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The Lowdown on Red Sex Links

By Nutcase, Sep 3, 2013 | Updated: Sep 14, 2013 | | |
  1. Nutcase



    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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  1. remisophy
    My red Sex Link hen stopped eating scratch and I didn't notice she was getting thin until she started staying away from the rest of the chickens her crop filled with fluid when I was able to empty the fluid out of her it looked like mud water it was brown her crop is laid over and she has white stuff on her crop and her Waddell's
  2. Cerise1924
    I completely agree with what @abserbean said. I wish I had read this article! A couple of years ago, I was starting a flock and the available pullets locally were two RSLs and a RIR. They get along fine and have been super sweet to all humans, affectionate and funny and great layers. BUT... as soon as I brought new birds, the Red Stars showed their horribly aggressive side. The RIR is gentle and mellow with new additions, but the RSLs have now been nicknamed "The Red Devils." They are SO MEAN!! They have gone after the Silkies, the Brahmas, the BCM and even the peahen, who is afraid of them even though she is double their size. Today, one of them would have killed a new chick if I hadn't repeatedly intervened and made sure they couldn't get near her. That RSL had murder in her eyes, and tried to follow me into the house to get that chick. I love them and appreciate the eggs, but I won't get them again.
  3. Jack Speese
    In all of the poultry I've ever owned, the only bullying I've experienced is between male birds. If you have more than one rooster, it's almost inevitable that one will become dominant and bully the other(s), to the point that the weaker one will be forced to hide in a nesting box or some such place constantly and will be brutally attacked if it comes out to try to eat or drink. And once they are sexually mature, you can't keep more than one male ringneck pheasant together with hens; the dominant one will literally kill the subordinate one. I've had the same thing happen with Muscovy duck drakes. And the one breed of poultry that I don't like and will never raise again are Chinese geese. They are mean, not just to humans but to other birds as well. I hatched some under a Muscovy hen once and even though they were raised with them, as soon as they got older the goslings started killing the ducklings. Never had that problem with graylag breed geese. Although again if you have more than one gander, the weaker one may get bullied, especially during mating and breeding season.
  4. OKVet
    I have 16 of them for production specifically. I am not sure how old they are, they are laying pretty well. They are bully's for sure.
  5. Jack Speese
    I hear/read a lot of conflicting reports about RSLs; some say they are aggressive, others not, some say they are less adept at getting away from predators, ie, more suited to confinement, and others say they are less winter-hardy (fortunately not an issue for me in Georgia). I guess it all depends on the exact crosses/parent lines used, and evidently there are a great many. I am not sure what the exact parentage of mine are, even though a number of breeds can be used, the end results (ie., reddish buff hens with white underfeathers) generally look similar. Although I read that if a Delaware is used, the hens look identical to a purebred RIR or NHR. In fact my first flock was red sex links, and they looked just like purebred RIRs. So their mothers may have been Delawares. .
  6. Peep_Show
    The RSL's in my flock (RIR x SLW) are VERY aggressive. We had to give one away and the two remaining ones wear Peepers to keep them at the same attitude as the rest of the flock. Took the Peepers off one day as an experiment and they went caveman on the others. Oops! It took a good half year for them to lay Large rather than Small/Medium eggs, BUT they lay nearly every day which is great for those who sell eggs.

    Previously I had other RSL's from hatcheries that were very sweet. I will never do this custom cross again, though.
  7. Honey B
    I could only have a few chickens so RSL were and obvious choice to maximize my eggs. I have been very happy with them. Egg production is great personality is even better!
  8. Gallo2014
    I am into egg layers and in my flock of 55 or so hens 1/3 of them is RSL and another 1/8 is BSL. I really cannot tell the difference between the two hybrids in egg performance. IT is very unusually cold in central TX right now and for the most part the RSL are keeping production going on a regular basis. The BSL started molting in Nov. and are just now starting to look pretty good and should be producing again in about a month or so. Anyway just pitching in and saying that in my opinion, an egg laying small to medium operation would benefit from having the best hybrid combination in the market of the RSL or the BSL! You can either breed your own or buy them from a reputable hatchery!
  9. N F C
    Originally we included 3 RSL in our mixed flock for their egg-laying prowess but now, I would keep them just for their personalities. One of them is my special girl who follows me around like a dog and loves to be carried. All our girls are great birds but the RSL's are amazing!
  10. artsygirl
    Mine is Maddie, a joy and mostly friendly, the one that comes up to me most and will deal with being held. She is a doll. She and my Tetra Tint were laying at like 4-5 months old.

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