Red Sex Link

PLENTY AVAILABLE! Young Red Sex Link pullets, fully grown and ready to lay by Labor Day 2020, on average. $28 each.  Available for purchase daily during regular farm market hours.

Reservations for live poultry can be made by prepayment in person at our farm market; prepayments for live poultry are non-refundable, but can be converted to store credit.

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 any chicken breed that is the result of crossing two differently colored laying type chickens, with the sex of the offspring being easily identified at the time of hatching by obvious differences in the color of the chicks’ downy coat.

Why so many names for this sort of hybrid, you ask? There is international demand for commercial brown egg production, and various breeders select and maintain proprietary male and female chicken bloodlines necessary to produce these very productive birds; each breeder then offers hatcheries its own version of Red Sex Link fertile chicken eggs, sold under various proprietary names such as Hubbard ISA Brown, Hy-Line, Bovans Brown, Red Star, Golden Comet, Cherry Egger, Production Red, Cinnamon Queen and other glamorous titles… but they all perform similarly, at least for backyard flock purposes. We offer the strains that produce 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, they offer hardiness and a nice friendly temperament; thus, they are extra nice for backyard flocks. For these reasons, the Red Sex Link is almost certainly the most widely kept laying hen throughout New England.

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 91-octane gas, and it simply won’t run properly (or for long) on 87. Other, less productive breeds of chickens can tolerate more variation in nutrition. If you choose to include RSLs in your flock, you will be well rewarded if you ensure that they receive a high level of nutrition, by avoiding large amounts of junk food such as empty calories in the form of popcorn, bread scraps, scratch grains, wild bird seed 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.