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Nutrition for Sex Links vs pure breeds?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by WVDan44, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. WVDan44

    WVDan44 Songster

    Jul 22, 2010
    I visited a brooder last week looking to buy black sex links. The owner showed me Rhodies, Barred, and Buffs, but said he gave up on cross breeds because they require more feed and nutrients. I scratched my head over that one. My only thought is a hybrid is usually a larger bird and may eat more, but a chicken is a chicken and I can't seem to grasp his meaning. Mine will free range most of the day and I'll provide proper water and feed of course. Even in winter they'll find plenty of seed and other food around the place. Will anyone share your ideas on this? Thanks in advance.

  2. I have sex links, and Barred Rocks, and RIR's and a few others...they arent any different in size and dont seem to eat more...weird...very interested in other peoples answers. such a strange statement. I like my SL's
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    I disagree. I've had iSA Browns, Red Sex Links and Black Sexlinks. The RSL and BSL are bigger eaters than the ISA, but my standard Barred Rocks, White Rocks and Rhode Islands eat just as much.

    No, there may be reasons to "give up on" sex links, but having a bigger appetite isn't one of them. Also, they are not bigger birds. Most the red sex links and ISAs are tiny birds, by body weight. Since most of these strains were developed as commercial layers, eating too much would be a huge negative issue for the industry.

    You were right to think that this information was whacko.
  4. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    All of mine get fed the same in the brooder whether "heritage" breed or high-speed production birds. Can't say I have ever noticed a difference in how much one or the other ate.

    Now, as mature birds I do believe it is important to make sure you are feeding those high-speed girls well from the get-go if you want them to perform to their potential for you. The "heritage" breeds are somewhat more forgiving since they don't lay as much, but then they don't lay as much. If you want your race car to go as fast as it can then use racing fuel.
  5. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    I agree with Hagan,
    I will say our production/hatchery type fowl will eat more and seems to need more protein to preform as well as a Standard Bred Heritage on less feed and a lower protein feed.

    Here is a example how I have been feeding-

    Production/hatchery type fowl;
    Day 1 to death fed a 20% protein feed and all they will eat.

    Standard Bred Heritage Fowl;
    Day 1 to Day 70 - - fed a 20% protein feed and all they will eat,
    Day 70 to first egg - - 14% protein feed and all they will eat
    After first egg - - 18% protein feed for egg layers and 20% protein feed for breeders.

  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    The OP story doesn't match my experience, that's all. Agree with Chris and Hagin that high production hybrids require high quality feed to produce at the tremendous output potential they are bred for.

    But making generalizations about sex links is touchy, because there are so many different flavors and strains, making specific conclusions difficult to come by.
    It might be better to discuss feed conversion ratios to egg laying output for the first 24 months of age, a realistic span for many sex links in production.

    Still, I am personally moving away from some of the sex links, frankly. There are other reasons involved.
  7. MiddleChild

    MiddleChild Songster

    May 3, 2011
    Eastern Massachusetts
    I have Black Stars - lovely girls. I don't know if they eat "more" - they eat well and steadily, but I get 4 eggs from 4 hens nearly all the time. Seems that feed-per-egg ratio is pretty good. [​IMG]

  8. Pele

    Pele Songster

    Feb 25, 2011
    I think the guy's logic was kind of on track, but I would be very wary of someone who shuns high production birds because they 'eat too much'. Even by his logic, the birds ARE eating more, but that's because they're producing more. It evens out.

    Now I personally feed my SL girls high protien food like leftover meats, greek yogurt, superworms, etc. I also give them 18% or more feed. Each egg they produce is 3 to 4 grams of protien by itself, plus the shell (and they're religious about laying once a day). Pile that protien loss on their body's demand for protien to grow feathers, and you have birds that gobble a lot of low protien food to make up for the deficiency. They DO eat less if you give them high protien food. (or at least my flock does).

    I wouldn't buy from that guy because he hasn't done his research, and doesn't appear to be interested in feeding his chickens correctly. If my girls need extra feed they get it, because they feed me extra [​IMG].
  9. speckledegg

    speckledegg In the Brooder

    Jun 2, 2011
    W. WA
    Maybe he thinks this because the hybirds aren't the best foragers? I know my RIRs and SS pullets are much better at foraging than my BSL and RSL pullets. I don't know if they necessarily eat way more though.
  10. ChicKat

    ChicKat Crowing Premium Member

    Ditto everyone who ties feed needs of SLs to egg production.

    In my old trusty 'Storeys Guide to Raising Chickens' they refer pounds of feed needed to produce a dozen eggs. Gail Damerow states a good feed conversion rate is 4 pounds of feed per dozen eggs.

    If an SL chicken lays an egg a day---she would eat 4 pounds every 12-days to meet this feed conversion ratio. If a purebred lays an egg every-other-day she would eat 4 pounds every 24 days to meet the feed conversion.

    Perhaps the farmer in the OP was measuring input and not output.

    People sure expect a lot of chickens don't they? :O)

    When I first began researching chickens, I was intouch with a commercial egg producer who told me that he had SLs because the birds are smaller---and weigh less, thus require less feed for their own maintainance and put more of what they eat into egg production. My GC is weighing in at about 4.5 pounds.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2011

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