What Breed is It? Understanding the Sex-Link Chicken
By Don Schrider, West Virginia
At Backyard Poultry we get questions all the time asking for help identifying the breed of various chickens. Many times the chickens pictured are not purebred chickens at all but crossbreeds hatcheries produce for very specific purposes – such as egg production… Continue Reading
About the Author of this Article…
Don Schrider is a nationally recognized poultry breeder and expert. He has written for publications such as Backyard Poultry, Countryside and Small Stock Journal, Mother Earth News, Poultry Press, and the newsletter and poultry resources of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
He is also the author of a revised edition of Storey’s Guide to Raising Turkeys.
About the Commercial Shelf Eggs You Buy
Commercial egg-laying stock is produced by crossing two or more White Leghorn lines that have been selected for high egg production. White Leghorn pullets are the industry standard white egg layers that produce all of the eggs for the grocery stores worldwide. They will start laying at 20 weeks old and lay about 300 eggs annually. Hens average weight is 4.5 pounds.
These birds are a nice choice for the backyard poultry keeper, they can be purchased online and shipped from Murray McMurray Hatchery to your local post office. You can also keep an eye out for them at local feed stores.
Note: I personally don’t consider the Leghorn heat tolerant, if you live in a climate that reaches 105+ their survival rate in my opinion is poor.
What About the Brown Eggs?
The brown eggs are usually crosses on commercial lines developed from two different breeds and varieties, such as the Rhode Island Red, Barred Plymouth Rock, or New Hampshire Red.