Red Sex Links are the best and most feed-efficient layers of the highest quality and quantity of brown eggs. RSLs are very productive and efficient, giving you the best return on your money per pound of feed purchased, when measured by weight and quality of eggs produced. They are the high octane race cars among the brown egg layer types, but they are also calm and friendly.
‘Sex Link’ is a generic term for the hybrid chicken that is the result of crossing two differently colored laying type chickens, with the sex of the offspring being easily identified by obvious differences in the color of the chicks’ downy feathering. Black Sex Links are not as popular, so we only offer those by special request; usually, those are used when you want to keep a flock of high production chickens, and to make it easy to tell them apart by age, you annually alternate Black and Red Sex Links.
Why so many names for this sort of hybrid, you ask? There is international interest in commercial brown egg production, and various breeders select and maintain proprietary male and female chicken bloodlines for mating with one another; each breeder then offers hatcheries its own version of Red Sex Link fertile chicken eggs, sold under various proprietary names such as ISA Brown, Hy-Line, Red Star, Golden Comet, Cherry Egger, Production Red, Cinnamon Queen and other glamorous titles… but they all perform pretty much the same (that is, marvelously), at least for backyard flock purposes. We usually offer ISA Browns, but sometimes we substitute. They are all great layers of brown eggs of the highest quality and quantity: In fact, the beautiful, uniform dark brown eggs you see in the supermarket cooler are almost certainly from one of these hybrid strains. No doubt you will have even better eggs because you will be lavishing special treats on your RSLs and maybe even giving them egg-citing free roaming exercise and foraging! While RSLs are not the most glamorous chickens in terms of feather patterns, they offer hardiness and a nice friendly temperament; thus, they are extra nice for inclusion in backyard flocks. For these reasons, Red Sex Links always rank in our top five selling breeds.
On the other hand, while RSLs do outcompete all other brown egg layers in terms of cost and overall laying, they do tend to cram a lifetime of laying into a shorter period of time, and because of their extraordinary productivity, they are more sensitive to variation in nutritional quality. Think of RSLs as you would the engine of a high performance sports car: It requires 93 octane fuel, and it simply won’t run properly (or for long) on 87; the risk of breakdown is higher with a higher performance model. Most other breeds of chickens can tolerate more variation in nutrition. If you choose to include RSLs in your flock, you will be well rewarded by ensuring that they can meet their high nutritive requirements, by avoiding large amounts of junk food such as empty calories, scratch grains etc. Even so, under the best conditions the productive laying life of a RSL is about thirty months, INCLUDING two molts (i.e., naturally occurring non-laying recuperative periods, typically three to eight weeks long each fall or winter) for R&R; however, even the best-laying old fashioned brown egg layers do not produce as well in terms of productive laying over their entire life, because the RSL will outperform in both egg weight and quality.