Austalorps are fine-looking large chicken breeds with close-fitting plumage, which can live up to 7-10 years. When fully grown, they weigh approximately 6-9 pounds (2.2-4 kg). They are considered some of the most productive chicken species and favored by novice and experienced farmers.
The beautiful pure black bird initially dates back to the 1900s in Australia. Around then, breeders had it rough developing chicken species capable of withstanding harsh climatic conditions. Through various trials and errors, they crossbred Orpington’s chickens with white Leghorn, Minorca, and Rhode Island Red species to come up with beautiful Black Austalorps.
For centuries, Ausralorps have steadily become popular because of their pleasant personality plus impressive meat and egg production. Today, we will discuss how to enjoy a longer lifespan with your Black Australorps chickens.
Australorp Hen vs Rooster Lifespan
On average, a healthy Black Australorp lives for about five to eight years. On the other hand, hens live slightly longer than roosters, even after long periods of laying eggs. Undeniably, an unfavorable environment for laying hens can drastically affect their lives.
Nonetheless, contented hens have a life expectancy of roughly eight to ten years. In most cases, hens produce eggs for three to five years. Soon after, the egg quantity or shell quality may dwindle steadily. Even so, your hens can enjoy a happier and satisfying life in their retirement if the keeper strives to meet the basic needs without fail.
How to Tell the Age of Australorp Chicken?
It is not always easy to tell the age of an adult Australorp bird to an inexperienced eye. However, you can discern if a chicken is past its prime age if the beak, wattles and legs fade with time.
Take into account that chickens go through a couple of vital developmental stages from hatching to adulthood. Below is a quick guide on what to expect on any developmental level in your chickens.
– Chicks (0 to 12 weeks)
From the hatchery to the sixth day, the birds are covered by a fine soft coat but no feathers. By week 12, you can notice the initial adult plumage after a mini molt session. During this stage, boys grow pointed feathers around the tail, saddle, and neck.
Contrarily girls have more rounded and even feathers. When it comes to mass growth, most chicks weigh approximately 40 grams. At around week 12, your birds can weigh roughly 1 to 1.5kg. Wattles and combs are more pronounced in this stage, especially on the boys.
As the chickens grow, boys may become extra extroverted and start chest-bumping, crowing, or posturing. All this happens in readiness of the pecking order later. Girls have a more submissive and quieter nature compared to boys.
– Cockerel and Pullets (12 to 52 weeks)
Compared to human beings, this stage is similar to the teenage phase. One distinctive feature is that the plumage marking intensifies as the birds grow. Additionally, the body fills up with a possibility of achieving 50% of their adult weight before week 20.
Remember that combs and wattles redden more when pullets approach the egg-laying stage. Crows may shake the combs more to attract the girls. You may notice that the vent of a non-laying pullet may appear pale, dry, and rounded. Often, this changes to a moist pink color after the first egg.
Increased levels of submission in pullets can be an indication that she is ready to mate. Also, she may stroll around checking out darkened spots or nesting boxes to lay their eggs. Oppositely, roosters can be troublesome during this stage, especially when they attempt to mate the pullets. To avoid any injuries, segregate them unless when needed.
– Hens and Roosters (12 months and older)
Most chickens manage to attain their adult weight by 12 months. Hens’ physique becomes softer and rounded while roosters gain muscles and grow upright. Older Black Australorps have rougher legs with some scales lifting slightly.
Since the birds are not very active in this stage, the claws may get extremely long, requiring regular trimming. Hens are more prone to arthritis which comes with occasional limp. However, you can prevent this by providing them with proper care and nutrition. Moreover, a place perches for them to rest at night.
When do Australorps Start Laying Eggs?
Typically, healthy hens start laying eggs at 16 weeks. This may delay to 18 weeks depending on the diet and environment. Bear in mind that hens manage to produce large and even eggs from around 20 weeks. Altogether, Australorps are prolific egg layers that can give you up to 300 eggs annually.
Why did My Austalorps Chicken Die Early?
If chickens die way before their time, possibly they suffer from common poultry ailments. It is crucial to contact a reliable chicken vet immediately if you notice unusual symptoms. Common indicators of a sickly chicken include distinctive droppings, poor egg production, increased lethargy, inactiveness, and pale combs.
Factors that Impact Life Expectancy of Chickens
There are various factors that can put your bird down. Thankfully, Black Australops are hardy species and rarely suffer from common poultry ailments. Still, the factors mentioned below can affect the lifespan of your birds in one way or another.
When investing in the poultry industry, prioritize offering a spacious and safe enclosure. Do not forget to keep it warm against draughts and risk-free from predators. Furthermore, the coop should provide adequate sunlight and fresh air.
– Diet and Nutrition
In recent times, commercialized feeds have been formulated according to different developmental stages. Fortunately, this ensures that your chickens meet the required nutrition needs of carbohydrates, minerals, proteins, and vitamins.
Avoid overfeeding your birds because it can lead to obese-related ailments like back troubles, respiratory issues, and heart complications. Above all, allow your feathered friends to scavenge around regularly. That way, the experience will enable them to remain trim while supplementing their diet.
A chicken’s surroundings contribute to their wellbeing. Hence, fowls kept in clean, comfortable, and dry coops are more likely to live longer than unclean conditions prone to contamination.
Not only will a whole load of chicken ailments put them down, but also an invasion of parasites can be detrimental. Life-threatening chicken ailments include Marek, Coccidiosis, Bronchitis, and fowl pox. It is worth mentioning that most poultry ailments can be prevented by regular coop cleaning.
Unfortunately, there is nothing much you can do with viral diseases like lymphoid leucosis. In such a situation, separate any sickly birds and seek medical attention right away.
Birds interbred excessively may suffer from poor quality of life. Beyond anything else, a diligent breeder should focus on raising gene standards by breeding healthy parents only.
Gone are the days when farmers kept fowls for eggs and meat only. Instead, poultry now stands tall among the most preferred pets and ornamental animals.
For these reasons, it is vital to take extra care of your feathered friends through the tips mentioned above. As we all know, chickens are likely to live relatively longer when fed well or placed in suitable habitats.Chickens