I feel like a bit of an outsider here. lol You all are talking about breed standards and what to feed your birds for optimum results and I'm over here like "I LIEK MAH AUSTRALORPZ CUZ DEYZ PERDY AND FRENDLY AND GIVES ME SNUGGLEZ!" XD I know I mentioned this before, but we got four australorp "pullet" chicks this spring, of which half turned out to be boys. With the exception of Mary, one of the pullets, they are all sweethearts, but Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson are especially sweet. They'll sit in my lap to be cuddled and petted for ages, and all four of them are so gentle with the other chicks (a relief since they were a bit rowdy when they were younger.) I'm LOVING their feathers. It's like watching the colors on soap bubbles when their feathers are lit up in the sun. I love the iridescent rainbows that light up on their black feathers, and it makes chicken snuggle time all the more enjoyable. Something I've noticed--not just with my Australorps, but with all of my chickens--is that the friendliest chickens seem to grow faster and get bigger than their peers. Mr. Carson is much larger than Mr. Mosley right now, even though they seem to get the same amount of food. It has led me to hypothesize that cuddles are in fact an important part of a growing chick's diet! The fifth "Australorp" in this picture is a black bantam cochin who decided that he preferred the company of the Australorps over that of the other banties. Pipsqueak, an OEG bantam, also seems to favor the company of the massive BA's, and it's quite a sight to see her tiny head poking out from the middle of them during naps.