Australorps are egg laying machines. Their friendly, docile nature also makes them great pets. If you are looking for a hen with both features, you simply cannot do much better than Australia’s national breed.
Australorps are large, black birds with bright red combs and wattles, though strains of white and blue (slate gray) Australorps also exist. They were developed in Australia from Black Orpington stock (hence the name, which is short for Australian Orpington). Their genetic lineage also includes Minorca, Langshan, and White Leghorn. They were bred in Australia as a dual purpose breed (for eggs and meat), but their egg laying capabilities quickly made headlines.
In the 1920s, a group of Australorps set a world record by producing an average of 309.5 eggs in the course of a year. A single Australorp hen later set an individual record by producing 364 eggs in 365 days. What may have been a regional or national breed was quickly shipped all around the world. Today, Australorps are fairly common in backyards and easy to find locally.
Large hens range from about 7-9 pounds
Generally: Jet black feathers and bright red combs and wattles. Feathers have an iridescent green or violet sheen in bright sunlight.
Blue: Slate gray feathers, usually with a darker neck.
White: Plumage is all white.
Hens lay at a prolific rate, usually 5 eggs per week. Eggs are large and brown.
Friendly, quiet, and docile.
If you have a mixed flock, these birds usually get along quite well with other types of chickens.
Here is a picture of a typical Australorp hen followed by a shot of an Australorp chick.