The black star chicken, also known as the black sex link chicken, is commonly recognized as the best domestic chicken breed. Because of its exceptional qualities, it has become a popular choice among homesteaders and backyard keepers.
Black star chickens like exploring their surroundings. They love foraging and are excellent at it. If they’re allowed to roam freely, they will seek out and eat insects and plants they’re interested in.
Fasten your seatbelt on to explore more about the characteristics of this lovely tiny breed and why it’s regarded as a super breed. It’ll surely make a fantastic addition to your existing flock.
History of Black Star Chickens
The Black Star chicken was a result of a crossbred effort after World War II for the purpose of laying a large number of eggs to help satisfy post-war food demands. Rationed goods were simply not enough due to the arrival of returning troops, refugees, and an expanding US population.
To address the food shortage, poultry experts crossed and re-crossed carefully selected breed combinations to produce sturdy hens that were also machined in terms of laying eggs.
One of the successful breeds made at that time was the Black Star, which proved to be the most feasible option. The Black Star is a crossbreed chicken developed by mating a New Hampshire or Rhode Island rooster with a Barred Plymouth Rock hen.
As a result of the cross, the hens did well in laying huge amounts of eggs consistently, and they were sex-linked as well. This means that you can already identify whether they’re male or female when they hatch.
Chickens with the barring gene have white bars or stripes all over their feathers. Chickens that do not have the barring gene have a solid color. When they hatch, all of the chicks are covered in black down.
However, the male chicks have white patches on their heads and, like their mother, will eventually grow white bars in their feathers. Female chicks will remain solid black with a brown tint on their heads and neck, which is one of the breed’s most distinguishing traits.
When these girls arrive, there’s no mistaking their sex! For that reason, they became popular as black sex links or black beauties.
The Black Star was one of the most top chicken breeds for industrial egg production into the 1950s. Since then, the Black Star remains a backyard choice and continues to be one of the top egg machines year after year.
Breed Standard and Appearance
Due of the complex genetic composition of the Black Star chicken, which is a crossbreed, there is no standard of perfection for this chicken.
So, if you would cross two Black Stars, you’ll get a new hybrid instead of a Black Star chicken.
As their name suggests, the coats of both Black Star males and females are primarily black, making them instantly recognizable. They also have an upright carriage, with a tail carried at a lively high angle.
More physical characteristics of this chicken breed can be seen below.
Physical Characteristics of Black Star Chickens
|Toes||4 on each foot|
For the plumage, the contrasts between male and female Black Stars are prominent.
The hens are stunning, with mostly black feathers and red to gold flecking on the breasts. The rust-colored designs come in a variety of colors and are frequently iridescent, which is fantastic.
Males with a white dot on their heads will mature to look considerably different from females. They will have a similar pattern to the Barred Rock when they feather out, so it’s impossible to be mistaking a hen for a rooster and vice versa with this outstanding breed!
Check this video to see the difference:
Comb and Comb Size
All black star chickens have a single comb, although male and female black stars have slight differences.
Hens have a comb which is proportionate to their head and neck size. When the hen is ready to lay, her comb will develop a dark red color.
The rooster, on the other hand, has a much larger comb that can be worn erect or slightly flopped to the side. As the chicks mature, the comb will turn bright red in color.
Personality and Temperament
Black Star hens have a great temperament, making them ideal for urban and garden environments. Here are a few of their outstanding characteristics:
Quiet and Docile
Black Star chickens are tough yet docile in nature and aren’t a disruptive breed. This is advantageous especially if you live in close proximity to your neighbors.
Clucking and chirping can be heard from Black Star hens on occasion. Males, although they are one of the less territorial and violent types, will make the most noise as he crows throughout the day like a regular rooster.
They are generally peaceful and sweet-tempered birds, only increasing their voices when laying eggs. Because they are neither a nervous or flighty breed, they can coexist peacefully in large or small flocks.
Black Stars are one of the few breeds that are particularly friendly. They are ideal for households with children as well as other pets.
If you want a real pet chicken, raising the Black Star and interacting with it on a daily basis will result in one loving bird! It’s possible that you’ll end up with a lap chicken.
When raised with love and care, they can be one of the best social and cuddly chicken breeds. They’d even follow their keepers around, especially when it’s time to feed them.
Due to their laid-back nature, Black Stars get along well with other hens, are happy to have a rooster in the flock.
When discussing the Black Stars, the term “hardy” is frequently used. This is due to their ability to adapt to and tolerate all types of weather, as well as huge and small areas. They can adapt to a variety of conditions and aren’t known to be sickly.
They like foraging when given the opportunity, but they also adapt pretty well to detention.
Bottom of Form
Black Star hens are known as excellent egg layers. Their annual egg production can reach 300 eggs, implying that they lay about 5 eggs every week. It’s no surprise they’re labeled “egg laying machines.”
If you want consistent egg production all year, Black Stars are the way to go. Unless they get broody or begin to molt, these chickens will continue to lay eggs. The better you look after your chickens, the more eggs they’ll lay for you.
At 20 weeks of age, the Black Star hen will be mature, and egg laying should commence. Hens lay extra-large brown eggs with enormous yolks. As production chickens, they’re only ‘designed to last’ to last two years in terms of excessive egg laying.
Because they’re the outcome of the union of two separate breeds, any offspring will not breed true. You will be rewarded with a ‘mutt’ chick instead of an identifiable Black Star if you hatch the eggs.
Improving Egg Production
In order to encourage your chickens to lay, provide the correct feed, a good coop space, and a secure spot for hens to lay their eggs.
If you can’t let your hens go around freely, create a run around the coop. Because of their robustness, they only need an egg laying feed to produce consistent eggs with strong shells. They don’t require any special conditions or circumstances, but they do need enough area to explore around the coop.
On the other hand, many chicken keepers would let Black Stars free range in order for them to get their natural grit outdoors.
When you get new Black Star Chickens, this means that the nest will be bursting with fresh eggs every day. You need to make sure you have enough nesting boxes for all of your chickens so they can lay at any time of day.
Health Issues and Care
Black Star chickens are very healthy and vigorous in general. Inasmuch as they have food and a dwelling, they will survive cold and heat. However, despite their toughness and independence, they are also susceptible to disease and dangerous conditions, so make sure they have regular checkups.
Like any other farm or domestic animal, Black Stars can also suffer from the same health issues that most other chickens ensure. They can become ill or infested with internal parasites and external threats such as ticks, mites, lice, and worms. Boosting your chickens’ immune systems with apple cider vinegar and crushed garlic is a terrific method to beat the bugs.
Knowing your chickens’ vaccine schedule is also essential. This is to protect them from prevalent diseases such as Fowl Cholera, Newcastle disease, and harboring worms.
Keeping an eye on their eggs is also an important component of keeping them healthy. Diseases can significantly reduce egg production and, in the worst-case scenario, kill an entire flock of chickens.
So, if you notice a chicken acting strangely, laying fewer eggs, or weighing less than usual, it could be a sign of sickness. You should see a veterinarian as soon as possible and separate that chicken from the others. Place it in a separate enclosure away from the other chickens because many avian illnesses spread rapidly.
Also, Black Star hens, like many other production chickens, are prone to reproductive problems, especially as they age. Because sex links lay at such a fast rate, they usually slow down between the ages of two and three. Egg binding and egg yolk peritonitis are two common issues.
A Black Star will usually die by the age of five owing to these reproductive problems. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable because nature never intended for its system to remain in constant production.
3 Tips for Raising Black Star Chickens
Create the right environment.
You’ll need to set aside a plot of land for your chickens and divide it into two major sections:
- A grassy area for the flock to run around and feed
- A coop where they can sleep, lay eggs, and seek shelter
Based on the number of the flock, carefully examine the dimensions, style, and positioning of the coop or run so they’ll have access to shelter from the rain and snow.
The chicken coop can be entirely enclosed. If predators are a problem, try installing a more secure, tighter fence with an overhead barrier.
Quarantine new chickens before introducing them to the flock.
Before bringing your new Black Stars around your flock, quarantine them for a few days and cure any illnesses.
When they’re ready to meet one another, put the new members in a fine mesh to keep them apart while still allowing them to see each other.
After one or two days of their visual meet and greet, you may already allow them to forage together.
Give your chickens the proper feeding requirements.
Feeding Black Star chicks
Hatchling feed in a small crumble recipe should be offered to chicks. This makes picking up the feed easier for their tiny beaks. Up until the age of eight weeks, do not use oyster shell as well as calcium supplements because this induce kidney issues in chicks.
Feeding Mature Black Stars
The Black Star hen requires a well-balanced diet for proper health, growth, and egg production in the productive stage, divided into three phases, as shown below:
|PHASE||WEEKS||EGG PRODUCTION||FEEDING REQUIREMENTS|
|Phase 1||Week 20-42||Increasing||High in amino acid and proteins|
|Phase 2||Week 42 -60||Declining||Decrease in protein|
|Phase 3||Week 60-62 until the end of productive life||Declining||Decrease in protein|
The Black Star chicken is an egg production rock star, laying over 300 extra-large brown eggs each year. While the ability to detect the sex of the chicks right away is vital, it isn’t the only valuable quality of this breed. Black Stars have gentle, peaceful, and friendly. The hens aren’t extremely broody, and they can withstand the cold and harsh winters.
Raising Black Star chickens is simple, convenient, and tolerable to worried neighbors because of their distinguishing traits. Overall, they’re excellent for anyone who is new to raising chickens or who wants a daily supply of fresh eggs.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken & Scratch.