black-australorp



Black Australorp is one of the most popular imported chicken breeds in the Philippines and in this article we are going to clear some misunderstandings and misconceptions and give you details information all about the Black Australorp chicken breed.

History and Origin

Black Austyralorp is one controversial chicken breed due to its complex origin. 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), and later standardized as “Australorp”. To make it simple, the original Black Australorp is a cross or mixture of two or more birds namely Black Orpington, Rhode Island Red, Langshan, and Plymouth Rock.

Physical Characteristics

Australorp has three recognized colors according to the Australian Poultry Standard: black, white, and blue. White Australorps have been recorded since 1949 but they were only recognized in the second edition of the Australian Poultry Standards in 2011. The Poultry Club South Africa recognizes four further colors: buff, splash, wheaten laced, and golden

Of all colors, Black Australorp is the most popular in the US, Australia, the Philippines, and anywhere in the world. Aside from color difference, Australorps have the same physical characteristics as follows.

Weight
Male: Large: 3.20 to 4.10 kg
Bantam: 0.96 to 1.23 kg
Female: Large: 2.250 to 3.10 kg
Bantam: 0.79–1.04 kg

Skin color: White
Egg color: Brown
Comb type: Single

Difference Between Black Australorp and Black Jersey Giant

Black Australorps and Jersey Giants are often mistaken by some people who are less familiar with both chicken breeds. Although Jersey Giants are huge, some look like Black Australorps.

The Australorp has white skin. The shanks and toes are dark slate. The undersides of the feet are pinkish white to grayish. The Jersey Giant’s skin is yellow. The shanks and toes are black to dusky yellowish-green. The undersides of the feet are yellow.

Australorps chicks have different colors as well. They have yellowish-white from the neck down the breast and white wingtip until around 2 months. Jersey Giant chicks have almost the same color but lighter and have yellowish and black shanks and legs.

black-australorp
Black Australorp hen: Image credit Wikimedia Commons

An Australorp hen lays large eggs with tinted (light brown to pink) shells. An Australorp hen’s rate of lay for the first year or two ranges between 200 and 280 eggs annually. According to the Livestock Conservancy, an Australorp hen once set a world record by laying an amazing 364 eggs in 365 days. Being good layers, excellent foragers, and a dark color that reduces the chance of attracting predators, Australorps are popular for pastured egg production.



A Jersey Giant hen lays extra-large eggs with brown to dark brown shells. The average production rate ranges from 175 to 185 eggs per year, although Jersey Giants bred specifically for production lay somewhat better. Hens in Cackle Hatchery’s production-bred line may lay as many as 260 eggs per year.

Misconception and Disinformation

As its history stated, Australorps, particularly the Black Australorp (BA) are developed in Australia therefore it is an original Australian breed. There is no US, UK, Italian, or whatever breed of Australorp except for those coming out of Australia. Like the Rhode Island Red (RIR) which was developed in the USA, there is no UK line. Those Australorps that said to be from Italy are just marketing hype of people who are trying to make a difference by giving their birds different identification to dictate the price. Whether it is coming from Australia, the UK, the US, or anywhere in Europe including France and Italy, it is still an Australorp. There is no such thing as the UK line, the US or American line, or the Italian line of Australorp. All of them originally came from Australia.

Black Australorp in the Philippines

Black Australorp is among the three most popular imported heritage breeds in the Philippines. The two others are Rhode Island Red (RIR) and Barred Plymouth Rock (BPR). The price of a day-old chick Australorp may depend on the availability in certain parts of the Philippines, and how much the seller is asking. Usually, the price of a BA fertile eggs ranges from P30 to P60. Others are selling at P70 which is already a bit high. For chicks, a day-old can cost between P150 to P250, again, depending on supply and demand. You can check the updated price here and where to buy Black Australorp in the Philippines.

Record-holder in Egg Production

It was the egg-laying performance of Australorps that attracted world attention when in 1922–1923 a team of six hens set a world record by laying 1857 eggs for an average of 309.5 eggs per hen during a 365 consecutive day trial. These figures were achieved without the lighting regimens of the modern intensive shed. Such performances had importation orders flooding in from England, the 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 popular large heritage utility breeds of chicken.

Until today, this record has not been broken even by genetically-developed layers like Dekalb, Lohmann Brown, and other laying breeds.


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