What is a golden comet chicken?
A golden comet chicken is a modern red sex-linked hybrid cross between a white leghorn and a Rhode Island Red although in reality the parents are likely to be hybrids themselves.
The result is a medium sized, plain brown chicken that is a phenomenal egg layer easily producing 300 eggs per year. Golden comets convert feed to eggs efficiently and are docile and easy to keep.
The Golden Comet is not a breed of chicken but a hybrid or cross of two pure bred types.
Below: This is 2 Golden Comet hybrids mixed in with my egg flock.
Another advantage of these types of chickens is they have normally been vaccinated before you get them and will remain healthy and productive for a few years.
What does a golden comet chicken look like?
The Golden Comet is an average sized plain brown chicken with a varying amount of white of mixed brown and white feathers. They are busy and active chickens that convert feed to eggs at an economic rate.
My Golden Comets are not bothered by bad or cold weather and are just as hardy as any of my heritage breeds.
Below: Chickens like the Golden Comet make up a large part of my egg flock.
Cockerels are not so easy to find as most Comets are sold as sexed chicks or started pullets and being a hybrid they do not breed true. The cockerels are around 7.5lb and the hens about 5.5lbs.
You can eat surplus Golden Comets or rear surplus males for meat but they are not a broiler fowl and you will likely be disappointed with the meat yield.
Golden Comet chickens vs heritage breeds:
A table comparison of heritage breeds with Golden Comets.
|Golden Comet chickens.||Heritage chicken breeds.|
|280 - 330 eggs per year||180 - 200 eggs per year|
|Very good feed efficiency||Average feed efficiency|
|Tend to not be broody||Tend to be more broody|
|Light weight birds||Large, heavy birds|
|Productive for 3 years||Productive for 5 years|
|Colour sex at day old||Not always easy to sex|
|Faster growing POL is 19 weeks||Slower growing POL is 25 weeks|
There is no doubt Hybrids like the Golden Comet live their lives much faster than heritage chickens.
Are Golden Comets and ISA browns the same?
Golden comets and ISA browns are the same in the sense that they are both a red sex-link hybrid.
They are different in the sense that comets are a Rhode Island Red and Leghorn hybrids and ISA browns are a Rhode Island Red and Rhode Island White hybrid.
At what age do Golden Comet chickens lay eggs?
Hybrids are quick to start laying and Golden Comets start producing eggs at 19 weeks old.
What colour eggs do Golden comet chickens lay?
Golden Comet lay a large light brown egg that is lightly speckled.
Below: A selection of Golden comet eggs from my chickens.
Are golden comet chickens good layers?
Golden comet chickens are very good layers. You can expect 300 to 330 eggs per year from each Golden comet in a backyard flock and more if they are kept under ideal circumstances.
Mine have given me an average of 312 eggs in their first season which makes these birds laying machines.
Are Golden comet chickens friendly?
One of the characteristics of Golden comets is how friendly they are. From the moment they hatch they are around people and seem to have had any distrust of people bred out of them. Mine are always around my feet pestering me for treats when I am out in the fields and they always come running when they see me.
Golden comets are very malleable chickens and are easy to train in a few weeks with no problems at all. They don't mind being handled and carried around and do make good pets for the backyard.
Do Golden Comets need any special care?
Golden Comets need to be fed a diet of at least 90% quality layers pellets that contain at least 16% protein They are hyper productive birds and too much scratch or treats can effect their laying very quickly.
I have found that mine live quite happily in my egg flock with a mix of other hybrids and heritage chickens and need little special care or anything more than normal chickens would.
They do suffer a little more from crop problems and do like to free range and they are always busy and active chickens.
You might want to consider making sure that your Golden Comets go through a proper moult every year to make sure they have a break in egg laying and recover properly for the new season.
How much do Golden Comet chickens cost?
When buying Golden comets you can expect to pay from $2.85 for straight run chicks, $3.95 for sexed chicks and From $10 for started 16 week old pullets.
Prices vary depending on how many you buy at the time and whether or not you choose to have the vaccinated.
Where to get Golden Comet chickens?
Most hatcheries sell red sex-linked chickens like Golden Comets
How can you tell if a golden comet chicken is male or female?
Golden comets are a red sex-link chickens and you can tell the sex from the moment they hatch as the males are white and the hens are red.
Golden Comets are colour sexed. Female chicks are bronze buff colour with stripes, and males are light yellow. As adults, hens are reddish brown and white, and roosters are all white to white with a sprinkling of reddish feathers. Legs of both sexes are yellow.
You don't always notice it in pictures as they are often sexed the moment they are out of the hatcher and the males never appear in the pictures.
How long do Golden comet chickens live?
Golden Comet chicken lifespan is quite short at 3 to 5 years, half that of heritage chicken breeds. This is a compromise, they produce so many eggs it exhausts them in a few years.
You may also find that in their third laying season the quality of the eggs begins to deteriorate and you end up with thinner or incomplete shells.
Are Golden Comet chickens quiet?
Mine are not noisy birds as a rule. The hens will cluck when they lay eggs.
How to breed your own Golden Comets:
You will not get Golden Comet chicks from Golden Comet hens as they do not breed true. The offspring will be cross breeds of their own and will not be sex-able at hatching like the parents are.
Remember the original pairing was a New Hampshire rooster over a White Rock hen. If you want to ‘create’ a Golden Comet you need to cross either a white Leghorn or white Rock hen and a New Hampshire red or Rhode island red rooster.
Is the Golden Comet Right For You?
If you are after chickens that will produce an plenty of eggs in all seasons then the Golden Comet is a good choice.
She will be prolific layer of large brown eggs from quite a young age, often from as young as 19 weeks old. The downside is you will need to replace them every 3 years with new hens if you want to maintain egg production levels.
The Golden Comet has a great temperament and is suitable for children to look after as they enjoy company and aren’t easily spooked. They are happy go lucky and docile chickens that seem to take everything in their stride.
Golden Comets would be great for 4H projects or beginners as they are a low maintenance bird with little extra care requirements.
They do tolerate confinement well but if allowed to free range they are good foragers.
Golden Comet chickens for meat?
You can eat Golden Comet chickens but the hens are much more valuable as layers and the they rarely weight more than 5lb before being processed and dressed for cooking.
You might just be able to feed two people with a fattened Golden Comet cockerel.