Golden Comet Chicken: What to Know Before Buying One

Golden Comet Chicken What to Know Before Buying One Blog Cover

The Golden Comet is one of the more recent hybrid chickens that has been bred for great egg production.

It was initially ‘made’ for the commercial industry, but it has successfully transitioned into small farms and backyards across the world and is possibly the most widely kept hybrid hen.

In this article we are going to delve into its’ history and personality and learn a bit more about this cheerful and productive little hen.

After reading this article you will know if it’s the right hen for your flock.

History of Golden Comets

Flock of Golden CometThe Golden Comet is a sex linked chicken. A sex link is not a ‘breed’ in the true sense of the word. It is a cross breed or ‘hybrid’ chicken. This is an important distinction as you will see.

If you mate a pure breed chicken with its’ own kind, the chicks will look the same as their parents.

A sex link chicken is a bird that is sex-able at hatching; that means it’s easy to tell the males from the females. This is a useful trait for us hatcheries, as it means that the hens can be retained for laying and the males are unfortunately disposed of.

If you live in an area where you are not allowed roosters, sex link chickens are the best bet for having all girls with no ‘oops’ in the pack.

They chicken is the result of a mating between a New Hampshire rooster and a White Rock hen.

There are several red sex link hybrids:

  • Gold Sex Link
  • Golden Buff
  • Red Star
  • Cinnamon Queen

Sometimes all or some of these names are used interchangeably which confuses people and individual hatcheries may have a different name for their ‘line’ of sex link birds.

Appearance

The Golden Comet is generally a light/medium reddish brown, possibly flecked with some white feathers. It’s actually quite a small bird for a standard chicken, with females weighing around 4lb and males weighing in at 6lb.

They have a single upright comb – comb and wattles being red in color.

The beak is a yellow/brown color and eyes are a yellow. Legs are also yellow and the bird has four toes on each foot.

The body of the hen is an inverted triangular shape with a ‘U’ shape between the head and tail which is held quite high, almost perpendicular.

Breed Standard

As a hybrid, there is no standard set for this bird.

Egg Laying and Broodiness

Golden CometGolden Comets are excellent layers of medium to large brown eggs. They can lay from 5-6 eggs per week which puts them on a par with the Rhode Island Red hen. They are able to put out a whopping 330 eggs per year – that’s almost an egg every day!

True to their reputation for production, these girls can start laying at 16 weeks and will continue to be very productive up to around the two year mark, after that egg production will drop off noticeably.

They will seldom go broody – it has been bred out of them so if you want to hatch some chicks you will have to fire up the incubator.

This is where the ‘hybrid’ part becomes important. You will not get Golden Comet chicks from Golden Comet hens, the offspring will be cross breeds.

Remember the original pairing was a New Hampshire rooster over a White Rock hen. If you want to ‘create’ a Golden Comet, this is the pairing you need. In effect, to maintain your flock of you need a flock of White Rocks and a couple of New Hampshire roosters.

Disposition

The Golden Comet is described as a personable and curious hen, is very mellow and doesn’t mind being picked up by folks. In fact, some folks say this breed actually seeks out people over its’ own flock mates.

They are resilient, tolerating a wide variety of temperatures. As with most single comb chickens keep an eye open for frostbitten combs if it is very cold where you live.

They easily become family pets as they are so friendly and gentle. In a flock situation, they are peaceful members. They dislike any squabbling or pecking generally and will move away from the troublemaker if they can.

As such, they are better to keep with breeds that are calm and non-aggressive as this will avoid them being picked on. Suitable breeds to mix with would be Cochins, Plymouth Rocks, Faverolles or Orpingtons.

Health Issues and Welfare

Golden Comet RoamingA Golden Comet should not have any real problems in her first 3 years other than the usual possibilities of worms, lice, mites etc.

As they were bred to maintain a high production rate, their lifespan is usually rather short (generally less than four to five years).

As with all high production hens, they most often succumb to reproductive tumors, egg yolk peritonitis or other reproductive issues.

Is the Golden Comet Right For You?

If you want hens that will produce an abundance of eggs for your family, look no further than the Golden Comet.

She has a prolific output and lays very early. The downside to that is after 3 years you will need to replace the flock with new girls if you want to maintain egg production.

The Comet is great for kids; they are gentle, enjoy people and aren’t easily ‘rattled’ in most situations. They seem to take everything in their stride.

Golden Comets are also great for a 4H project or for a chicken beginner as they are a pretty low maintenance bird that can be almost self-sufficient. They tolerate confinement well but if allowed to free range they are good little foragers.

Summary

Hybrid hens such as the Golden Comet are great birds for a small backyard as they take up relatively little space, they aren’t particularly noisy and they are egg laying dynamos!

As you may imagine, two or three years of fairly constant egg laying does take a toll on their bodies which is why they don’t usually live to ‘old age’.

In a commercial setting these hens would be replaced after two years maximum. Golden Comets are often the hens that people receive when they rescue hens.

They do go on to ‘pop out’ those eggs for another year or so usually, but not as prolifically as before. Folks that have rescued them say they are delightful and enjoyable birds to have around your yard.

Do you have any in your flock? Share your story with us in the comments section below…

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Comments

  1. ME says

    A neighbor gave me a GC. I had no idea her age. I figure she was pretty old since there wasn’t much production in the way of eggs. She was still fun to have around and I let her free range to get as many bugs as she wanted. She’d come to me when I called her.

  2. Karin Kelly says

    The majority of my flock is made up of Golden Comets. The are calm, affectionate, easy to manage and easy to pet. They love to sit on my lap or legs. I take these girls out of the run and let them forage and they are really easy to catch and put back in the run. They are great for children to pet. By far, my fave hens to have. I also have some welsummers (all named skunk as they are ornery and hard to catch, 2 bantam leghorns (impossible to grab), a barred rock, a lacy wyandotte,and 2 americaunas for a total of 24 hens.

  3. Laurie says

    I bought 4 different breeds for my first flock. The golden buff was one of them. She was immediately my favorite because she was so smart and friendly. She laid every day. Through the winter and through her molt. She died shortly after her 4th birthday. Now I have a whole flock of them and they are even friendlier than Goldie was. I love them and i love the eggs. All the eggs are laid every morning before breakfast !

  4. Merle Schmidt says

    I’m caring for a flock of 11 GC’s in Thailand for a period of 5 months. I’m new to chicken care and find them easy to maintain. I let them free range while I’m nearby doing other work in the morning & evening and then they readily follow me back to their hutch when I feed them. They are nearing the end of their egg production laying every other day on average.

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