Sex-links are cross-bred chickens whose color at hatching is differentiated by sex, thus making chick sexing an easier process. Sex-links come in several varieties. As hybrids of laying or dual-purpose breeds infused with extra vigor via heterosis, sex-links can be extremely good egg-layers which often produce 300 eggs a year or more depending on the quality of care and feed. The color of their eggs vary according to the mix of breeds, and blue-green eggs are possible.
Chicks of a single breed that are similarly sex-linked are called autosex chickens, a term developed to differentiate between sex-linkage in purebred chickens versus sex-linkage in hybrids.
Many common varieties are known as the black sex-link (also called Black Stars) and the red sex-link (also called Red Stars). More specific variety names are common as well.
- Black sex-link like "Black rocks" are a cross between unique specially bred hybrid strains of Rhode Island Red rooster (but any non-white and non barred rooster may be used for other black sex link crosses) and a Barred Rock hen (which carry both extended black and barring genes).
- Red sex-links are a cross between a Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire rooster and a White Rock (This variety pair is known as a Golden Comet), Silver Laced Wyandotte, Rhode Island White or Delaware hen.
White birds should not be used in sex linked crosses because white color allele is sometimes dominant and sometimes recessive.
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