The blue Australorp may not be the oldest breed of chicken, and to be completely honest, its name seems like it belongs in a science fiction film.
But despite its very short existence, this distinctive breed of chicken has had a significant impact and is currently sweeping the poultry industry.
The time has come to consider growing this prestigious breed if you haven’t already. Here is all the information you need about blue Australorp chickens.
Although the Australorp chicken comes in a variety of colors, the American Poultry Association only accepts the bird in its natural black color.
However, the Australian Poultry Society recognizes the blue, black, and white varieties there, and the splash, buff, golden, and even wheat-laced varieties are recognized in South Africa.
Of course, the most popular color variation of this chicken breed is the black Australorp. It’s truly amazing to see. The chicken will have a beetle-green sheen in the sunlight, making it appear iridescent when viewed outside.
The blue Australorp has light lacing across its blue-gray feathers. Due to breeding techniques, there are other Australorp varieties that aren’t formally recognized.
The “splash” shade is another unusual color that you can come upon. This one has sporadic blue flecks and a light grey-white tint.
Due to the fact that crossing these two blue Australorps does not always produce the splash hue, this distinctive color is not well known.
The blue Australorp will always be a huge, hefty bird with soft, close-fitting feathers, regardless of color. It stands straight, lifting its tail high, and its breast is full and well-rounded.
Its earlobes, combs, and wattles are all red. There are no more than seven distinct points on the upright comb.
Legs may be slate blue or black, but they will never have any feathers. The skin on the chicken’s four toes on each foot is the same white color as the skin on the rest of its body.
The blue Australorp’s jet-black eyes are one of its most distinctive traits. It also has a beak that is black in color, giving it a dreamy, enigmatic aspect. This makes for a really attractive bird when combined with the chicken’s dignified gait.
In fact, this characteristic earned the Orpington chicken, one of the parent breeds of the Australorp, its name because it resembles a duchess at a tea party.
The Australorp is a large, heavy breed of chicken, reaching mature weights of up to 10 pounds for males and eight pounds for hens.
This type of chicken also comes in a bantam size, however, it is less popular. Females will weigh a little around two pounds, while males will be close to three pounds.
History of the Blue Australorp Chicken
The blue Australorp, a contraction of “Australian Black Orpington,” has gone through several names over its illustrious past. This chicken was domesticated in Australia and is regarded as the honorary national bird of that nation.
Given how recent these chickens are in the market, the history is brief.
William Cook’s Orpingtons were introduced to Australia in the early 20th century with the ultimate aim of creating a productive, dual-purpose chicken that was well suited to the harsh Australian climate.
Inquisitive settlers mixed the Orpington with a Rhode Island Red in the hopes that the resultant offspring would have better egg-laying abilities.
The bird needed to be improved in order to provide meat with a higher level of quality. However, this was challenging in other countries, such as England, because Australian breeders couldn’t agree on whether the production of meat or eggs was more crucial.
One combination ultimately triumphed. Although the Leghorn, Orpington, and Rhode Island Red were likely the dominant breeds, no one can say for sure which one triumphed.
What was the final convincing evidence for the breeders? A small flock of just six Australorp hens produced 1,857 eggs over the years 1922 and 1923, or more than 309 eggs per bird in merely 365 days.
Later, egg-laying competitions helped to further establish the Australorp as one of the top breeds for dual-purpose chickens.
A single bird set a new record by producing 364 eggs in a year. This is a rather remarkable accomplishment, especially in light of the fact that no additional lighting was employed to promote laying during the off times.
The worldwide poultry industry took note when this record was broken. This bird was a prolific layer since it didn’t need to be coerced into doing so; it did it of its own volition!
Later, the Australorp was bred with the White Leghorn to create the Austra White, an even more productive bird.
Interest declined for a number of decades after the Australorp’s creation as commercial poultry farms shifted to single breed productions (for the most part, only utilizing White Leghorns for their laying operations).
Fortunately, there is a resurgence of interest in rare breeds like the Australorp as more people get interested in keeping heritage breed chickens.
It is currently classified as a recovering breed and is among the greatest breeds of chicken you can keep in your backyard in addition to being a top layer.
These days, the chicken is referred to by a variety of names, such as the Australian Orpington, Austral, and the Black Australorp (although there are white and blue variants offered, too).
Behavior of the Blue Australorp Chickens
Blue Australorp chickens are renowned for their elegant, serene disposition. They can endure both confinement and free-ranging well and wander about the poultry yard with a dignified and poised demeanor.
Since they are so big, these chickens enjoy being active, which is excellent for them. If kept only in confinement, the Australorp is susceptible to obesity, like many hefty breeds.
So that they may scratch and peck for bugs and other delectable morsels, it is crucial that you provide your hens with lots of access to free-ranging areas.
The Australorp is a breed with rapid growth. You might notice that your birds are a little reserved when you first bring them home. But when kids get used to you being there, this rapidly passes.
Once they become accustomed to you, you’ll notice that they follow you about the yard in search of a treat.
In the pecking order, Australorp chickens are typically right in the middle. Despite their size, Australorps tend to be relatively placid and quiet rather than forceful or aggressive.
But be aware that this gentle behemoth is susceptible to intimidation from other, stronger hens.
Production of Blue Australorp Chicken Eggs and Meat
We go through how much egg and meat production you may anticipate from blue Australorp chickens in this part.
Are Australorp Chicken Good Egg Layers?
It is one of the best breeds of chicken you may keep for eggs, as you may have inferred from the introduction to the Australorp’s history.
Even though commercial egg-laying species like White Leghorns are more prolific, the Australorp can still lay up to 250 eggs annually.
Of course, this depends on the individual, as some hens may lay more or fewer eggs depending on how they are feeling.
The eggs will be medium in size and light brown either way. An average hen will lay about five eggs a year.
Australorps can be much more productive if you raise them in a tightly regulated environment, such as the kind you may find in a commercial setting. But for this to work, lighting and feed must be strictly regulated.
The blue Australorp chicken rarely experiences a decline in egg output. These hens are renowned for their exceptional egg-laying abilities and begin producing eggs at 24 to 28 weeks of age.
In actuality, they will continue to lay eggs throughout the winter, and usually speaking, the only times when they stop are when the birds are ill or going through their yearly molting cycle.
Is the Blue Australorp Chicken Healthy for Consumption?
Compared to other chicken breeds, blue Australorp chickens acquire weight a little bit more slowly, but you may still raise them to provide meat for the table.
Your feed costs will go down and your feed conversion rates will significantly increase if you can give your Australorps access to new pastures.
An Australorp typically needs seven months to achieve its adult weight. To make sure that the meat is tender and tastier, many people butcher before this. However, you can simply wait seven months to butcher your chickens if you want that big carcass.
You’ll have a sizable carcass for the dinner table because the typical hen or rooster weighs eight to nine pounds. The white meat of the birds is renowned for being delicate and slightly sweet.
Common Health Issues of Blue Australorp chickens
The Australorp chicken is a strong, healthy bird with relatively few noticeable health issues. This chicken can live up to 10 years with the right care, so you won’t need to do anything special to take care of it.
But even the healthiest chicks can have issues like parasites, so you must watch out for them. The Australorp chicken is especially vulnerable to these issues because of its profuse feathering.
By routinely examining and brushing your hens’ feathers, you may protect them from both external and internal parasites.
Consider including a dust bath in the coop as well. This will not only aid to promote beneficial social habits but also ward against parasites. To avoid parasites, you can also give your chickens natural dewormers like apple cider vinegar or garlic.
You often don’t have to worry about australorps flying out of the pen because they are extremely hefty.
It won’t be required for you to give additional confinement measures or to clip their wings to keep them from escaping because they aren’t known to be flighty.
Although Australorps originated in one of the world’s warmest regions, they can easily tolerate the chilly winter temperatures.
They can withstand harsh conditions since they are heavy enough and have robust feathers. Even when the weather changes to be either terribly hot or extremely cold, they continue to lie.
As a general rule, quarantine young Australorp chickens for up to 31 days when bringing them to your herd. This will give you time to check that your chickens are free of any illnesses that might infect the rest of your flock.
These hens are friendly creatures, but remember to introduce them gradually and keep an eye on them to ensure a smooth adjustment.
How to Raise the Blue Australorp chickens
Almost areas in the world can be used to raise Australorp chickens. Just be careful to provide ten square feet in the run and four square feet for each chicken in the coop.
Additionally, you must leave enough space for the roosting bars and nesting boxes. Although these chickens adapt well to confinement, their size requires that you give them more room.
Make sure the coop has adequate ventilation, but watch out for excessive drafts.
Both in the summer and the winter, ventilation may be a godsend because it can keep odors and moisture from building up, but in the winter, too many drafts might chill your birds.
For the birds to have a dry area to roost in the rain, your coop should ideally be raised off the ground.
Installing a covered run is a smart move if you want to protect your Australorps from raptors. It’s up to you whether you want to cover your run as they can fly, although they can’t soar very high.
Covering the run would mostly serve to safeguard your Australorps since their size may make it more difficult for them to flee from aerial predators.
When raising your Australorps, you won’t have to worry about following any particular maintenance or care guidelines. All you need to do is make sure they have access to enough pure, hygienic food and water.
If you are raising blue Australorps primarily for eggs, a layer feed is excellent, but you may also add in a broiler feed as a supplement.
Do not separate your blue Australorps! These chickens can live in flocks with other breeds perfectly fine, but they also like interacting with other chickens that look like them.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Blue Australorp chickens
The blue Australorp chicken’s ability to serve two purposes is among its many advantages. Excellent egg and meat producers, these hens!
Australorp hens are excellent moms as a logical extension of that statement. When the eggs finally hatch, they make good moms for their offspring in addition to occasionally being broody.
This distinguishes them from their parent species, the Orpington, which is not a particularly effective brooder.
They are renowned for being excellent foster mothers. Your blue Australorp will sit on eggs from other hens that you can easily place beneath her.
Just bear in mind that choosing the proper bloodlines is important if you plan to breed your Australorps as show birds.
The blue Australorp chicken is a pleasant and affectionate creature that is easy to care for and produces a lot of eggs. Because they are kind and easygoing, these chickens don’t harass your other hens.
The blue Australorp is an excellent choice for exhibition and farm programs as a result. It tolerates noise well and is so stunning that it frequently wins blue ribbons.
Because they are excellent foragers, blue australorp will keep weeds and insects out of your grass. These birds actually enjoy nothing more than foraging and scratching in the garden.
Furthermore, blue Australorp chickens can survive in a variety of temperatures and environments.
Both milder regions like the American Midwest and hotter ones like Australia are no match for them. You can raise this breed of chicken with real success!
Drawbacks of Raising Blue Australorp Chickens
There are not many problems with growing blue Australorp chickens.
However, bear in mind that it might occasionally be challenging to find in the US, particularly if you’re seeking a color other than black.
To ensure you receive the hens you bought for as well, it’s crucial that you only purchase them from registered breeding stock.
According to some chicken caretakers, Australorp chickens are hostile toward kids or other animals.
This is typically exclusively true with roosters, and it has a lot to do with each bird’s unique character. Undoubtedly, you won’t find it in all blue Australorp chickens.
Is the Blue Australorp Chicken Right for Me?
The blue Australorp chicken will undoubtedly become notable among your group of backyard poultry. It is a sociable, laid-back chicken that is ideal for novices because it doesn’t need much extra care. Additionally, it is easy to handle and adapts nicely.
This chicken is a fantastic option for you whether you wish to grow a flock of mixed breeds or an entire flock of Australorps. It doesn’t make a lot of noise or fly around, but it will also provide you with a ton of tasty eggs—and even some meat!
What more could one ask for? You won’t regret rearing an Australorp chicken, so think about it.