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!
Thanks for sharing. I feel better about a production hybrid. I love the heritage breeds, but I am trying to be more understanding and loving towards the production and meat hybrids. I have yet to own a meat hybrid. I depend on my birds foraging and enjoying a very small portion of our 169 acres that is 1/2 wooded. Our new black star should fit right on in.
As for now we will continue to get our meat from our Brahmas, Delawares, Dorkings, Buckeyes, and Langshans.
Wow! Impressive! I’ll have to reference this when we make out our purchase list this year. If you do get into meat birds, think about the ranger broilers. We’ve had good success with them so far. So much so I plan to experiment with raising a couple up alongside our laying chick’s this year who don’t get supplemental feed between brooding and the first frost. I suspect they’ll take longer to get to a finishing weight but that they’ll be able to do it without feed inputs. Now if I was to go heritage meat I’d consider those brahma. We had a rooster once and we was a hefty fellow!
Either the Ranger or the Pioneer. The Pioneer has another name, but I can not bring it to mind at this moment.
Dixie Rainbow is the other name. We do keep the 5 breeds that I listed for meat. I am considering the Dixie rainbow. My 1st Black Star will be here in March. I didn’t want a red star. Everyone has those. Lol.
I think we will be good for a while. Next year I may try something new or with the spring coming I may find another bird that peeks my interest. But for now we are fine with all 19 breeds that we have.
I remember reading a description about the Pioneers and being thoroughly intrigued! If ever we can’t get the Rangers locally and have to pay higher prices and shipping from a hatchery, I do believe we’ll give them a test run. Thanks again for sharing about your awesome flock!
Anytime! I enjoy flock talk.
When my children were young, we lived on a small farm just outside Rochester, Michigan. We had chickens, horses, and sheep. We had an outside pen that was attached to our chicken coop in the barn. At the height of the seseason we would have 100 chicks/chickens. We had very good success with our Rhode Island Reds and Leghorns. We also had silkies. Keep a few silkies if you want the chickens to hatch some themselves. Silkies are so broody that I had a hen at one show that just wouldn’t stand for the judge. She placed second in the show. I would suggest limiting how many eggs the hen is allowed under her. The silkies are so docile that she would probably let you grab an egg, or better still keep track of which nesting box is devoted to hatching. These Black Stars sound like a wonderful breed to have. All mixed breed animals, poultry, dogs, etc are always healthier. When I get chickens again I will be looking seriously at the Black Star.