Chickens: Is "Sex Link" Really a Breed? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

A friend who lives in Florida has purchased some chicks, little black balls of down she says. The man at the feedstore where she bought them said they were all pullets, and that the name of the breed is "Sex Link". My friend saw it on the cage too. Does anyone know if this is really a breed, or to what this refers. We are wondering how he could be sure they were all female, since it was my understanding that chicks couldn't be sexed until they were growing in feathers. Thanks in advance!

-- J. E. Froelich (, November 06, 1999


Yes it is a breed and they are very good egg layers. Murray's are redish. They can be sexed at hatching and we've always gotten pulletts without any mistakes.

-- cynthia hale (, November 06, 1999.

Yes they are a breed, when there hatched the pullets are one color the cockerals another.Depending on what crosses are used. I have had the dark ones and they are a very nice bird,calm and good layers.

-- doris richards (, November 06, 1999.

The feed store here carried them this year too. Two people I know have them, and are still waiting for them to start laying....months after other breeds have started. Does anyone know if they naturally mature later..would love to tell my friends. I have never had them myself. Theirs are both black.

-- Jenny Pipes (, November 07, 1999.

From Gail Damerow...Guide to Raising Chickens...They are a dual- purpose hybrid for backyard flocks. Most popular are Black Sex Link (a cross between a Rhode Island Red cock and a barred Plymouth Rock hen) and Red Sex Link (Rhode Island Red cock and a white Leghorn hen). Red Sex Link lays about 250 eggs a year. Black Sex Link lays slightly fewer but larger eggs, and weighs 3/4 pound more at maturity.

-- Derrick Comfort (, November 08, 1999.

...or to what this refers.

It appears to be part of the name in this case but what it refers to is the fact that in this particular breed the males have a distinct and very different appearance than the females often times so different that they may appear to be different breeds to those not familiar with them. An example of this is to compare Black Cayuga to Saxony's. My cayuga look almost identical. If a mature drake turns its head in the light the right way its head turns green. When butchering time comes it is hard to sort out a mature hen who is probably rather large and may have developed some color sheen from a young or underdeveloped drake who because he is small and not well colored. My saxony ducks couldnt possible be confused after they first start to feather. Drakes have dark grey to black heads, a ring on their neck, a dark brown chest and wings and a light underbelly/rear. The hens ar a motteled light buff and white. I can sex them from an acre away in bad weather. So there is a distinct advantage to having a flock of sex linked birds but no real advantage if you are buying a flat of pullets...

-- William (, November 11, 1999.

I have RI Reds; NH Reds; Dominices ("Domi-neckers" as we southerners say)sand 12 Black Sex Link. The mature adult will lay BIG eggs. They gave me a TRIPLE YOLKed egg last month. I am cosistently getting double yolks. The hens are very large in comparisons. Best laugh I've had in a while was when the little cochin rooster (mostly pet) started "courting" the biggest hen. He preened and strutted, talking that sweet rooster talk, thinking he was going to get somewhere with her. Ha!

-- Eve (, November 11, 1999.

The term "Sex-link" refers to the genetics of color inheritance in chickens. In sex-linked hybrids, the cockerels and pullets hatch out with different colors, enabling 100% accurate sex separation at the hatchery. Darned convenient, huh!

For example....

Cross a Red cock X Barred hen, the offspring are barred cockerels and non-barred hens, mostly black with some red. These hens are the "black sexlinks" of the hatchery trade. The hybrid baby chicks can be sex-separated at hatching because the down-colors are also different (the cockerels have a white spot on the head)

Conversely, if you reverse the sexes in the cross, Barred cock X Red hen, ALL 1st generation offspring are barred.

The reason for this is, that the barring gene (and some other color genes) are carried on the sex chromosomes. Also, be aware that chicken's sex chromosomes are the reverse of ours... Human, male is XY, female is XX -- Chicken, female is XY, male is XX. Barred feathering is carried on the X chromosome.

-- Paul (, August 23, 2000.

No not a breed. They are a *cross* between two breeds.

The 'sex-links' will *not* breed true.

The name is from the fact that they use a sex linked genetic trait in the crossing to get chicks sexable by down color. That's it.

-- kc (, March 11, 2001.

Dear friends: These chickens are not a true breed, but hybrids. At least the APA does not recognize them as such. They will not breed true to a line.

-- Dr. James M. Lampley (, March 26, 2001.

We have three black sex link hens right now that consistenly lay 21 eggs per week and have for months.I am raising six more bittys now as my sister wan'ts three and I will keep three more. They are big beutiful birds ,crossed or not!!

-- Jimmy Holiday (, April 24, 2001.

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