Australorp vs Black Orpington – What is the Difference?

Several characteristics attract poultry lovers to a particular breed. Some of them include the ability to produce generous baskets of eggs, savory meat, and so forth. Furthermore, spending so much on chickens that produce counted eggs or have a low deadweight would not make sense.

With the market flooded with numerous chicken varieties, learning more about your desired option and why you should pick it over others would not hurt.

In this article, we will compare and contrast two prolific chicken species; Australorp and Black Orpington. If you have never heard about these birds, take a back seat and learn how to keep them happy.

Australorp Chicken

Although Australorp chicken is relatively new, it has made a significant impact in the market. The pleasant temperament chicken was first imported to Australia in the 1900s.  Later, experts crossbred the species with Rhode Island Reds to enhance its egg-laying prowess.

By the 1930s and 40s, the interest in these birds faded after crossbreeding with White Leghorn to produce a more dynamic variety known as Austra White. It would then take decades for experts to revive this breed a couple of years ago. Currently, you can get Australorp chickens in black, white, and also blue.

Black Orpington Chicken

Black is the original color of the Orpington breed dating back to 1886. The first birds were created by an expert known as William Cook to make a more productive utility bird. The birds are offsprings from black Plymouth Rock hens with Black Monorca cocks. Back then, a black chicken was essential to conceal London’s soot and dirt.

Australorp vs Black Orpington

There is a significant difference in the utility birds created compared to modern-day Black Orpington. This is because breeders now focus on temperament, appeal, and egg-laying abilities. Below are various characteristics differences between Australorps and Black Orpingtons.

– Appearance

With the upright stance and the tail held high, there is something majestic about an Australorp bird. Furthermore, they have a dignified walk which is captivating. Australorps are characterized as heavy birds with their soft body-hugging feathers.

They have a well-rounded body with full breasts. In addition, the comb, earlobes, and wattles are usually red. Like most chicken species, they have four toes in every foot and shiny black eyes. Also, their slate blue or black legs are colorless with white bottoms.

On the other hand, a Black Orpington has a green beetle glow over its black plumage. Although they are heavily built, their loose feathers make them appear bigger. They also have low posture and broad bodies. Other characteristics include a small head, medium size comb, curvy shape, and U-shaped underline.

– Size & Weight

One main thing you should consider about this bird is its bulk weight. A standard male Australorp bird weighs approximately 3.2  to 4.1 kg. The hens come in slightly lighter at 2.3 to 3.1 kg. Australorps also have bantams’ varieties weighing 0.79 to 1.23.

Likewise, Black Orpington chickens are also considered heavyweight. Adult cocks weigh 3.7 to 4.5 kg, while females are about 2.8 to 3.6 kg. Akin to the Australorb birds, you also have to invest in a large and comfortable enclosure to keep your birds safe.

– Temperament

Generally, Australorps are friendly and gentle birds. Rarely you do find these birds engaging in brawls with others. Instead, they get along ideally well and enjoy some human company. The roosters are exceptionally well-behaved and never harass young children or the hens. In fact, they protect and keep an eye for predators like foxes and hawks.

Similarly, Orpington chickens are a pleasant addition to your home. They are also very friendly even in the presence of children. Most impressive is that they are usually very patient and rarely display aggressive traits. They are also docile, calm, and gentle.

– Egg Production

Your Austrolorps hens will start laying eggs in about five months. The good news is that they do not hide eggs like other species. Moreover, they do not display anger when the keepers collect the eggs. On average, they produce 200 to 250 pieces annually and continue laying up to the 10th year.

Orpington chickens are also excellent egg layers that can give you 200 to 250 pieces per year. Sometimes experts refer to them as an ideal dual-purpose breed. The hens start laying eggs from 22 to 24 weeks and continue for 7-10 years.

– Meat Production

Australorps are dual-purpose birds, so you should harvest them around 16 to 20 weeks when the meat is flavorful and tender.  One impressive thing about these birds is that they are good parents who can hatch frequently and guarantee you a steady supply of meat.

Black Orpington birds are impressive all-purpose chickens. In short, they can provide you with a constant supply of meat or eggs and are also used for ornamental purposes. They are also known for their heavy dead weight and tasty meat.

– Care & Housing

Both Austrolorps and Orpington birds are robust and healthy breeds without major genetic health complications. However, it would help if you offered your birds a balanced diet to enhance their production and lifespan.

If possible, feed your laying hens high-quality pellets or layers of grain mash. A 20-30% protein layer formula should give them the much-needed nutrients. Once in a while, allow them to forage for worms and bugs for extra protein. Do not forget to add fresh vegetables, calcium, and plenty of clean water.

When it comes to housing requirements, you may have to invest in a sizable coop of about four square feet of space because of their bulk size. Then install some roost bars measuring eight inches for each bird. If you have breeding hens in your coop, a 12 by 12-inch nesting box will do them justice.

Bottom Line

There is a thin line separating the Black Orpingtons and Austrolorps chicken breeds. However, if you take a closer look, Black Orpingtons appear fuller with more plumage.

Contrarily, Austrolorps have sleek and shiny feathers compared to the  Black Orpingtons. Something else, while Austrolorps comes in various colors, the Black Orpingtons is purely black as the name dictates.

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