Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format
Do you have poultry other than chickens? Click here.

Golden Comet

Golden Comet henIf you want lots of huge, brown eggs and are willing to buy chicks every few years to renovate your flock, the Golden Comet should be your top choice.  This variety is a hybrid between a White Rock female and a New Hampshire male and is one of the hybrid varieties in which the males are very easy to tell from the females as soon as they hatch.  As a result, if you order all female Golden Comet chicks, you're nearly guaranteed to receive all females (as opposed to many other chicken varieties where sexing is a chancy business and you'll often end up with a rooster amid your hens.)

 Scientists use the term "hybrid vigor" to explain the way an offspring of two different varieties (or even species) may be bigger or stronger than either parent.  For example, mules are often stronger and larger than both their horse or donkey parents.  Similarly, Golden Comets seem to show true hybrid vigor in the egg-laying department.  The internet notes that Golden Comet hens lay around 300 eggs per year, and I would add that while most chicken varieties slack off or stop laying completely in the winter, our girls lay straight through.  We even have some hens who are starting their fifth year of life and who are still laying (though at a lower rate than their younger friends.)
Brown eggs
On the other hand, the one major disadvantage of Golden Comets also stems from their hybrid nature.  Gardeners among you are probably aware that there's no point in saving seeds from hybrid vegetables since the seeds will sprout into dozens of different kinds of plants.  Golden Comets are the same way --- you're not going to get Golden Comet chicks if you breed a Golden Comet hen with a Golden Comet rooster.  Instead, you just have to buy new chicks every time you want to expand your flock.

Free ranging Golden Comet

Thrifty Chicken BreedsWe've found our Golden Comets to be good foragers, adept at scratching in the dirt and very alert to the grubs I toss their way while weeding the garden.  They're friendly too, and lie down in a submissive crouch when I get too close, making them easy to catch if they end up somewhere they shouldn't be.  They enjoy scraps and quickly wolf down any compost we drop into their tractors.  All in all, unless you want to be completely self sufficient, Golden Comets are hard to beat as a backyard egg-layer.  Small surprise that they're the most commonly pictured breed in chicken-related articles and blogs.

When you put in your chick order this spring, don't forget to order our automatic chicken waterers to get your birds off to a healthy start.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed.

What possible breeds do you get if you breed a Golden Comet hen with a Golden Comet rooster?
Comment by SideTrackStables early Wednesday morning, June 2nd, 2010
You made me laugh, although I know it's a serious question. :-) What you would get from crossing two Golden Comets would be a mutt. You can't disentangle the parents' genes and come up with a White Rock and a New Hampshire, although I wonder if you could breed an even better variety?
Comment by anna late Thursday evening, June 3rd, 2010
Love my chickens. I have six Golden Comets. Are extremely friendly, funny, and lay huge eggs. As pets, they are the best, as layers, they consistenly lay an egg a day. As a organic control, boy do they like bugs. Watched one of my girls chase and snatch a cabbage butterfly out of the air.
Comment by Sugar Ridge Farms early Friday morning, December 31st, 2010
Next year, we're going to see if any of the good traits carry over when we hybridize them with a partial Rhode Island Red rooster.
Comment by anna Monday evening, January 3rd, 2011
You could cross white rock rooster X G. C hen . Then cross then cross rooster of this cross back on golden comet hen.Thenobserve offspring that might have traits like golden comets and eliminate and not use those that have undesirable traits. would be along process , but might come up with anew breed.Could also make reciprocal cross of above. Use 2 above crosses and cross them. could still get sex-linked because sum would have maybe same inheritance as golden comet, but some wold be white and some would be red. good luck Leo
Comment by Leo wood Saturday evening, January 29th, 2011
We're actually thinking of doing something a bit like that, but with different breeds. We have a hybrid Golden Comet/Rhode Island Red rooster which we're going to cross with our Golden Comets this year. Who knows what we'll get, but it should be fun!
Comment by anna at lunch time on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
Comment by EGGMAN late Thursday night, June 10th, 2011
We're currently transitioning to more of a Black Australorp flock because they do seem to do even better than the Golden Comets on pasture. That said, the Golden Comets are extremely sociable birds, so I can see why they'd be a hit with the backyard enthusiast who only has room for a few birds and wants them to be personable.
Comment by anna at lunch time on Sunday, June 12th, 2011
I am new to owning chickens. I have 6 black Australorps and 6 Golden Comets now about 3 1/2 months old. They were all supposed to be hens but I think one of the Comets is a rooster. It's meaner and has skin below it's beak (I don't know what that's called).
Comment by Mitzi Sunday afternoon, August 7th, 2011

Sometimes roosters do show up among chicks that were supposed to be all girls. At 3.5 months, I'd expect your rooster to be starting to crow (at least in a garbled way). If you don't hear any crowing, I'd suspect instead that your mean chicken is just top of the totem pole --- one rooster in a flock of hens is actually often the nicest because he has to woo the ladies.

Other signs of a cockerel at that age include --- larger size, a larger comb on top of the head, pointed feathers on the neck, and the beginning of the cock's tail rather than a perky hen tail.

Comment by anna Sunday afternoon, August 7th, 2011

I am new to raising chickens and I chose Golden Coments. I wanted easygoing hens. We picked out two lighter yellow chicks and two reddish chicks. The lighter yellow chicks were a bit larger than the reddish ones. As they grew, the red ones over took the light yellows in size. The light yellows turned into very hen shaped, smaller birds (small combs and wattles). The reddish chicks turned into what looks like photos of Rhode Island Reds. They have no spurs, but have large combs and wattles. THEY BOTH CROW to beat the band... and they are frisky with the hens. HELP! These look roosterish compared to the two smaller birds. Do all roosters have spurs? If I was not told that they are females when I bought, I would be sure that they are not.

I am in a neighborhood and these hen/roosters start crowing early early.

Any comments regarding Golden Comet roosters? I have read that they are white.....?

If nothing else, hope this gives some folks a laugh for the day. :) I still like the birds, but I would prefer laying hens only.

Comment by Gina at noon on Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

My best guess is that your roosters (definitely roosters if they crow, even if they haven't grown into their big comb and spurs) aren't Golden Comets. Golden Comets are popular with hatcheries because the chicks can be sexed by color right after hatching --- females are red and cream while males are cream. The males do grow up to be a whitish rooster.

On the other hand, breeds like Rhode Island Reds are tougher to sex, and males will sometimes creep through into batches of "females." I hear that you can expect anywhere from 1 to 5% sexing mistakes. It sounds like you just got unlucky!

Now is a good time to take care of your roosters. If you're not squeamish, at the age they begin to crow, laying breeds like Rhode Island Reds make delicious, tender chicken dinners. They'll have bigger legs and less breast than you're used to, but cook up great. But don't wait long --- by the time they're five months old, that tenderness window is long past.

Comment by anna early Thursday morning, August 11th, 2011

Could you please tell me what these are. (go den rocks). Are these what you call Comets? I have e few reds,silkies and a few ducks.

Comment by Joan Thursday night, October 13th, 2011
I've never heard of Golden Rocks, but my guess would be that they're some sort of hybrid.
Comment by anna Saturday afternoon, October 15th, 2011
I love this site. I had just bought 6 comets yesterday and was surprised that I made such a good choice since I had never owned Comets before. Thanks to all of you
Comment by MCSmith early Friday morning, March 23rd, 2012
MC Smith --- I suspect you'll love your Golden Comets as much as we loved ours!
Comment by anna at lunch time on Friday, March 23rd, 2012
Are golden Comets a dual purpose chicken like the Rhode Island Reds?
Comment by Anonymous late Sunday afternoon, March 25th, 2012
Anonymous --- No, they're good egg layers but are pretty light. That said, we've had good luck raising egg laying breeds for meat since they forage very well, but you'll need to expect a much lighter carcass, more legs, and less breast.
Comment by anna Sunday evening, March 25th, 2012
Just got five of these girls last night! Wasn't expecting any eggs for a few days, until they adjusted to their new surroundings, but SURE ENOUGH this morning one of them went and laid me a LARGE brown egg! It was so big, in fact, it barely fits in our egg carton! Can't wait to find more and more everyday! I think these girls may be my choice hens!
Comment by Steph mid-morning Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Steph --- I know what you mean. Our Golden Comets' eggs were definitely extra large, if not jumbo!

That said, I've noticed that smaller eggs have just as much yolk, just less white. Since we believe in the nutritional properties of pastured egg yolks, smaller eggs give you more yolk per ounce. If I really wanted to go in that direction, I guess I'd get bantams. :-)

Comment by anna mid-morning Saturday, March 31st, 2012
How well do they adapt to cold? We live in southern PA and it can get to zeros sometimes in the dead of winter. Will they do fine with a 100 watt heat lamp in their coop?
Comment by Jason late Sunday evening, April 1st, 2012
Jason --- If you live in southern PA, you're probably in zone 6 like us. (Unless you're in the mountains.) Our Golden Comets did fine in the winter with no heat in chicken tractors. (Granted, they had an area that was enclosed on nearly all sides that they could perch in at night.) I'd say they're quite cold hardy.
Comment by anna Monday evening, April 2nd, 2012
Does the Golden Comet Breed go by any other name?
Comment by bigsis7 late Tuesday evening, May 22nd, 2012
bigsis7 --- I don't think so. I suspect a particular company developed the hybrid and is the only one to market it. But you can get similar results from a lot of other egg-laying hybrids, like Red Sex-link, Black Sex-Link, etc.
Comment by anna late Sunday morning, May 27th, 2012
My Comets are about 4 months old and I already got 3 eggs in 3 days and one egg was a double yoke. I am so proud of my girls. They are not only good egg layers but are wonderful pets.
Comment by MC Smith at teatime on Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
MC Smith --- That's very young to start laying --- you've got some keepers there!
Comment by anna at teatime on Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
It would be possible to create an auto-sexing breed with the approximate characteristics of the Golden Comets. However, Barred Rocks and Dominiques/Dominickers can be sexed as day-olds by their color, as can Norwegian Jaerhons and several British breeds, if you want an auto-sexing breed now. To my knowledge, the only one of those British breeds currently available in the USA is the Cream Legbar, a blue egg layer, but it's a new import and VERY expensive. However, the prices should drop a lot in a few years, given how fast chickens breed!
Comment by Patrick Buck in the wee hours of Friday night, July 27th, 2013
I have 13 comets. Love them for the ease of required care to production. I am wondering if these birds would rather lay eggs on the ground then roost in nesting boxes to lay them? I can t seem to get them to roost in the boxes but find the eggs on the floor every am. Also, the egg sizes seem small, they are young and just starting to lay. Do these birds need any special feed for larger size egg production?
Comment by Steve A early Tuesday morning, July 30th, 2013
Steve A --- I suspect a lot of other people have that same question right about now, so I'm going to post my answer on the blog Wednesday. Stay tuned!
Comment by anna Monday evening, August 5th, 2013
Please explain to me why a comet would throw up and what would cause it. These chickens have been kept in a large pen and fed nothing but laying pellets and some lettuce,etc. They are given fresh food and water every day yet I seem to have a sick(?) chicken. Can you help me? Thank you!!!
Comment by Genye Allen in the wee hours of Wednesday night, April 10th, 2014
Genye --- That sounds awful! I've actually never seen a chicken throw up, so I'm surprised to hear you mention it. A quick search of the internet suggests that your chicken may have just drunk too much too quickly, overfilling her crop. Extra liquid will then ooze back up her throat and she'll spit it up, but that's not a sign of her being sick and isn't really vomiting. I hope that helps!
Comment by anna at lunch time on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
what.will be.my end.results if my 2 comments breed,,,mean what will the.chucks look like?
Comment by mamahandy late Saturday night, April 27th, 2014
Mamahandy --- You'd probably get a mixture of chickens that resemble the parent breeds, White Rocks and New Hampshires. I'll be curious to hear about your results if you give it a try!
Comment by anna early Monday morning, April 28th, 2014

Why do some people say that the golden comet comes from a RIR rooster and RIR white hen? Is this correct? Thanks

Comment by Shirley at teatime on Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
Shirley --- I suspect that those people are talking about a related red sex-link variety. Golden Comets are a hybrid of a White Rock female and a New Hampshire male.
Comment by anna mid-morning Monday, February 23rd, 2015
I have 19 hens and 1 rooster and all the tail feathers and feathers off the hens back and bottoms are plucked off is this from the rooster and how do I stop it
Comment by julie at lunch time on Monday, March 9th, 2015
julie --- Usually when I hear about a rooster overmating hens, I say that it's because there are too few hens for the rooster. However, 19 hens should spread him pretty thin! Instead, I'm guessing they don't have enough space to roam, which often makes even hens peck at each others' feathers.
Comment by anna at lunch time on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
Hi, I have a Red Comet that is a year and half old. She started laying, laid eggs all winter but has stopped laying this summer. I have two others, an Amberlink and a Partridge Rock who lay faithfully each day. I am at a loss with my Comet. This are backyard chickens who are out free several times in during early morning and late evening. We have also checked the yard thinking she might be laying there but have found nothing. Any suggestions would be very appreciated.
Comment by Pamela early Sunday morning, August 28th, 2016
Pamela --- Based on her age and the time of year, I suspect she's probably molting. If so, that's good news because it means she'll be back in the next box once the new feathers grow in.
Comment by anna late Monday morning, August 29th, 2016

free hit counter