Black Sex Link Chicken: Breed Profile, Care Guide & Facts

Two Black Sex Link chickens walking in the farm

Black Sex Link chickens are a hybrid that exhibits a unique blend of beautiful looks, charming personalities, and exceptional egg-laying capabilities.

These chickens have been a staple in the backyards of poultry enthusiasts for quite some time, thanks to their shiny black feathers, remarkable toughness, and excellent productivity.

This article will delve into the history, care requirements, and characteristics of Black Sexlinks. If you’re interested in owning this chicken breed, this guide should be a valuable resource for starting your journey.

Black Sex Link Chicken Overview

Origin:United States
Purpose:Dual-purpose (eggs and meat)
Weight:Rooster: 8–9 lbs (3.6–4 kg);
Hen: 6–7 lbs (2.7–3.1 kg)
Temperament:Friendly, skittish, energetic, curious
Known for Broodiness:No
Egg Production:250–300 eggs per year
Egg Color:Brown
Egg Size:Large
Cold Hardy:Yes
Heat Tolerant:Yes
Lifespan:8–10 years
Cost:$2–$5 per chick

What Are Black Sex Link Chickens?

Black Sex Link chicken while eating

Black Sex Link chickens, also known as Black Star chickens, are hybrids renowned for their prolific egg production.

This breed of chicken comes from crossing a Barred Plymouth Rock hen with either a New Hampshire Red or a Rhode Island Red rooster.

The term sex link refers to the ability to determine the sex of the chicks at birth based on their feather color. While both genders are completely black, males can be identified by a white patch on their heads.

Despite being hybrid chickens and not breeding true, they are a popular choice for backyard chicken owners due to their egg-laying capabilities and hardy nature.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fantastic hybrid, watch this video:

Black Star Chickens: Egg-Laying Champions You MUST See!

Black Sex Link Chicken Origin and History

The history of Black Sex Link chickens dates back to the 1950s. They were initially bred to meet the need for egg and meat chickens during a period of significant population growth.

This was a time when food was rationed, and the influx of troops returning home from World War II and refugees seeking a better life in America put a strain on food supplies.

To address this, poultry scientists embarked on a mission to create a breed that could produce large amounts of eggs.

After numerous attempts at crossing various purebreed chickens, they successfully crossed a Barred Plymouth Rock hen with a Rhode Island Red rooster or a New Hampshire Red rooster.

This new breed consistently produced large amounts of eggs and had the added advantage of being sex-linked, allowing the sex of Black Sex link baby chicks to be determined at birth.

Today, Black Sex-linked chickens are primarily found on smaller farms or backyard chicken coops. They continue to be in demand for their excellent egg-laying capabilities and endearing personalities.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in knowing more about the origins of other colored sex link chickens, check out our articles on gold and red sex link chickens.

Why Breed Black Sex Link Chickens?

Black Sex Link chicken surrounded by chicks

Breeding Black Sex Link chickens offers several benefits. They are known for laying a lot of eggs, producing up to 300 eggs per year. This makes them an excellent choice for those seeking a reliable source of fresh eggs.

The ability to distinguish the sex of the chicks at birth is another advantage. This allows for efficient planning and management of your flock, as you can easily identify the male and female Black Sex Link chicks.

Despite being hybrids and not breeding true, Black Sex-Link chickens are hardy and adaptable, making them suitable for various climates and environments.

They are also known for their calm and friendly nature, making them a favorite among backyard chicken keepers.

Black Sex Link Chicken Appearance and Breed Standards

Black Sex Link chicken side view
Image credit: myrshine_ / Instagram

While Black Sex Link chickens may not immediately catch one’s attention, their subtle beauty is undeniable. They are a rather large breed and have red wattles and combs.

Both male and female Black Star chicks are born black, but males have white spots on their heads. The Black Sex Link pullets remain primarily black as they grow, but some red feathers develop around their necks and chests.

On the other hand, male Black Sex Link chickens take on a plumage resembling that of the Barred Rock breed, with a combination of white, red, and black feathers.

It’s important to note that since these chickens are hybrids, Black Sex Link chickens do not have a standard breed appearance. Their looks can vary depending on which parent breed they take after more.

Black Sex Link Chicken Temperament and Behavior

Black Sex Link chickens are known to be gentle and friendly. They are typically easy to handle and get along well with other chickens.

Chickens of this breed are known to follow their owners around the yard, making them great pets, especially for children.

Moreover, they are excellent for urban areas due to their quiet demeanor. These chickens are quite hardy and adaptable, able to thrive in various environments.

Black Sex Link chickens are also adept foragers and have good instincts, making them less likely to fall prey to predators.

Although these chickens are generally docile and friendly, Black Sex Link chickens can exhibit a bit of stubbornness. They can be swift and difficult to catch, and they may need some persuasion to return to the coop at night.

Despite this, their friendly nature and adaptability make them an excellent addition to any flock.

Egg Production of Black Sex Link Chickens

Young Black Sex Link chicken

Egg production is one of the strengths of the Black Sex Link chicken breed. Up to 300 eggs can be produced by these chickens annually, making them a great option for those in need of a reliable source of fresh eggs.

The egg production of female Black Sex Link chickens is consistent throughout the year, even during the colder months. This is due to their hardy nature and adaptability to various climates.

Their eggs are typically medium to large in size and have a rich brown color. In addition to their great egg production, these chickens are known for their early maturity. They usually start laying eggs at around 5 to 6 months of age.

Furthermore, the lack of broodiness in Black Sex Link hens is a definite plus. They usually lay eggs and then abandon them, making them easy to collect.

How to Take Care of Your Black Sex Link Chickens

Working closely with seasoned poultry enthusiasts has given me the unique opportunity to learn about the care of various chicken breeds.

A colleague of mine once shared his experience raising Black Sex Link chickens. He was particularly impressed by their hardiness and egg production.

He mentioned that these chickens are relatively low-maintenance but need a spacious coop and a safe roaming area. He also emphasized the importance of a balanced diet for optimal egg production.

This section will discuss what you need to know to provide the best care for these remarkable chickens.

Lifespan and Health Issues

Black Sex Link chickens are robust birds with a lifespan of around 8 to 10 years.

They are known for their hardiness and adaptability, making them an excellent choice for both novice and experienced chicken keepers. However, like all living things, they are not immune to health issues.

Common poultry illnesses, including bird flu and fowl cholera, can infect these chickens. Regular vaccinations can help prevent these diseases and ensure the health of your flock.

They can also be prone to internal and external parasites like worms, mites, and lice. Thus, regular checks and preventative treatments are essential to keeping these pests at bay.

Another health concern to watch out for is specific to hens and has to do with their reproductive system.

After their prime egg-laying years, they may develop conditions like egg yolk peritonitis or tumors in the reproductive system. These issues can affect their overall health and egg production.

Despite these potential health issues, with proper care and attention, Black Sex Link chickens can lead healthy and productive lives.


Black Sex Link chickens need a diet rich in protein and calories to maintain their high egg production.

It’s recommended to choose a high-quality chicken feed that contains about 2,830 calories per kilogram. This will provide them with the energy they need to lay eggs consistently.

Moreover, you can feed your chickens various fruits and vegetables that can provide additional nutrients. Foods like tomatoes, carrots, and apples can be healthy treats for your chickens.

Calcium is also an essential nutrient for egg-laying hens. It helps ensure the durability of the eggshells. Hence, foods rich in calcium, iron, copper, and phosphorus can be beneficial.

Lastly, always ensure that they also have access to clean, fresh water. Hydration is just as important as nutrition in maintaining the health and productivity of your flock.

Coop Setup and Roaming

Creating a comfortable environment for your Black Sex Link chickens is crucial for their well-being. Start with a spacious coop, providing at least 6 square feet per chicken.

A smaller coop could work if they are let out to roam free daily, but more area for your chickens is preferable. There should also be one nesting box for every four hens. Each bird requires 8 to 12 inches of roosting space.

In addition to being skilled foragers, Sex Link chickens like to stretch their legs whenever possible. Make sure there is enough room for them to move about in a run or other enclosed area.

Further, keeping your chickens safe from predators is essential, so build high fencing for your chicken run.


Gentle touch and patience are required when handling Black Sex Link chickens. These birds are known for their friendly and docile nature, making them easy to handle, even for beginners.

However, they can be a bit stubborn at times, especially when it comes to returning to the coop after roaming around.

To handle them, approach calmly and speak softly to avoid startling them. Always be gentle when handling them to maintain their comfort and trust.

Regular handling from a young age might help them get used to social interaction. But if they look uncomfortable, always respect their boundaries and never force interaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Black Sex Link chicken walking on mud
Image credit: myrshine_ / Instagram

Are Sex Link Chickens Good Layers?

Yes, Sex-linked chickens are known for being excellent egg layers. One of the primary goals of breeding this type of chicken is to create birds that excel in egg production.

Sex Link hybrids, such as the Black and Red Sex Link chickens, typically lay a high number of eggs throughout the year, making them great options for backyard and commercial egg production.

Is Black a Dominant Color in Chickens?

Yes, black is a dominant color in chickens. When it comes to feather color, black is a strong and commonly found trait in different types of chicken breeds.

It can be inherited dominantly, meaning that if a chicken carries the black gene, it will likely exhibit black feathers.

However, it’s important to note that the inheritance of feather color in chickens is a complex process influenced by multiple genes and genetic interactions, so it can vary between breeds and individual birds.

If you found this breed guide on Black Sex Link chickens helpful, please share your thoughts about it in the comment section below. If you have additional questions, let us know as well!

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