Black Australorp: Everything you need to know!

Wanting a chicken that has it all? A fantastic egg layer that’s also hardy and great for families with children? It’s hard to go past the Black Australorp as a perfect all round choice!

What a proud and stunning bird!

The Black Australorp is a favorite all rounder. There is much to love about this hardy and productive breed of chicken.

Our comprehensive and detailed overview of this breed will inform you of the characteristics of the Black Australorp chicken and enable you to decide whether they are the perfect addition to your flock.

What this article covers

This is a long article, so below are some quick links. Click any of them to go straight to that section – or just carry on reading for the full guide!

Overview of Breed Characteristics

Lifespan8+ years
Weight6.5 lb (hens) 8.5 lb (roosters)
ColorBlack, white and buff
Egg Production4-5 per week.
Egg ColorLight brown
BroodyNo
NoisyNo
Suitable for hot environmentsYes
Suitable for cold environmentsYes
Suitable for wet environmentsYes
Child friendlyYes (hens)
Cost of Chicken$4-5 per hen

 An interesting history…

In the late 1800s the Orpington breed of chicken was shipped to Australia for the first time.

The Orpingtons were then bred in Australia with other breeds such as the minorcas, leghorns and langshans with the aim of increasing egg production. What eventuated is what is now known as the Black Australorp.

The Black Australorp ended up being a better egg layer than the Orpington. In fact, the Black Australorp has won the credit for being the best laying breed.

This resulted in the Australorp being exploited as the main production hen until the 1930s.

The Black Australorp was then bred with the White Leghorn and the Austra White was created. Austra Whites then took place as the favored factory bird.

The Personality of a Black Australorp

Friendly and docile they do not mind being handled and are therefore perfectly suited around children. 

They are suited to being co-mingled with other breeds but can get picked on by breeds higher in the pecking order due to their docile nature.

They are an active and curious chicken and love to forage.

These chickens are not a noisy breed but will alert if they see a predator.

The hens make good mothers and will take care of their chicks.

They are curious and active birds.

What do Black Australorps look like?

The Black Australorp has gorgeous black feathers which show as an iridescent green with the light reflecting off them.

They sport an upright single comb, usually with seven points. Their wattles and earlobes are red and their beak is dark colored.

They have yellow legs and the soles of their feet are white. If you notice closely you will see that some hatchery Australorps have willow colored legs. This coloring will mean that they are not suitable for show birds but otherwise this trait has no significance.

They are standard sized chicken and have a solid build. They have a curved back and their tail sits at a 45 degree angle.

Females will weigh approximately 6.5 lb and males will weight approximately 8.5 lb.

You can also find them in the bantam variety.

Features of a Black Australorp include black feathers with green iridescence and a dark colored beak.

Black Australorp Coop Requirements

Like most chickens, this breed requires at least 4 square feet of coop space.

Allow 10-12 inches on the perch for each rooster. This gives some extra space for shuffling around aswell. 

A standard sized (12″x12″x12″) nesting box will fit the Black Australorp hen just fine.

One nesting box is adequate for three hens.

Due to their solid build, these chooks are not good fliers and can’t make it off the ground very far therefore coop and fence heights are not an issue.

Australorps love to forage and should be allowed to undertake this activity for their health and wellbeing. This exercise helps keep them in good shape and provides additional nutrients.

Nutrition for the Black Australorp

If you are starting with chicks then they will need a 20% protein crumble for the first 16 weeks or so. This will give them enough nutrition to thrive and grow. Crumbles or mash is the most suitable option for chicks as it’s easier for them to eat.

Once past 16 weeks a 16%-18% complete protein layer feed can be given in pellet form.

Oyster shell grits are a good source of calcium. Ensure this is provided separately and not mixed into their feed so they are not getting too much calcium.

Foraging for insects, seeds and grass should be facilitated if you have a backyard or property for them to do some free ranging. This is a great exercise for their health and wellbeing

Adequate clean, fresh water should be available to your chickens at all times.

Black Australorp chickens love foraging!

Egg Laying Characteristics of the Black Australorp

The Black Australorp is an incredible egg layer!

This breed holds the world record for egg production  of 364 eggs in 365 days!

This record was set back in the 20th century and this record still stands today. 

They reach their egg laying maturity at 16-20 weeks.

The modern Black Australorp will give 4-5 light brown eggs each week.

Health Considerations for the Black Australorp

In general the Black Australorp is a hardy and resilient breed. 

The main health issue with this breed is that they are prone to obesity if not allowed to free range enough. 

Otherwise they are only prone to lice and mites – to the same degree as other breeds of chicken.

Lice and mites can be dealt with by either using regular treatment with poultry dust or you can choose to regularly treat with chicken safe insecticides.

A natural pest deterrent that may be used is peppermint oil which helps to keep the vermin carrying lice away from the coop area as well. 

Pros and Cons

Pros 👍Cons👎
✔ Friendly and docile❌ Can get bullied by more aggressive breeds if co-mingled
✔ Suitable for families with children
✔ Can tolerate smaller spaces
✔ Resilient and hardy
✔ Great egg layer
✔ Not overly broody

 Shopping list of items needed to look after a Black Australorp chicken:

We have put together a shopping list below to help ensure your chickens are kept in an optimal health condition. Check out our list here:

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AUTHOR

The team at My Chicken Guide are chicken enthusiasts! We grew up tending to our family chickens and still maintain our passion for chicken care to this day! Our head writer is a qualified Environmental Scientist and our team has over 20 years experience in raising and caring for chickens.