Black Australorp chickens are large enough to be excellent meat birds but also consistent egg layers.
The eggs from Black Australorps are medium to large and light brown.
A Black Australorp hen usually begins laying eggs between 5-7 months of age.
But how long will a Black Australorp hen lay eggs?
Once a Black Australorp begins producing eggs, she will continue laying until she is between 4-6 years old. Peak egg production is reached 1-2 months after a Black Australorp hen starts laying before gradually tapering off each year.
Heritage chicken breeds like the Black Australorp lay eggs for much longer than hybrid breeds.
Hybrid breed chickens have a much shorter average life expectancy than most heritage chicken breeds and may only lay eggs for 2-3 years of their life.
Keep reading for more information on how many eggs Black Australorps lay and which factors affect egg production.
How Many Eggs Do Black Australorps Lay?
Australorps were first developed in the late 1800s by Australian breeders who wanted a large dual-purpose breed capable of being prolific brown egg layers.
The Black Australorp breed profile includes:
- Black Orpingtons
- White Leghorns
- Rhode Island Reds
While black is the original color of Australorps, there are also blue and white varieties.
The American Poultry Association only recognizes the black color of Australorps.
But the Australian Poultry Society also includes the white and blue colors.
Black Australorp hens can produce 4-5 eggs per week and average around 250 eggs per year.
The highest recorded number of eggs laid by a Black Australorp hen is 364, but this is not typical.
As with all chicken breeds, egg production in Black Australorps decreases yearly.
Generally, a hen will lay around 80% of the number of eggs she produced the year before.
This gradual decrease in egg production will continue until the Black Australorp hen stops laying when she is around 4 to 6 years old.
Do Black Australorps Lay Eggs All Year?
Unlike most chickens, Australorps are excellent winter layers.
Black Australorp hens prefer laying eggs in cooler weather.
Their egg production may slow down significantly in the hot summer months.
Once a Black Australorp turns one year old, it will go through an annual molt in the fall and will not lay eggs until molting has finished.
To maintain a steady supply of eggs in the fall, you will need to have new chicks born in the spring.
Black Australorp chicks born in early spring will mature and begin producing eggs in the fall when the older birds are molting.
What Affects Egg Production Besides Age?
Several factors influence how many eggs an Australorp chicken will lay in a year.
While most Black Australorp hens begin laying eggs when they are 5-7 months old, this also depends on a few things, such as when they were hatched and the food they eat.
If your hens reach maturity close to winter or are not fed a quality starter feed, there may be a delay before egg laying begins.
Hybrid chicken breeds may begin laying at just 16-20 weeks.
Heritage chicken breeds usually start laying later than other breeds of chickens, but they are known to be amazing egg layers.
Decreased sunlight in the winter and extreme temperatures during the summer months will cause a decline in egg production.
Black Australorp hens are one of the few breeds with consistent winter layers.
But you may still notice a decrease in egg-laying if the birds do not get enough sunlight.
Prolonged freezing temperatures may also cause a Black Australorp to lay fewer eggs, even though the bird is very tolerant to cooler climates.
Hot temperatures in the summer will slow down egg production as well.
Because of their black feathers, Black Australorps do not do well in hot weather, and they need plenty of shaded areas to stay cool.
Black Australorp hens will begin molting once they are 18 months of age or in the fall after their first egg-laying season.
Molting usually occurs in September or October and continues for around eight weeks.
An Australorp chicken will not lay eggs during the molt until the molting process is complete.
Chickens molt to eliminate old feathers and replace them with fluffy new ones.
These new feathers provide the chicken with better insulation against colder temperatures.
A Black Australorp hen will use most of her energy to regrow new feathers, so she will not have the required nutrient reserves for egg production.
When a hen becomes broody, she will want to sit on her eggs until they hatch.
Broodiness occurs due to hormone fluctuations, and once a hen enters this state, she will focus on hatching her eggs instead of laying new ones.
Black Australorp hens are sometimes more broody than other chicken breeds and are known to be good mothers to their baby chicks.
If you do not want your Black Australorps to go broody, it is crucial to remove eggs from the nest every day.
A broody Black Australorp hen will steal eggs left in an unattended nest to raise them as her own.
When one hen becomes broody, it may encourage other hens in the flock to follow suit.
This may lead to a lack of nesting boxes for the laying hens, which results in eggs being laid in odd places or broken eggs.
Lack of Proper Nutrition
Hens need a quality layer of feed once they begin egg production.
A layer feed contains essential nutrients like extra protein and calcium to ensure healthy egg yolk and shell development.
Without the proper nutrients, your Black Australorp may not have the energy to produce eggs.
Water is also essential for a chicken’s health and egg production capabilities.
If a hen is without clean, fresh water for even a few hours, it may affect how many eggs she produces for several weeks.
Always provide access to clean water for your chickens throughout the day.
Use a heated waterer in the winter to prevent the water from freezing.
Stress is a significant source of decreased egg production in Black Australorp hens.
These usually easy-going birds may be stressed by sudden changes to their environment or routine and a threat from a predator or pest.
Avoid making drastic changes to the chicken coop, and provide your backyard flock with a regular feeding schedule, so the birds do not fret over their next meal.
Thoroughly secure the coop at night to protect the chickens against predators, and regularly inspect it for any holes or cracks a rodent might be able to come in through.
Provide your Black Australorps with at least 4′ square feet per bird in the coop and 8′ square feet of pen space per bird to avoid stress from overcrowding.
Illness, Injury, or Parasites
A Black Australorp hen suffering from an illness, injury, or parasites will be unable to produce healthy eggs.
In many cases, a sick or injured hen will not lay eggs at all.
Common signs of chicken illnesses or injuries include:
- Lack of appetite
- Runny or bloody stool
- Cuts or open wounds
Regularly monitor your Black Australorp flock for common symptoms, and get veterinary care for sick or injured birds as soon as possible.
The Australorp is very hardy against disease, making it an excellent choice for beginners or those with a family-style farm in the backyard.
Large predators may threaten the safety of your Black Australorps, but smaller predators may be the most likely culprits of empty nesting boxes.
Snakes and rats are notorious for sneaking into chicken coops and stealing a hen’s eggs.
Raccoons, opossums, and skunks have also been known to steal chicken eggs.
Secure your chicken coop with hardware cloth and invest in a good door lock for closing the coop at night to prevent these unwanted thieves from entering.
One of the biggest reproductive issues in hens is egg-binding.
Egg-binding occurs when an egg gets stuck in the oviduct, and the hen cannot lay it.
The hen may strain to push the egg out to no avail.
Nutritional deficiencies are the leading cause of egg-binding, and it is fatal to the hen if not treated promptly by a veterinarian.
Fortunately, Black Australorps are less prone to egg-binding or other reproductive diseases than other chicken breeds.
To ensure your hens do not suffer from egg-binding, provide them with a high-quality layer feed containing an adequate supply of calcium and other essential nutrients.
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