BREED NAME: SEX-LINK CHICKENS
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Sex link chickens are becoming more and more common as the need for efficiency in the commercial poultry industry demands ways to maximize profits. A Sex-link is not an actual breed, but usually the crossing of two breeds of dissimilar colors.
This hybridization produces male chicks, or cockerels, of one color and female chicks, or pullets, of another and sometimes a different feather count in wings.
Visual color or feather sexing can be done without special equipment, doesn’t require specially trained workers and has a higher percentage of accuracy. Most sex-links are not pure bred, though a few pure breeds can be color sexed at hatching.
Sex-Link The Facts:
Special Qualities: Most sex link chickens are considered Production chickens. Rapid growth and early maturing mean less cost before a profit can be seen in eggs or meat. The most productive laying breeds and fast maturing breeds are used when they can produce male and female chicks of dissimilar colors at hatching.
250 – 300 eggs per year are often the goal met by these hard working hens. For such production, quality feed is a necessity. Hens in this group are often layed out by age 2 and may develop reproductive and age related issues before their 3rd year.
There are exceptions, but replacing these hens after a year of laying is common in the poultry industry. If you plan to work with the most common sex-link hybrid varieties, you will have to plan and replace hens about every 2 years.
Sex link chickens are often called by different names, depending on the hatchery source. The Black sex-link is one of the most common and is also called Black Star or Rock Red. This is a cross between a New Hampshire or Rhode Island Red rooster and a Barred Plymouth Rock hen.
All chicks hatch black, but cockerels have a white or yellow dot on top of the head. The Red sex-link, or Red Star, result from a cross between a New Hampshire or Rhode Island Red rooster and a variety of hens including: Deleware, Rhode Island White, White Rock or Silver Laced Wyandotte.
Europe has some variations of the Sex-Link with ISA Browns, the red linked Red Shaver and a pure breed, the Cream Legbar. Egg Yolk Peritonitis is a common problem in sex-link and other Production hens, when they near age 2 and have layed for most of that time.
Malfunctions in ovaries cause infection and abdominal swelling. A signature wide-legged waddle comes on suddenly and can only be cured with surgery to drain fluids and remove ovaries at much expense. Untreated this problem leads to an inability to walk and death within a couple of weeks of the first signs.
Sex-links that are a cross breed, or hybrid, means they won’t be admitted into the APA.