For part three of my Chicken Profiler Series, I am going to talk about the Australorp.
We had two of these black beauties in our original flock of 8, and we named them Astrid and Na (short for Not Astrid).
Australorp chickens come in one recognized color in America, black- but it is a deep black with blue, purple and green tints to it in the sun. In their home country, there are three recognized colors, white blue and black. In South Africa, they also recognize buff, splash, wheaten laced and golden. Their feathers are sleek and relatively close fitting to their bodies.
They have a single comb, that varies in size as you can tell from pictures of Astrid and Na.
The history of the Australorp is kinda crazy. They were bred from the chicken yards of William Cook, from the orpington line. So heavily, in fact, that for years they were referred to as “Black Laying Australian Orpingtons” or “Australian Utility Black Orpingtons” although they had Minorca, White Leghorn, Rhode Island Red, Langshan and (rumored) Plymouth Rock cross bred into them. They crossed these lines to help increase egg production and get rid of the broodiness that orpingtons seem prone to.
The name they settled on “Austral – Orp” clearly signifies the two main components of their breeding and was officially settled on in 1925. The Australorp was recognized by the American Poultry Association and the American Standard of Perfection in 1929.
These girls were amazing chickens – they laid large, beautiful tinted eggs, dealt well with both heat and cold and were friendly to boot. They were also good foragers, always finding worms that the other jealous girls would chase after them for. They were good sized chickens, weighing in at under 7lbs each at maturity.
We lost Astrid to acute liver failure when she was 3 and a half – the assumption was genetics as she wasn’t over weight.
Na we lost with 9 other girls during the bobcat attack of 2017
Well, I’d say that’s enough reminiscing today….
Until next time, have a wicked good day.
The Livestock Conservancy
Mother Earth News