Red Star Chickens were developed in the 1950s to be a hardy dual-purpose chicken. For this reason, they’ve long been a popular choice for poultry breeders, homesteaders, and backyard owners.
The Red Star is a sex-linked crossbreed created by breeding a New Hampshire or Rhode Island Red rooster with a Rhode Island White, White Plymouth Rock, or Delaware hen.
There are some other variations as is often the case when sex-linked chickens, but these are the most common breeds used.
If you’re interested to learn more about this breed of chicken, here’s all the important information you need to know:
Red Star Chicken Temperament and Personality
If you’re going to be keeping them as a backyard pet, temperament and personality is an important consideration.
The interesting thing with Red Star’s however, is that from speaking with various owners, I get a wide range of answers.
I think it’s fair to say it’s fairly unpredictable exactly how the temperament will be on your chicks. It does, of course, help to handle and socialize them from a young age.
They do have a reputation for not being inviting for new chickens being introduced to their flock, so keep that in mind.
Which is so different from the Black Star, where it’s hard to find an owner that didn’t have a docile, loving, big softie of a chicken.
If you want a breed that’s going to slot into an existing flock and be super-friendly with kids, other household pets, and so on, you’d be better off considering a Black Star in my opinion.
They are medium-sized chickens, typically weighing around 8 and 6 lbs respectively for fully grown adults.
A huge advantage to hybrid breeds is the ability to tell their gender by appearance when they’re just one day old.
If a Red Star chick is a female they’ll be red, orange, or somewhere in between. Males are white, making it very obvious from just a day old if they’ll grow up to be a hen or a rooster.
As they grow up their colors will change and vary depending on the breeds they originated from.
Most often, however, they are Rhode Island Crosses and are brown with white flicks. They have yellow beaks and a single-comb.
Red Star Chicken Egg Color, Size, and Production
This is where Red Stars really shine. They are one of the most prolific layers of large, brown eggs.
With all the right nutritional and environmental factors met, they can lay anywhere between 280-360 eggs a year!
That’s pretty much one a day (but I’m sure you were able to work that out).
They are one of the few breeds that are able to operate at maximum capacity. This is largely due to the fact that they rarely get broody.
Are They a Good Backyard Chicken Breed?
If you are keeping chickens for egg production, then it doesn’t get much better than Red Stars.
Laying almost an egg a day, with just 2-3 of these in your flock you’re going to have enough fresh eggs to run a small egg market!
The only issue is with their temperament. They aren’t the most friendly breed and are not always the easiest to keep in a mixed flock.
Still, they’re not a huge problem. With some care and attention, many people keep them with their other breeds without an issue.
They are what I would call low maintenance as they are hardy and adapt well to changes in the weather too.
Something important to be aware of – You’ll need to tighten up on your security if you’ve been keeping a grounded breed like the California White or California Grey breeds.
Red Stars are one of the more flighty breeds and will find a way to escape shallow enclosures.
Related – A look at the California White chicken.
Red Star Chicken Lifespan
The life expectancy of a Red Star is between 5-8 years.
I checked in with a couple of friends who have owned them, and they both said this is how long theirs lived barring any illnesses etc.
Red Star Roosters
The roosters are mostly white, with a darker saddle and hackle feathers. They usually have some brown on their wings too.
Not the most colorful rooster, but they have a strong personality. They can be a tad more territorial and aggressive than the average rooster, but if you’re experienced with handling roosters it’s nothing you won’t be able to manage.
Some Interesting Facts About Red Star Chickens
If you’re looking for some quick facts about Red Star Chickens, here are some of the most interesting and unique features of this breed:
- As a sex-link breed, they can be sexed when they hatch. Day-old females are white, and the males are a reddish-orange color.
- They typically start laying at around 18-20 weeks of age.
- Some breeders use the terms; Cinnamon Queen, Golden Comet, ISA Browns, and some other names depending on which breed their chicks were produced from. It’s often best to double-check with the breeder exactly what you’re getting.
- They are not recommended for reproduction as their chicks will not have the same characteristics as their parents.
- They are not a broody breed anyway, and will often not sit on their eggs.
- Adult males weigh around 8 lbs, and females weigh around 6 lbs.
- They lay a huge amount of large eggs per year, typically between 330-350!
- Because they’re a hybrid, Red Stars are not recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA)
Where to Buy Red Star Chickens?
If you need help finding a local hatchery in your state, please type your state in the search box in the right-hand sidebar or visit the Find a Hatchery Near You category.
If you’re unable to find a local breeder, or if you just want the convenience of ordering online I can recommend a couple of online hatcheries:
McMurray Hatchery – Looking on this site, at the time of publishing this, I can see Red Star chicks being sold for around $4.25 for females and $2.50 for males.
They call this breed “our best brown egg layer”. If you’re after an egg-laying breed this is the right choice.
Just from speaking with some friends about Red Stars to add some information to this post I’ve become a huge fan and will be considering adding a couple of these to my flock in the future.
They’re awesome for backyard and homestead settings. If you’re raising chickens for eggs, there are few breeds that make for a better choice.
Image credits – Header image by Tina Xinia, in-body images by Stephen Mierendorf, Erol Ahmed, and Brett Jordan on Unsplash
What Color Eggs Do Red Star Chickens Lay?
They lay brown eggs. Like the classic brown egg color you commonly see in supermarkets.
When Do Red Star Chickens Start Laying?
They start laying between 18-20 weeks of age. You’ll see small “pullet eggs” at first, but within a few weeks, you’ll be finding large eggs in their nesting box.
How Many Eggs Do Red Star Chickens Lay?
I’ve seen claims as high as 365 eggs a year, which is pretty much the maximum you can expect from a chicken. So, it’s fair to say they are super-star egg layers.