Black Star Chickens are a “sex-linked” chicken which basically means that when the chick has hatched, the hatchery can determine whether it is a pullet or cockerel visually. The parents of a Black Star are a Rhode Island or New Hampshire rooster and a Barred Rock Hen. The pullets produced are primarily black with varying amounts of rust-colored breasts. One of our Black Star Chickens was all black with an iridescent green cast to the feathers. I think they’re a very attractive hen.
Among other sex-linked chickens, there is the Red Star, Red Sex-Link, Golden Comet, and Golden Buff. They’re pretty much the same bird, but each hatchery has its own strain (and name) of the cross.
All About Black Star Chickens
Purpose– Egg Laying
Size– Around 5 pounds
Appearance– Average-sized single comb; overall black, may have rust-colored breast feathers
Maturity– 20 weeks
Temperament– Docile & friendly; Not flighty; Relatively quiet- only announcing they’ve laid their egg; A wonderful “pet chicken”
Estimated Annual Production– 300+
Egg Description– Extra Large Brown egg
Winter Hardy– Yes
Foraging– Very good
While I love the heritage breeds in our flock, there’s nothing wrong with crossing two breeds in order to increase your homestead’s productivity. I will always have a few of these hardy, production-bred gals among our laying hens. I have found their personalities to be friendly, but more to the point, the fact that they are bred to lay really well helps carry us through molting season and the cold winter months when otherwise we might not get any fresh eggs.
Because these hens are geared for egg production their reproductive systems are sometimes dysfunctional. This was the case with one of our hens where, within the first week or so of beginning to lay, we found a clutch of 22 eggs most of which were double- or triple-yolked. It was too much for her body to handle and she died soon after.
I have a soft spot in my heart in particular for the Black Stars since our first layers were a group of six of these gals. We have one left from that original flock and she’ll be needing to be culled this spring since she surely is no longer laying and most likely is the culprit behind our flocks’ egg-eating troubles.
Overall, I think they are a hardy, friendly, thrifty, adaptable bird that lays generously and would be very well suited to any set-up you have on your homestead, especially a “permaculture chickens” system.
Do you have any experiences with Black Star Chickens? Would you recommend this breed? Please share your thoughts with us!