Are Australorps Winter Hardy? Everything You Should Know
Though Australorps flourish in hot and cold temperatures, experts at Mother Earth News argue that they have better production in cold temperatures. The yield is excellent in all aspects, including egg-laying and quality meat production, which has made a great impression on small- and large-scale farmers.
Though new in the chicken scene, the Australorps are one of the best chicken breeds which have recently made a great impression in the poultry industry. The popularity is due to its fast growth, good quality meat, high rate of egg-laying, and low maintenance cost.
Additionally, they add life to your garden, eat unwanted insects, become a great help in composting, and are a great entertainment source without taking much of your garden space.
Keep reading to find out this peculiar chicken breed is winter handy.
Are Australorps Good for Cold Climate?
If you’re searching for an easygoing bird that you can rear in a cold environment, then Australorps are your best bet. Despite them being of Australian origin, which is one of the warmest areas globally, this breed can surprisingly withstand cold temperatures with ease.
Several other features make it easy for this breed of chicken to adapt to cold climates quickly. These features include dense feathers which shield them against this harsh weather, smaller combs, wattles, heavyweight, fluffy plumage.
Besides, they are less prone to frostbite, which distinguishes them from other chicken breeds produced in cold areas.
Do Australorps Lay in the Winter?
Australorps have a high egg-laying rate, especially during cold weather, earning the nickname “The egg laying machine“. From research, they lay very well in cold weather and slightly slow down in hot weather and cease laying during the fall molt, which typically lasts for a few months.
One attribute that has made Australorps have increased popularity is their ability to lay naturally without the caregiver’s much effort, too much lighting, or coercion. Australorps lay approximately 250 eggs per year, which equates to about five eggs per week. This number is different from one hen to another depending on the feeding rate, health, and environment.
In an industrial production setting, they produce more eggs because their feeding and lighting are strictly controlled for maximum output. Compared to other breeds of chicken which start laying at six months during winter, Australorps start laying a bit earlier. Researchers say that they begin laying between 16 and 18 weeks.
Compared to other cold-hardy breeds, Australorps have the highest productivity rate during winter, especially between 6 and 18 months. Your Australorps could lay for more than four years in cold areas; however, their egg production will decrease as they get older.
Care for Australorps in Winter
Choosing to keep Australorps which are winter hardy, is undoubtedly a critical step in chicken farming if you live in cold areas. However, it is advisable to know how to take care of them to avoid losses and to maximize production.
Please go through the tips given below to take appropriate care of your Australorps, especially when the temperature gets to freezing levels.
Housing is one of the most critical aspects to pay attention to when taking care of Australorps during winter. They need a well enclosed and secure coop to protect them from snowy weather and extreme cold. However, it is essential to ensure that the house is well ventilated.
Even though Australorps do not sweat, they exhale a lot of vapors which causes a buildup of ammonia and humidity, leading to frostbite and various respiratory issues. If there is condensation forming on the windows or ammonia fumes in the coop, it is a sign that there is not enough ventilation.
Dietary requirements of Australorps increase during winter due to energy requirements increasing as their bodies need more energy to keep themselves warm. It is essential to provide the right amounts of food during these times and offer the right foods. To ensure appropriate feeding of your Australorps, follow the tips below;
- Feed Australorps more protein as it helps them grow extra feathers needed to stay warm during winter. Also, it increases egg production, which is known to slow down in the winter.
- Make them warm oatmeal, which is a good source of carbohydrates required to keep them warm.
- Increase food intake by 1.5 times to increase energy production, which keeps them warm throughout.
- Feed your Australorps leafy green vegetables such as chard, kales, and collard if available, or supplement them using the regular food diet.
- Feed the chicken using hanged troughs instead of pellets customarily placed on the floor leading to contamination.
Though Australorps do not consume much water during winter, they can’t take food, produce eggs, generate heat, and grow appropriately without water. Ensure continuous access to fresh and unfrozen water to keep them healthy and warm throughout. The Australorps’ beaks are not strong enough to break the ice.
If your coops have electricity, use heated chicken troughs, which prevent the water from freezing. If the house has no electricity, ensure that you keep checking the water troughs to ensure that the water is not frozen.
There are many kinds of materials that you can use to make beddings for your Australorps house during winter. Nonetheless, it is advisable to use a combination of straws and pine shavings for perfect warmth generation.
Lay 6 inches of pine on the coop, then add a thin layer of straws every day. Ensure that you keep turning the bedding regularly for better decomposition of the mixture. According to a study, decomposed material generates more heat which is vital during winter. Besides, it generates crucial microbes that keep your chicken healthy.
Whether you want to do the small or large-scale keeping of Australorps, it’s a top-pick chicken breed, primarily if you reside in cold areas. The delightful birds to have in your flock are easygoing, friendly, and most importantly, very winter hardy, which is incredible.
Follow the tips given above; they will help you ensure appropriate care and maximum production of your Australorps during winter.