The Hybrid Sex Link Varieties are also known as Black Stars, Red Stars, Comets and other various names depending on the hatchery.


They are not a true breed, but a hybrid of two heritage breed chickens that are able to be sexed at birth based on the chicks color.


These hybrid chickens are vigorous birds that are well suited for all methods of raising chickens. They are a true dual purpose bird that matures 2-4 weeks faster than most heritage breeds. 



Type: Hybrid
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Size: Extra Large
Egg Production: Very Good 200-280 eggs per year
Meat Production: Good
Heat Tolerance: Very Good
Cold Tolerance: Excellent
Disposition: Very Good
Weeks to Maturity: 18
Free range - Pasturing: Excellent
Skin Color: Yellow
Feather Color: Varies
Likely to sit on eggs: Highly Unlikely
Bird Size: 6 - 8 lbs

The White Leghorn became a recognized breed in 1874. It is a prolific egg laying breed, suitable for all methods of raising and managing chickens.


It is a light bird and has an excellent feed to egg conversion ratio. The White Leghorn is a docile breed but is very nervous and flighty. Not a very good breed if looking for a pet chicken that you want to handle.


The White Leghorn makes a very poor meat chicken as they have very little muscle. The older laying hens do make good soup / broth birds.


Type: Heritage
Egg Color: White
Egg Size: Extra Large
Egg Production: Excellent 280-320 eggs per year
Meat Production: Poor
Heat Tolerance: Very Good
Cold Tolerance: Very Good
Disposition: Not aggressive but nervous and hyper
Weeks to Maturity: 18
Freerange - Pasturing: Excellent
Skin Color: Yellow
Feather Color: White
Likely to sit on eggs: Highly unlikely
Bird Size: 4.5 - 5.5 lbs

Barred Rock

Dual Purpose

Rhode Island Red

Egg Layer

The Buff Orpington is a large dual purpose chicken breed. Originating in England, the breed was introduced to the US in the late 1800's. The Buff Orpington is a very calm and friendly chicken. They are good layers of large brown eggs. They tolerate heat and cold, but are susceptible to frost bite due to the large comb size, especially the males.


They forage well in a pastured environment and also do well in confined spaces. They are long lived. We had a few hens reach a ripe old age of 7 years and still laid 2-3 eggs a week.



Type: Heritage
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Size: Large
Egg Production: Very Good 200-280 eggs per year
Meat Production: Very Good
Heat Tolerance: Good
Cold Tolerance: Good
Disposition: Calm and docile
Weeks to Maturity: 20-22
Freerange - Pasturing: Excellent
Skin Color: White
Feather Color: Light gold, tan
Likely to sit on eggs: Very likely, good mothers
Bird Size: 7.5 - 10 lbs

Buff Orpington

Dual Purpose

The various red broiler varieties make a wonderful meat bird. The breast meat is proportionate to the leg/thigh meat. The breast is not large and wide like the white broiler, but long and more firm. Since this breed takes longer to mature, it tends to have a much better flavor than the white broilers.


The red broiler is perfect for the pasturing method of raising chickens. It also does well in a chicken tractor. The red broiler will typically dress out around 70% of its live weight and is ready to butcher at about 12 weeks.



Type: Hybrid
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Size: Extra Large
Egg Production: Good 200-250 eggs per year
Meat Production: Excellent
Heat Tolerance: Good
Cold Tolerance: Good
Disposition: Calm
Weeks to Maturity: 11-12
Freerange - Pasturing: Excellent
Skin Color: Yellow
Feather Color: Red
Likely to sit on eggs: Not at all likely
Bird Size: 6 - 7.5 lbs

Red Ranger - Red Broiler

Meat Breed

Chicken Breeds We Recommend

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Some popular chicken breeds in this category are Orpingtons, Rocks, Wyandottes, Australorps, Rhode Island Reds and Sussex varieties. If you want to have your hens hatch out chicks themselves to replenish your flock, be sure to get a breed that is broody. You will also need to have a rooster in your flock, but no more than one rooster for every 8-12 hens.

To buy any these chicken breeds, just check out our list of
chick hatcheries, as they are readily available.

Dual purpose chickens are just as described. They can provide eggs and meat but do not excel at one or the other. These chicken breeds will serve as great backyard chickens for most families or homesteaders. The average egg production from a dual purpose breed of chicken is about 3- 4 eggs a week.

Many hens from these chicken breeds are "broody", which means that they will set on the eggs and hatch the chicks therefore replenishing your flock without having to buy chicks or hatching eggs.

Dual Purpose Chickens

Egg laying chicken breeds have been selected for high egg productivity and usually have small bodies that make them undesirable as meat producers.


The benefit of having small bodies in egg laying chickens is that fewer nutrients go into producing body muscle and more goes into producing eggs.

Chicken breeds for eggs can be divided into white egg layers and brown egg layers. There is really no difference between the two except color of the egg.


Most white egg layers come from the Leghorn lineage while the brown egg layers come from the Rhode Island Red lineage. Some popular egg laying breeds are White Leghorns, Black and Red Stars. You can expect 320-340 eggs a year from a quality egg layer breed.

Chicken Breeds For Eggs

My favorite choice would be to get a slower growing hybrid broiler of the various "Ranger" varieties. (picture to the left)


The Ranger was developed by the French broiler industry. It is a moderately fast growing bird, but is much more active than the hybrid white broilers so common in the American broiler industry. It is therefore much better suited to those wanting a meat bird that can be raised as a free-range or pastured chicken.


Expect to process these birds at about 12 weeks. These "Ranger" varieties will generally have a dressed weight of about 70% of the live weight.

Heritage breed chickens such as the Jersey Giant, Wyandottes, Rocks and Australorps make wonderful meat chickens. They also make a great dual purpose bird.


These heritage breeds have a slower growth rate, but the birds will remain healthier and you will have a longer time frame in which to cull out the flock. They will also taste better. For example, a heritage breed rooster will be a nice size broiler in 6-8 months, where as a white broiler chicken will need to be butchered in about 6-8 weeks. The meat of the heritage breed will still be tender and tasty in a bird that is up to 9 months old.

A popular chicken breed for meat is the "white broiler" which is marketed under different names by different hatcheries. They are strictly a meat chicken originally bred for the commercial "cage" grower.


In recent years it has also become popular with individuals looking for a fast growing meat chicken. It has an extremely fast growth rate, but unfortunately, can also have many health complications because of it. Heart problems and leg problems are common with this type of bird. Because of its fast growth rate, the taste and texture of the meat is not as good as a slower growing bird.

Chicken Breeds For Meat

Selecting the best chicken breeds to raise depends upon the purpose for which the chickens are intended. Will you be looking for egg chickens, meat chickens or a dual purpose chicken? No one chicken breed will satisfy all three purposes, so lets look at some types of chicken purposes and corresponding chicken breeds below.

Chicken Breeds

The Barred Rock ha been a recognized breed since the late 1800's. It is an excellent dual purpose chicken breed. It is a very good layer of brown eggs, laying well all year round. It has a wide heavy body making it an excellent meat bird as well, although it will take about 20 weeks to mature.


It has a good disposition and is suitable for pasturing, free range and chicken tractors.



Type: Heritage
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Size: Large
Egg Production: Very Good 200-280 eggs per year
Meat Production: Excellent
Heat Tolerance: Good
Cold Tolerance: Good
Disposition: Calm
Weeks to Maturity: 20
Freerange - Pasturing: Excellent
Skin Color: Yellow
Feather Color: Black with gray bars
Likely to sit on eggs: Unlikely
Bird Size: 7.5 - 9.5 lbs


Chickens 101


Red and Black Sex Links

Dual Purpose

White Leghorn

Egg Layer

The Rhode Island Red is probably the most popular, well known chicken breed in the US. Developed in Rhode Island, it is considered a dual breed, but is best known for its egg laying abilities and its hardiness. They are good producers through several laying seasons.


Very easy to raise, it is quite suitable for pasturing, free range and confined spaces like chicken tractors. It generally has a good disposition but the roosters can be protective of his flock if he senses danger.



Type: Heritage
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Size: Extra Large
Egg Production: Very Good 200-280 eggs per year
Meat Production: Good
Heat Tolerance: Very Good
Cold Tolerance: Excellent
Disposition: Good
Weeks to Maturity: 19
Freerange - Pasturing: Excellent
Skin Color: Yellow
Feather Color: Deep Red
Likely to sit on eggs: Unlikely
Bird Size: 6.5 - 8.5 lbs