Black Australorp chickens originated in Australia and were introduced in the United States in the 1920s. Developed from Black Orpingtons imported from England, the Australorp was bred for egg production without sacrificing too much in size and meat quality. Some sensational results were made in the Australian program with one hen setting a laying record of 364 eggs in 365 days. To this day, Black Australorps are still one of the best light brown egg layers of all the heavy breeds.
Black Australorps have glossy black feathers with a greenish-purple sheen and large red combs. Australorps are very large birds — cockerels (males) weigh 6 to 8 pounds at maturity, and pullets (females) weigh 5 to 7 pounds. As a dual-purpose breed, Australorps have pinkish-white skin and plump bodies and dress out nicely once the birds have matured. Pullets mature early, starting to lay between 5 and 6 months of age.
Australorps are quiet, gentle, and stand confinement well. Baby chicks are black with a good deal of white in the underparts and small white patches around the head and wings.