Sex Link chickens are popular for backyard chicken keepers who want a lot of eggs. A common question is how long do sexlinks lay eggs?
These prolific egg layers are not a specific chicken breed; instead, it is a term used to refer to specific hybrids that produce dimorphic chicks.
Their mixed genetics means that they are more vigorous than pure chicken breeds. A lot of sex link pullets will start laying eggs when around 15 to 17 weeks old.
They are usually constant with egg-laying through the entire cold season. However, they will do extremely well keeping well in the winter season.
Here we will discuss everything you need to know about Sex Link chickens. Keep reading to learn more.
In the poultry world, we have different chicken breeds, including the hybrids and the historic heritage breeds.
Hybrids chickens are not considered breeds but are a variety or a type. To be considered a chicken breed, they will need to produce offsprings that are true to type.
Hybrid chickens usually lay eggs earlier. They will do so consistently until they burn out. Many backyard chicken keepers raising hybrids usually keep them for a year or two before dispatching or eating them and moving on to the next batch.
These birds are good at laying eggs. Unfortunately, they tend not to have a long and healthy retirement phase after they are done.
Where Do Sex Link Chickens Come From?
These adorable birds are a carefully bred hybrid chicken breed. Their high egg production and fast growth have made them a popular choice for backyard chicken keepers and homesteaders alike.
The popularity of these birds means they seem to be cropping up in many places. Therefore, you can easily pick up several black or red sex link chicks from virtually any feed store or hatchery if you want to give your backyard flock a headstart.
The most popular varieties of the red sex link chickens are Golden Comets and Issa Brown. Although they are not ideal for breeding, they will ensure that you have a constant supply of fresh eggs.
What Are Red Sex Link Chickens, And How Do You Breed Them?
To get red sex link chickens, many breeders and chicken keepers cross Rhode Island Red roosters with White Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island White, or Delaware hens. These hybrids produce predominantly red hens and male chicks with distinct white markings.
One of the challenges that come with this combination is that it can lead to a mixed bag of offspring, with some of them displaying the friendly and calm nature of Delaware chicken. Other birds in the flock may have the territorial aggression of the Rhode Island Red.
If you are looking for red sex link chickens to breed with, you can consider the Cinnamon Queen than either the ISA Brown or the Golden Comet.
Cinnamon Queen chickens come from using a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Silver Wyandotte hen. The result should be males with white feathers and a selection of brown or red offspring.
Cinnamon Queen hens lay around 280 eggs per year. They are an excellent choice for those who want an egg-producing backyard flock.
How To Breed A Flock Of Black Sex Link Chicks?
Black sex link chickens are also known as Black Stars. They are created by crossing a barred hen with a non-barred rooster.
For the perfect offspring, you will have to use only heritage breeds of chicken since crosses may contain genetic anomalies that can disrupt the sex properties. This can make it difficult for you to sex your chicks when they hatch.
The most popular breeds of chickens used to produce Black sexlink chickens are Barred Plymouth Rock hens and dual-purpose chickens, such as Cuckoo Maran hens. For the rooster, you can use a Ner Hampshire or a Rhode Island Red rooster.
To make it easier to sec your chicks, you can consider a rooster with red earlobes and dark-colored feathers.
If your rooster has any white spots on the feathers, this can interfere with the appearance of the offspring. As a result, it will make it difficult to distinguish between female birds and male birds.
Benefits Of Raising Sex Link Chickens
Raising sex link chickens in your backyard flock comes with several benefits. Here are some of them.
One of the main reasons why sex link chickens have become very popular is because they are good egg layers. Both red and black sex link chickens are prolific eggs that will ensure you have a steady supply of eggs throughout the year.
Under good health and proper nutrition, they can produce 250 to 320 large brown eggs in a year. Sex link hens usually reach their peak at around two years of age.
At this point, they will give you around 5 or 6 eggs in a week, regardless of the weather. As they age, their egg production rate will fall drastically.
They Are Color Sexable
If you have ever tried to vent-sex a newly hatched chick, you will appreciate just have delightful it can be to have sex link chicken crosses that you can easily identify the gender through their physical appearance.
When you get a purebred chicken breed from a breeder, you may likely end up with one or two roosters in your flock. This can be a problem, especially if you are living in an urban area where roosters are not allowed.
There are few rescue centers for unwanted roosters, and not many chicken keepers will want to raise male chickens in their flock just to eat them.
Therefore, getting sex-linked chicks means that you will only get female birds, and you will not have to face slaughtering when one of the birds turns out to be a rooster.
Personality And Temperament
Generally, sex link hens are friendly and docile hybrid chickens. If you are looking for a chicken breed that will be friendly to your kids, this is one of the breeds you can consider.
They will do well in any backyard flock and relate well with other birds in the flock. Since they are docile and non-aggressive birds, they may become victims of bullying others.
Therefore, you will need to make sure that the other birds in the flock are friendly and non-aggressive too.
Sex link chickens are not just for egg production. They are also remarkable to observe, and you will never get bored with these adorable around.
They enjoy exploring and figuring out things. Whether they are checking out the lawns or looking at the garden, they are enjoyable to watch.
Any backyard chicken keeper will want to raise a dual-purpose chicken breed. Not only are sex link chickens reliable egg producers, but they are also large enough to breed for meat.
A sex link hen can weigh anywhere between 6-7 pounds, while a mature rooster can weigh around 8 to 10 pounds.
However, not all hybrid sex link chickens fit in this category. Some of them may not be good options if you want to raise birds for meat.
Mostly those with parent lines, such as Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, and Brown Sussex, make excellent dual-purpose birds.
Some sex link hybrids, such as the Golden Comets and Cinnamon Queens, have been bred so much for excellent egg production. As a result, they have lost some of their sizes, making them less suitable for meat production.
Lack Of Broodiness
Having a broody chicken is not the end of the world. However, it is generally the end of egg production for around a week or even two.
Sex link chickens do not tend to sit on their eggs so much. This is because the selective breeding process mainly emphasizes the high production of eggs to the extent that the broodiness gene is nearly or completely extinct.
The lack of broodiness in these birds is excellent news for backyard chicken keepers who just want a lot of eggs for consumption or to sell, but not fertile eggs for chicks.
Your hen will tend to lay continuously, and you will have a constant supply of eggs in your flock.
Disadvantages Of Raising Sex Link Chickens
Raising sex link chickens also has its disadvantages. Here are some of them.
Difficult to Breed
Breeding sex link chickens is not for the faint-hearted. If you want to breed birds that will stand a chance of competing at the American Poultry Association show, sex link chickens hybrids are not for you.
They Have a Short Lifespan
Most backyard chickens usually have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years. However, the sex link chickens live 2 to 3 years. Since they mature early, they also age faster.
Some owners have also said that their birds do not make it that long because of reproduction concerns.
Therefore, sex link chickens are not a great option if you are looking for a chicken breed that will have a long and healthy life.
While sex link chickens are typically healthy birds, they are not immune to health problems. These birds are susceptible to reproductive conditions. They may suffer from peritonitis, nutrient deficit, prolapse, and egg bound.
Sex link chickens are adorable and excellent egg-laying birds that can be a good addition to any backyard flock.
These prolific layers will ensure that you have a constant supply of eggs throughout the year. They start laying eggs at around 15 weeks old.