First, they're another sweet breed as far as personality goes. They're definitely on the docile end of the personality scale. They're compliant when being handled and don't seem to have any problems living in confinement (for those who don't have the space to allow them to free range), so they're good for a backyard flock.
They're good layers of brown eggs. (In the early 1920's an Australorp laid 364 eggs in one year!) They will lay year round.
These beautiful birds have very shiny iridescent black feathers that reflect purple and green highlights in the sunshine. I actually owe this breed and a Buff Orpington for getting me into chicken raising business. I saw them both at a nursery and fell in love with their looks and personalities! BA's are actually bred from Buff Orpingtons, so it makes sense that they're mellow and good egg layers. (Just as a side note, they were developed in Australia, with part of their breeding lines being Orpington, and that's how they got their name: austral-orp.) You can expect a hen to weigh in at about 6-6.5 lbs and a rooster to get as big as 8.5 lbs.
As far as broodiness, they're a mixed bag. Being related to the Buff Orpington, they do have some ability to go broody on you, but not nearly as much as the Orpington. And if they do and you let her hatch out some eggs, she'll be a good mother.
|Black Australorp chick on left (with a Buff Orpington on the right)
I definitely vote for this breed if you're looking for a beautiful, mellow, good egg laying hen.
Would you like to know more about chicken breeds?
Learn more about another of my personal favorites: the Buff Orpington
Other great backyard birds to consider:
Rhode Island Red