Friday, December 18, 2015

Chicken Evaluation: Part 2 'The Australorps'

Today I am going to talk about our Australorps or as I refer to them, the house chickens. They are always near the house just in case I have scraps!

This was Ralph's breed choice and he has had them before with great success. He remembered them as gentle, calm and quiet chickens that lay very well and were quite broody.

From the ALBC website:
Australorp chickens are a medium weight breed with fairly close-fitting feathers. They lay and abundance of large tinted eggs, often averaging 26-27 ounces per dozen.  Australorps were recognized as a standard breed by the American Poultry Association in 1929 and are found in only one variety, black. Males weigh 8.5 lbs and females weigh 6.5 lbs.

 The Australorps arrived on September the 8th. My initial impression was how much bigger they were than the Buckeyes and that they seemed quiet and calm, just like Ralph said.

They were amazed by the activity of the Buckeye as well and seemed fairly tolerant of their "uppity" attitude. The chicks grew fast and were very healthy, we had few losses of them. They were a lot leggier than the Buckeyes though and grow considerably faster.

They tended to follow the lead of the Buckeyes when it came to new foods but it never seemed to take them long to dig in. As they got older we did have some problems with pecking, crowding was an issue but after observation we felt it was the Buckeyes more bold nature that seemed to cause the Australorps to pick on them. Only two  of the Australorps had to be separated because they were getting pecked. As I mentioned in the Buckeye evaluation, we would not house these two breeds together if we get another batch of them.

The Australorp are taller and leggier than Ralph remembered, he thought they would be stockier, more old style farm chicken. As they grow we really like the look of the pullets, they are three months old now and we can tell the roosters from the hens easily.

 They are more nervous than we expected, although they were calmer as chicks, as maturing birds they are not wild but not calm either. They are a dual purpose breed but look more refined and less meaty than the Buckeyes. They are much taller than the Buckeyes but do not weigh as much when you pick them up. They do not mind being held as much as the Buckeyes. The Australorp roosters were the first to try to crow...not good sounding but giving it the old college try! As a breed they still hang together more than the other chickens and they do not forage out into the pasture as much as the Buckeye or Buff's.

A three month old Australorpe Cockerel.

Now as with the other chickens we are waiting until the taste tests of the first Roosters. I suspect the Australorps will be the first to  make it to the table as they are maturing quicker. Then the laying and broodiness evaluations start, we think that should begin in February/March. We have to admit despite the extra cost of feeding in winter we are glad we got the chicks this fall as we will have laying hens as the  grass gets good. It is also good to see how they handle the weather.

Now off to treat the chickens to some scraps of apple!

God Bless you all and keep well.


  1. I love the Australorp's big, dark eyes. I had gotten four chicks, one Buckeye and one Cuckoo Maran. You are spot-on on the quick growth and legginess. I know from past experience that they are great layers and lay nice, large brown eggs on a pretty regular basis.

  2. I like the 'lorps. They were always the garden chickens. The minute they would spy the shovel or hoe heading out to the garden they'd be underfoot, digging and scratching. Nice, sweet hens. Enjoy them.

  3. I'm enjoying hearing of your personal opinions of the breeds. I'm already dreaming of what breeds to add next!

    1. We just hope what we observe can be of some help. Have you seen Salmon Faverolle?

  4. Our Lorps are now 7 months old and have filled out and are laying almost every day. Snow doesn't deter them. They are beautiful with their feathers shining blue and purple in the sun. We give them a flake of alfalfa hay occasionally as a treat and they enjoy digging thru it....keeps them busy with this snow. I love their dark eyes, too. They are active and alert and get along with the others in the flock.

  5. And here I am thinking that chickens are just chickens. How wrong can you be.

    Merry Christmas, Fiona.

    PS: I very much enjoyed the bizarre bazar.

  6. I was very interested in this post because our flock is mostly Lorps now. I really like them, and I'm glad to hear that of Ralph's experience with them going broody. I have found them to be wonderful layers and I think we have one Lorp roo is the freezer (or maybe we ate him, I can't remember). Mine are skittish, but I know why. It's because I wanted to keep them out of the back pasture when I seeded it for winter grazing. They kept hopping the fence and gobbling down all the seed, so I kept chasing them out. They are quite suspicious of me now. :)

  7. Because we are spending a lot of time with these chickens I have noticed that they are much smarter than people think! The Australorps know the moment I call that I have treats! The others do too but they are usually further away.