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Nutty bird.

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My Black Star Noisette, more affectionately known as Nutty, is … well, nutty.

Yesterday she decided to nap in the middle of the lane.

Perhaps she was hot, being jet black and all that, and it was quite hot and humid yesterday.

Or perhaps she knows how pretty she is and thought she could use a beauty rest.

Even better, maybe she knew I had the camera and would take a picture of her being so beautiful.

I think that’s the best reason why she sat so pretty in the shade of the pine tree.

Nutty is about 4 years old now. I got her and 4 other Black Stars in May of 2006. Ever since she hit the 5 month mark, the big brown speckled eggs haven’t hardly quit coming! She took a break a couple times to molt, but she’s fast with them, so her breaks weren’t long.  She used to have more gold leakage, but last fall she lost a lot during the molt.

As mentioned, Nutty is a Black Star, also known as a Black Sex Link. The term “sex link” comes from the fact that the breed cross is such that the males and females are different from the moment they hatch. Males are black with a white/creamy spot on their head, and females are black with no spot. Instead they often have a brown dusty color on their faces. The girls mature to be mostly black with varying amounts of gold leakage, while the males become black and white barred.

This variety of Sex Link (there are also Red and Gold Sex Links) is created when you cross a non-barred/non-white cock over a barred hen. The most common breeds used are Production Reds or New Hampshires (for the male) and Barred Plymouth Rock (for the female). The reasoning is the female passes her barring gene to the male offspring, making them barred as well. A lot of white birds carry the barring gene, but there are a few that don’t (like White Wyandottes and White Plymouth Rocks). However, at the same time one must be careful that neither parent has a dominant white gene.

Some of the breeds one can use for the hen are Barred Plymouth Rock, Cuckoo Marans, Dominique, and Barred Holland. I won’t bother listing the breeds one can use for the father. That would be an incredible waste of time, since it’s much simpler to remember that as long as he’s not barred and not white, he can be used.

The specs for producing a Black Sex Linked cross:

  • The female must carry sex linked barring (i.e. she must be barred)
  • The male cannot carry sex linked barring (i.e. he cannot be barred)
  • One of the parents must be homozygous for extended black or carry two extended black genes
  • Neither of the birds can carry dominant white (in other words, don’t use a white bird. You’re likely to run into problems.)
  • Almost any variety/color male (excluding barred and white) can be used over the barred female to produce a black sex linked cross.

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