Amberlink Chicken: Breed Profile, Facts & Pictures

Two Amberlink chickens eating feed on the ground

A hybrid breed nestled within the ISA Brown family, the Amberlink chicken stands out for its high productivity and adaptability. According to most owners, these birds bring a lot to the table.

However, what makes Amberlink chickens special compared to other breeds? How are they when it comes to their personality, care needs, and how well they perform? Are they as impressive as they are said to be?

This article will be your guide to all things Amberlink chicken! We will discuss their unique characteristics, temperament, history, noise levels, and many more. Let’s get started!

Amberlink Chicken Quick Facts

Origin:United States
Breed Purpose:Eggs
Weight:Roosters: 5–6 lbs (2.3–2.7 kg);
Hens: 4–5 lbs (1.8–2.3 kg)
Temperament:Inquisitive, gentle, playful, friendly, sweet-natured, affectionate, easy to handle, and docile
Color Varieties:White with amber or brownish-red streaks
Egg Production:250–300 eggs per year
Egg Color:Dark brown
Egg Size:Medium/Large
Cold Tolerance:High
Heat Tolerance:High
Lifespan:2–4 years
Unique Features:Stocky build, varying shades of brown on its plumage, yellow beak, single comb, bright red wattles, yellow/white-tinted legs, reddish tail feathers
Beginner Friendly:Yes

What Is an Amberlink Chicken?

Close up of a white Amberlink chicken

Also called the Dekalb Amberlink or Amber Sex Link, the Amberlink chicken comes from the ISA Hendrix Hatchery. Primarily, these hybrids shine in egg production. Further, they’re ideal for free-range farming, as they do well outside of cages, are great foragers, and have superb feather retention.

Amberlinks don’t breed true to their type, meaning they don’t produce offspring that are exactly like them. This hybrid vigor contributes to their excellent qualities but also means you can’t breed them for consistency.

In particular, the creation of these birds involves crossing certain breeds known for their notable egg-laying prowess.

These include mixes like Rhode Island Reds with ISA Browns, White Plymouth Rocks, White Island Reds, Delawares, and Light Sussex chickens. This strategic selection ensures that Amberlinks are among the best layers.

On another note, these hybrids are famous for their balanced temperament. They strike a perfect harmony between being friendly, docile, and manageable.

This set of traits makes them wonderful additions to farms or backyard flocks, where temperament is as crucial as productivity.

Note: Due to their crossbred nature, Amberlink chickens are not recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA).

Amberlink Chicken Origin and History

Amberlink chicken looking over shoulder

The Amberlink chicken has its origins in the United States, specifically bred by the ISA Hendrix Hatchery. Their creation in the 1970s was a result of crossing Rhode Island Red hens with ISA Brown roosters.

Basically, this blend aimed to combine the best traits of both breeds — productivity, adaptability, and hardiness.

However, with the shift in egg production from small family farms to large, corporate-run confinement operations in the 1980s, Amberlinks fell out of favor.

Unlike some breeds, these chickens didn’t thrive in confined spaces. They needed the freedom to forage and move, which were conditions not met by industrial farming practices then.

Despite this decline, though, Amberlinks are experiencing a resurgence. Today’s farmers, who value sustainability and animal welfare, are drawn to breeds that produce well in free-range conditions.

That’s why Amber Sex Links are becoming a favored choice once again.

Amberlink Chicken Appearance

Amberlink chickens in a coop

Regarding looks, Amberlink chickens are known for their distinctive yet variable appearance. Since they do not breed true, each chicken might look slightly different from the next.

Despite this variability, these birds typically share a uniform coloring.

Their predominantly white feathers are beautifully accented with amber or brownish-red streaks. To be specific, these streaks highlight their neck, wingtips, and tail feathers.

In addition to their coloration, Amberlinks possess a robust, stocky build. They also feature a yellow beak, a prominent single comb, and bright red wattles.

Their legs can be either yellow or white-tinted, which adds to the visual appeal of these chickens.

Check out this short clip to see what Amber Link chickens look like in action:

Amber link? Hen or roster #chicken

Amberlink Chicken Size and Weight

Amberlink chickens are medium-sized birds, with roosters tipping the scales at 5 to 6 pounds. Hens are just a bit lighter, usually weighing in at 4 to 5 pounds. This makes them a sturdy and robust choice for any flock.

Fun Fact: Interestingly, Amberlinks tend to be slightly larger than one of their parent breeds, the ISA Browns. Generally speaking, this added size is said to contribute to their resilience and adaptability.

Amberlink Chicken Temperament and Behavior

Amberlink chicken up close
Image credit: chicks_blooms_life / Instagram

Behavior-wise, Amberlink chickens are famous for being curious creatures. In fact, most keepers have noted that these birds always explore their surroundings with keen interest.

This trait makes them fascinating to watch and interact with, as they seem to find joy in discovering new things.

Observing my friend’s Amberlink chickens, their gentle, warm, and playful nature immediately stood out. They mingle well with other breeds, adding a peaceful dynamic to the mixed flock in his backyard.

I also noticed that these chickens displayed an undeniable friendliness. Amberlink chickens readily approached people for treats and pets. It was clear they enjoyed human interaction.

Additionally, handling them was surprisingly straightforward. Whether it was routine care or simply picking them up for a health check, their docile behavior made every task smoother.

Egg Production and Broodiness of Amberlink Chickens

Amberlink hens are great egg producers, laying between 250 and 300 eggs a year. They typically begin this prolific laying phase around 4 to 5 months old, quickly becoming an essential part of any egg-producing flock.

In particular, the eggs they produce are of medium to large size and come in a distinctive dark brown shade.

On top of that, Amberlink chickens show a low inclination towards broodiness. This trait means they rarely go through periods of wanting to hatch their eggs. 

In other words, they ensure consistent egg production without significant interruptions.

Note: While Amberlinks lay eggs like champs, they do not stick around as long as other breeds. They typically live up to only four years. So, it is important to maximize their egg-laying phase since it is relatively short.

Amberlink Chicken Care Guide

Amberlink chicken standing on a concrete block
Image credit: sunshinencountry / Instagram

Caring for Amberlink chickens means mastering their feeding, housing, and environmental needs. Below, you will find valuable information and tips to help you become a pro at managing your Amberlink flock.

Feeding and Nutrition

Amberlink chicks thrive on a high-protein diet to kickstart their growth. To be exact, a starter feed with a minimum of 20% protein content is essential during their early weeks.

Transitioning from chick to adolescent, Amberlinks require a diet adjustment. A finisher feed rich in proteins ranging from 18 to 19% supports their continued development.

As adults, though, their nutritional needs shift towards maintaining health and optimizing egg production. Specifically, a layer feed containing 15 to 17% protein alongside added calcium becomes crucial for them.

On top of that, incorporating treats like fresh fruits and vegetables adds variety and nutrients to their diets. Bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and beets should do the trick.

Finally, the importance of a constant fresh water supply for Amberlinks cannot be overstressed. It’s vital for their digestion, temperature regulation, and overall health.

Pro Tip: Get the most out of caring for your Amberlink chickens by buying chicken feed in bulk. It’s a smart move that ensures a steady stock while saving you money.

Housing and Shelter

Usually, each Amberlink chicken requires at least four square feet of floor space inside the coop. For a cozy night’s sleep, note that these birds also need 8 to 10 inches of space on the roost.

Outside the coop, a running area of 8 to 10 square feet per chicken is recommended. This outdoor space encourages natural behaviors such as foraging, which is vital for their physical and mental health.

Also, when picking bedding, think about choices like sand, straw, hemp, or pine shavings.

While searching for the perfect bedding for my flock, I stumbled upon a study highlighting the benefits of sand. Intrigued by its promise of fewer coliform bacteria and lower beetle populations, I decided to give it a try.

Surprisingly, switching to sand transformed our coop’s environment. Not only did it prove to be cleaner, but it also required less frequent changes. This aspect was particularly appealing as it meant a more sustainable and cost-effective option for us.

Still, the choice of bedding ultimately depends on your preferences and what works best for your Amberlink chickens. You can even mix and match bedding materials if you like.

Temperature and Lighting

When it comes to Amberlink chicks, maintaining the right temperature is critical. Initially, the temperature at the floor level of their brooding box should be approximately 95°F.

The same goes with adults. They are adaptable to both warm and chilly climates, but it’s best to keep the coop’s temp between 65°F and 75°F.

This range guarantees their comfort and health, preventing stress that could affect their laying performance.

In addition, keep in mind that consistent lighting is vital for optimal egg production in Amberlink hens. They require 14 to 16 hours of light daily, which can be accomplished through a combination of natural sunlight and artificial lighting.

Pro Tip: During the first six weeks with your Amberlink chicks, lower the temperature by about 5°F each week. This gradual change will help them adapt easily to cooler conditions as they grow.

Noise Levels of Amberlink Chickens

Amberlink chickens inside a coop

Amberlink chickens are known for their moderate noise levels, which makes them fit for many coops. This means that while some variation exists from one bird to another, their overall noise is manageable.

Most of the time, though, it’s the hens that contribute to the chatter, engaging in soft clucking sounds as they go about their day.

In contrast, the roosters are more focused on their crowing duties, wherein they mark their presence and assert their territory.

Fun Fact: Speaking of roosters, they have interesting crowing milestones. While they might start attempting to crow as early as three months, they generally gain full confidence in their crow by the ninth month.

How Much Does an Amberlink Chicken Cost?

Amberlink chickens are affordable, usually costing between $2 and $6 each. Bear in mind, however, that female chicks may be a bit pricier because they are excellent egg layers.

Apart from gender, many other factors can influence the cost of these chickens, including their location.

The price might vary depending on where you’re purchasing them from, and there could be additional fees for shipping if you’re ordering from a distance.

But if you are really keen on getting some Amberlink chickens, local poultry farms and specialized hatcheries are your best bet.

Popular options like Hoover’s Hatchery, Townline Poultry Farm, and Myers Poultry offer a variety of these birds.

Pro Tip: Join Facebook groups and online forums for poultry enthusiasts to find more places to buy Amberlink chickens. You might discover local sellers with great deals.

Breeding and Raising Amberlink Chicks

Amberlink chickens foraging in green grass
Image credit: huckleberry_farms_812 / Instagram

To hatch Amberlink chicks, start by picking strong, healthy parents. Next, select the most compatible pairs from the list below for robust offspring:

  • Rhode Island Red hen x ISA Brown rooster
  • Rhode Island Red hen x White Plymouth Rock rooster
  • Rhode Island Red hen x White Island Red rooster
  • Rhode Island Red hen x Delaware rooster
  • Rhode Island Red hen x Light Sussex rooster

Once done, provide a suitable nesting environment and ensure optimal conditions for incubation.

Specifically, gather eggs daily and place them in an incubator set to around 99.5°F. Then, keep the humidity between 44 and 55%, bumping it up to 65% in the last three days.

Upon hatching, move the chicks to a brooder equipped with a heat source. Since Rhode Island Red hens aren’t known for sitting on eggs, you’ll have to invest in a heat lamp to maintain the chicks’ temp.

In addition, regular health monitoring and following a recommended vaccination schedule are vital for preventing common poultry diseases.

Meanwhile, when integrating young Amberlinks into the flock, start the process at about 16 weeks of age. This gradual introduction minimizes stress and aggression, ensuring a smooth transition.

Frequently Asked Questions

Amberlink chicken head up close

Are Amberlink Chickens Aggressive?

Amberlink chickens are not aggressive. They are celebrated for their gentle and friendly nature. This characteristic makes them an excellent choice for backyard flocks, especially in settings with children.

Their docile temperament also means Amberlinks are ideal for first-time chicken keepers. On the whole, you will find that these birds are easy to manage and a joy to have around.

Are Amberlink Chickens Good Layers?

Yes, Amberlink chickens are good layers. As a matter of fact, they can yield about 250 to 300 eggs yearly. This impressive production rate makes them a top pick for both backyard flocks and commercial operations.

When Do Amberlink Chickens Start Laying Eggs?

Typically, Amberlink chickens start laying eggs at around 4 to 5 months old, which is approximately 18 to 22 weeks of age. They are in line with the typical timeframe for most egg-laying breeds.

What Size Eggs Do Amberlinks Lay?

Amberlink chickens lay medium to large-sized eggs that have a distinctive rich, dark brown color.

I hope this guide on Amberlink chickens has been useful and helpful for you. Do you have any thoughts, opinions, or questions on this distinctive breed? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

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