Black Sex Links are a cross between a Rhode Island Red males and Barred Rock females. This breed lays large brown eggs and has the added advantage that they can be color sexed as baby chicks. The adult males are black and white barred, looking very similar to Barred Plymouth Rocks. They sometimes have a small amount of gold plumage mainly in the hackles. The females are solid black with some gold hackles and neck plumage. They both have a single comb with five points. The beak shanks and feet are clean and yellow.
The heads of the female baby chicks are solid black, but the males have a small light yellow spot on top of the head. Both male and female are solid black with yellow wing tips and sometimes, yellow throats and abdomens. They also have yellow and black legs and feet.
Gold Sex Links are a brown egg commercial layer cross using Rhode Island Red males and Rhode Island White females. This breed can be color sexed as babies. They are production layers but also can be utilized for meat. The males are white and the females are light red with lighter tails, wing tips, hackles and body undercover. The male chicks are light yellow and the females have a variety of red down.
The Orpington breed was developed in England and was originally black. They were first used as a meat bird. Today the most popular color is the Buff and they are used for production of brown eggs although many still consider them to be a dual-purpose bird.
Orpingtons are heavy but loosely feathered with rich golden buff plumage. The chicks are light buff or straw colored. The color is even throughout the body except for the occasional darker buff colored head. They have single combs and clean, white legs and feet. They usually have a very quiet disposition.
The Jersey Giant has two varieties, black and white with the black being the better known. They are known as a general-purpose breed, which is probably best suited to meat production. They will produce eggs, however. They are totally black without a green sheen like Australorps. The chicks appear to be black but have white wing tips, chest and abdomen. They have single combs and clean, yellow and black legs and feet. The chicks may be difficult to distinguish from Black Australorps, but the bottoms of the Black Giant’s feet are yellow and those of Australorps are white. They are considered to be slow growers, so not very good for broiler meat.
The Sussex breed originated in Sussex County England as a meat bird and is considered relatively rare and unique. The predominate color of the female is mahogany bay with each feather being tipped with a small white spangle and a narrow black bar dividing the white from the from the remainder of the feather. The chicks have a single comb and dark brown backs with two light brown streaks lengthwise down the back. They have white wing tips, chest, and abdomen. Their beaks are brown and white while their clean legs and feet are white. Chicks can be separated from other chicks with similar plumage by checking the bottom of the feet, which are pinkish white.
Plymouth Rocks are one of the most popular brown egg breeds, and White Plymouth Rocks are the second most popular variety of Plymouth Rocks. They lay large brown eggs. All of the feathers of White Plymouth Rocks are white which produce a uniformly white bird. The chicks are smokey light yellow. They have single combs and clean legs and feet. The beak, legs and feet are light black or gray in color.
The Partridge Plymouth Rock has a plumage pattern, which is very striking. They are a dual-purpose bird but are mostly used for producing brown eggs. The Partridge Rock hens have deep reddish bay heads and the plumage of the back, breast and body is a deep reddish bay with distinct black penciling. The chicks are light brown with the head and body being much darker. The clean legs and feet are primarily brown with some yellow. The beak is brown with a yellow point. Partridge Plymouth Rocks are considered to be a rare variety.
The Rhode Island Red breed is one of the best known breeds and is classified as a dual-purpose breed although very few are used for meat production. Most of them are used for egg production and the breed is known for the high production of large brown eggs. The hens are primarily a lustrous, rich, dark or mahogany red with a black tail. The chicks are dark red with some having even darker red streaks down the back. The wing tips, chest and abdomen are much lighter with the wing tips appearing to be white. The chicks have single combs. The beak, legs and feet are yellow with some reddish horn. They have clean legs and feet.
New Hampshires are a dual-purpose breed, which can lay large brown eggs. Their color is primarily chestnut red with a black tail and they appear to be much lighter in color than Rhode Island Reds. Chicks are uniform light red having light chests and wing tips. They are much lighter than Rhode Island Reds but darker than Buff Orpingtons. They have single, serrated combs and clean, yellow legs and feet. New Hampshire Reds and Rhode Island Reds were used as foundation stock in producing Production Reds.
The Silver Laced Wyandotte is the original variety of the Wyandotte breed and is the most popular variety of the breed. They are a hardy, active, medium weight, dual-purpose fowl used for production of both eggs and meat, but primarily for eggs. The close fitting, sharply marked, silver laced plumage is one of the most beautiful color patterns ever developed. The plumage of the female’s head is silvery gray and the tail is black. They have yellow shanks and feet. The chicks are black with streaks down the back. The chest and abdomen may be either white or gray, and the wing tips are white. They have rose combs and clean legs and feet that are yellow with some black or gray.
The general appearance of Wyandottes is a short, deep, wide-bodied bird. The unusual, striking color pattern and docile nature are the characteristics that make this variety popular.
The Golden Laced Wyandotte is a hardy, active, medium weight, dual-purpose bird used for production of both eggs and meat, but primarily eggs. The hen’s head is golden and the tail is black. The feathers have dark penciling. The chicks are brown and black with brown streaks down the back. Some have a light chest, abdomen and wing tips. They have a close-fitting rose comb with yellow and brown, clean legs and feet. These birds are generally very docile in nature and make great back yard birds.
Originally produced in India, this breed was introduced to the U.S. under the name of Brahmapootra, which was later shortened to Brahma. Light Brahmas are a most attractive bird with Columbian plumage color pattern, pea combs, feathered shanks and toes and striking black and white plumage. Light Brahma chicks have gray backs with light yellow heads, wing tips, chest, and feathers on legs and toes. They have pea combs, and the legs and toes are yellow. Although they were bred as dual purpose birds, most are now raised for their beauty and uniqueness. They also make great pets because of their quiet temperament.
Many attributes of the Dark Brahmas are the same as the Light Brahmas. They differ mainly in coloration. The hen’s head is silvery gray and the feathers have distinct penciling. Dark Brahma chicks have pea combs, brown backs and heads with light gray wing tips, chest and feathers on legs and toes. Their beak, legs and toes are yellow.
The name Black Australorps is an abbreviation for Australian Black Orpingtons. This is a prolific egg layer even in warm weather. The green sheen of this solid black plumage is really beautiful. The beak is black. The chicks are primarily black with white wing tips, chest and abdomen. They have single, serrated combs. The legs and feet do not have feathers and are white with some black. They are difficult to distinguish from Black Giant chicks, however, the pads of the feet of Australorps are pinkish-white and those of Giants are yellow.