Me personally I would rather buy home raised sexlinks. And yes--they will be just as good as far as laying. considering they are a dual purpose bird-the roos will also be good for meat, too.(although nothing like a cornish X)
Doubt it. Hatcheries have been working on their own patented sex link varieties for years (over 50 in some cases). A lot of special breeding and money, and research has gone into producing the "best laying hen". For the most part their sex-links are exactly what they promise. Superior egg laying, docile, reliable. They aren't the simple crosses that genetic books and threads lead you to believe. If you want to sell locally why not do the things the large hatcheries do not do so well and so cheaply.
You might consider selling nice quality purebred layers, of the sort known to be good home flock birds. If you choose the varieties carefully (barred rocks come to mind, but there are many others) you could still sex them at birth pretty accurately. You could then offer a small number of high quality pullets for locals that want to keep just a few hens.
Or you might decide in your area, a variety of local favorite heritage layer might be best.
With those options you could charge alittle more and the extra value would still be there for your clients.
I respectfully disagree. Sex links are by definition not dual purpose birds. They are bred for their egg laying capabilities and are egglayers. Dual purpose birds are bred for both eggs and meat, as well as hardiness and other characteristics more important to those having home raised flocks, as opposed to large commercial egg laying operations. They do not lay as well, but that depending on your needs, may be offset by their other good qualities. Dual purpose birds INMHO are a more "balanced" bird than the hatchery sex linked laying machines. They often remain productive for longer, and may have a longer lifespan.
As you have pointed out, dual purpose birds are usually a better choice for a small flock. I agree that I also would prefer to get local home raised birds if nice ones are available. If they are well chosen and suited for the area it is a huge plus, and one I as a consumer would be willing to pay a little extra for.
My sexlinks are crossed with two dual purpose breeds. Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks. They therefore produce a dual purpose bird, one that has been known to be proficient at egg laying. Being able to identify at hatch the sexes, helps in that the males can be immediately identified and therefore raised as a meat bird would, and the hens would be raised as laying birds.
Disagree if you must, --that is just my take on it.
Not trying to stir any controversy, especially about something where I don't know much but I like talking about sex-links. Here's a thought:
If you have super Production Reds and used them as the roos and fine-quality Barred Rocks, say, shouldn't the offspring be every bit as good as the parents and likely, better?
Now, I know that BR's have not been kept as a commercial laying breed for the last half century or longer. A Cherry Egger, or whatever, should be able to hold its own with a Red sex-link, on the other hand.
Of course, this could be like asking A. Einstein if him having children with Marilyn Monroe could result in a "super race" of humans because of his brain power and her good looks. He said something like, "But, what if they have my looks and her brains?"
Edit: Ah, Miss_thenorth, you and I were typing at the same time . . .
I don't dissagree with you at all. Your home raised dual purpose sex links are not hatchery sex links are they? Neither a barred rock nor a rhode island red outlays a hatchery sex link although they are great birds. The question was whether her cross would perform as the way a hatchery one would, and it is highly unlikely. Hatchery sex links are not "dual purpose" they are egg layers. The accepted usage and terminology is there for a reason. If your dual purpose egg layers outlay a hatchery sex link consider me highly surprised. As well as being heavy enough to comperte with a meat bird for size and tenderness at maturity? My bantam araucana roos become dinner also, but that does not make them meat birds. They can be sexed at birth also by use of the gold gene, but that does not make them hatchery sex links and since I am getting so few eggs right now I will not claim my birds compete egg wise with the hatchery layers.
I agree that dual purpose birds are best for a small flock. But in general- (well almost exclusively) homebred sex links do not compete laying wise with hatchery ones. Although as you keep pointing out they can be very nice, useful, birds. The sexlink part is realy for the convenience of the initial sale, since offspring from a sexlinked bird can't be sexed the way it's parents could. That convenience exists only for the first generation. So as a customer I'd rather have a nice autosexing breed. Then if I decided to raise my own at some point I would be able to sex offspring for myself, generation, after generation. If I wanted a sexlink, I'd buy a hatchery bird.