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Posts Tagged ‘Black Australorps’

About Black Australorps

Black Australorps were developed in Australia just prior to 1900. In England, breeders had been raising Black Orpingtons, which were a good white-skinned, black-feathered meat bird. (In England, white skin was preferred over yellow skin.)

The egg production wasn’t exceptional for the Black Orpingtons. But Australian breeders began to cross them with a handful of excellent laying breeds, including Minorcas, White Leghorns and Langshans. Some sources indicate that Plymouth Rocks were also bred in.

It’s interesting to note that several of these breeds are white egg layers. Our Black Australorps tend to lay a fairly dark egg, though not nearly as dark as Welsummers or Cuckoo Marans are known for, but occasionally, we will have a hen that produces cream-colored, nearly white eggs. We also look for white in the earlobes during selection because that is an undesirable trait that’s common to white egg layers.

In the 1920s, Australorps began setting egg laying records, with a group of six hens averaging over 300 eggs in a year, and a single hen layin 364 eggs in a year. In our current flock, we’ve never come close to this, but they are very good egg layers, and they produce plenty of meat, dressing out at 3-6 pounds, depending on the age at which we process them.

Our hens have some tendency toward broodiness, though only some of the hens go broody.

They handle the Texas heat well, but their peak egg production is during the cooler winter and spring months.

We’ve found them to be an excellent breed for the family homestead or small farm, as they produce meat and eggs, they’ll hatch eggs (to a degree) and they forage well. Once they are full grown, they seem to avoid predation fairly well from airborne predators like hawks. We raise them where there are lots of trees, which helps provide cover.

The following articles provide more information about this breed and our experience raising them.

Black Australorp Breeding Goals

Having raised my current flock of Black Australorps for nearly 2 years, I’ve been very happy with them – both the breed and this particular strain. They’re good layers. The males grow quickly to where I can process them for meat starting around 20 weeks. The hens will occasionally go broody and hatch their young.…

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Are Black Australorp Roosters Aggressive?

Black Australorp Roosters

Are Black Australorp Roosters Aggressive Toward People? I’ve never had any serious problems with Black Australorp roosters becoming aggressive toward humans. Our roosters have nearly all had good temperament and are easy to manage. We often pick up and handle the roosters. That said, I think this has as much to do with breeding and…

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How to Maintain a Productive Laying Flock

Black Australorp Hen

In this article, based on a talk that I’ve given for several years at the Homestead Fair, I’ll give you a basic framework and some techniques to help you keep a productive laying flock. This is written for small-scale production, on a family homestead or small farm, not for large-scale commercial egg laying. What does…

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Selective Breeding of Chickens

Black Australorp Rooster

What is Selective Breeding? Selective breeding is, simply put, breeding with the intent of accomplishing some type of goal. Usually, the goal is multi-faceted. It takes into account various traits, the overall health and vigor of the chicken, the reasons you have for raising the chickens and the way (and place) in which you are…

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How We Got Started Breeding Black Australorps

black australorp males

My family and I began breeding Black Australorps in 2015. We started with a flock of about 100 Black Australorp chicks. I chose Black Australorps for several reasons: They are good layers (they’re known for being the most prolific heritage breed layer). They are large birds that are good for meat production I knew of…

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When do Black Australorps Start Laying Eggs?

black australorp eggs

Black Australorps hatched in Spring and early Summer (April through June in the Northern Hemisphere) typically start to lay their first eggs at around 6-7 months of age, in my experience. But other things can influence that: how they are raised the type of food that you have them on (starter/grower versus layer feed) the…

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2017 Black Australorp Breeding Plan

Based on our breeding goals, here is a list of what needs to be accomplished this year: Grow newly-hatched chickens to 18 months of age before selecting which ones to use in the breeding program. This will enable us to select breeders more accurately than if we selected earlier, plus it lends itself to selecting…

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