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Auto-Sexing Dark Brown Egg Layers

In the urban chicken world, everyone wants pullets. Or, little girl chicks. The poor boys are seen as a nuisance more than a necessity. For this reason, along with the dark brown egg craze, we are adding a breeding group of Penedesencas.

It will be sometime next year before chicks are available, but we have had a couple of them in our olive egger projects this year, and they both lay considerably darker than the hatchery black copper Marans (who are also in an olive egger project pen). Not quite as dark as the show line Marans, but hopefully they will have a higher hatch rate. And, we will be able to tell boys and girls apart from day one.

Penedesenca chicks upon arrival

Even an untrained eye can spot the two color types above. The lighter chicks, more yellow and red, are the boys. Brown and tan chicks are the girls. They look very similar to auto-sexing baby Legbars. In fact, the basic genetics are the same. They will also breed true, unlike a sex-linked hybrid.

Penedesenca pullet chicks on the top, boys on the bottom. Please ignore the full crops, they are growing (and eating) a lot at nine days old.

PS: There is one more new addition to the breed list at Hubbard’s Hens coming this fall and we can hardly wait to spill the beans on them, but we are trying not to count the little chickens before they hatch and arrive safely – but if you like speckled eggs you will want to stay tuned!

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