Black Australorp Chickens

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Black Australorp chickens are a great heritage breed of chickens. They are amazing egg layers and can also be raised for their meat. They are friendly, calm, and easy birds to raise. In this post, you’ll learn everything that you need to know about Black Australorp Chickens.

After raising chickens for a couple of years for both meat and egg production, I decided that I would like to find a chicken that would make my life a bit easier.

I was looking for a heritage breed of chicken that will go broody and hatch their own eggs and take care of their own chicks. I was looking for a breed that I can raise for both egg production and meat production, and I was looking for a friendly, calm, non-aggressive bird since I have little kids.

After some research I found the Black Australorps and decided to give them a try. I’ve never owned another breed of chickens since then. They answer all of the above requirements and more.

Black Australorp Chickens…

The black Australorp is a great breed of chickens. They are phenomenal egg layers, great mothers, friendly, calm, and an easygoing breed of heritage chickens. In this post, you'll find everything that you need to know about Black Australorp chickens.
#blackaustralorp #raisingchickens

In this post, I want to give you all of the information that you need to know about Black Australorp chickens so you can make the decision if they are right for you.

Here is what we are going to go over in this post:

History of the Black Australorp…

Black Australorp hen.

In the early 1900’s, Australian breeders set out to develop a large breed of chicken that would lay a ton of eggs and have a secondary purpose of meat production.

They crossed William Cook’s Orpingtons with Rhode Island Reds, Minorcas, White Leghorn, Langshan and Plymouth Rocks.

The result was a large bird that is a phenomenal and consistent egg layer of quality, medium-size eggs.

Black Australorps were introduced to the U.S. during the 1920’s after a number of hens broke world records of egg production (one hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days without supplemental light during the winter!!).

The American Poultry Association only recognizes the Black Australorps (black is the original color), however, The Australian Poultry Society recognizes the black, blue, and white varieties.

Black Australorp Appearance…

Black Australorp appearance.

Black Australorps are large birds. An adult hen can weigh between 6-8 pounds and an adult rooster can weigh between 8-10 lb. They have close-fitting, soft feathers that have a beautiful green shine to them (some of the roosters also have a purple shine).

Their wattles, earlobes, and comb are all red with the comb standing upright and have seven points or fewer.

Their skin and the bottom of their feet are white. The legs are bare and the skin of the legs and four toes is black. Their eyes are black and their beak is dark.

Black Australorp chickens live between 6 to 10 years.

Black Australorp Characteristics…

The Black Australorps are easy-going (yet active), calm, and friendly birds. They are easy to catch and pet, they are non-aggressive, and they are well adapted to confinement even though, like any other chicken, they’ll be happy to free-range.

If given the option to free-range, they are great foragers. They aren’t lazy and will happily roam around and clean your lawn of all kinds of bugs and crawlers.

They get along very well with other farm animals like dogs, goats, ducks, and so on (on my homestead they share a fence with guinea fowl, Muscovy ducks, and Lamancha goats).

The Black Australorp Rooster…

Black Australorp rooster.

Black Australorp roosters are large, strong, active, and very protective of their hens. They generally aren’t aggressive towards humans and if you keep enough roosters per hens they aren’t aggressive towards each other either.

In my years of raising Black Australorps I’ve only come across one mean rooster. Other than that guy all of our Black Australorp roosters are very calm and friendly, however, they are very protective of the hens especially from other farm animals.

If you let them free-range, you’ll notice that the roosters stay very close to the hens at all times. They are alert and do a great job in keeping the hens safe.

I find that the ideal is one rooster for 8-10 hens to keep them from fighting each other. However, I now have two roosters fenced with 10 hens and they are still doing great and rarely fight with each other.

Black Australorp roosters crow just like any other rooster. During the day they are generally quiet but they love to announce the day early in the morning. They also get loud if there is any danger to the hens.

The Black Australorp Hen…

Black Australorp hens are great egg layers and great mothers. If you leave the eggs in the coop and let them make a nest they will go broody easily during the spring and summer months.

A Black Australorp hen will sit on her nest for 28 days without leaving it for a minute! After 28 days the chicks will hatch and the mother will take great care of them for the next few weeks until they can fend for themselves.

Maybe one of the best things about Black Australorp hens is that they are very very friendly even while they sit on their nest. You can easily add or remove eggs from under a broody hen (you can add eggs from other chickens to their nest). They don’t peck or move or stop sitting on the nest even if you stick your hands under them.

They are also great family birds. My little kids will generally leave the roosters alone but they can easily catch a hen and sit and pet her.

Black Australorp Eggs…

Black Australorp eggs.

Black Australorp hens are amazing egg layers. The hens will start laying eggs at around 7 months old and you can trust that (given the right feed) they will give you an average of 250 eggs a year (about 5 eggs a week).

Black Australorp eggs are brown in color and medium in size. The eggs are rich and tasty (we love making shakshuka and Mediterranean egg salad with them).

Like most chicken breeds, their egg production starts to decline after a couple of years of laying eggs.

Black Australorp Meat…

Black Australorps are a heritage breed and a dual-purpose breed. They can be raised for both egg and meat production. If you are thinking about raising them for their meat, you’ll have to consider a few things.

First, they take a long time to reach maturity. Whereas it will take a meat breed like the Cornish Cross, for example, reach butchering size in 8 weeks, it takes Black Australorps 6 months to reach their full size.

Second, since they actually move (meat breeds are designed to be lazy and fat and sit by the feeder for most of the day) so their meat is a bit tougher.

Their skin is white and the meat is great and tastes just like any other chicken, however, it might require different cooking since it’s a bit tough. I usually skin my chickens when butchering them and then I process the meat in the pressure cooker to soften it before I use it in a recipe.

The great thing about raising Black Australorps for meat is that you can be totally self-sufficient. They can hatch their eggs and take care of their young so you can have a constant supply of chicken meat to can or freeze.

If you let your birds reach their full size a rooster will probably dress at around 5 or 6 lb and a hen will probably dress around 4 lb.

How to Care For Black Australorp Chickens…

Black Australorp hen by the fence.

Black Australorps are very easy to care for. They have the basic needs that any other chicken has…

Shelter – they will need a coop that will protect them from rain and snow (I never heat my coop. They don’t have any problem handling the cold). Your coop should have comfortable nest boxes for them and roosting bars.

I built my simple coop from pallet wood and they love it.

Fence – if your chickens are not free-ranging, make sure that they have enough room in their fence. They are not lazy birds. They like to dig and move around so make sure that they have enough room to do that.

If you have a problem with chickens flying out of the fence you can always clip their wings.

Feed – choose feed that is suitable for laying hens and that has enough protein in it. I just feed the regular laying hen pellets from the local feed mill and I love mixing some whole corn in it since they seem to like it.

There are many different chicken feed recipes online and many non-GMO and organic types of feed. They can definitely eat that but I like to keep it simple.

Some homesteaders feed their chicken free choice, meaning that there is a feeder that is always full of feed and the chickens eat as much as they want. You can go this route or feed once or twice a day just make sure that you feed at least 1/4 pound of feed per chicken per day if they are fenced.

If your chickens free-range they won’t need much feed. They are great foragers and can pretty much take care of themselves. I still give them a little bit of feed every day to keep them used to me and to a routine.

If you want to learn more about feeding chickens, read this great article.

Oyster shell – this is a great supplement for Black Australorps since they lay many eggs. Crushed oyster shells can be given with the feed or in a separate container free-choice.

They are rich in calcium and will help the chicken lay eggs that have a stronger shell. They will also prevent the chickens from eating their own eggs, something that they sometimes do if their body is low on calcium.

Water – like all animals, Black Australorps need free access to clean water throughout the day.

Health issues – this is a very strong, hardy, and healthy breed. In all the years that I have raised them, I’ve never had one sick chicken. The usual attention to chicken parasites is a good idea always with any breed of chicken, but other than that they don’t require any special attention.

Are Black Australorp Chickens For You?

A beautiful Black Australorp hen.

If you are looking for a friendly, calm, hardy, healthy breed of chickens that is a great egg layer, can hatch its own eggs, and care for its own young, then Black Australorps are for you.

There isn’t much (if anything) wrong with this breed of chicken. The only thing that I can think of is that their meat is a bit tougher than that of a meat breed. Other than that they are a great breed of chicken.

Since they are very easy to take care of and very friendly, they are a great breed of chicken for a beginner and a great breed for a family with young kids.

I hope that this post gave you enough information about Black Australorps. I really enjoy raising this breed. If you raise Black Australorps I’d love to hear your experience. And If you are considering this breed and have any questions please comment below!

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41 thoughts on “Black Australorp Chickens”

  1. I have a broody Australorp we are on day 23 of her sitting on the eggs. Everywhere on the internet it says 20-21 days for chicks to hatch. You say 28 days, is this specific to the Australorp’s? I don’t want to dispose of the eggs if I should give her more time.

    1. She knows! Don’t move a thing. As far as I know, it’s 28 days but if I’m wrong, it doesn’t matter. The hen knows. As long as she sits there let her sit. If she senses that something is wrong she’ll leave the nest.

  2. I just started with the Black Australorps. I also have the Barred Rock. I thought they make good friends with one another.

    1. They are. I have one Barred Rock hen that has been living with the Black Australorps for years now! They get along very well.

  3. Wonderful information, Lady Lee! We started with Australorps after adopting a young Australorp rooster who was dumped over someone’s fence. He was very friendly and sweet, and hung outside on the back porch where he could see us a lot of the day. We brought 3 Australorp hens to him as soon as possible, and he was overjoyed! (He also became very protective of them, and we definitely saw a personality shift as his allegiance switched from us to them. I suspect if he had been raised from them, it might have been different.)

    The ladies have laid prolifically since they began this last November, and we have incubated 2 clutches of eggs since January, most of whom have/are going to friends. I anticipate some broodiness this spring, but I am hoping we can construct a nicer coop for them in the meantime, along with designating some safe space for broodies.

    I think it is very serendipitous (in a God-orchestrated way) that we ended up with this breed, and we are hoping to be good stewards of what we have been given to care for. 🙂

    They are beautiful birds!

    1. Oh, they kinda chose you! They are great birds. Mine are six years old and still laying strong! I’m even taking eggs to the market this Saturday cause I have too many!

  4. Thank You for the information. I currently have 5 chickens and in the next week I am adding 3 of the Black Australops to my flock. I keep the chickens mostly for the eggs. I had chickens as a kid now that I am semi retired I decided to raise chickens again.

  5. Joel Teves Luba

    Good day.
    I have right now, 22 Austrolorp chickens, bought them when they were a minth old. Right now, they are 4 1/2 months old. More Roo compared to Hens.
    Bought again 26, 1 month old chicks hoping this time, i will have more female.
    My chicken coop has an area of 60 sq. mtrs., so i think it can accomodate more the 50 austrolorps, or please correct me if i am wrong.
    I also recently made laying nests for them, just in preparation. Is the size, 12″ x 12″ area enough?
    Please advice.
    Thank you.

    1. First, make sure that you purchase chicks from a good nursery. They should know how to sex the chicks so you don’t end up with too many males.
      I can’t get an image in my mind of how big is a 60 sq mtrs area is so not sure if 50 is too much or not… As much room as you can have for them the better and make sure that you don’t have too many males in a closed area or they’ll start fighting.
      12” x 12” is a bit tight but they might like it.

  6. Angela Kinnett

    I am considering getting the birds for a dual purpose breed and to be self sufficient. How do you keep track of the ones you want to dispatch for meat and the ones you want to keep as egg layers? I would think you would want to keep a couple mothers to tend to the chicks and then have a few egg laying that you would then dispatch after a couple months of laying. Probably dispatch all but one or two roosters of course. Keep some kind of rotation going. But I think you would have to have some kind of marker to know which ones to keep and which to dispatch.

    1. At Tractor Supply, you can find leg rings for chickens. They come in different colors so you can put a pink ring on all of your egg layers, a yellow ring on a couple of roosters that you want to keep and leave all the rest that you want to raise for meat without a ring. Or something like that, just come up with your own system, but you are right, you want to keep track of the flock.

  7. I am based in lahore pakistan .i have red the complete article and got the interesting information. Interestingly it is my childhood wish to be raise my own poultry shed but unfortunately not yet done. Anyways now i am finding a pure Australorp and will raise in my home backyard. it will be a start with the set of 10.
    sooner or later i am thinking very seriously to have my own shed and take it to my permanent source of income.
    you may suggest for any good idea and help to make my dream true.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Thanks for stopping by!
      Chickens are very easy to keep. I think that if you have a nice size backyard, it should be very easy to keep five chickens or so. Five good hens will give you many eggs!

  8. Hello.
    My name is Denise. Have had chickens for 2 yrs now. I bought a few diff breeds to see what I liked the best.
    1 Blk Astrolorp, 1 Dark Brahma, 1 Sapphire Gem, 1 Rhode Island Red and , 1 Blk Sex Link and 1 Americana ( I gave this 1 away to my sister cuz it was a Roo and literally the meanest Roo I have ever met.
    My Gem, Astro, Brahma & Sex link are the best. I have 2 questions I really need help with.
    1) my blk Astrolorp was buddies with my Sapphire Gem, unfortunately we lost our gem and my BA has been lonely evrry since for about a yr. She keeps getting broody and I dont have a roo so we have gone thru several events where she is trying to hatch unfertile eggs and finally she gives up. Honestly I think she wants a friend. I have tried several things to help her., I bought 1 day old chicks hoping she would raise them and end up with flock budddies but she dis-owned them and left me with the job….
    recently, she started sitting on 3 eggs, & after a few days I realized she had gone broody AGAIN….so I got 9 fertile eggs from my sister and put them in place of the 3 unfertile eggs.
    So far so good..however I am starting to worry cuz she started sitting late sunday eve and I replaced them with fertile eggs mid friday. So there is about 4.5 to 5 days difference in the age of the infertile to fertile eggs. I wanted to get them sooner
    but that was the closest time frame I was able to get… the infertile eggs I removed would 21 days on 9/26 ..but the fertile eggs I sneaked in will not be 21 days until 9/1, 5 days later.. I am so afraid she will not give them the extra 5 days we need for the replacement eggs to hatch.
    I do not want to move her and the eggs to a safer place so I can keep a better eye on them and candle them if needed for fear she will abandon them because there was a lack of privacy. Moving 8 eggs to candle them while she is taking a break to eat is alot to do before she comes back and finds I moved them. She had dug a hole under a wheel barrow that was leaning on a garage wall and covered with a tarp so she would feel safe..
    If you can give me some advise on how to get her thru the next few wks I would sure appreciate it. TYVM.
    2nd question my Rhode Island Red hen is soooo mean to the rest of my flock, with the exception of my Brahma, any ideas?????

    1. I would just leave her alone. I think that if you move the nest she will stop sitting on it. The 21 days thing doesn’t matter. She knows when the eggs are going to hatch and she is supposed to keep sitting on them until all the babies hatch. Just make sure that she is safe and maybe bring water and feed close to her so she doesn’t have to leave the nest to go too far.
      I don’t think that there is a way to train mean chickens… Some of them are just mean, end of story. If your chickens are fenced then maybe you can let just the mean one free-range or if you have a way to separate her from the others and place her in a different fence for a while it might work. When you bring her back to the flock a few weeks later and they reestablish the pecking order she will be put in place by the others and won’t be mean anymore. This sometimes works but not always. The other option is to rehome her. Unfortunately, chickens are untrainable.

  9. Hi lady lee! Thanks to you, we got our first Australorp hen this last year. We have 7 other hens of mixed breeds but definitely plan to get a lot more Australorps-they are wonderful!! my current concern is that our girl Olivia (who is 1.5 yrs old), has been molting for about 5 wks now and although it looks like most of her new feathers are in, she hasn’t layed in all this time. Is that normal or typical??

    1. It’s normal for them to slow down laying when molting but she should start laying again if she is done. Is it cold where you are? Sometimes they need a little help in the cold months. How do you feed? Free choice? Do you give oyster shell?

  10. Heather Jarvis

    I’ve had quite a few heritage breeds over the years, and australorps have always been my favorites too. Several years ago I added a buff orpington to my back yard flock. She has the temperament of my australorps but is even more broody, and adds a beautiful color to my flock. The broodiness would be awesome if I had roosters, but my neighbors appreciate that I don’t. (City living)
    I’m down to an australorp, the buff orpington, and a barred rock. They are about 7 years old and I’m still getting 2 to 3 eggs a day, amazing girls! I just got new chicks and definitely australorps and buff orpingtons were my first choices. I also got a couple ameraucana ans a couple of cuckoo marans for the cool egg colors. I can tell already the ameraucana and the cuckoo marans do not have that calm temperment of the australorps and the buff orpingtons, but I’m looking forward to their eggs.
    I’m jealous of your ability to breed your own flock, and I love your system, and I totally agree with you about the cornish cross. I enjoyed reading about your chickens. ?

    1. Good to know that they are still laying even when they are so old. I meant to let them hatch new chicks this year so I have new layers but I have a fence disaster situation and I can’t handle new chicks right now. I might need to wait for next year. They are really great chickens! I am happy that someone else loves them as much as I do!

  11. I enjoyed this post and your humor. Someone just gave me 7 chicks and this post was very helpful. Shared it on my FB page!

  12. I’m not sure if one of mine is a roo,I’m hoping not we can’t have them. They are about 6 to 7 weeks old can I tell yet? Thank you

    1. It might be too early to tell. I haven’t had chicks for a while so I can’t remember exactly how they look at 6 weeks but from what I remember it takes longer than that before you can tell the hens from the roosters…

    2. I’m new to chickens so I researched the best breeds for my family. I ordered 10 australorp hens, 3 months ago. I had suspicion early on that one of my girls was a boy. He loved to sit on top of the brooder and I noticed he was a little bigger than the others and sat up real straight. Now his tail is feeling out and just waiting on that cock-a-doodle-do! I’m keeping him he is very sweet!

  13. lumbani Sichinga

    Thanks for the successful business but it will be my first time to hear that Black Australorps can hatch and raise chicks. I thought they have bad mothering ability

  14. I have 6 Australorps, all hens, 3 years old. I love, love my “girls” They are friendly and so, so funny. All 6 have distinct personalities and they are gentle with my grand children: very tolerant when they are being carried around by my grand daughter. They are beautiful and very smart. They know your voice and respond to voice commands. It goes without saying that I spend quite a bit of time with them. I don’t free range them but do let them out with me to guard them while they forage, dig and scratch. They follow me back to the yard and coop when it’s time for them to go in…I took 3 others of different breeds from a friend and so far am not impressed at all with them. You can’t go wrong with this breed!

    1. Yes, they are amazing! I have a few other breeds but I am getting rid of all of them. The Australorps are the only ones that are staying. I don’t feel any need for any other chicken!

  15. Excellent article… I enjoy your writing style! My son bought me six chicks for Mother’s Day. Two of them were supposed to be barred rock pullets according to the signage & store receipt. (The other 4 are easily-discernible Isa Browns.) Knowing nothing about chicken breeds, he picked those 2 chicks out because they had quite a bit of black coloring – and he knew that I’ve always admired black chickens. Twelve weeks & zero “barrs” later, I am fairly certain that there was a mixup somewhere & the 2 Barred Rocks are actually gorgeous Black Australopes instead! They are all black with that beautiful green sheen, black legs/feet, black beaks, & black eyes. Thank you for the information!

  16. Wow !!Thank for the info on this breed I am planning to buy chicks and was a bit confused on what to keep/buy. I would just like to know does the feed have an impact on growth and egg laying, would you say on can start a small egg bussiness with 6 hens. I dont know anything about chikens except to eat them ?. I would like to buy day olds but Im not able get a sort of starter feed, what can i feed them?

    1. Arthur, you should be able to find chick feed in any farm supply store like Tractor Supply or any other local store you have in your area. Yes, the feed has an impact on growth and egg laying but I suggest that you don’t give too much attention to it at the beginning. Just use the regular feed from the store. Chick feed and then layer pallets which is rich in protein and is meant for laying hens.
      6 hens might not be enough for an egg business but it’s a good place to start. As you get more familiar and you see that you like and can do this you can add more hens.

      1. Lee,

        I bought some Barred Rock chicks fom my local Tractor Supply and a few months in I realize they are actually Australorps. After reading your experience I am happy about this mixup. I did notice something different about them early on. I had bought some Buff Orphington chicks almost a month later and was afraid to keep them with the older Australorps so I put a card board divider in the pen but the Australorps kept getting their heads stuck under from trying to be with the new babies. At night they would all be sleeping together with just cardboard between them. So I took it out and watched them for the day. They just loved their little Orphington sisters. The littler chicks would get up under them to sleep and they were so gentle and kind. No pecking what so ever. Love them now wouldnt change thing. Thanks for the great article and advice.

      2. They are really kind birds! I can approach a broody hen easily, move her if I need or do whatever and they never peck. I don’t have much of a relationship with my roosters but they mind their own business and take good care of the hens. They never attack me or each other (and I have three in the same fenced area!).
        I really do love this breed! I didn’t let any of my hens hatch new eggs this year, but they are getting old so next year I’ll have to let them hatch new babies so I have young hens for egg production.
        I love it that I don’t need to buy chickens anywhere.
        Did you get any roosters?

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