Favored by backyard breeders for their reliable egg production, Australorps are large-bodied chickens that grow to 8 pounds. Their shiny black feathers reflect iridescent green in sunlight, making them unique additions to a backyard flock. While chicks can be reliably sexed only by examination of vents, adult males and females can easily be discerned.
Both male and female Australorps have large bright red combs on top of their heads and wattles hanging on either side of their beaks, but the combs and wattles grow larger on males. Male Australorps develop long, thin feathers on their necks, backs and tails that reflect more iridescently than females'. Hens' tail feathers are straight and short; males' are long and flowing. Females have larger opening under their tails for laying eggs.
Female chickens will cluck and cackle when laying eggs. Several may vocalize in a rhythmic crooning sound when they are on the nest. Males can cluck but usually do so only when calling their hens to food. Males will crow to show dominance and warn other males away from their hens.
Hens spend their days either sitting in the nest box to produce an egg or scratching in dirt looking for food. Male Australorps will frequently strut around keeping vigil over the hens. The roosters breed throughout the day, pinning a hen to the ground with his beak, grasping her neck and holding her down with his feet.
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