Gold Star chickens are among the most sought-after crossbreeds in the United States. They are admired for their excellent egg-laying abilities, large size, and beautiful buff-colored plumage.
On top of that, these chickens are known for being extremely friendly, intelligent, and easy to care for. This goes to show that these birds truly have a lot to offer.
In this article, you will learn everything about Gold Star chickens, including their history, origin, care requirements, noise level, productivity, and more. Make sure to read until the end!
Gold Star Chicken Overview
|250–320 eggs per year
|Friendly, easygoing, docile, vocal, inquisitive, active
|Low to average
|Hardy in all weather
|Mixed heritage, sex-linked, yellow skin
What Is a Gold Star Chicken?
Gold Star chickens, also called Golden Stars, Gold Sex Links, or Red Sex Links, are a cross created for robust poultry production. They’re renowned for their prolific brown egg-laying abilities. Besides productivity, they’re also friendly and easy to manage, making them a favorite among keepers.
Yet, note that Gold Star chickens are not just efficient egg producers; they possess a unique trait: they are sex-linked. This means that right upon hatching, it is possible to tell whether a chick is male or female.
This characteristic is particularly beneficial for those wishing to raise hens exclusively for their egg-laying prowess.
However, before diving deeper into the topic, it’s worth mentioning that Golden Comets and Golden Stars aren’t the same breed. While both share certain similarities, they hail from different pairings.
Specifically, Gold Star chickens originate from mixing Rhode Island Whites with Rhode Island Reds. In contrast, Golden Comets are the result of a blend between Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns.
Gold Star Chicken Origin and History
Gold Star chickens trace their roots back to the 1950s in the United States. They were initially bred by crossing a Rhode Island White female with a Rhode Island Red male.
This particular mix was chosen to meet a specific goal: efficient brown egg production and the ease of distinguishing male from female chicks, known as sexing.
However, as time passed, the lineage of Golden Star chickens diversified. Depending on the hatchery, today’s chickens might come from various pairings.
In particular, common breeds used now include Cherry Eggers, New Hampshire Eggers, and White Rocks, alongside Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Island Whites.
On the whole, the adaptability, mixed genetics, and practical benefits of Gold Star chickens have cemented their place in poultry history.
Gold Star Chicken Appearance
While Gold Star chickens are a hybrid and aren’t recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA), they do possess a distinct build.
Basically, many of these birds showcase a blend of red and white feathers, giving them a radiant golden buff look. Notably, males also have a slightly darker hue than their female counterparts.
Another distinguishing feature is their single combs and wattles, both exhibiting a vibrant red color. Additionally, these chickens have yellow-tinted skin, beaks, legs, and feet.
To add, their striking appearance is further enhanced by their reddish-brown eyes.
Finally, when it comes to posture, they stand proudly with four toes splayed out to the ground and stumped tails pointing upwards in the sky.
Gold Star Chicken Size and Weight
Golden Stars are moderately sized chickens, typically weighing between 4 and 8 pounds. With regards to height, they usually measure approximately 18 to 20 inches.
By and large, this size and weight make them a comfortable fit for various farm settings, ensuring they’re still light enough to be easily handled by just about anyone.
Gold Star Chicken Temperament and Behavior
Gold Star chickens are renowned for their friendly and docile nature, making them an excellent choice for poultry beginners.
Furthermore, these chickens are more than keen to interact — even with children — given their sociable disposition. However, like with all animals, it’s best to supervise any young interactions to ensure safety.
Yet, being easygoing creatures, you can expect that they’re not only amiable towards humans but also with fellow birds. Despite their substantial size, they aren’t the type to dominate or bully other breeds.
Moreover, their intelligence shines through in their daily activities. Curious and ever-alert, Golden Star chickens love exploring the outdoors, making them one of the most active members of any backyard flock.
Egg Production and Broodiness of the Gold Star Chicken
Gold Star chickens are prolific layers, consistently producing 4 to 6 large, brown eggs each week. This robust output leads to an impressive annual total of 250 to 320 eggs.
Yet, when it comes to broodiness, these chickens’ inclination to sit and hatch eggs is on the lower to average side. Thus, while they excel in egg production, they’re not primarily known for their rearing tendencies.
Watch this video to see a Golden Star chicken lay a brown-colored egg:
Noise Levels of Gold Star Chickens
The Gold Star chickens’ vocal tendencies can vary with their surroundings. In a comfortable environment, they remain relatively quiet. However, in less-than-ideal settings, they can be quite chatty.
This is especially true during summer, as the hens of this species are known to squawk and chime in with other typical chicken noises. The same goes for the roosters; they aren’t shy about crowing like other male chickens do.
I once cared for a small flock of Golden Star chickens in my backyard. Their enthusiastic clucking, purring, and cackling greeted the day, setting a lively tone for my early, warm mornings.
Yet, when I introduced a shade net and some new perches, the hens’ chattering noticeably decreased, showcasing their sensitivity to changes. The roosters, however, never missed their iconic crowing, rain or shine.
How to Take Care of Your Gold Star Chickens
Gold Star chickens are popular choices for their egg-laying ability and friendly streak. However, while they’re rewarding to keep, it’s essential to understand their specific care needs.
Below are the best practices for ensuring the health and contentment of your poultry friends.
Lifespan and Health Issues
Gold Star chickens have a relatively short lifespan, typically ranging from 3 to 5 years. This brief life expectancy is accompanied by a susceptibility to certain health issues.
To give a better understanding, some of the common diseases they face include:
- Marek’s Disease: Gold Star chickens, like many other poultry breeds, can be susceptible to Marek’s disease. This viral condition affects the nervous system, often resulting in paralysis.
- Newcastle Disease: Another concern for Gold Star chickens is the Newcastle disease, which is a highly contagious virus. Symptoms of this condition include lowered egg production, depression, and greenish diarrhea.
- Infectious Bronchitis: Infectious bronchitis is a respiratory disease specific to fowls. If your Gold Star chickens are exposed to this condition, they may experience sneezing, nasal discharge, and coughing.
Fortunately, the onset of these illnesses can often be prevented. With regular health checks, daily coop cleaning, and vaccinations, you can help ensure your birds are in tip-top shape before they reach their golden years.
Generally speaking, the diet of Gold Star chickens significantly influences their egg production. Therefore, feeding them the proper nutrients is imperative for achieving their full potential.
Ideally, their feed should be formulated to maximize both egg-laying and growth. Regardless of their stage — chick, teen, or adult — they will need a high protein content, which is approximately 16%, in their diets.
For your reference, the following are some of the most common sources of protein for Gold Star chickens:
- Layer feed
- Sunflower seeds
- Sprouted lentils
- Fish meals
- Cooked eggs
On a different note, for laying hens, calcium supplements are beneficial. Digestible oyster shells serve as an excellent choice for this purpose.
Coop Setup and Roaming
The living space of your Golden Star chickens plays a key role in their behavior and overall well-being.
First, adhering to the guideline of four square feet of coop space per bird is critical. Note that overcrowding can trigger feather pecking.
When considering roosting, allocate approximately eight inches of space for each chicken. This ensures they have adequate space to rest and sleep comfortably.
Moreover, female Gold Star chickens will need nesting boxes, given their prolific laying nature. A standard size of 12x12x18 inches works well, with a ratio of one box for every four hens.
Additionally, I’ve discovered first-hand that Gold Star chickens are happiest when they roam freely outdoors and engage in natural behaviors such as foraging.
So, when planning for your flock’s roaming conditions, make sure to provide each fowl at least eight square feet of space in the run.
Gold Star chickens are notably hardy when it comes to temperature changes. Yet, while adult birds naturally thrive in varied conditions, the chicks of this breed require meticulous care.
During their early brooding stages, a warmer environment ranging from 93 to 95°F is recommended for these chickens. However, note that this should be decreased by 4 to 5°F weekly.
By their sixth week, these young fowls should be able to regulate their body heat. Thus, they can be maintained at 65 °F without a heat lamp or other supplementary heat source.
How Much Does a Gold Star Chicken Cost?
Gold Star chickens are a moderately priced alternative to other breeds of fowls, with costs ranging from $3 to $20 per bird. However, note that it’s their age and gender that mainly determines how much they’ll cost you.
In particular, if you’re considering chicks, they’ll typically set you back between $3 and $6. Cockerels are slightly pricier, with a range of $5 to $10.
Meanwhile, those who want to rear pullets and mature hens generally spend anywhere from $10 to $20.
Being quite popular in the United States, finding Gold Star chickens is a breeze. In other words, you can expect that many poultry farms and hatcheries offer this breed for sale.
Yet, for a more tailored approach, consider joining Facebook groups or online forums dedicated to poultry. They provide buying options but research the sellers completely to ensure safe transactions.
Pros and Cons of the Gold Star Chicken
Gold Star chickens have made a significant mark in the poultry community due to their distinct characteristics and qualities. However, like all breeds, they have their set of pros and cons. Let’s break them down.
First, the following are the advantages of owning Golden Star chickens:
- High egg production: One of the primary reasons many poultry enthusiasts are drawn to the Gold Star chicken breed is its prolific egg production. Specifically, a healthy hen can lay up to 320 eggs a year, ensuring a consistent household supply.
- Sex-linked: Gold Star chickens offer the convenience of being sex-linked. This trait ensures that, upon hatching, you can easily distinguish between males and females, simplifying flock management.
- Incredibly hardy and resilient: Golden Star chickens are resilient in various weather conditions. Whether it’s a light rain or intense heat, they can handle it with ease.
- Docile and easygoing: Due to their easygoing nature, you can anticipate that Golden Star chickens are very easy to handle. They also do not mind being mixed with other chickens or animals, making them great for raising as pets.
- Early layer: The anticipation for the first egg is always high, and with Gold Star chickens, the wait is not long. They can start laying as early as 16 weeks, sooner than many other breeds of chickens.
- Interactive and alert: Not only are they excellent egg producers, but Gold Star chickens are also entertainers. They are known to be interactive, curious, alert, and always on the move, making them delightful backyard companions.
On the other hand, below are some of the most common disadvantages of raising Golden Star chickens:
- Has a short lifespan: One of the downsides to Golden Star chickens is their relatively short lifespan. Typically, they only live for 3 to 5 years. This can be emotionally challenging for those who get attached to their feathered friends.
- Can be pretty vocal: With their interactive nature and high energy levels, Gold Star chickens make great pets and a lot of fun to have around. However, this can sometimes be a disadvantage. To be specific, your neighbors may complain about your pet’s loud screeching and squawking.
- Not a purebred: For chicken keepers who value lineage in their poultry, it’s worth noting that Gold Star chickens are not purebreds. They are a hybrid resulting from a cross between two different breeds — usually a female Rhode Island White and a male Rhode Island Red.
- Low broodiness level: Those looking to expand their flock might face challenges. Keep in mind that Gold Star hens have a low to average broodiness level, meaning they’re not always inclined to sit on and hatch their eggs.
- Potential overproduction issues: The Golden Star chickens’ high egg production can sometimes lead to health issues like egg binding. Luckily, regular check-ups and ensuring they have a balanced diet can help prevent this from happening.
- Incompatibility with aggressive breeds: While Golden Star chickens are easygoing, this trait can make them vulnerable in a flock with more aggressive breeds. Thus, it is crucial to monitor their interactions to prevent bullying.
Gold Star chickens certainly stand out for their commendable traits. Their remarkable egg production, adaptability, and gentle nature are undeniable assets. Still, bear in mind that they are not without their drawbacks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Color Eggs Do Gold Star Chickens Lay?
Golden Star chickens produce large-sized eggs with a rich brown pigment, similar to Cherry Eggers, New Hampshire Eggers, White Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, and Rhode Island Whites.
Are Gold Star Chickens Broody?
Unfortunately, Gold Star chickens rarely go broody, meaning they seldom prioritize hatching. Hence, if you plan to raise many chicks, purchase another hen breed that’s more likely to incubate your Golden Stars’ eggs.
Are Gold Star Chickens Good Backyard Chickens?
Yes, Gold Star chickens are ideal backyard chickens. Their prolific egg-laying ability, combined with their love for human interaction, makes them stand out. Plus, they’re easily tamed, adding to their backyard-friendly nature.
However, it is worth noting that they do have a short lifespan and are prone to being noisy. Given this, make sure you carefully research the breed before purchasing one.
Golden Star chickens have certainly carved out their place in the poultry world. Renowned for their impressive egg production and sociable demeanor, they are a favorite among beginners and experts alike.
Yet, as with any other chicken breed, they come with their set of pros and cons. From possible health issues to their short lifespan, it is crucial for potential keepers to understand these challenges.
Still, bear in mind that these chickens’ hardiness in various weather conditions and simple care requirements highlight their appeal. These are basically the main reasons why so many people adore them so much.
If you have anything to share about Gold Star chickens, we would love to hear from you in the comment section below!