AskDefine | Define Australorp

Extensive Definition

The Australorp is an Australian chicken breed. It is a large, soft-feathered bird with glossy black feathers and a lustrous green sheen. It is hardy, docile and a good egg-layer as well as meat bird. The bird's single comb is moderately large and upright, with five distinct points.


The original stock used in the development of the Australorp was imported to Australia from England out of the Black Orpington yards of William Cook and Joseph Partington in the period from 1890 to the early 1900s. Local breeders used this stock together with judicious out-crossings of Minorca, White Leghorn and Langshan blood to improve the utility features of the imported Orpingtons. There is even a report of some Plymouth Rock blood also being used. The emphasis of the early breeders was on utility features. At this time, the resulting birds were known as Black Utility Orpingtons.
The origin of the name "Australorp" seems to be shrouded in as much controversy as the attempts to obtain agreement between the States over a suitable national Standard. The earliest claim to the name was made by one of poultry fancy's institutions, Walter Wallace Scott a.k.a. W.W. Scott, before the First World War. Equally as persuasive a claim came in 1919 from Arthur Harwood who suggested that the "Australian Laying Orpingtons" be named "Australs". The letters "orp" were suggested as a suffix to denote the major breed in the fowls development. A further overseas claim to the name came from Britain's W. Powell-Owen who drafted the British Standard for the breed in 1921 following the importation of the "Australian Utility Black Orpingtons." It is certain that the name "Australorp" was being used in the early 1920s when the breed was launched internationally. In 1929, the Australorp was admitted to the Standard of Perfection.


It was the egg laying performance of Australorps which attracted world attention when in 1922-23 a team of six hens set a world record of 1857 eggs at an average of 309.5 eggs per hen for a 365 consecutive day trial. It must be remembered that these figures were achieved without the lighting regimes of the modern intensive shed. Such performances had importation orders flooding in from England, United States of America, South Africa, Canada and Mexico. Well looked after Australorps lay approximately 250 light-brown eggs per year. A new record was set when a hen layed 364 eggs in 365 days.


  • Backyard Poultry - Naturally, Alanna Moore, Bolwarrah Press, Bolwarrah, Vic, Australia, 1998. ISBN 0-9585590-1-5
  • The American Standard of Perfection 1998 Edition, American Poultry Association, INC., Mendon, MA.

External links

Australorp in German: Australorps
Australorp in Georgian: ავსტრალორპი
Australorp in Dutch: Australorp
Australorp in Norwegian: Australorp
Australorp in Russian: Австралорп
Australorp in Swedish: Australorp
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