Black Australorp Chicken: Breed Profile & Pictures

Two black Australorp chickens side by side

With its glossy black feathers and overall striking appearance, the black Australorp chicken is an unmistakable bird. They can be found in many colors, but the black variety is by far the most common.

In addition, while dark-colored chickens are commonly thought to be more aggressive than other breeds, this is not necessarily true of black Australorps. They tend to be friendly and docile.

In this article, we will further explore the unique characteristics of these chickens. We will look at their pros and cons, breeding habits, productivity, health concerns, typical prices, and more. Let’s start!

Black Australorp Chicken Quick Facts

Weight:Roosters: 7–10 lbs (3.2–4.5 kg);
Hens: 5–7 lbs (2.3–3.2 kg)
Purpose:Meat and eggs
Egg Production:200–300 eggs per year
Egg Color:Light brown
Temperament:Docile, active, friendly, sweet, gentle, quiet
Broodiness:Low to average
Hardiness:Hardy in various climates
Lifespan:5–10 years
Unique Features:Close-fitting feathers, overall black coloration, beetle-green sheen
Beginner Friendly:Yes

What Is a Black Australorp Chicken?

Black Australorp on natural greenery

The black Australorp chicken is one color variety of the popular Australorp breed. These chickens originated in Australia and arrived in the United States in the early 1900s. They’re famously known for being gentle and low-maintenance, as well as being good egg layers and meat producers.

The black Australorps’ roots trace back to the Orpingtons, which is a breed initially developed for superior meat quality.

Specifically, in the 1920s, Australian breeders, aiming for a bird that thrived in their climate, crossbred Orpingtons with other breeds. This led to the creation of Australorps.

When it comes to recognition, black Australorps have been recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA). This is also true for their white and blue peers.

Today, these black-feathered fowls are celebrated for their versatility. They are primarily raised for their egg production and meat. Additionally, their striking appearance makes them a popular choice for poultry shows.

Fun Fact: Did you know that “Black Australorp” was the original name for the breed, emphasizing the black color as the first variety produced? This nod to their heritage marks the practical intentions of their early breeders.

Black Australorp Appearance

Black Australorp rooster in the backyard

Black Australorps carry themselves with a commanding presence, attributed to their large frames.

They exhibit a broad head that supports a striking facial profile, complete with a red single comb, a black beak, and black eyes. Their wattles and earlobes are of medium size, both of which display red coloration.

The plumage of these chickens is unique. Their black feathers fit snugly against their bodies, and when the sunlight hits just right, a stunning beetle-green sheen is revealed.

Other notable body features include white skin beneath their dark plumage, compact wings, and short tails. The contrast of their white toenails against their overall dark coloring adds to their striking look.

Watch this video of black Australorp chickens to get a better idea of how they look and sound:

chicken, black australorp temperament, black australorp hardiness, the black australorp #hen #birds

Pro Tip: For those interested in showing these birds, it’s critical to note certain disqualifications. These include any yellow tint in the skin, eyes that are gray, pearl, or red, and undesirable white marks in the plumage.

Black Australorp Size and Weight

Black Australorp chickens stand tall, ranging from 26 to 27.5 inches. In terms of weight, the roosters tilt the scales at a robust 7 to 10 pounds, while the hens weigh a slightly lighter 5 to 7 pounds.

For those who want to exhibit their bantam-sized black Australorps, it’s important to note that the ideal show weight for males is 3.7 pounds, and for females, it’s 3.3 pounds.

Black Australorp Temperament and Behavior

Black Australorp chickens pecking at feed on the ground

In most instances, black Australorp chickens exhibit a docile nature, which makes them a perfect match for those new to poultry keeping.

Basically, their easygoing temperament simplifies care, offering a gentle introduction to the responsibilities of chicken husbandry.

For families, however, black Australorps are also an ideal choice. They possess a sweet streak that endears them to adults and children alike. These chickens don’t even mind being handled, cuddled, and petted.

Despite their large size, black Australorps are active and friendly; they integrate well into mixed flocks. This social nature makes them especially well-suited for small farms where they may be allowed to roam freely.

Above all, both roosters and hens of this breed share a gentle nature. They are not usually prone to bullying or pecking orders among themselves.

Pro Tip: In order to maintain this peaceful environment, a proper ratio of roosters to hens is advisable. Ensuring there are enough black Australorp hens for each rooster helps prevent any aggression.

Egg Production and Broodiness of the Black Australorp

Typically, black Australorps are prolific layers, capable of producing 200 to 300 eggs annually. Their dedication to egg-laying is one of the reasons they are so valued in flocks around the world.

Plus, the eggs they lay are not only large in numbers but also of substantial size and appealing light brown color.

Additionally, broodiness in black Australorps is generally low, which makes them more likely to continue laying rather than sitting on eggs. This is beneficial for keepers who prioritize egg production over chick rearing.

However, when these chickens do go broody, they excel in their role as mothers. They have an instinct for care that ensures the well-being and growth of their chicks.

Last spring, my black Australorp hen named Coal went broody. Most of the other hens in my coop continued laying eggs daily, but not Coal. She diligently sat on her nest at all times.

Though Coal’s broodiness was unusual for the breed, it proved Australorps have superb maternal instincts when they do opt to hatch a clutch.

In particular, I noticed that her chicks grew quickly thanks to her vigilant protection and guidance in their critical early weeks.

Noise Levels of Black Australorp Chickens

Black Australorp hen foraging in the grass

Naturally, black Australorp chickens are known for displaying a rather quiet demeanor. Unlike some breeds, they aren’t prone to producing extreme noise, making them suitable for various settings, including urban backyards.

However, like all chickens, they do make the typical sounds associated with poultry. Expect to hear the usual clucking, crowing, and occasional squawking, but rarely making noise over 50 decibels.

When I first got my small flock of black Australorp chickens, I was pleased to discover how quiet they were most of the time.

They would softly cluck and murmur while pecking in the yard. Even the rooster’s crowing was infrequent and relatively muted. 

I did insulate their coop to muffle any sounds, but loud squawking or crowing has never been an issue. In fact, the most I hear is the occasional excited flutter when I refill their feed.

Black Australorp Lifespan and Health

Black Australorp chickens typically live for 5 to 10 years. However, if they are not properly cared for, they can develop health issues that may shorten their lifespan. The following are the most common ones:

  • Infectious Coryza: Infectious coryza is a respiratory disease characterized by nasal discharge, sneezing, and swelling of the face. It spreads quickly in flocks and can severely impact the health of affected black Australorps.
  • Avian Influenza: More commonly known as bird flu, avian influenza is a viral disease that can seriously harm black Australorp chickens. Its symptoms include respiratory distress, reduced egg production, and sometimes sudden death.
  • Airsacculitis: Airsacculitis is a condition that affects the air sacs of black Australorps, which can lead to breathing issues. It’s typically a secondary infection, often linked to other diseases like avian influenza.

To maximize the lifespan of black Australorps, it’s essential to provide them with a clean, spacious environment. Regular checks, alongside prompt vet care when needed, can also help address health issues early.

Black Australorp Chicken Care Guide

Black Australorp chickens amidst vegetation in a garden

To raise black Australorps successfully, you should know a little about the care requirements for these birds. Below are some valuable tips to help you keep your potential chickens healthy and happy.

Feeding and Nutrition

In their early stages of life, black Australorps require a high-protein starter feed, ideally containing at least 20% protein. This is essential for their rapid growth and development.

Then, as they transition from chicks to young adults, a shift to a finisher feed is recommended. This feed should have a slightly lower protein content of between 18% and 19% to suit their changing nutritional needs.

Once your fowls reach adulthood, their diet should again be adjusted. Adult black Australorps thrive on a layer feed containing 15% to 17% protein, supplemented with added calcium to support egg production.

Likewise, incorporating treats like veggies can add variety and enrichment to their diet.

Housing and Shelter

Black Australorp chickens require ample space to thrive, with a minimum of four square feet per chicken inside the coop. This space allows them to move comfortably, rest, and feed without stress or overcrowding.

For nesting, black Australorp hens need a nest box that measures 14 inches wide, 14 inches long, and 20 inches deep. These dimensions provide enough room for the hens to lay their eggs in privacy and comfort.

In addition to the coop, these birds need a spacious running area. Aim for 8 to 10 square feet per chicken.

On top of that, environmental enrichment is key to keeping these fowls satisfied and healthy. Simple additions like stumps, ramps, and ladders can greatly improve their living space.

Pro Tip: To enhance their coop environment on a budget, fill old tires with dirt for dust baths and place grub-filled logs for them to peck at.

Temperature and Lighting

For black Australorp chicks, maintaining the right temperature is critical for their survival and growth. Start with a cozy 95°F at the floor level of the brooder box and decrease the temp by five degrees weekly.

This gradual reduction continues for the first six weeks, which will aid their adaptation to a lower-temperature environment.

As adults, black Australorp chickens don’t require the warmth of a brooder, but they do need their coop to stay within a comfortable range. The ideal temperature for a healthy adult flock lies between 65°F and 75°F.

In addition, consistent lighting plays a pivotal role in egg production for black Australorp hens. They need 14 to 16 hours of light per day to lay eggs efficiently.

To replicate the benefits of natural daylight, a simple setup using a 40-watt bulb on a timer can be effective. You can also consider using white fluorescent bulbs if you want to mimic natural rays even more closely.

How Much Does a Black Australorp Cost?

Black Australorp near a concrete wall

Black Australorp chicks are reasonably priced. They typically range from $2 to $6 each. Female chicks often have a higher price tag due to their future egg-laying capabilities, making them more sought-after.

Yet, note that the cost of black Australorps can fluctuate based on several factors, such as the buyer’s location and the potential shipping fees. The quality of the chick also plays a role in determining the price.

Prospective buyers can usually find these chickens at local poultry farms or through specialized hatcheries. Their popularity means they’re widely available, unlike their white and blue counterparts, which are rarer.

For those seeking more options or specific bloodlines, however, joining Facebook groups and online poultry forums can be beneficial.

These platforms often provide leads on where to purchase black Australorp chickens, with the added benefit of community support and advice.

Pros and Cons of the Black Australorp Chicken

When considering black Australorps for your flock, it’s best to weigh their benefits and drawbacks first. This balance will help ensure that your decision aligns with your goals and the resources you have available.

First, here are the pros of owning black Australorp chickens:

  • Excellent egg layers: Black Australorps are celebrated for prolific egg production, often laying 200 to 300 large eggs per year. This makes them a top choice for those looking to maximize egg yield from their flocks.
  • Incredibly friendly and docile: Known for their gentle nature, black Australorp chickens are well-suited for families and interact well with children. They are also easy to handle, making them ideal for first-time chicken owners.
  • Very hardy: Black Australorps are robust and adaptable, able to thrive in a variety of climates and conditions.

In contrast, the following are the cons of raising black Australorp chickens:

  • Large space requirements: Due to their size, you can expect that black Australorps will require more space than smaller chicken breeds. This means larger coops and more outdoor space for foraging.
  • Feathering issues: The dense plumage of black Australorp chickens can sometimes lead to feathering issues, especially in humid or wet conditions.
  • Predator attraction: The striking appearance of black Australorps, especially their shiny feathers, can attract predators. This necessitates secure housing and vigilant protection, particularly in rural areas where predatory wildlife is more common.

The pros clearly showcase black Australorps as a valuable breed for both egg production and as family-friendly pets. Yet, ensure you study the cons as well before committing to taking care of these chickens.

Frequently Asked Questions

Black Australorp rooster standing in a farmyard

Are Black Australorps Good Egg Layers?

Black Australorp chickens are not just good but are outstanding egg layers. They can produce about 200 to 300 eggs annually. Plus, their tendency not to brood means more consistent laying periods.

Are Black Australorps Good Chickens?

Black Australorps are gentle, friendly chickens, which makes them perfect for families and a favorite among children. Their non-aggressive nature and ease of care also make them an ideal choice for novice keepers.

Are Black Australorps Aggressive?

Generally speaking, black Australorp chickens are known for their calm demeanor; they aren’t aggressive. This particular personality allows them to blend seamlessly into mixed flocks.

Are you thinking of adding some black Australorps to your flock? Let us know in the comments below. We’d also love to answer any questions you might have about these dark-colored chickens!

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