What Are Gold Sex Link Chickens? – A Comprehensive Guide

Gold Sex Link chicken walking on a trampoline
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Gold sex link chickens are a prevalent choice among poultry enthusiasts for their high egg count and hardy nature. Plus, they exhibit unique coloring that allows easy sex identification at birth.

Yet, these birds not only stand out for their distinctive appearance but also for their robust health. You’ll find that their temperaments are gentle and friendly, too — they’re really easy to handle and care for.

This article offers an in-depth look at Gold Sex Link chickens, from their origin and characteristics to care requirements and egg-laying performance. So, make sure to read to the end!

Gold Sex Link Chicken Quick Facts

Purpose:Egg farming
Egg Production:250–320 eggs per year
Egg Color:Brown
Egg Size:Medium/Large
Adult Weight:Roosters: 6–8 lbs (2.7–3.6 kg);
Hens: 4–5 lbs (1.8–2.3 kg)
Temperament:Docile, friendly, easy to handle, calm, vocal, gentle
Climate Tolerance:Extremely cold hardy
Lifespan:4–5 years
Special Features:Sex-linked, mixed ancestry, well-proportioned appearance
Beginner Friendly:Yes

What Are Gold Sex Link Chickens?

Gold Sex Link in the backyard looking sideways
Image credit: faykate / Instagram

The Gold Sex Link chicken, often called Golden Sex Link chicken or Gold Star, is a hybrid that comes from crossing a Rhode Island Red rooster with a Rhode Island White hen. Bred for laying lots of eggs, these fowls are great for backyard farmers and commercial operations alike.

Gold Sex Links are chickens with a notable feature: their gender is identifiable instantly after hatching. This trait, known as sex linkage, is a significant aid for keepers who need to separate males from hens early on.

Though they don’t breed true, their value lies in their impressive egg-laying ability and resilience. Particularly in colder climates, these birds’ hardiness is substantial, which ensures steadfast productivity throughout the year.

Further, their high egg count does not come at the cost of temperament. In fact, Gold Sex Link chickens are gentle and easygoing. This extends to their interactions with people, often becoming the friendliest of a flock.

Gold Sex Link Chicken Origin and History

The origins of Gold Sex Link chickens can be traced back to the Netherlands, where they were first developed in the 1930s. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that they made their debut on the poultry scene.

These chickens emerged from a crossbreed between a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Rhode Island White hen. This combination was chosen to fuse the resilience of the Reds with the Whites’ prolific egg-laying capabilities.

Today, the primary use of Gold Sex Link chickens remains unchanged from their original purpose. They continue to be celebrated for their contribution to efficient egg production.

Gold Sex Link Chicken Appearance

Gold Sex Link in the coop clucking
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Due to the Gold Sex Link chicken’s hybrid nature, you can anticipate that it will display a wide range of looks. Simply put, these birds may inherit the traits of Rhode Island Reds, Rhode Island Whites, or a mix of both.

Typically, however, they boast a golden hue from a mix of red and white feathers, with hens slightly lighter than roosters.

Regarding facial features, these birds carry single combs, red wattles, and eyes of a reddish-brown hue, complemented by yellow beaks.

Meanwhile, their yellow legs and four-toed feet support a sturdy body with a broad chest and gracefully curved back, which rounds out their physical profile.

It is important to note, though, that at birth, female Gold Sex Link chicks display a bronzy buff color with distinctive stripes, which sets them apart from the light yellow male chicks.

Gold Sex Link Chicken Size and Weight

Generally speaking, the Gold Sex Link chicken stands tall at an average height of 18 to 20 inches.

When it comes to weight, roosters tip the scales between 6 and 8 pounds, while hens are more lightweight, which weigh in at 4 to 5 pounds. They are also known for reaching such a large size relatively quickly.

Yet, despite their ability to gain weight rapidly, Gold Sex Link chickens are primarily cultivated for their egg-laying capabilities rather than for meat production.

Gold Sex Link Chicken Temperament and Behavior

Gold Sex Link perched on a wooden stick in a coop
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The Gold Sex Link chicken is regarded for its exceptionally gentle and amiable nature. These traits make these birds perfect for those just starting out with poultry, as they’re very manageable and tolerant of handling.

Within the coop, these chickens maintain a calm environment; they seldom initiate conflicts with their flock mates. This tendency is also true of their interactions with other species of birds, including ducks and geese.

However, note that Gold Sex Link chickens are known for being quite vocal. They enjoy chattering and can be noisy, which might not be ideal for areas with noise restrictions.

Watch this short video to see how chatty Gold Sex Link hens are:

Golden Sex Link Hens are Chatty, But Also Very Cute, They Make Great Pets

Pro Tip: For peace with the neighbors, insulated housing for the chickens can help muffle their conversations.

Egg Production and Broodiness of Gold Sex Link Chickens

Gold Sex Link chickens are renowned for their egg-laying capabilities. They can produce a robust 250 to 320 brown eggs annually.

What’s more, these eggs are not only plentiful but also sizeable. They fall into the medium to large category, which is a trait highly valued by both commercial producers and backyard farmers.

A friend, an avid poultry keeper, once shared his experience with Gold Sex Links. He praised these hens for their non-stop laying, attributing it to their low broodiness, which kept egg production high.

Basically, they rarely took breaks to hatch and sit on eggs. This trait keeps them laying consistently throughout the year, as being broody often interrupts egg production in other breeds.

Gold Sex Link Chicken Lifespan and Health Issues

Gold Sex Link chick perched on a storage box
Image credit: sherry.bo.berry / Instagram

The Gold Sex Link chicken commonly enjoys a lifespan of approximately 4 to 5 years. However, while they are known for their hardiness, the following health issues can affect these fowls:

  • Newcastle Disease: Newcastle disease is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory and nervous systems of Gold Sex Link chickens. It can be fatal, so it’s vital to keep your flock vaccinated against this condition.
  • Marek’s Disease: Marek’s disease is a common viral illness in Golden Sex Link chickens, which causes tumors and paralysis. Though it cannot be cured, vaccination can prevent its spread and manifestation.
  • Egg-laying problems: Being prolific layers, Gold Sex Link hens can experience many reproductive issues. These include egg binding, egg yolk peritonitis, and prolapsed oviducts.

Fortunately, the longevity and well-being of Gold Sex Link chickens can be significantly improved with regular veterinary checks and vaccinations. Keeping the coop clean is equally important as well.

Gold Sex Link Chicken Care Guide

Caring for a Gold Sex Link chicken involves straightforward steps to ensure its health, happiness, and high egg production. Below are some tips to get you started.

Feeding and Nutrition

Gold Sex Link chickens thrive on high-quality feed that’s rich in protein. Their diet must also be calorically dense to match their energy output.

Similarly, it is worth noting that mealworms, cooked eggs, seeds, and fish meals are excellent sources of additional protein that can supplement their main feed.

With regard to laying Gold Sex Link hens, however, they require extra calcium for eggshell strength. About 2 to 5 grams daily from sources like crushed oyster shells are ideal to meet this demand.

Treats, in moderation, like fresh fruits and vegetables, can round out their nutrition. Still, these should be complemented with constant access to clean water, which is essential for their overall health and hydration.

Housing and Shelter

Gold Sex Link chickens require a spacious coop, so allocate four square feet per bird to ensure comfort and reduce stress.

Furthermore, each chicken must be given at least eight inches of roosting space to rest comfortably at night. Remember that sufficient roosting area is key to preventing feather pecking and overcrowding.

For the hens, nesting boxes are necessary; the standard size is 14x14x20 inches, with one box for every four Gold Sex Link hens. This ratio provides enough room for laying and helps to keep eggs safe and undamaged.

Finally, enrich the living area with dust baths, jungle gyms, and perches to promote natural activities. Your Gold Sex Link chickens will need these things in order to stay engaged and healthy.

Temperature and Lighting

Gold Sex Link chickens thrive in various climates, especially cold ones, due to their hardiness. Still, while mature fowls adapt well, their chicks require a carefully controlled environment.

In their early weeks, Golden Sex Link chicks need warmth, starting at 93 to 95°F. This temperature should drop by 4 to 5°F weekly until they reach 65°F, which is the standard temperature for chickens.

Meanwhile, for egg production, consistent lighting is crucial. Gold Sex Link hens require 14 to 16 hours of light each day to lay optimally.

Luckily, a 40-watt bulb set on a timer and placed approximately seven feet off the ground can effectively mimic natural daylight in a small coop.

How Much Does a Gold Sex Link Chicken Cost?

Gold Sex Link chicken up close outdoors
Image credit: badhensclub / Instagram

A Gold Sex Link chick typically costs between $3 and $6, depending on several factors. Specifically, these birds’ prices can fluctuate based on their availability, location, and gender.

In terms of where to purchase them, hatcheries are the go-to sources.

The hybrid nature of Golden Sex Link chickens makes them less common on traditional farms, which often focus on pure or more widely recognized breeds.

However, if you find that no hatchery sells these fowls near you, joining Facebook groups and online forums dedicated to sex-linked breeds is a great way to connect with direct breeders.

Pros and Cons of the Gold Sex Link Chicken

Basically, choosing to raise a Gold Sex Link chicken comes with a few pros and cons that potential poultry farmers should consider. First, the following are the advantages of these birds:

  • Sex-determined at birth: The ease of sexing Gold Sex Link chickens at hatch is a significant advantage. This trait allows you to effectively separate male and female chicks as soon as they are born.
  • High egg count: Gold Sex Link hens are excellent egg layers. As a matter of fact, they can produce up to 320 eggs in their first year alone.
  • Friendly and easy to handle: The Gold Sex Link chickens’ docile nature makes them ideal for first-time chicken keepers or families with children, as they are less prone to pecking and are generally more sociable.

In contrast, below are the disadvantages of Golden Sex Link chickens:

  • Will not produce sex links: As hybrids, Golden Sex Link chickens do not breed true, which means their offspring will not maintain the sex-linked characteristic.
  • Inconsistent egg production: While generally high producers, the Golden Sex Link chickens’ egg-laying rate can be influenced by factors such as age, environment, and stress.
  • Not recognized by the APA: For those interested in showing their chickens, it’s important to note that Gold Sex Links are not recognized by the American Poultry Association.

All things considered, whether Gold Sex Link chickens are a fit for you will depend on your goals and preferences in poultry keeping.

What are your thoughts on Gold Sex Link chickens? Do you have any advice,  suggestions, or even questions about this friendly chicken breed? Leave your comments below!

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