Answers To Every Question You Ever Had About Baby Chicks

Answers To Every Question You Ever Had About Baby Chicks

If you just got chicks for the first time, you probably have a million questions. Last year, I did a free YouTube series that answered the most common questions I get about raising baby chicks. Below, I’ve compiled all those videos into a single easy-to-use resource!

This page is easy to use. Just use the table of contents to scroll to the best spot, and watch the video that answers your specific question!

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered yet, please reach out to us at [email protected] and I’ll make a video especially for you!

Feeding Baby Chicks

Can My Chicks Eat…..

Giving Water To Chicks

Nutritional Supplements For Chicks

Brooders & Keeping Chicks Warm

Common Health Questions

When Can Chicks Go Outside With Adult Hens?

Are My Chicks Male Or Female?

How To Raise People-Friendly Chickens

Protecting Chickens From Predators

When Do Chicks Start Laying Eggs?

Where To Buy Baby Chicks

FAQ


Black Sex Link Chickens: Buyer & Care Guide

Black Sex Link Chickens: Buyer & Care Guide

Ever heard of black sex link chickens, but aren’t sure what they’re like? Thinking of adding them to your flock and need more info? In this article, we’ll tell you everything there is to know about this type of chicken!

Pure breed chickens have long been the way to go to add consistency in a home flock of chickens. Pure breeds have some amazing benefits: you can scratch the competition itch by entering them in shows, you are guaranteed registration with the American Poultry Association, and the genetic quirks from long generations are guaranteed to appear in their chicks, leading to generations of consistency within the particular breeds. Yet for all the perks that come from genetic purity, there are just as strong cases of bucking the trend and breeding hybrid chickens. Hybrid chickens are not breeds of chickens, but rather mixes that produce very specifically desired chicken results. One of the most popular of these types of hybrid is the Black Sex Link Chicken. 

What Are Black Sex Link Chickens?

Black sex link chickens are a hybrid mix that results by crossing a pure-bred barred hen and a pure-bred non-barred rooster. For example, crossing a Barred Plymouth Rock hen with a Rhode Island Red rooster will result in sex-linked chicks. When these parents mate, the pullets do not receive a barring gene because the barring gene is only on the male chromosome. Because of this, the sex of their chicks is immediately recognizable through its color. From birth, Black Sex Link pullets are all black, and the males are identifiable by a white spot on their heads. The link here is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to know the ins and outs the genetics behind sex link chickens.

What Are Sex Link Hybrids? 

In a nutshell (or an eggshell, as the case may be), a sex link hybrid is NOT an official breed of chicken. They retain many of the more positive qualities of their parent chickens’ breeds but are specifically bred for the uniqueness of their coloring. 

Perhaps the most common and popular example of a sex link hybrid is also the most prominent example of the Black Sex Link. If you cross two popular American chicken breeds – a Rhode Island Red male and a Barred Plymouth Rock female – you will get sex linked chicks. The gender of the resultant chicks will be immediately recognizable upon hatching. 

Why Breed Black Sex Link Hybrids?

In the above example (the Rhode Island Red male and a Barred Plymouth Rock female), the goal is to produce females that can be immediately separated from the males. Then, once these females come of age, they will be some of the best egg-layers around. With good care, they have been known to produce 300 eggs per year. 

An added bonus of this particular pairing of chicken is the size. The Black Sex Link results of this pairing is large enough to serve as meat chickens. Once your Black Sex Link hens have exhausted their eggs, they will make a sizable addition to your dining needs. 

Breed Description FAQ

What Do Black Sex Link Chickens Look Like? 

Black Sex Link pullets are instantly recognizable when they hatch by their pure black down. You can easily recognize male chicks because they have a distinguishable white spot on their heads. At maturity, Black Sex Link hens are usually black with gold hackle and breast feathers. Roosters, on the other hand, have banding across their bodies. Both male and females have red combs and wattles.

So, how large are they? On average, the hens weigh 6-7 pounds. Cockerels weigh around 8-9 pounds. Some hatcheries advertise their black sex link chickens a little lighter: with the hens being only a touch over five pounds and the roosters being about 6 pounds. 

Are they friendly? Black Sex Link Chickens are sometimes described as skittish, curious, energetic, and friendly. Many of their owners love them, but there are some exceptions to the rule. Some Black Sex Link Chickens have been known to be noisy or aggressive to other breeds. This is especially true with the roosters. Some of this could be explained away as an alpha-bird attitude in that they occasionally enjoy being at the top of the pecking order. You might wonder if the hens are broody: we’re happy to share that black sex link hens are not known for their broodiness. 

How long do black sex link chickens live? They live as long as any normal chicken. Rhode Island Reds – one of the parent breeds – are generally known to live into their eighth year. If you’re worried about them surviving the winter, don’t fret: The two parents of the average Black Sex Link Chicken are the Rhode Island Red and the Barred Plymouth Rock. Considering that both of these breeds are very cold hardy, Black Sex Link Chickens breed true in this regard; they are very cold hardy and are ideal for colder environments.

black sex link hen in grass

Are Sex Link Chickens An Accepted Breed By The American Poultry Association?

No, they are not and never will be. One important requirement for chickens to be accepted breeds is that they have to actually be breeds. A breed is a type of chicken that, as defined in the American Poultry Association’s list of breeds, breeds true. A standard is a definition of a breed that each subsequent generations of the breed can be compared to. The APA doesn’t want to disqualify breeds, and offer a means of applying for the entry of new breeds of chicken into the registry but each applicant must have a standard. Because Black Sex Link Chickens are hybrids, they will not breed true. This means that the resultant offspring will not conform to any standard, and they might display a number of deviations from either parent.

Do Black Sex Link Chickens Breed True?

For a chicken to breed true, there must be some genetic consistency within the breed. With Black Sex Link Chickens, the father cockerels share two color genes that might match inconsistently with the single-color gene of the mother hens. The inconsistency of the result could produce variations like heavy banding, or alternative coloring. Because of the roulette matching of genes, Black Sex Link Chickens cannot breed true. As a result, most Black Sex Link Chickens are not bred past the first generation. 

How Often Do Black Sex Link Chickens Lay Eggs?

Black Sex Link Chicken hens thrive at egg production and can produce about 300 eggs in a single year with proper care and if they are in good health. They start laying at 18-20 weeks on average, but have been known to start laying at 16 weeks or as late as 26 weeks. They usually maintain optimum egg development through about their fifth year, when they begin waning in egg production. Their eggs are brown.

What Kind of Health Issues Do Black Sex Link Chickens Have? 

Black Sex Link Chickens suffer from the same health issues that most other chickens endure. As far as external threats, ticks, mites, lice, worms, and other parasites are all dangerous to them. Because Black Sex Link Chickens are so important for egg production, you’ll want to minimize their potential danger. A great way to beat the bugs is by boosting your chickens’ immune systems with apple cider vinegar and crushed garlic. 

black sex link rooster in grass

Where To Find Black Sex Link Chickens?

Black Sex Link Chickens are quite a popular hybrid for their impressive egg production and good size for dining purposes. As a result, they are fairly easy to find in a number of commercial locations around the USA. 

  • Tractor Supply 
  • McMurray Hatchery, based in Webster City, IA
  • Cackle Hatchery, based in Lebanon, MO (Read our review of Cackle here).
  • Purely Poultry, located in Fremont, WI
  • Townline Hatchery, from Zeeland MI

A common question is “Are black sex link chickens and black star chickens the same?” – and it’s because sometimes, hatcheries want to distinguish their hybrids from other, similar, chicks. But ultimately, Black Sex Link Chickens and Black Star Chickens are the same. A simple way to look at it is to think of “Black Star Chickens” as a specific designer name for the hybrid. There might be some minor differences between the one and the other, but all Black Star chicks possess black as their primary color and can be sexed from hatching.

10 Beautiful Winter Window Boxes for Your Coop

10 Beautiful Winter Window Boxes for Your Coop

Window boxes give every chicken coop a beautiful look.

You can have a lot of fun decorating your chicken coop, especially in the winter. Here are some ideas for a beautiful winter window boxes for your chicken coop!

 

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Well this right here makes cold fingers and toes all worth it! If you’ve followed along the last few days in my stories..I’ve been sharing how I go about filling my windowboxes and porch pots..well I finished them up today! ~Can you believe some of the mums in there still looked good?! Crazy!!🤷🏼‍♀️ Next up.. garland and lights! I just love how the house looks when it’s all lit up and decked out for the Holidays! ✨ . . #homefortheholidays #winterwindowboxes #christmaswindowbox #happyholidayhome #mycountryhome #cozycottagefarmhouse #howiholidayhome #fabfloralsinbloom #seasonalspaceswelove #blessedhomestyle #simplefarmhousestyle #betterhomesandgardens #countrylivingmagazine #americanfarmhousestyle #realsimple #crazy4christmasdecor #bhghome #christmasinspiration #christmasjoy #deckthehalls #farmhousechristmas #merryandbright #holidaycheer #bhgcelebrate #buffalocheckchristmas #buffalocheck #buffaloplaid

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Sneaky Peak Behind The Scenes #31

Sneaky Peak Behind The Scenes #31

Hey y’all! Here’s this week’s sneaky peek photos of life on our farm!

These images also appear on my Instagram account where I share MANY more photos and stories from the farm!

If you aren’t yet following me there, you can right here.

Enjoy the photos & be sure to share some of yours with me!

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I shared this DIY raised bed video this week and I'm happy you guys liked it. It's available in youtube now. Show your support here: https://youtu.be/WaoN-iyJexY . ➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖➖ If you like the video, please leave a thumbs up and a comment (even if it's just an emoji!). This lets YouTube know people like our videos, and helps other gardeners and chicken owners find us! Thank you! . . . . #farmlife #farmhousechic #hobbyfarm #homestead #homesteadinglife #farmerslife #farmhousedecor #homesteaders #farmer #farmhouseliving #farmher #homesteading #farmhouse #farms #instagramhomesteaders #homesteadliving #modernfarmhouse #homesteadersofamerica #farmergirl #farmerlife #farminglife #homesteadlife #smallfarm #farmgirl #farmerswife #farmliving #womenwhofarm #farmlifebestlife #homesteadersofinstagram #farmhousestyle

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The ducklings spent ALL day yesterday outside – and they loved it! It's amazing to think in just a few short weeks, they'll grow as large as these ducks (in photo) who are GIANTS compared to these hatchlings. . They had a blast pecking at the grass, laying in the sun, and exploring their new world. It was 75 degrees out yesterday, and in the sun, even warmer, so they had a ton of fun! . I use an old rabbit cage as a tractor. The holes are small enough that the ducklings and predators can't fit through, and light enough that it can be moved around the property. . Assuming it's warm enough, they'll go out again today! . How are your flock doing today? . . . #petducks #farmanimals #cuteanimalspage #babyducks #cuteanimalslifestyle #duckling #cuteducks #petducksofinstagram #cuteanimalsofig #cuteanimalsclub #cuteanimalshare #farmanimalrefuge #ducklove #petduck #ducks #farmanimal #cuteanimalsofinstagram #farmanimalsofinstagram #cuteduck #cuteanimalsco #ducksofinstagram #cuteducklings #cuteanimalshow #ducksunlimited #ducklings #cuteanimals #farmanimalsanctuary #cuteanimalshot #ducklife

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New video out now! https://youtu.be/y7RGQrRIyJs . If you like the video, can you please give it a thumbs up and leave a comment. It lets YouTube know people like our videos, and helps other chicken owners find us! THANK YOU!) . . . #homesteadingit #farmhousedecor #homesteadgoals #homesteadmom #homesteadinglife #farmliving #homesteaders #homesteadlife #farmlife #homesteadgardens #homesteadliving #instagramhomesteaders #homesteadfarm #farmerswife #homesteadingmama #homesteadersofinstagram #backyardhomestead #offgridhomestead #farmerlife #homesteadersofamerica #homesteadmama #homesteader #farmhousechic #urbanhomesteader #modernhomestead #homestead #farmacia #homesteadfarms #homesteading #farmlifebestlife

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Easy & Adorable DIY Holiday Herb & Berry Coop Wreath!

Easy & Adorable DIY Holiday Herb & Berry Coop Wreath!

We all know herbs are healthy to feed your hens, so making a holiday herb wreath with berries is the perfect way to give your flock herbal goodness while making a cute & stylish coop decoration!

 

Making an herb wreath is really easy – in fact, the hardest thing you’ll do is decide WHICH herbs to use!

 

And yes, it’s meant to be beautiful AND your hens should eat it. Once it’s spent and doesn’t look great anymore, you can compost it.

 

For this wreath, we used rosemary (because it’s healthy AND looks visually similar to pine) and cranberries.

 

And I’ll tell you, hens LOVE the red berries. Cranberries are perfectly fine to feed your hens (especially fresh cranberries), but you can also use any other red berry – strawberries are another good option.

 

(In fact, if you doubt whether chickens will actually go for this wreath, here’s an image from our photo shoot where I turned my back for a moment and Mario, our Blue Copper Marans rooster, decided to try to steal the wreath):

 

Make an easy DIY holiday wreath with herbs and berries for your backyard chicken coop!

 

What herbs should you use?

For herbs, you can stick to the rosemary I used in this article, or you can add other herbs. Oregano, sage, and thyme are good options – each is great for overall health.

 

If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can also use flowers such as calendula or lavender, or add pinecones (your hens might try to sample the pinecones but quickly desert them in favor of the herbs and berries).

 

So why a wreath? Well, it’s fun, seasonal, and looks great in your coop. As far as the health benefits go, its an easy way to give your hens a healthy in a way that they can easy access the herbs without mashing them into the ground (it’s all about the benefits, right?)

 

Want to know how to make your own? Well, here’s directions you can repeat at home.

 

Make an easy DIY holiday wreath with herbs and berries for your backyard chicken coop!

 

Making Your Own Herbal Holiday Wreath for Your Chicken Coop

 

What you’ll need:

A wood or plastic ring

Beading wire or string (more on this in a minute)

About several bunches of long stemmed rosemary

4 – 7 cranberries or other berries

 

How to put your wreath together:

Make or buy a wreath ring

The ring is necessary to give your wreath some structure. It’ll look better and last longer in the coop, and make the rest of this project easier.

 

You can buy these here on Amazon or make one yourself with an old container top. We used an old container top we had laying around because, well, recycling is a good idea.

 

If you do use a plastic top, use an Exacto type knife (like this one here) to transform it into a ring. This is probably the easiest and most budget-friendly way to make this wreath.

 

You can also use it again and again, instead of replacing it every time you want to make a coop wreath.

 

Add the Herbs

Once you’ve made or purchased the ring, it’s time to add your herbs. Again, you can use any herbs you like, and for this project  I used rosemary.

 

Try your best to use only long stems of the herb – it’ll look better and be easier to tie to the ring. I was able to find fresh rosemary in the vegetable section of the supermarket.

 

If you can’t find any, don’t worry – you can still do this project. If you can find long stemmed herbs that AREN’T rosemary, then those herbs might be a better choice.

 

Tie bunches of the herbs (for the pictured wreath, the bunches were 2 – 3 stems of the rosemary) to the wreath. I tied them every inch or so, leaving the last 2-3 inches of the rosemary free.

 

The ends of the herbs will hide the wire or string, and complete the overall look.

 

Continue to do this, layering the bunches as you work your way around the wreath. This will also hide the tie points and add bulk to the wreath, making it look fuller.

 

Now, before we continue….

 

A note about the wire or string

Make an easy DIY holiday wreath with herbs and berries for your backyard chicken coop!

For this project, I used beading wire (not chicken wire). It’s sturdy and also flexible, and easy to twist.

 

You CAN use string, but there’s a couple caveats. Your hens are more likely to pick and eat at the string and it’s also harder to thread the berries with string.

 

You’ll hear a song and dance about how your hens will eat the wire and it could puncture or injure their digestive system.

 

Well, there’s also a chance aliens will puncture your hen’s digestive systems, but the chance of either happening is fairly small.

 

Obviously, you should proceed at your own risk and only do what you feel is best for your flock.

 

But understand if you do use either wire or string, your hens will likely be fine, and the health benefits of the herbs and fun you’ll have watching your hens go wild over the berries FAR outweighs any potential risks.

 

Chickens aren’t dumb, and will go for the herbs and berries long before they taste test wire.

 

If you use string, try to use a thicker string like baling twine. Your hens might be able to slurp up thread, but they’ll have to be pretty determined to swallow baling twine.

 

Adding the Berries

Finally, add your berries. Its easiest and most visually attractive to place them where you’ve wired the herbs to the ring. The berries will completely cover the wire.

 

Make an easy DIY holiday wreath with herbs and berries for your backyard chicken coop!

 

I found it was easiest to pierce the cranberries with a toothpick and then push the beading wire through. If you plan to use string, then use a needle to thread the string through.

 

Wire them on tight so your hens can pick at the berries. This also makes it more difficult for your hens to accidentally swallow the wire or string.

 

And that’s it!

You’ve now created a cute holiday herbal wreath for your coop! You can either place it high and enjoy it as a decoration or you can place it low and allow your hens to eat it. When it’s past it’s prime, and they’re no longer interested, take it down and compost the remaining herbs and berries. Because it’s easy to make, you can spend a couple minutes a week creating a new wreath and letting your flock enjoy it again and again!

 

herbs for backyard chickens




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herbs for backyard chickens

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