Popular red chicken varieties

Red Sexlink chickenI was interested to see how many people who
entered our chicken
variety contes
t wrote that one of the red egg-layers was
their favorite kind of chicken.  Here’s a sampling:

“[Red Sexlink] were
bred to withstand the Alberta winters, so we know they will be
able to handle our Ontario winters.  Our first year, we were
so worried about heat, we put a heater in their hen house (mainly
to keep the water from freezing).  Every day we got less and
less eggs.  Finally, I went into their pen and discovered a
huge clutch.  The heater made it too warm!  Everyone was
much happier with a bird bath heater to keep the water warm and a
100 watt bulb for ‘my girls’. — Vivian

(As a side note, Red
Sexlink is a generic term referring to any reddish, hybrid chicken
in which you can tell the male and female chicks apart by
coloration as soon as they hatch. 
Golden Comets are one specific
example, coming from a White Rock hen and a New Hampshire male,
while others come from some combination of Rhode Island Reds, New
Hampshire, White Rock, Silver-laced Wyandotte, Rhode Island White,
and Delaware chickens.  The Red Stars we’re experimenting
with this year, which I’ll write about in a later post, are an
example of Red Sexlink chickens, as is the ISA Brown shown below.)

Chicken in a neck brace“I love my ISA Red chickens!  They
remind me of little feathered dogs, because they are so friendly,
tough, and just happy chickens.  One of my girls hurt her
neck and required chicken ICU care until her neck healed. 
She went from near death to alive and kicking in about 3
days.  (I wish people did that!)  I made her a chicken
cervical collar to

keep her neck in line
until she felt better, and now, although she has a slight bend in
her neck, she is living the life of Ryan as a pet to my children’s
grandmother.” — Pamela

(I should add that
Pamela’s chickens are likely ISA Browns, which are sometimes
called ISA Reds by mistake.  ISA Browns are a sex-linked
hybrid produced from a very specific Rhode Island Red father and a
Rhode Island White mother (with some other breeds crossed in from
time to time).  “ISA” refers to the French company that
originally developed the breed, selecting strongly for
egg-laying.  Wikipedia reports that ISA Browns are among the
best egg-layers, but have a few disadvantages, including a
tendency to pick on other breeds and problems with egg-laying
after they reach two or three years old. 
Chickens and dogIf you cross two ISA Browns and raise their
chicks, the offspring are an unnamed hybrid that often produce
rather heavy, white cockerels, good for eating, and pullets who
often lay nearly as well as their mothers.)

There were also some
votes for non-hybrid reds.  For example, Sherman wrote “My
favorite is the
Buckeye.  I feel I am
preserving a heritage breed and they are so personable.  They
are great mousers also.”  And Kathy and Karroll both prefer
their Rhode Island Reds:

“I love my Rhode
Island Reds

They are sweet-tempered, good producers and they socialize with
all the animals, including turkeys.” — Kathy

“My favorite chicken
breed, I have to say, is the RIR as an overall
chicken/rooster.  They are super-funny and full of
personality, I love the large brown eggs, they can be used to make
the auto-sex Black Star, which is what I am doing, and they are
just an all-around strong, sturdy breed.  Although I do love
all my chickens.” — Karroll

New Hampshire Red chickenAnd, rounding out the red
breeds, we had a vote from Nelinda for New Hampshire Reds:

“Our favorite variety
is New Hampshire Red.  They are gentle, interesting,
talkative, and pretty.” — Nelinda

It’s not too late to
enter our
for a chance to win a free chicken waterer by
sharing which chicken breed you like best.  And for those of
you just reading along, stay tuned to hear about other popular
chicken varieties next week.

Leave a Reply