The Star of the Show: All You Need to Know About the Black Star Chicken

The world of backyard poultry offers many options. Still, the Black Star chicken breed is popular among farmers and hobbyists. This versatile bird provides an impressive combination of beneficial traits, making it an ideal choice for a wide range of poultry keepers.

This blog post delves into the characteristics of this breed, exploring its origins, identifying features, and unique advantages.

So grab your beverage of choice, put on your designated coop shoes, find a chair, and read this while hanging out with your feathered friends. I’m not the only one who likes to sit and read with my ladies, right?

Portrait of a black star laying hen.

What is a Black Star Chicken?

Black Star chickens, also known as Black Sex-Links, are not purebred birds in the traditional sense. They are a hybrid created by crossing a Barred Plymouth Rock hen with a Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire rooster.

This breeding is purposeful, aiming to combine the robust egg-laying abilities of the Barred Rock with the meaty physique and general vigor of the Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire. The result is a bird that excels in both egg and meat production.

History of the Black Star Chicken

The Black Star chicken is a relatively modern creation, born out of the increasing demand for poultry breeds that offer the best of both worlds—meat and eggs.

While not a pure breed, the Black Star is a hybrid skillfully engineered by crossing a Barred Plymouth Rock hen with a Rhode Island Red or New Hampshire rooster. This selective breeding was designed to achieve a dual-purpose bird, excelling in both egg and meat production.

It also aimed to capitalize on the hardiness and temperament of its parent breeds. Over the years, the Black Star has gained prominence as one of the most efficient and versatile options for backyard poultry, and it has been embraced by both commercial and small-scale farmers alike.

Black Star Chicken
Beginner Friendly: Yes
Lifespan: 5-8 years.
Weight: Hen (5-6 lb) and Rooster (7-8 lb).
Color: Hen: Black with reddish or gold feathers on neck and/or breast
Male: Black with white or silver barring
Egg Production: 250-300 per year
Egg Color: Brown
Known For Broodiness: No
Good With Children: Yes
Cost of Chicken: $3-$5 per chick.

Identifying Features

A Black Star chicken is an attractive bird with mostly black plumage that can sometimes exhibit golden or reddish-brown feathers, particularly around the neck and breast areas.

The roosters often display contrasting colors, showing off a mix of black, white, and sometimes even silver feathers, making them more striking than their female counterparts.

However, I am personally partial to the hens golden feathers! This blend of colors makes them stand out in a flock and adds an aesthetic appeal to your poultry yard.

Both the males and the females have red combs, wattles, and ear lobes. They also have yellow skin.

Handsome black and orange chicken, Black Star breed.

The Sex-Link Advantage

One of the most intriguing aspects of Black Star chickens is their status as a sex-link breed. This feature allows poultry keepers to determine the sex of each chick immediately upon hatching, a highly beneficial trait for those who want to maintain a specific male-to-female ratio in their flock.

Female chicks hatch out primarily black. In contrast, if you see a white dot on your chick’s head, you know you have a male. This eliminates the need for vent sexing, which can be a complicated and delicate procedure. And there is no need to post on forums for clues about your chicks’ sex with this breed!

Egg Production

When it comes to egg production, the Black Star hen is a superstar. These hens are known to lay approximately 250 to 300 large, brown eggs yearly.

They generally start laying at about 5 to 6 months old, a relatively early start compared to other breeds. This level of productivity is particularly beneficial for those looking to produce a lot of eggs, whether for personal consumption or for sale.

Meat Production

While Black Stars are often kept for their exceptional egg-laying capabilities, they are also commendable meat producers. These birds grow relatively quickly and develop a solid, meaty build.

Although they are not as large as some meat-specific breeds like the Cornish Cross, they still offer a respectable amount of meat, usually weighing around 6 to 8 pounds fully grown.


One of the most endearing qualities of Black Star chickens is their friendly and docile temperament. They are known to be easygoing and comfortable around humans. This makes them an excellent choice for families with children or for those who are new to poultry keeping.

They are also less prone to pecking and aggressive behavior, making them easier to manage and a peaceful addition to any flock.


Black Star chickens are renowned for their hardiness and impressive adaptability to various climates and conditions.

They exhibit good resistance to diseases, and their strong foraging skills help them adapt well to free-range conditions. Whether you live in a hot, humid area or a location with cold winters, these birds can thrive with basic care and protection.

Black Star Chicken


Black Star hens are generally less broody compared to some heritage breeds. While they have maternal instincts, their primary focus is egg-laying rather than nesting and raising chicks. This characteristic is often seen as an advantage for those prioritizing egg production over chick rearing.

Feeding and Care

The dietary needs of Black Star chickens are not overly complicated. A balanced layer feed provides most of the nutrients they require. Fresh water should always be available, and supplemental items like grit (for digestion) and occasional treats like fruits, vegetables, or mealworms are also recommended.

They appreciate a clean coop with adequate ventilation, nesting boxes, and a secure outdoor area for foraging and exercise.

Cost Per Chick

The cost of a Black Star chick can vary depending on the bird’s source, location, and age, but prices generally range from $3 to $5 per chick. Given their long list of positive traits, many find this initial cost to be a worthy investment for the benefits received over the bird’s lifespan.

Closeup of a cute black sex-link hen roaming in her backyard coop. The birds are friendly, curious and good egg layers


Whether you’re looking to venture into the realm of poultry keeping or you’re a seasoned farmer seeking to diversify your flock, the Black Star chicken offers a balanced mix of beneficial traits. From its exceptional egg-laying to its meat yield, coupled with its friendly temperament and robust health, this breed proves to be a versatile and valuable addition to any backyard or farmstead.

Indeed, the Black Star chicken lives up to its name as a shining star in the poultry world.

As always, let me know in the comments if you have one of these fantastic birds! I love reading about your flocks!

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and is interested in backyard chicken health and care.


  1. Love reading your posts! What is or are some good places to purchase chicks in the USA, including the Black Star? Just getting started with a backyard flock and this seems like an ideal chicken for starters! Thanks!

  2. I found everything you said to be true. I got my first chickens 2 years ago and got 2 black stars. My first flick was 7 hens and they are a wonderful and happy flock. I recently introduced 9 hatchlings- of which 4 turned out to be roosters. They are just now 19 weeks old with the 2 year old girls. It’s been a bit of an adjustment but so far is going well. I fortunately have a home for 2 roosters if I need it and I’m thinking I probably will. My 2 black stars are Taffy and Talon and I love them dearly and would love to add sone more black stars someday. They are a wonderful breed.

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