When one orders a batch of young chicks, they can generally expect at least half of the birds to be male. For those who wish to raise chickens for eggs and don’t have the space or desire to deal with roosters, this can be a problem. Out of 25 chicks, who wants to deal with 12 roosters? Sex-link chickens take the worry and guesswork out of raising chicks. If you want to buy five hens, you’re practically guaranteed to end up with five hens should you purchase sex-link females.
Sex-link chicks are cross-bred chicken breeds whose color differs upon hatching according to their gender. Black sex-link chicks are a cross between a Barred Rock hen and a Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire rooster. A Red sex-link chick is a cross between a White Rock, Delaware, Rhode Island White, or Silver Laced Wyandotte hen and a Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire rooster.
The distinct color differences between male and female sex-link chicks takes a lot of guess work out of raising chicks. In large factories, chicken sexing is done to distinguish the genders and separate male from female chicks. An egg farm might use sex-link chickens to distinguish between future egg-layers and unwanted roosters. Unfortunately, chicks of the wrong gender are often killed because they are of little use to the factory or breeder.
A small-scale chicken farmer or backyard enthusiast can benefit from sex-link chickens because they can choose to purchase only hens if they desire a brood of egg-layers. Or, they could choose to add rooster or two and would be certain of their choices. When one orders a regular batch of chicks, it’s a mystery which babies are male and which are female for a while. Sex-link chicks make their gender apparent from the beginning. If one hatches sex-link chicks, they’ll immediately know the male-to-female ratio and can plan accordingly.
What many people don’t realize about their sex-link chickens is that when they breed, their offspring won’t be sex-link birds. The third generation may possibly have sex-link chicks within its rank. Genetics is a fascinating thing. Sex-link is not a breed, but a hybrid gene combination with interesting results.
Sex-link chickens make fantastic layers, known to produce over 300 eggs annually. Males make great fryers. The birds commonly bear the best traits from their parent breeds and are docile and calm. While not recognized by the American Poultry Association because they are not a unique breed, many people love raising sex-link chickens. These hardy, attractive birds would make an excellent addition to any backyard.