Sex-Link Chickens

 
Two red sex-link chickens

Red sex-link chickens

Although not an official chicken breed, red and black sex-linked chickens are great hens to raise, particularly if you’re looking for a well-mannered chicken that lays lots of eggs all year round. Sex-linked chickens are most often hybrids of two different chicken breeds. Sex-linked chickens allow homesteaders to easily—and immediately—tell hens from rooters because the male and female chicks are different colors at hatching. Red and black sex-linked chickens are also known as red and black stars, respectively.

Red and black sex-linked chickens are the most common hybrids. A red sex-linked chicken is produced though one of the following mating combinations:

  • Rooster: Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire
  • Hen: White Plymouth Rock, Delaware, Rhode Island White or Silver Laced Wyandotte

When the chicks hatch, the males will be white, and the females will be red or yellow-brown, making it easy to tell a rooster from a hen.

Black sex-linked chickens are produced through the following mating combinations:

  • Rooster: Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire
  • Hen: Barred Plymouth Rock

Black sex-linked chicks will be black, but the male chicks will have white dots on their heads.

Sex-linked chickens are not purebred chicken breeds, and are therefore not recognized by the American Poultry Association. Nevertheless, many homesteaders love their sex-linked chickens. Both red and black sex-linked hens have the potential to lay more eggs than any other chicken breed and generally start laying eggs at a younger age than other chickens. Capable of laying large brown eggs consistently through extreme heat and cold, sex-linked chickens are known to lay over three hundred eggs per year. Although sex-linked chickens are medium-sized, and therefore not the best to use for meat, male sex-linked chickens are good frying chickens.

One added benefit of sex-linked chickens is their great personalities. Bearing the best characteristics of their Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Plymouth Rock parents, sex-linked chickens are generally well-mannered, calm, docile, and friendly.

 

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