Or­p­ing­tons vs Aus­tralorps

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry -

The Or­p­ing­ton was bred to be the per­fect bird for the self-suf­fi­cient farmer, a good layer but with good meat pro­duc­tion too. It was named af­ter Or­p­ing­ton in Kent and was cre­ated over about 10 years in the 1880s by com­mer­cial poul­try farmer Wil­liam Cook. His busi­ness sent thou­sands of birds all over Europe and he wanted to cre­ate the per­fect util­ity bird, one that would lay high num­bers of eggs (over 300 a year) and still pro­vide a good meat source.

The Or­p­ing­ton breed quickly be­came pop­u­lar, and was soon a meat bird of choice.

In the late 1800s, Or­p­ing­tons were im­ported into Aus­tralia, but lo­cal breed­ers found they wanted a bird that was a bet­ter layer. They be­gan cross­ing the Or­p­ing­ton with Mi­nor­cas, White Leghorns and Lang­shans to try and im­prove the lay­ing abil­ity. The re­sult was a bird they called the Aus­tralian Black Or­p­ing­ton, or the Aus­tralorp for short.

By the 1920s the Aus­tralorp was win­ning

the big egg lay­ing com­pe­ti­tions, and poul­try own­ers around the world were clam­our­ing to have it in their flock. In 1929, it was de­cided to recog­nise the breed in its own right.

“It was the egglay­ing per­for­mance of Aus­tralorps that at­tracted world at­ten­tion when, in 1922-23, a team of six hens set a world record by lay­ing 1857 eggs for an av­er­age of 309.5 eggs per hen dur­ing a 365 con­sec­u­tive day trial (without the ben­e­fits of ar­ti­fi­cial light­ing).

“A new record was set when an Aus­tralorp hen laid 364 eggs in 365 days.”

Aus­tralorp hen.

Above: Or­p­ing­tons, 1885. Right: Cham­pion Or­p­ing­tons from the USA, 1910. Or­p­ing­tons.

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