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Australorp is a breed of chickens of great interest to poultry farmers. It is appreciated for its egg production and delicious meat. The breed achieves high rates of profitability due to the excellent combination of productivity and ease of care.
The history of the emergence of the breed
Australorp was developed by Australian breeders. Back in 1890, experts set a goal to get a breed of chickens that would not only run well, but also have incredible taste qualities of meat. Crossbreeding took place between several types of chickens.
The result was not long in coming, and the work of the breeders bore fruit. Layers of the Australorp breed produced more than 300 eggs per year. The indicator is impressive, since no combined feed was used for this, and the daylight hours remained unchanged. Despite the geographical location of the country, the chicken breed has become popular all over the world.
Description and characteristics of Australorp chickens
Just like other breeds, it has distinctive features by which you can recognize the Australorp.
Appearance and subspecies
Roosters and hens are characterized by a strong body. The chest and abdomen are wide, which indicates good meat productivity of the bird. The wings are covered with wide feathers and fit snugly to the body.
The legs are wide apart, painted in dark gray or black. The bushy tail contains a large number of sickle-shaped feathers. Chickens are distinguished from roosters by sex and smaller size.
Blue australorpes have dark borders on the legs and chest. Their eggs are usually smaller in size.
Chickens with this color were bred first, therefore they are considered the main type. The plumage of black-and-white birds gives a green sheen. This subspecies of the breed is the largest, as it gains the most weight.
It has one distinctive feature, thanks to which it is not confused with other subspecies - the color of the feathers. The color combination gives an incredible marbled effect. In the beginning, the marbled Australorp could not boast of good maturity and egg size. After the work of domestic breeders, these indicators have changed for the better.
The breed of chickens is considered meat-and-meat.
Depending on the type, the indicator is slightly different. The average amount per year, which one layer gives, reaches 150 pieces. The highest record officially recorded is 309 eggs. One Australorp egg weighs an average of 59 g.
The weight of males and females differs due to size. Females weigh from 2.5 to 3 kg. Roosters reach 3.5-4 kg.
Temperament of the breed
The Australorpse have a calm and level-headed personality. They are non-conflicting and calmly get along with other birds on the bird's yard. When content, they show themselves obedient.
Poultry pros and cons
List of advantages:
- calm temperament;
- high egg production and taste;
- pickiness of content and nutrition;
- fast adaptation to the conditions of detention;
- wearing eggs all year round.
Among the shortcomings, no serious points stand out. Poultry farmers note only one feature - the weak productivity of the offspring obtained by mixing Australorp with other breeds. A cross doesn't always get the same performance characteristics as a parent.
Nuances of content
Australorp care is based on basic bird keeping rules.
What should be a chicken coop
The birds were bred on a hot continent, but despite this, they adapted to the cold season in the country. If the temperature in the hen house does not drop below +12 degrees, the birds continue to rush.
In the hen house, where the Australorpes spend the winter, the walls should be insulated. Thick bedding is required on the floor. The need for additional heating arises if it is very cold outside.
A nesting box is placed in a darkened place. It must be protected from drafts. A ball of straw or hay spreads to the bottom. One nesting box holds 4 chickens.
The dense plumage allows the Australorp to take walks in the fresh air, even in winter. In strong winds or rainy weather, the birds sit in the hen house with pleasure.
The walking area is surrounded by a 1.5 m high net. This is enough, since the chickens do not fly higher. The walking yard is sown with grass in the spring so that the birds can peck it in the summer.
Feeder and drinker
Since in the warm season, australorpes spend all their time outdoors, tanks for water and food are installed in the courtyard. Typically, these are wide bowls so that each bird can come up without disturbing the other. In winter, additional feeders are installed inside the chicken coop. Chickens should have fresh water.
Rules for Australorp:
- The main food for birds is grain. Also birds are given vegetables, herbs, dairy products, fish waste and bone meal.
- A small amount of yeast has a positive effect on egg production.
- The gravel in the feed improves digestion.
- The minerals for Australorp are ground eggshells, chalk and shells.
- In winter, grass flour, bagasse and silage are included in the diet.
- In the summer, chickens find themselves various insects, which they eat with pleasure.
The correct diet is the key to the health of chickens. The quality of the food affects the egg production and the palatability of the meat.
Chickens are healthy and at home. But a large percentage of poultry farmers prefer the hatchery method.
Before laying the incubator, eggs undergo a rigorous examination. Suitable specimens are disinfected by wiping with a cotton pad dipped in a solution of potassium permanganate. Eggs intended for the incubator are warmed up for 6 hours. This technique will allow chicks to be born at the same time..
The permissible percentage of humidity inside the incubator is 60-63%. Therefore, the humidity level is strictly controlled. For this, a special device is installed inside the incubator.
There are 4 main stages:
- In the first 7 days, the embryo is actively maturing.
- From the 8th to the 11th day, it is important to maintain the humidity in the incubator. Eggs need dry air.
- From the 12th day, future chicks begin to exchange gas and exchange processes begin to work.
- The last final stage is characterized by the hatching of the chicks from the shell.
The incubation process usually lasts 22 days.
Birds that have just hatched need attention and care. Even before they are born, a person sets up a place for them in advance. It should be in a dry, warm room without drafts. Obligatory presence of area for hen and bird corral.
In the first 3-5 days, the chicks are placed in a box, the bottom of which is covered with thick paper. A mesh is installed on the top to protect them from external irritants. The feeder and water are transferred to the box.
Australorp chickens die at the slightest change in temperature. Therefore, in the first 8-12 weeks of life, they need warmth.
In the first week, the temperature in the box should be within 30 degrees. Gradually, the level drops to 26 degrees.
It is recommended to lower the temperature by 3 degrees every week. Chicks as young as 1 month old will do great at 19 degrees. Infrared lamps are turned on at night. During the day, a box or box is exposed to the sun.
The latter is recommended when the chickens are at least 3 days old.
Nutrition for chicks
The diet scheme used by most poultry farmers:
- For the first 10-12 days, Australorp chicks are fed boiled eggs mixed with cereals and chopped greens. The ingredients are mixed and given to the chicks.
- After that, eggs are completely removed from the diet. Instead, they are given compound feed with a high protein content.
- With the growth of chickens, grain is added to the food, which is the main nutrient. Fish oil is added to it. 1 bird will need 1 g per day.
- Drinking water is changed every day.
If, 2 months after hatching, the chicks weigh about 1.5 kg, then the diet is selected correctly.
Possible diseases and their treatment
The Australorp is one of the few chicken breeds that has a strong immunity to disease. The occurrence of diseases occurs due to a violation of the conditions of detention.
In order for the chicks to grow strong and not get sick, it is recommended to adhere to the following preventive measures:
- Vaccinations are carried out against common diseases.
- Installation in a walking yard of "baths" for swimming. Small depressions in the ground should be filled with a mixture of sand and ash. It is a good defense against parasites.
- Regular cleaning of the chicken coop from dirty litter. If the house is not cleaned, parasites will breed on the dirty floor.
- Indicators such as air humidity in the house and temperature should be within the normal range. A properly selected diet plays an important role.
Following the rules of prevention will save you from the problems of keeping birds.
Where to buy and approximate cost
Australorp eggs can be purchased from farms. Eggs are also sold from poultry farmers who breed different breeds. The cost of an egg for incubation depends on the type of australorp. The cost for 1 piece ranges from 20-50 rubles.