Gauteng Smallholder December/ January 2018 - Page 28

POULTRY A friendly, docile hybrid layer S teady and reliable is the way poultry owners describe Amberlink chickens. Adaptable is another important trait, so a smallholder who wants to set up a small flock of chickens should consider this breed. The Amberlink is a hybrid that is a good egg producer. (A hybrid chicken is created by crossing two or more different pure breeds and sometimes crossing further after this. There are hybrid crosses that produce table birds and hybrid crosses that Amberlinks are a good choice for a plot chicken flock produce hens for laying. Hybridisation developed in the 1950s.) Sometimes they are called Amber Star or Amber White chickens. The hens are white birds with brown flecking, while the males tend more to beige and brown colouring. The males reach a mature weight of about 2,5 to 2,7 kg and the females mature at about 2 kg. These weights make the bird flexible enough to thrive in confined or free range environments. While they do well in confined spaces, they do equally well at foraging even from a young age, happily scratching for their food. They are active chickens. If you get them as young chickens, it is best to allow them to adjust to their new coop and learn how to roost properly. Once they have adjusted to their new home, they will come back to the coop by themselves in the evenings instead of trying to roost in the trees. They are hardy birds and are capable of flourishing in most climatic conditions. Amberlinks are a hybrid breed 26 The breed is docile, curious and friendly, with individual birds having distinct personal- ities. They are easy to handle and generally good with children. They welcome any form of attention, especially when food is involved. Their docile temperament allows them to get along with other heavy breeds. Their fans will tell you that the best quality of the Amberlink is the egg produc- tion. The hens start laying around five months of age, and can lay up to 320 eggs in their first year. After their first year of laying, hens slow down in production. The eggs are large to extra large and brown. The incidence of double yolks is quite high. For more information on the breed call Farm Fresh Eggs on 082 903 6595.