Sex Links ??

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by mrcman, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. mrcman

    mrcman Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 28, 2011
    NW Pa.
    In some of the reading on this site I came across references to Golden, Red and Black sex links. I did a search and got 245 pages of possible explanations. Of the many I read, none really explained.
    So, what are these? Are they cross breeds? Is it just an easier way to descibe your hen? Is it a hen you have that you have no idea of what she is?
    Sorry if my question sounds stupid. We've had our girls for 1 1/2 years now and I was just happy tending to them. NOW that I've found this site I'm kinda really getting into trying to learn as much as I can about them. And believe me, there is much more than I ever imagined possible.

    Thanks, Tony
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The explanation has been given in many, many threads.

    The preference for hens over roosters drives it. People in the industry and in the backyard want to know the sex of the newly hatched chick. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use nature's genetics. Put a gold, red, rooster over a Barred Rock hen and the chicks are commonly called Black Sex Links. The newly hatched chicks can be sexed by whether or not they have a head spot.

    Put a gold/red rooster over a silver/white hen and the result is this. The cockerels hatch out white while the pullets hatch out a yellow/brown/reddish/golden color.

    It also just so happens that this kind of hybrid and yes, these are mutts/hybrids/crosses whatever the fancy name the hatcheries called them, tend to benefit from hybrid vigor. It is also true that most hatcheries use prolific layers as the parent stock to be begin with. Thus, these "sex-links" are normally super layers.

    Since the vast majority of commercial farms and backyarders want only pullets, the majority of the cockerels are destroyed at hatch. There's virtually no market for them. Also, the "mix" will not breed true, meaning you cannot get the same result breeding these chicks the second generation. You have to always go back to the original pairing described above.

    The "mixes" varies from hatchery to hatchery. Thus, different mixes carry different marketing names. Gold Sex Links, Red Sex Links, Black Sex Links, and even more nifty names such as Cinnamon Queens, Golden Star, Red Star, Black Star, Golden Buffs, etc etc etc.

    Hope that helps.
  3. cmfarm

    cmfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2010
    Elgin, TX
    Sex links are a combo of 2 different colored chickens that will give you chicks that you can sex by color when hatched. For example, if you take a red rooster (RIR, Production R), and put it over a barred hen (Barred rock) then you will get male chicks with a spot on their head and a female without. If you do a search there is a whole explanation of the different color combos you can use and what the chicks will look like.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    As above...

    Just wanted to chime in for the record and say I prefer the name Star as Sex Link simply doesn't roll off the tongue well. Which is better than always saying Red Female Sex Link but still an unflattering name. And to needlessly further this tangent more, I prefer Black Stars to Red for temperament and beauty.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I don't blame you for being confused. If you want a more technical description of how it is done, the first post in this thread is great.

    Tadkerson’s Sex Link Thread

    To take Fred's comments a little bit further and to help add to the confusion, there is a lot of mythology about sex links. There is a lot of misunderstanding and plain bad information about them.

    Some hatcheries cross their regular breeds to produce sex links. These are from normally good laying hatchery stock so they normally lay pretty well. They do not lay well because they are sex links. They lay well because their parents are from stock that lays well. As you can see from Tadkerson's post, there are many different breeds that can be crossed to produce sex links. A Rhode Island Red rooster over a Barred Rock hen is a common one. If you use a RIR rooster over a BR hen you get a sex link. If you use a BR rooster over a RIR hen from these same parent flocks, you do not get a sex link, but the hens from that cross will lay just as well. The fact that they are sex links makes no difference in their laying ability. The fact that their parents are good layers does.

    Some hatcheries do not cross their own chicken breeds to make sex links. They use certain chickens that have been commercially developed to lay a lot of Grade A Large eggs. These are specific commercial breeds, not the RIR over BR. Since they have been developed for generations to lay a whole lot of nice eggs, they will lay a whole lot of nice eggs for you. Again, not because they are sex links but because genetically they have been programmed to lay a lot of nice eggs. These chickens are different than the other sex links some hatcheries produce. I think a lot of the misunderstandings and myths about sex links come from this difference.

    The reason commercial egg laying operations want to be able to sex the chickens at hatch is that they do not want to pay to feed and house roosters that will never lay an egg until they are old enough you can tell the difference.
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Sure, let's muddy it up even further!! [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    The average small hatchery (such as the kind often talked about here on BYC) may or may not have access to commercial parent stock, so they just "roll their own." Their customers are pleased, for the most part. However, the HUGE commercial hatcheries, the kind that sell only to commercial houses, not to small, retail customers, sell commercial sex-link birds. These are mostly four way crosses to create the parent stock. These are highly selected genetic corporation birds that have 30 years or more testing behind them. The industry can and does fund the research. Famous names include the ISA/Bovan/Hendrix/Hisex/DeKalb/Shaver/Babcock conglomerate:

    birds are NOT merely a Red over White bird. They are 4 way crosses. The recipe is patented.

    So, aren't you glad you asked? [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  7. mrcman

    mrcman Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 28, 2011
    NW Pa.
    Well folks, thanks so much for your time in answering. Who'd ever thought that someone coulda ever come up with such a science of things. But now I know.

    Fred Hens, I suspected that there was an explanation somewhere but after awhille of looking I just finally gave up and asked.

    Thanks again for all the responses

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  8. Chickbysurprise

    Chickbysurprise New Egg

    Apr 6, 2012
    Its said that sex links are the cross of two breeds that can be sexed (changed gender) at birth to supply the demand for hens that are good productive layers. Thats all I really know but I just wanted to share my chicken knowledge with you, because I have sex links of my own and am enjoying them. ~ Shania
  9. Chickbysurprise

    Chickbysurprise New Egg

    Apr 6, 2012
    I have both, but my black star are laced
  10. SpiritedFarm

    SpiritedFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2012
    South West Ontario
    So if I wanted to raise golden sex links....what would you all recommend I use? I have a lovely coop and run just waiting!! [​IMG]

    I would be breeding these for a few reasons, 1 being I believe them to be a friendly, cold weather tolerant, year round egg layers. There is a demand for this in my area both as hatching eggs and chicks. I already sell eggs "at the gate" so any not incubated or sold as chicks would be sold as eating eggs.

    So you guys are obviously very knowledgable and I would love your advice!! [​IMG]



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