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    Black Sex Links

    Chicken Breed

    Black Sex Links, also known as Black Star, are hybrid birds with strong egg production and larger physical size.


    Authored by Sam Peterson

    Breed type


    Egg color


    Pen or free-range?

    Works well in both



    Black Sex Links quick facts

    Lifespan: 8 to 10 years

    Weight: Females (Hens) - 6 to 7 lbs.; Males (Roosters) - 8 to 9 lbs.

    Appearance: Deep red coloration with black plumage accented with red, blue and brown

    Egg Production: Approximately 300 eggs/year

    Good for Beginners: Yes

    History of Black Sex Link chickens

    Black Sex Link chickens are a hybrid breed created by two different purebreds. The purebreds used to create Black Sex Links are the Rhode Island Red and the Barred Rock, both well-regarded, famous breeds with long histories within the United States. The ‘sex link’ in their name refers to the ability for their sex to be distinguished on birth by their down color. Black Sex Link hens, as you may have guessed, are distinguished through the pure black down of their chicks. Male Black Sex Links are born with a patch of white on their heads. The ease of distinguishing their sex make them an attractive bird for both hatcheries and backyard coops across the country.

    As a product of the Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock breeds, Black Sex Links inherit characteristics from both parents. The Rhode Island Red, which grants the Black Sex Links their deep red and mahogany colors, are a popular breed which is still the state bird of Rhode Island. Multiple strains of the Rhode Island Red exist today, with the heritage, dual-purpose bird dating back to the 1800s being well regarded for its fine flavored meat and egg laying. The more modern, industrial variant of the Rhode Island Red is far more focused on egg production. These birds are larger than average, with roosters coming around 8 pounds and hens at 7 pounds. This is a trait they share with the Barred Rock, the other part to the creation of the Black Sex Link chickens. The Barred Rock breed has a similar history to the 1800s. They are treasured for their beautiful, barred plumage, reliability, and docile nature.

    Black Sex-link temperment and good-to-knows

    Though they may look dark and imposing, Black Sex Link hens are known for their friendly and active demeanor. They may have more energy than other breeds, and are occasionally described as ‘skittish’ by their owners. They are regarded as a low-broodiness breed. Occasionally, Black Sex Link roosters can inherit a bit of aggressiveness from their Rhode Island Red parents, so it may do well to be careful when introducing children or other animals to your Black Sex Links. If socialized well from an early age, this rare issue can be avoided.

    Visual characteristics

    Black Sex Link chickens have a unique appearance that comes as a product of their Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock parents. The deep red coloration and sturdy builds of the Rhode Island Red blend perfectly with the feathers of the Barred Rock, creating a chicken with black, regal plumage accented by colors of brown, red, and blue. Black Sex Link hens have black bodies that transition to mahogany towards their heads, capped off by their bright red combs and wattles. Their tailfeathers and wings occasionally include traces of turquoise. Roosters more resemble their Barred Rock heritage, with darker bodies transitioning to barred black and white feathers up top. Their staunch builds contribute to their imposing appearance, with roosters often reaching 8-9 pounds as opposed to hens at 6-7 pounds. 

    Health and care

    Taking traits from both of these historic breeds has allowed Black Sex Link chickens to come out with the best of both worlds. Black Sex Links, also called Black Stars, are considered dual-purpose birds. They inherit the strong egg laying capabilities and fine meat of their parent breeds. On average, hens can lay around 300 brown eggs a year, a very strong number. In addition to being strong egg layers, their larger size and fine-tasting meat means they remain appealing for the dinner table as well. Much like their parents, they are both heat and cold hardy, with egg production staying steady through cold winters. They are intelligent foragers and love to free-range. Black Sex Links are healthy, hardy birds that have little in the way of genetic health problems. General bird care and pest control will keep them happy and healthy as they age. As strong egg-layers, it is important to keep up on nutrient delivery and give your hens consistent, high-quality feed. It would be tough to go wrong with these birds, as they can fill most niches and look great doing it.

    Frequently asked questions about Black Sex Link Chickens

    ​​​Are Black Sex Link chickens nice?​​

    ​​​This chicken breed has a relatively active yet docile nature, making them great for any backyard coop. Roosters may have a more aggressive demeaner than females, but they are overall friendly birds.​​

    ​​​Are Black Sex Link chickens good egg layers?​​

    ​​​Yes - these chickens are known for their strong egg laying capabilities, with hens producing around 300 eggs per year.​​

    ​​​​​​What color eggs do Black Sex-link chickens lay?​​

    ​​​Black Sex Link hens lay light- to medium- brown eggs.​​

    Everything your flock needs

    Chicken Care Guide

    Find all the information you need about raising chickens. Get an overview, then find helpful links to more in-depth education.

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