Sex Links, Eggs and What Comes After

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by AllynTal, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I mostly lurk here, reading all the wonderful advice. A conversation with my mother-in-law recently led to a question that I could not find the answer to. She was raving about her sex links, telling me what prolific egg-layers they are. My experience with chickens started some 45 years ago -- before I heard of sex links -- so when I got a place where we could have chickens, I went for what I know: RIRs, Leghorns and Barred Rocks. After the conversation with my MIL, I started paying attention to and reading up on sex links. From what I understand, they are prolific layers, but they don't lay as long as the heritage breeds. Essentially, they lay the same number of eggs over the course of their productive life, but the sex links just do it all up front. My question is, how are they as meat birds? I don't want to feed something that isn't going to feed me back, so if a sex link chicken is done laying.......Do you see where I'm going with this?

    Also, I understand that for a self-sustaining flock, sex links are not really a good choice. Is that a fair statement?
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    The sexlinks you get at the hatcheries are a specific cross bred for a prolific but short laying life...you can't really continue to propagate them and expect the same high output bird. Tho I have a cross of an EE over an amberlink and she has been a pretty prolific layer so far.

    They are usually fairly small bodied birds, some have leghorn in the makeup and they put all their input into eggs rather than body mass. So not a great meat bird so to speak, but they would still make great stock, just not so much meat.

    It's a toss up, as with many breeds.... lots of eggs or lots of meat, but you can always get great bone broth.
     
  3. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your reply. That's essentially the information that I gleened from my reading, so you confirmed it for me. I guess I'll get a couple of sex links to keep my MIL happy -- she thinks they're the end-all, be-all of chickens -- but mostly I'll stick to my old tried and true breeds.
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I too, like a mixed flock, and adding just a couple of red sex link birds can really up your egg production. And it is nice to get eggs when you go down to the hen house. This winter, my coming 3 year old sex link, gave me an egg nearly every day, even in December. But a few heavier birds, are also nice when one comes to the end.

    If you cook a couple together, it kind of all evens out.

    Mrs K
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    I also like having the best of both worlds. I love my sex links. But, they're home bred. The first one I grew was RIR x PBR, lovely gal. The next batch were EE x PBR. They have nice tight pea combs, solid black feathering, lay a nice large dark blue/green egg. Beautiful birds, though as chicks, I thought they were quite ugly. They reminded me of black moths. They weren't quite black, but definitely darker than gray. Perhaps, dark charcoal? So, I have some birds in my flock which will give me my own version of sex links. Good hybrid vigor, I hope without burning out quickly like the hatchery sex links.
     
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    show some pictures.... I am loving my EE, one green, one turquoise egg nearly every day.
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    [​IMG]
    These pics were taken in August. Jack the roo is standing in the middle. He's surrounded by a lot of his harem. Black sex links are at 11:00, 2:00, and 2:30.
     
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    good description! nice pic, beautiful hens and roos
     

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