The name Australorp has been claimed as an abbreviation of Australian Black Orpington. Around 1921 there was a large importation of stock birds from Australia into this country and an Austral Orpington Club was formed. This was later changed to Australorp and still remains today.
This breed has a Soft Feather Heavy classification and can be either Large Fowl or Bantam. The most common colour is black but can also be found in blue and white.
They were not very common in Northern Ireland in recent years, with Mr Gordon Walker being one of the main breeders. However, they have seen a resurgence and rightly so.
The points stated in the British Poultry Standards sets highest importance on the head, which includes face, comb and wattles. It is a challenge to keep the comb size down on the males.
They are mostly shown in actual Australorp classes in the bantams. The Large Fowl are not shown in very big numbers at our local shows so are usually shown in the Any Other Variety Class.
If you venture “across the water” there are actual breed classes for both Bantam and Large Fowl.
They are a very placid breed, ideal for first time poultry keepers. We have also found them to be fantastic layers, laying a light brown egg.
Our large fowl lay a really good-sized egg for anyone selling their eggs from home. We have also used them as broodies and they make very good mothers.
Being clean legged they are easy to keep outside, and youngsters seem to thrive better out at grass.
Keep an eye on combs in extreme weather conditions as they can get damaged, especially by frost.
n For anyone interested in joining the Australorp Club the contact details are: Mr I Simpson and Mrs L Carpenter, Chestnut Farm, Normanton, Southwell, Notts, NG25 0PR, telephone 01636 814958, email firstname.lastname@example.org