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Red Star chickens

Red Star

I wrote previously that I'm less-than-enamored of our White Leghorns, but the other hybrid breed we're trying this year is a better fit for our farm.  Red Stars are an orangish sex-linked hybrid developed from a Delaware hen and a Rhode Island Red rooster.  We chose the variety based on this glowing description on McMurray's website: "We have finally found the sex link BROWN EGG LAYER that meets our strict specifications; easy to raise, lays large brown eggs, and has a good feed conversion ratio."


Red Star chick

The photo above shows our Australorps, White Leghorns, and Red Stars as chicks this spring.  The Red Stars are the pale ones with a tinge of orange.  One of the perks of the Red Star is that you're almost certain to get the sex you ask for since the male chicks are white and the females are more strongly colored, making them easy to sex right out of the egg. 

Standoffish chickens

Now all grown up, our three Red Stars have shown themselves to be very similar to the Golden Comets we had a few years ago --- good layers and quite friendly.  The photo above is typical of what it looks like when I walk into the chickens' pasture.  The Red Stars come running into the coop with me to grab the choicest scraps before anyone else can find them.  A Leghorn or two might follow, but skittishly.  Meanwhile, the Australorps are all hiding behind the rooster hoping that this scary person who had the temerity to bring them food won't eat them.

Curious chicken

Here's another typical shot, taken while Mark was installing a nest box.  "Is this edible?" asks our Red Star.

I've written before about the pros and cons of a friendly chicken, so I won't repeat the caveats here.  However, I will add that Red Stars make excellent tractor chickens since they're docile and run toward you when you throw a rotten fig their way.  Presumably, the breed would also be a good choice if you were looking for a chicken that would fare well as a pet, while also producing lots of quality eggs.

Stars (Black, Gold, and Red) are listed as the #7 chicken variety on the Backyard Chickens website, making me think many of you have probably tried them out.  Do you have anything to add for or against this hybrid brown-egg layer?

Clean water means more eggs.

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"our three Red Stars have shown themselves to be very similar to the Golden Comets we had a few years ago..."

I'm curious, any preference between these two varieties?

Comment by Emma Friday afternoon, January 3rd, 2014
Emma --- That's a good question! The only big difference I've noticed is that Red Star eggs are just ordinary sized, while Golden Comet eggs are jumbo size. That said, we were keeping chickens very differently when we raised Golden Comets (all in tractors), so I don't really have a side-by-side comparison.
Comment by anna at noon on Monday, January 6th, 2014

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