Canadian Poultry Magazine

Australorps and Light Sussex

By Canadian Poultry   

Features 100th anniversary Key Developments Business/Policy

December 1926

Australorps, a new breed so far as B.C. is concerned and a really new breed altogether although developed to a high stage in Australia and successfully introduced here by Gilrey Chemainius.

A breed, which is developing into commercial importance, already is the Australorps, a development of the old English Black Orpingtons.  This attainment of commercial importance in British Columbia so quickly is due to the initiative largely of one poultryman.  It is but very recently that Professor E. A. Lloyd, of the University of B.C. stated that results of tests of this breed by the University poultry department indicated that development.  Already H.A. Gilroy, Chomainus, Vancouver Island, has progressed to the stage of having three hundred pullets just beginning production, of this breed.  The big thing about Australorps is that they hold both individual and pen egg production records for the world at present.

The individual record is 347 eggs in one year; the pen record, six birds, is an average for one year of 309 ½ eggs per bird.  These amazing records were achieved under official auspices in Australia where, with New Zealand, Australorps are best known.  In fact hey were developed there from Black Orpington strain, the foundation of which was imported from England well over twenty years ago.  University of British Columbia, so far have been such as to lead to indications that Australorps are here to stay.  Black Orpingtons in England were not noted, as a breed, for egg production.  The amazing results in Australia from this breed demonstrate just what can be done by selective breeding on scientific lines under favorable climatic conditions.


One of Gilroy’s imported foundation Australorps hens from Australia laid an egg the day it arrived at Chemainus.  It went on to lay 280 that year, egg saveraging over 25 ozs to the dozen.  She has never shown any signs of broodiness and is still laying as a matter of fact.  These Vancouver Island Australorps are hardy birds able to forage and fond of foraging for food.  Their appetite for green feed is prodigious ­– they are continually on the lookout for it and eat considerably more green feed than other heavy breeds such as White Wyandottes.  Their production is good and the hatchability of their eggs high – as high as White Leghorns anyways.

Australorps have proved easy to raise of Chemainus and though they mature a trifle slower than White Wyandottes they have so far been immune to disease, even to colds.  The comparison with White Wyandottes is an apt one because Gilroy is a breeder of repute and long experience of White Wyandottes and has White Wyandottes as well as Australorps on his model poultry farm.

The Light Sussex is a breed of experts to be particularly suited to poultry which has created records in Great Britian, where it is highly favored.  It has been repeatedly declared that conditions in British Columbia generally are ideal for this breed.  A world famed authority when on his only visit to British Columbia was admittedly amazed at two phases of the poultry industry here.

One was the size and quality of our Barred Rocks and the other the absence of Light Sussex have been introduced but they are still very few in number here.  The University of B.C. have pens of Light Sussex and after investigation and test in those yards Professor E. A. Lloyd, of the University of B.C., considers the breed a promising one under B.C. conditions.  The Light Sussex is a dual purpose bird of excellence; undoubtedly that is the factor which has lead to its becoming the leading variety of poultry in Great Britain, which position it now holds.  They lay large brown eggs, their hatchability is good so far as actual tests here have gone, and they are excellent table meat birds.  That they are hardy has been established at the University; but with the caution of scientific investigators, commendable caution, the University concludes its reference to local experience with Light Sussex with the assertion that sufficient local data is not yet available to warrant reliable comparison with other heavy weight breeds here.

Aththe egg laying contest at Harper Adam’s College, Newport, England, Light Sussex in a recent season led all varieties.  Hubert Howes, of that Agricultural College, asserts that as a dual purpose fowl the Light Sussex has no equal.  Flock averages vary from 160 to 200 eggs per bird per year, and good sized brown eggs are produced during the winter with profitable results.

The Light Sussex is one of the most modern varieties of the five breeds of Sussex poultry recognized in England.  It is combination of three very old breeds noted in the evolutionary cycle of modern poultry.  Cochin, Braham and Silver Grey Dorking.  Its quality is continuously improving and its production records progressive.  The Light Sussex now shows none of the characterizes of is predecessors classed as “faults” – feathered legs, yellow legs, yellow skin, or fifth toe.  When first introduced the Light Sussex was classed as a table fowl but since then egg production has been improved without any loss of the table meat value.  It grows rapidly, its meat is white and fine flavored and there is lots of it – especially on the breast.  It is splendid for early table poultry. It is good for that purpose as a straight breed or crossed with certain other varieties.  Exhibition males and pullets can be bred from the one mating.

The Light Sussex has displaced White Leghorns on commercial plants in England – than which no higher tribute is necessary or possible.  The breed is extremely popular also among what may be termed farm poultrymen – more or less casual poultrymen as the ordinary farmer is apt to be everywhere.

At the London Crystal Palace poultry show there were 250 Light Sussex exhibited with fifty cockerels and forty pullets in the open class.

At the Dairy Show, London, 93 Light Sussex pullet and 77 Light Sussex cockerels were entered.  In the 1923-24 egg laying contest at Harper Adam’s College, six Light Sussex pullets produced 1358 eggs in 48 weeks, an average of 226 eggs per bird.  The six competing laid 270, 235, 231, 221, 201 and 198 eggs and the reserve pullet laid 227.  This beat all other breeds, including White Leghorns.

The Sussex Club standard of perfection provides for white or horn color beak; red comb, face and earlobes; white shangs and feet; orange eye, males 8-lbs and hens 7-lbs weight.  Color, both sexes – head and neck hackle; white striped with black, the black centre fo each feather to be entirely surrounded by a white margin; wings, white with black in flights; tall coverts and tail, black; remainder of plumage; pure white throughout.

The markings, as well be apparent from the description, resemble those of the Columbia Wyandottes – but the type is different as the Light Sussex has a much larger body and legs – more the shape of the Dorking.

Crossed with Indian Game or White Whyandottes, Light Sussex produces splendid table meat.  The chickens from the cross with White Wyandottes attain three pounds and over at sixteen weeks.  The cross with Indian Game produces heavy weights but slower maturing strains.  Light Sussex fowl or crosses on Light Sussex have repeatedly scored at table poultry shows in Great Britain – they go as high as twelve pounds each properly fattened.

Another factor of importance in discussing the merits of the Light Sussex breed is that the variety is valuable for sex linkage work.  If White Leghorn males are mated with Light Sussex hens the chicks come practically all white – excellent layers too incidentally.  The Brown Leghorn – Light Sussex cross is very popular for egg production.  Rhode Island Red Cross of Light Sussex is a favored one for table meat.

By mating Rhode Red, Brown Leghorn and other colored breeds to Light Sussex hens, cockerels and pullets are bred which can be distinguished at birth by color; the cockerels are silvery white and the pullets brown.  This sex linkage work is of importance as one line of endeavor which assist in the solution of the great problem of poultrymen – the identifying at early age of pullets.

With regard to sex linked inheritance in poultry, Dr Crew, of Edinburgh University, recommends the crossing of two pure varieties of the same breed such as Barred and Black Rocks or Red Sussex and Light Sussex.  The risk of interbreeding of the first crosses is emphasized by the same authority.

The Muscovy is the quackless duck, noiseless compared with other ducks.  They excel for roasting but the uniformity of size of most ducks between the sexes is lacking in the Muscovy.  For the householder who, likes roast duck the Muscovy offers advantages inasmuch as it makes very good roasting and the ducks do not annoy by quacking.

Muscovy duck eggs require approximately five weeks to hatch instead of four; the offspring from crosses between the Muscovy and other domestic ducks are sterile.

The Muscovy is much less aquatically inclined than other ducks and its plumage is less waterproof.  Muscovy ducks are inclined to perch in trees or upon buildings.

Nothing in the poultry industry can compare for profitable results with proper combination of good feeding and lighting will enhance returns lightning will enhance returns lighting except good feeding.  The proper combination of good feeding and lighting will enhance returns from farm flocks and commercial plants alike notably.  In tests conducted at Cornell Station a general illumination of the floor was found best.  If the perches are dark some birds will not come down to feed but with proper lighting all the flock will do so.  But don’t lengthen the day unduly – twelve hours is a long enough working day for any hen.

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