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What do you get when you cross a White Leghorn rooster over a Rhode Island Red Hen?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Looking for the advice of someone who is an expert in Sex-linked feathering!


My 10 2 week old chicks from this cross (see subject) are ALL white although 2 have a small black spot in random locations. Before hatching I read that sex can be determined by early/late feathering with this cross and as they grow I am becoming more sure of the accuracy of this method as the 2 that I determined were male on day 1 now have decidedly bigger, darker orange combs than the ones I figured were female.


I have 2 Questions:


1. What is the name of this hybrid cross - They can't be called 'Golden Comets' (the result of Male RIR with female WL) because the pullets aren't Golden! So is there a different name for when the cross is Male WL x Female RIR as in this case?


2. I have become suspicious that my Mother hens may in fact NOT be RIR's but Golden Comets or Red Stars (same thing I believe) themselves! I obtained them from a local egg farm that imports chicks from overseas for commercial egg production (I am from Bermuda).  I've always thought they were RIR's but since looking at photos of Golden comets and RIR's they definitely look more like the former! I've been trying to get hold of the farm to ask




let's say they ARE Golden Comets......would the sex-linked feathering still work when crossed with a WL rooster? If NOT then maybe they ARE just pale RIR's?


Many thanks if anyone can answer my questions!

post #2 of 7

White Leghorns do not typically produce sexlinks. They are dominant white, not sexlinked silver. Red sexlinks typically use Delaware, Colombian Rock, or Light Sussex hens. A White Leghorn rooster will produce chicks that are mostly white, with some random flecks of black or other color.

Rhode Island Reds are dark, mahogany red with some black in the tail feathers. Gold Comets and Red Stars are different 'brand names' of red sexlink cross breeds. Each big hatchery has their own name for their specific cross. Red sexlink hens are predominantly gold/red/brown with some white feathering.

Pale RIRs are called Production Reds.

Sexlinks do not breed true. You can not create more sexlinks by breeding to red sexlinks together. You need a red rooster and a silver (black and white) hen to make red sexlinks.

Edited by junebuggena - 9/24/15 at 11:22am
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for explaining the 'brand name' deal. The sex-linked stuff makes my head spin :)


I know leghorns don't produce sex-linked COLOURED offspring but I've read that being an early feathering breed, when crossed with a late feathering breed the offspring are sex-linked for feathering....and that certainly seems to be the case as far as I can tell so whatever my hens are, they must, presumably, be late feathering.....?


Do you think it is quite likely that my hens are not pure RIR's if they came from a commercial hatchery? They have quite a bit of white in them  and aren't really red but a browny/orange. Great layers!


What can I expect in terms of productivity from these chicks - will they still likely be good layers?

post #4 of 7

For feather sexing to work, you have to know if the father was fast feathering and if the mother was slow feathering. Breeding lines of both fast feathering and slow feathering birds must be strictly maintained. When crossed, the resulting chicks can be feather sexed. Generally, feather sexing is not accurate, especially if you're dealing with hatchery sourced birds. 

post #5 of 7

You have red sexlink hens. They are outstanding layers, because they are first generation crosses. Their chicks won't be quite as prolific, but they will still be solid and consistent producers.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

OK, well that's interesting food for thought! I am running a school chicken club so it will be fun to do a little scientific investigation into the accuracy of feather sexing amongst our chicks once they have matured. I have no idea of the breeding lines of my hens, or for that matter the rooster (who I am told is a pure white leghorn, but who knows). Perhaps we will be able to determine some things about them from the accuracy rate of feather sexing the chicks? Until then, I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed! :) Thanks again!

post #7 of 7

If you are interested in sex links (by color, pattern, or feather development) this thread is a must read. Most importantly the very first post. (In case you haven't seen it yet.)


If your parent birds are from a hatchery then you may not be able to use them to create feather sexable birds.


If you purchased your birds from a hatchery, check with the hatchery to see if the hatchery feather sexed the birds you purchased. If your stock was feather sexed, then the chickens can not be used for feather sexing crosses. 

Edited by keesmom - 9/24/15 at 1:36pm
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