Red Star chickens are active and healthy birds well-renowned for high egg production (280 to 350 per year) and producing large brown eggs. They can also be used as table birds, and have been used in commercial meat facilities for several decades.
The Red Star chicken is a versatile and popular dual-purpose hybrid chicken developed in the 1950s that is known by multiple names but is not officially recognized by the American Poultry Association.
Red Star chickens are a result of crossbreeding White Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island White, or Delaware hens with Rhode Island Red Roosters or New Hampshire Red Roosters.
Homesteaders love Red Star chickens because baby chicks can be sorted by gender a few days after birth. Male chicks will be yellow or white, and female chicks will be reddish brown.
Sexlink chicks take the guesswork out of gendering chickens, and people don’t have to raise them for several weeks before finding out whether they have roosters or hens in their flocks.
Table of Contents
Red Star Chicken Breed Overview
|Recognized Breed Name
|Not officially recognized, but are loosely called the Red Star Chicken
|5 to 8 Years
|Coloring and Pattern
|Reddish brown feathers with yellow beaks and yellow legs
|7lbs to 8lbs
|Tolerant to Heat?
|Tolerant to Cold?
|Meat Production Breed?
|Egg Production Breed?
|Lays in Winter?
|Medium brown to light brown
|280 to 350 per year
|18 to 22 weeks
Red Star chickens are either sweet or sassy, depending on their company. They are quite docile with chicken keepers and enjoy being around humans, but they do not like to hang out with their flock-mates.
Their inability to peacefully coexist means that they will often fight amongst themselves, sorting out their pecking order, and will be more competitive than other chicken breeds, especially if new chickens are added to the flock. For this reason, providing adequate space in the chicken coop is a necessity.
Red Star Chicken Coop
Red Stars can make for good backyard chickens, provided you have enough space for them to free-range, and can provide them with a generously-sized chicken coop and run.
Red Star chickens can fly and enjoy doing it so you should ensure you place netting over the chicken run area, lest they escape.
Red Star chickens should have a large chicken coop providing 15 to 20 square feet of space per chicken. They should have perches and roosts that are relatively high off the ground, and built side by side, at the same height, at least 10 inches long to prevent pecking.
Nesting boxes should be provided for Red Star hens to nest and lay eggs in. As this breed is combative, it is best that you provide one box per hen and fill them with clean pine shavings.
Red Star chickens do not breed true, so if you cross two Red Star chickens, you may be surprised by the outcome.
Red Stars also are not the best mothers to their baby chicks. This means that you will need an incubator and brooding boxes in your hatchery, with adequate space for any baby chicks that you breed.
Brooders essentially act as “mini” chicken coops, and should be set up in advance with a safe heat source, a chick waterer and feeder. They keep your baby chicks safe from the rest of the flock until they are old enough to safely join their peers.
The chicken coop will need to be clean, well-organized, and practical for Red Star chickens to live peacefully. Larger feeding and watering areas will help, so your flock doesn’t get into fights over resources.
Health and Feeding
Different breeds of chicken have special needs, and Red Star chicks have specific health concerns that you may need to address, depending on the climate in which you live.
While Red Star chickens can acclimate to both warm and cold weather, their single comb and bare legs make them susceptible to frostbite in winter. For this reason, you may need to climatize your chicken coop. Inspecting their combs should be done if you know the weather to be particularly icy.
Feeding Red Star chickens is not difficult, as long as you know what they require at different stages of growth.
Baby chicks should begin with a high-quality chick starter, and then switch over to grower feed after they hit the six-week mark. At 12 weeks, they will switch to layer feed, with a 16-18 percent protein content.
Oyster shell should be offered in unlimited amounts to laying hens – they will eat what they need to supplement their calcium intake.
Table scraps can be given to chickens as treats on occasions, but should not make up more than 10% of their diet. Be sure to check whether a food you want to give them is safe for chicken consumption as some seemingly benign fruits or veggies can cause serious harm to your flock.
Your flock will also need access to unlimited chick grit. They will only eat what they need, and it is an inexpensive way to ensure their digestive systems work properly, keeping them healthy.
What Two Breeds Make a Red Star Chicken?
The most common hybrid used in creating Red Star chickens is crossing a white hen such as a Plymouth Rock hen with a red rooster, such as a Rhode Island Red rooster.
How Often Do Red Star Chickens Lay Eggs?
Most Red Star hens will lay 5 to 6 eggs per week which means an annual yield of 280 to 350 eggs per year.
Are Red Star Chickens Dual Purpose?
Red Star chickens are dual-purpose chickens and can be used as a broiler breed. They were commercialized for this purpose alongside Leghorns.
How Much Do Red Star Chickens Cost?
Red Star chicken eggs are usually pre-sorted and sold as sex link chickens. This means they often cost a little more because you are buying all hens or all roosters, depending on your needs.
Prices can vary but they are usually sold by a larger quantity and can go for $3 – $7 per baby chick.