Colours: Black, Blue, White
The most common of the heavy breeds, this is the only breed that has been developed in Australia for use both as an egg layer and as a table bird. However, the introduction of cross-breeds for egg production has seen this breed fall out of favour as a commercial egg producer as they have a tendency to go broody. They are however generally calm and docile.
The Australorp is a large, soft-feathered bird. The male and female are black with blue-green sheen. Beak and legs are black or dark grey and earlobes are red. Any white or red feathering is considered a fault. The bird's single comb is moderately large and upright, with five distinct points. The breed was developed from the English Black Orpington initially imported into Australia in the period from 1890 to the early 1900s. Crossings with Minorca, White Leghorn and Langshan was carried out to improve the utility features of the imported Orpingtons. There are apparent reports of the use of Plymouth Rock in the development of the breed. The early development of the breed was as a utility fowl and the breed was initially known as the Black Utility Orpington.
The origin of the modern name of the breed is subject to controversy, but it would be clear that the first half of the name "Austral" (Australia or Southern) makes a reference to the country it was developed in, and the second part of the name "orp" (Orpington) would suggest its major origins from this breed. It is also certain that the name Australorp was in used in the early 1920s when the breed made its international debut.