Sex link chickens are highly sought after by the commercial chicken industry. This is because chicken sexing is expensive. Ideally, you would want the process to be as simple as possible. This will make it easy to find which chickens are roosters and which ones are hens. Here, we want to introduce you to the idea of sex link chickens, as well as tell you about some of the more popular sex links chickens breeds out there. We will also tell you how you can create Red Sex Link chicken on your own. Bear with us!
What are Sex Link Chickens?
Sex link chickens are chickens that their gender at hatch can be determined by their physical appearance. This means that the roosters will be one color, and the hens will have a different color. It really is that simple.
To put it simply, sex-link is when we breed two different breeds of chicken together. Not any old breed, but the two breeds need to be perfectly matched. If they are, then the chickens that come out will be sex link chickens a.k.a. self-sexing.
Sex Link Chicken Breeds
One of the most famous pure breed sex link chicken is the California Gray.
While the most famous sex link chicken crossbreeds are:
- Golden Comet
- Red Sex Link chicken
- Cinnamon Queen
You should be aware that the chicken that results from the cross-breeding is NOT a breed of its own. Instead, it is a crossbreed.
We want to tell you that we are not going to go into the ‘science’ behind sex linking, Just know that these sex links were worked out through a lot of trial and error.
Red Sex Link
This is a very, very generic name for the chicken, but it does exactly what it says on the tin!
Once again, the hens are going to be red, while the roosters are going to be white.
This is actually one of the best sex link breeds if you are looking for something that is dual purpose. You will be able to get an astonishing number of eggs from the hens each year.
The males also mature very, very quickly and they grow large too. This means that you will end up with a chicken that is perfect for the table.
There are a few different red sex link chickens out there. The one that you are likely to encounter the most is known as the Golden Comet chicken. To get a Golden Comet, you would need to breed a White Plymouth Rock with a New Hampshire Red chicken.
As soon as these sex link chickens are born it will be dead simple to tell which sex each chicken is. This is why the Golden Comet is so popular as a sex-linked chicken, there is absolutely no doubt about what you have.
The roosters will come out white, and the hens will come out yellow. They do start to look a little bit similar as they get older, but at the start, they are incredibly different.
The Rhodebar is a bit different when it comes to how you tell the chicks apart. Of course, before you get the chicks, you are going to need to make some chicks. This means crossing some Rhode Island Reds with Barred Plymouth Rocks.
Although, do bear in mind that nowadays you can just breed the Rhodebar together. As long as you do not end up with a chick that is white, all of them should be able to mate to create new Rhodebars.
The hens are easy to spot here. They will have a stripe on their back. You can spot the males due to a dot appearing on their heads. Once again, this is another breed that is going to be fantastic for those who want a quality dual-purpose chicken breed.
To create this red sex link chicken, you will need a Rhode Island Red. This needs to be a rooster. You will then have a Rhode Island White female . Once again, the hens are going to be red. The male chicks are always going to be white.
You CANNOT breed the male chicks to create more Cinnamon Queens, because there is a good chance that it will mess up the genetics a little bit.
Of course, this is but a brief introduction into the dozens of different types of sex link chickens out there. We have selected the ones that are easier to breed, which is fantastic if you are just starting your life as a chicken owner.
Sex Link Chickens vs Autosexing Chickens
Even though many people are using these two terms interchangeably, they do not refer to the same chickens.
We believe that many people are confused when doing so. Let’s clarify this.
Purebred chickens are called auto-sexing breeds, while the crossbreeds are called sex-link chickens.
The only reason why the term ‘autosexing’ was developed was to differentiate between sex-link purebreds and sex-link crossbreeds.
The one autosexing chicken breed that you may encounter normally is the California Gray. However, there are other autosexing breeds like the barred Plymouth Rocks and other barred varieties of the Dominique Chicken and varieties of Leghorn chicken.