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The Lowdown on Red Sex Links

 

 

 

The Lowdown on Red Sex Links

 

 

Here is some information about Red Sex Links. 

 

There are many different laying breeds to choose from, but there is always the risk that you will end up with a rooster or two.  Roosters can be hard to rehome, but this breed holds a simple solution and is perfect for people new to chicken keeping.

The red sex link (also known as Red Stars) is more of a hybrid than a breed.  It was created through crossbreeding Rhode Island Reds, Columbian Whites and other popular breeds.  Adult hens are reddish-brown to reddish-gold and have white-tipped neck feathers.  The roosters have white, gold and brown feathers, often with very large combs.

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The reason the red sex link is so popular is that newly hatched chicks can be immediately sexed by their colouring.  Therefore, hens and roosters can be separated and the females sold as laying hens.  The sexing results are about 97% accurate.  Red sex links were also bred to produce a large amount of eggs until they are about two years old.  They are widely used in egg farms and can be purchased from most sources.  If handled from a young age, they will become friendly and tame towards humans.

Red sex links require sufficient calcium in their diet, sometimes more than other breeds such as Orpingtons or Australorps.  Their egg production slows dramatically after around two years but they will produce some eggs as they age. 

Also keep in mind that they can be very aggressive towards new additions to the flock and it can be virtually impossible to integrate new chickens.  As with all chickens, sufficient space is important and overcrowded conditions can result in bullying.

But all in all, this breed is a good choice for those new to chicken keeping.  Enjoy your chicken experience!

 

-       -   Nutcase

 

Feel free to offer suggestions on how to improve this article.  If you would like to edit it yourself then let me know. 

 

View more red sex link photos here.

 

 

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Comments (37)

Great!!! I want to get some. I Pmed you some questions.
I love my red star, Stella, whom I tragically lost to a neighbor's dog last week.  I got her from a family who had rescued her after someone had dumped her in a college student's yard during a party.  They sold me Stella at the same time they sold me 4 pullets, so I could have eggs while waiting for the youngins' to mature.  Stella was awesome - she was nice to the younger birds, laid lots of beautiful big brown eggs, and was very friendly.  I miss her a lot and would happily have another red star in my flock.
 Sorry to hear about Stella.  I lost one of my red star pullets to a neighbour's cat, and since then we've had to fence the remaining birds in a run to keep them safe.  You're really lucky to have had a hen like her!  :) 
How can u tell the difference between the male and female chicks and wat do they look like at 2 weeks old?
I have Black Australorps, White Leghorns and Red Sex Links. The Red Sex Links are the friendliest I have.
Great combination, Hagar3!  I've always wanted Australorps but you can't beat RSLs for personality! :)
My red sex links are great layers. I don't think they miss a day laying.
Mine used to be excellent layers, but they're starting to slow down with age.  It's a matter of keeping up their protein and calcium intake.
I have a red sex link who is very friendly and by far the best layer of the flock.
I love my RSL, she has always been friendly and is the best layer I have. I do wish I had read this article before trying to integrate a new hen though. My sweet little RSL hen became the biggest bully to the newcomer, almost killed her, and now I have two flocks instead of one! In the future I will always get chicks and raise them together.
Never again. They're not a great "winter chicken" and i had loads of health problems with them. (Mine were acquired "secondhand".) I have three left (out of seventeen a year-and-a-half ago), one of which still - miraculously - lays like crazy even though her sisters quit a year ago. They have no meat to speak of so when they quit laying, then what? I now have two hens taking up space and food simply because the amount of work to process and cook them isn't worth the tiny scrap of meat they contain.
I have 3 RSLs. They are very good and friendly. 2 will actually sit in my lap when I'm sitting outside in the warm weather. The 3rd is smaller and pretty skittish, but still very sweet. I hatched some chicks from them last year, and 6 of the 7 are also very friendly. One of the roosters likes to try to eat you. Lol I am actually considering starting to breed my BO's some, but I can't bring myself to get rid of my RSL's to make enough room. I get eggs everyday from them all, with an occasional skip from one here and there. One of them follows me instead of the rooster. They did used to be bullies to the babies though, but my guineas are mean to them, so they calmed down a lot.
I have 4 RS's in my flock with 3 EE (being a Roo) 4 BO's & 4 BS's. 15 total after I swore I'd keep it to 8. Oh well, I love them all, but the RS's were my 1st & still my favorites... 
And to Phoenixxx, I'm in Jersey & this has been a brutal winter. My RSL's have been fine. No heat or insulation in the coop & the continue to lay great!  
I'm gonna stay away from having these in my yard as I don't want eggs, I don't eat eggs.
But I do have chickens!
I too like my red stars. I have 6 from Ideal (actually from our local feed store, but Ideal was where they were originally from). Don't know what the exact cross is as there are several possibilities, but even though they are a commercial breed I think they are quite attractive and they are friendly, come right up to you. And since they are bred for commercial egg production I can see why feed and calcium are more critical for them than for other breeds. This spring I got 6 black star chicks and 6 Hampshire red chicks (all pullets, hopefully). But I realize "mistakes" happen with non-sex-linked chicks, I have a RIR rooster several years old from a batch of 12 supposedly all pullet  RIR chicks.
Mine are 5 years old and still laying about every other day.  They're the cinnamon queen variety.  I'm in Maine, so they are cold hardy too. they've outlived all my other chickens!
I hope mine do as well! It's been my experience that if they are not pushed like they are in commercial production, most hens will continue laying for several years. An egg every other day for 5 year old hens sounds pretty good, and for a hobby flock, who's trying to duplicate commercial production anyway? I do notice older hens tend to focus their laying in the spring and may stop during the winter, but for a hobby flock I think most breeds will keep producing something for several years. But I guess there eventually comes a point where old hens become "boarders" (i.e., eating) rather than producers "earning their keep", or just pets. 
@Jack Speese Mine are almost 5 years old and are starting to slow down a lot although they're still in good health.  Their food consumption is much lower though, so it's not so bad even if they don't earn their keep like they used to.
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