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
The 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.
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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.
As a hybrid, there is no standard set for this bird.
Egg Laying and Broodiness
Golden 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.
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.
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 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
A 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.
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…