The sex link thread

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by goatman303, Jan 1, 2015.

  1. goatman303

    goatman303 Out Of The Brooder

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    I want all you BYC members to tell me information on black and red sex link hens.

    What different crosses to make sex links?
    How many eggs?
    Hardy?
    Disease resistant?
    Friendly?

    Thanks, Ian
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The first post in this thread should answer your first question.

    Tadkerson’s Sex Link Thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=261208

    A sex link is simply a chick that can be sexed at hatch, usually by down color or pattern but there are some other ways if the parents are set up genetically. There is no genetic link to how many eggs a pullet will lay, how hardy they are, how disease resistant they are, or how friendly they are and them being sex links. Those traits will depend on what they inherit from their parents and how they are managed. Sex links are not mystical magical creatures. They are just chickens that can be sexed at hatch.

    You can make sex links from any breed of chickens as long as the genetics are set up right. How well a hen lays depends on the genetics she inherits from her parents. It has nothing to do with a sex linked gene. If a sex linked hen comes from parents from flocks that lay well, she probably will too. If a sex linked hen comes from parents in flocks that do not lay well, she probably won’t either.

    You can get two different kinds of sex links from hatcheries. One kind is made by crossing two regular breeds of chickens, normally dual purpose breeds like Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire for the roosters with Barred Rocks, White Rocks, Rhode Island Whites, Delaware, or Silver Laced Wyandotte for the hens, though others can be used. Since hatchery chickens from these breeds normally lay well, the sex linked hens from these crosses normally lay well. Their eggs will normally be a little smaller than the eggs laid by the other type of sex links, more in line with the dual purpose chickens that are their parents.

    Many hatcheries offer sex links based on the commercial egg laying hybrids. The parents are not separate breeds but are themselves hybrids developed over the past several decades to very efficiently convert feed into eggs. These chickens tend to be the size of Leghorns instead of the size of the dual purpose chickens. That way they use more of their feed to produce Grade A Large eggs and don’t need as much feed to maintain a larger body. These are generally egg laying machines that have been specifically bred to lay a lot of large eggs efficiently. They normally take confinement very well and are fairly calm. That’s been bred into them so they can be quite friendly if raised to be friendly.

    The size of the egg a hen lays is based a lot on heredity but diet also influences that. The more protein they eat the larger the eggs. The commercial hybrids have been bred to produce a fairly large egg with a diet of 16% protein or maybe just a tad less protein and they have fairly small bodies relative to the size eggs they lay. That can make them more prone to certain health problems, especially if you increase the amount of protein you feed them to produce even larger eggs. The sex links made from dual purpose breeds can more easily handle higher protein feeds.

    That’s the only significant difference in health issues I can come up with between the two different types of sex links and that has nothing to do with them being sex links. It is based on the traits of their parents. I’ll try this as an example. One way to make a sex link is to cross a RIR rooster with a Delaware hen. The egg laying traits of that offspring will be no different than the offspring of a Delaware rooster and a RIR hen from those same flocks but these will not be sex links.

    The hardiness or disease resistance will depend some on what they inherit from their parents but will depend a whole lot on how you manage them. If you provide a healthy environment that strengthens their immune system they will tend to be healthy. That has nothing to do with them being sex links.
     
  3. goatman303

    goatman303 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your help [​IMG]
     

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