|Bellatrix the Black Australorp|
And this is Bellatrix, evil witch of the Harry Potter world. She's nasty, but still one of our favorite characters in the series.
|Bellatrix the Witch (photo courtesy)|
|Snuggling with me as a little chick|
|Happy to be held by Mr. English|
Bellatrix is a very striking chicken, with feathers that have a beautiful iridescence when she's standing in the sun. She's big, too. In the early days I worried she might be a rooster, since she was so much taller than the other chicks.
|Baby Bellatrix towered above her same-age sisters|
Australorps are considered to be a dual-purpose heritage breed and are known to be good layers. It was a Black Australorp that set the world record for laying in an official test in Australia when she laid 364 eggs in 365 consecutive days. She was a bit of an overachiever; generally Australorps lay more like 250 eggs a year. Bellatrix lays pretty, bullet-shaped, dark eggs reliably, but not on that kind of record-breaking pace.
Bellatrix has been the easiest of our chickens to care for, with the fewest issues in terms of temperament or laying. When we add more chickens to the flock someday, we'll definitely consider adding another Black Australorp.