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If you are looking for a champion egg layer, the Amberlink Chicken may be just what you need.
Amberlink chickens are a hybrid chicken breed which were developed in the 1970’s to be heavy egg layers. Otherwise known as a Dekalb Amberlink, these chickens come from Isa Hendrix genetics. They are a cold and heat hardy breed laying up to 270 Medium to Large sized eggs in a year.
Below we will cover their history, size, temperament and more. So, if you are thinking of adding this chicken breed to your flock, read on to learn all you need to know.
|Size||Male: 5 – 6lbs; Female 4 – 5lbs|
|Color||Male: Red with White; Female White with Red Tint|
|Hardiness||Cold and Heat Hardy|
Amberlink Chicken History & Origin
The Amberlink Chicken breed was developed originally in the United States in the 1970’s. This breed, sometimes known as the Dekalb Amberlink, is one of the many egg production breeds developed by ISA Hendrix Genetics.
They are a Hybrid breed of chicken. A Hybrid breed is basically a chicken breed that is originally a cross of two purebred chickens. In this instance, a white breed and a red breed to start. However, hybrid breeds are ones that take those crosses, choose specific ones and continue with their crosses until they have developed the special characteristics that they are aiming for.
What makes the Amberlink Chicken A Hybrid Chicken Breed?
To clarify, a purebred chicken is when a single breed, for example, a Rhode Island Red is bred only to another Rhode Island Red. A simple crossbreed is when you take one chicken and breed it to a chicken of another breed. The difference between a crossbreed and hybrid is that the hybrid is done through generations of selective breeding to achieve an end goal. It is a much more complex breeding process.
Pros and Cons of Raising Hybrid Amberlink Chickens
The biggest benefit to raising Amberlink chickens, and hybrids in general, is that they excel, far above other chicken breeds, in whatever trait is being targeted. For example, Amberlink Chickens are amazing egg layers because they have been crossed with so other good layers to really hone in on that specific ability.
The biggest issues, or cons with Amberlinks, and hybrids in general, are two-fold. The first is that hybrids typically have a shorter lifespan than non-hybrid chicken breeds. The second reason is, unfortunately, you cannot simply breed two Amberlinks together and expect to get an actual Amberlink as the offspring.
What Do They Look Like
The easiest way to tell your chickens apart is, obviously, by how they look. Let’s discuss some of the physical traits of the Amberlink chicken.
Size, Feathering, and Color
Amberlinks appearance varies slightly based on their sex. Males tend to weigh 5 – 6 pounds with mostly red feathers and some white underneath. Females tend to weigh in the 4 – 5 pound range and are mostly white with a reddish-brown tint to their feathers (particularly in their wings, across their shoulders and in their tails).
Comb & Wattles
The Amberlink chicken has both a single red comb and a pair of bright red wattles. The comb and wattles are both part of the Amberlink’s way of maintaining their core body temperature.
Differences Between Roosters and Hens
As far as how to sex this breed, at hatch both males and females are the same color (they are not sex-linked), but can be wing sexed. Or, you can wait until they are several weeks old and can see the color differences developing.
Amberlink Chicken Temperament And Personality
Amberlink chickens tend to be friendly. However, they are also a very active breeds as well. They are great foragers. This means that feeding these chickens can be a bit cheaper as they are happy to run around and hunt for their own food most of the day.
They handle both cold and heat well. So, they can be happy in most any climate making them a very hardy and resilient breed.
Amberlink Chickens Egg Laying & Production
As mentioned earlier, Amberlinks were developed specifically to be high production egg layers. So, their main purpose is as an egg laying addition to the flock.
However, they are also friendly birds, which means that they can also adapt well as a pet in addition to their egg production.
This breed is a fantastic addition, in particular to flocks that are aiming to make money with chickens by selling eating eggs. This is due to the fact that they lay upwards of 270 brown eggs a year, but also are good foragers which results in a cheaper feed to egg conversion ratio than some other breeds.
Additionally, if you live in a climate where it gets particularly hot or cold, they serve a good purpose as an egg layer that can bridge the gaps for some other breeds that are not as hardy in these climates.
General Care And Potential Health Issues For Amberlink Chickens
Clearly, as discussed, there are several benefits to the Amberlink breed. However, with those benefits also come some drawbacks – most in terms of potential health issues.
Hybrid breeds are raised to generate one thing, such as eggs, at a super high rate. This ramped up production can cause several health issues related to egg laying such as peritonisis, egg binding, prolapse, tumors and other egg reproductive health issues.
In addition to the potential health issues that are directly related to egg laying, this bred can also face other issues that are indirectly related to their ramped up egg production. Laying so many eggs straight through the year puts a strain on their body and energy. This can cause them to be more susceptible to any other health issues as they are under a heightened level of stress year round.
Therefore, ensuring that they are offered optimal nutrition, warm, comfortable and clean shelters as well as anything else to support them and decrease stress will help them to live longer.
Are Amberlink chickens good layers?
They are extremely good egg layers. They were bred specifically to have an excellent laying ability. This is shown in their average of 270 eggs per year.
What size eggs do Amberlinks lay?
They lay a Medium to Large Brown egg.
At what age do Amberlink chickens lay eggs?
They tend to be ready to lay right around 4 months of age or 18 – 20 weeks which is pretty average for most egg laying breeds.
How long do Amberlink chickens live?
While chicken lifespan can really depend on a number of different factors, in general, Amberlink Chickens tend to live up to a few years less than standard breeds due to their high egg production and the strain that puts on their bodies.