickens for sale can be bought from reputable chicken hatcheries or from dedicated chicken breeders.

These chickens are large in size and will offer much meat enough for a big family. They have a white skin and will call for a good chicken plucker to remove all the black pin feathers.

Australorp Chickens Lifespan

Most chicken breeds have a lifespan of 5-8 years. However this period tends to be shorter for most egg laying machines like Cinnamon queens chickens.

Australorp chickens being one of the most prolific egg laying chickens are likely not going to live for long. Because they will lay lots of eggs, their bodies will be exhausted within a short period of time.

This does not mean that these chickens cannot live for long. After they are done laying some enthusiasts will rush to rescue them and make them pets before they are sent to slaughter houses.

Even after they are done laying as expected, these chickens will continue to lay though only a few eggs per week.

However, that Australorp rooster raised as a pet will live for long. Most chicken pets are raised in a very special way thus, lengthening their lifespan.

Health Issues

Australorp chicken is a healthy, strong and robust bird. This breed is hardy doing well in both hot and cold climate zones.

However, those that are raised on cold areas will have a hard time during winter. Their large combs and featherless feet will suffer from frostbites.

To ensure they are safe, device a mechanism to keep chickens warm during winter. In addition to this, hot summer days will be a recipe for heat stress because of their dense fluffy plumage.

When hot, provide enough shaded areas and fill their water troughs with clean cold drinking water to cool their bodies.

Infestation by chicken lice and mites is another serious threat. However, putting small amounts of diatomaceous earth in their dirt bath will help kill these parasites.

Gape worms and thread worms in chickens are a challenge too. Chicken worm infestation can be solved by consulting a qualified bird vet on the best chicken wormer to administer.

Other notable challenges can be egg eating, feather picking, cannibalism and aggressive mating behavior where the ratio of roosters surpasses that of hens.

Why choose these chickens?

Australorps are good birds if you want to raise some for the show. They make good house pets only if you do not mind buying some chicken diapers for your girls.

They love company and will even love it when you swim with them on that hot summer day to help cool their bodies down.

This breed is a good dual purpose breed of chicken that will offer enough meat and lay lots of eggs enough for breakfast.

The hens sett well and when they hatch, they will raise their chicks very well. This heritage breed will mate and breed naturally without human intervention.

Australorp chickens are good with other hen breeds and do not bully or exhibit any rowdiness. However, they can easily get bullied when integrated with dominant breeds like Asil chickens.

These chickens are excellent at free ranging although they tolerate confinement pretty well. They will roam on the backyard and collect their food which will help bring down the cost of feeding them.

Tips on raising Australorps


Food is very basic to chickens just as it is to us. These chickens require a well-balanced diet for healthy growth and robust development.

Ensure your chickens get the right amount of food especially for those raised on confinement. Once in a while toss tasty treats like cracked corn, popcorn and peanuts to help supplement their diet.

For the laying hens, a calcium rich diet is very good for the development of strong and healthy egg shells.

Crushed egg shells and oyster shells are a good source of calcium for chickens. Do not forget that these birds have no teeth and will need chicken grit to help grind down food in the gizzard.

Australorp chicks will need good quality chick starter feeds that have a high amount of protein at the rate of 22-24%.


Water is very important to the health of chickens. It keeps the body hydrated and all the metabolic processes take place well.

Ensure that your girls have access to clean drinking water round the clock. If the birds are many, have multiple chicken waterers just to make sure they all get an equal chance to drink.

During the cold weather, every single drop will freeze and your hens face the risk of dehydration. Heating the chicken coop is an easy way of keeping chicken water from freezing.

In addition to this, use heated chicken waterers to keep the water in liquid form and also make it a few degrees warmer for chickens to drink.


A good chicken coop is a basic requirement for your Australorp chickens. It will provide them with security from dangerous predators like possums and chicken eating bears.

Chickens living in a good shelter will not have to face bad weather like winters and harsh rain storms that are sometimes very common.

It is in the coop where your chickens will lay eggs and brood their chicks. A good chicken coop should have dry bedding preferably made of straw, sand or pine shavings.

It should be well ventilated to allow movement of air in and out freely and prevent any dampness from occurring.

The doors should be big enough so that chickens will enter and exit well without congestion. An automatic coop door will help open and close to make sure they are safe even when you are away.

Make sure there are enough roost bars and nesting boxes to avoid unnecessary congestion and chaos when the hens are laying.


This is the general management your chickens need from you to ensure they are living a decent life. It is not much but it shows concern to your flock of chickens.

Check on them regularly to tell when they are sick before things go out of control. If they need medical care, call a bird vet near you for treatment.

Sometimes raising roosters together ends up in confrontations and serious fights. This is very common during mating where there is a fierce for females.

Separate roosters and if possible, a single cock should mate with 10 hens. Rooster spurs will at times get longer hindering proper walking so regularly clip them short.

Final Thoughts

Australorp are a good dual purpose breed to add on your backyard. The roosters are predator savvy and will on the lookout just in case there are predators around.

They will lay lots of eggs enough for your family and even have some to sell to your neighbors. These chickens are heavy and expect them not to be flightily like Hamburg chickens are.

Having these chickens nothing from your kitchen will go into waste. They will eat those scraps and leftovers that you call waste.

Do you have some Australorps? Tell us more about them.

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