Breeds

Sapphire Gem Chicken

By Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The Sapphire Gem chicken is very popular due to its lovely blue colors, friendly character, and excellent egg-laying skills.

Let's find out all there is to know about this cross-breed.

For those in a hurry, here are the main takeaways:

Main Takeaways:

  • Sapphire Gems lay up to 290 eggs per year
  • Sapphire Gems are no true breed, but a blue Plymouth Rock cross
  • They are a beginner-friendly breed and easy to take care of
  • It's a sex-link breed: the chick's down reveals its sex after hatching
  • Sapphire Gem is a retail name
Eggs250-290 eggs/year
Egg ColorBrown, Pink
Egg Size(Extra) Large
Weight6-7 lbs
HardinessCold & Heat
TemperamentDocile, Easy to Care For
Beginner-friendlyyes
Colorblue (light-grey)
Price$3 - 5$

Characteristics

Sapphire Gems are lavender or blue in color and are medium in size, which makes them suited as both meat and egg bird. They have a red single comb and red wattles and earlobes.

sapphire gem chicken in a flock on an large chicken run
Credits: @redbirdranch (IG)

The feet and legs of Sapphire Gems are clean and dark in color. The body feathers and wing feathers are grayish blue, with some dark lacing. The hackles are darker. The roosters have some black spots in their plumage, and their saddle feathers are dark grey.

The Sapphire Gem hens weigh around 6 pounds (2,7kg), and roosters are tipping the scale at roughly 7 pounds (3,2kg). There is no Bantam or miniature version available of the Sapphire Gem.

Sex-linked chicken

The Sapphire Gem is a sex-linked chicken, and the pigment of the down reveals the chick's gender. The day-old male chicks have a white spot on their head and have some barring in their plumage. Day-old hen chicks have a darker down.

sapphire gem sex link male female

Sex-linked chickens are always hybrid birds: cross breeds of heritage or purebred chicken breeds. The Sapphire Gem makes it easy to determine the sex of a day-old hatchling, which is interesting for hatcheries.

Barring Gene

The blue color of the Sapphire Gem results from the Blue gene diluting black pigments in the plumage. However, Blue is not a sex-linked gene. That's why breeders use the Barred Plymouth Rock as a mother hen. The barring gene is a sex gene on the Z chromosome of a chicken.

That said, you can't breed true with Sapphire Gems. The offspring will have different colors. So you can't hatch the eggs to get new Sapphire Gems unless you have a parent pair.

dominant blue 107 sapphire gem barring sex link gene passed from the parents (barred plymouth rock, blue plymouth rock) to the offspring (dominant blue)

Sapphire Gem Breed

The Sapphire Gem is not a chicken breed but a cross-linked Plymouth Rock. The name Sapphire Gem is a retail name. The breed and color variation is not recognized by the American Poultry Association.

Gems are a blue crossbreed from a mix of a Blue Plymouth Rock father and a Barred Plymouth Rock mother. This results in Plymouth Rocks with a blue color that resembles Spanish Andalusian chickens. They don't breed true, so if you mate two Gems, you won't get little Sapphire Gems.

The name Sapphire Gem is a pending trademark brand from Hoover's Hatchery. The breed is presumably coming from a Czech breeding company, where it's called Dominant Blue D107, although there is no official confirmation from the hatchery.

Hardiness for inferior Conditions

The original Czech breed was created to lay a large number of eggs in harsh production conditions. This includes suboptimal confinement conditions and hot climates like Nigeria and Ghana. The birds are now used in farming from Europe to Nepal and can lay up to 290 brown eggs yearly.

The Sapphire Gems are heavier species than other commercial-laying birds. They adapt well to poor feeding systems and show a 100% survival rate when fed only kitchen scraps. While in other chickens, poor feed systems cause cannibalism, feather pecking, and stress.

Personality

Sapphire Gems are docile and friendly birds that are easy to keep. That makes them beginner friendly and a good choice if you have small children or pets running around the coop.

Sapphire Gems are known to be family-friendly birds that are not aggressive, at least not to humans. Overall, they aren't showing assertive behavior to other flock members and easily get along with other chickens. You can keep Sapphire Gems with other chicken breeds without any issues.

Gems are cold hardy birds that don't need special care during normal winters. Just keep an eye on them during extreme weather circumstances, like heat waves or extremely cold weather. This goes for any chicken breed, as they all need extra care during heavy weather.

Egg Production

Sapphire Gems are excellent egg-layers and lay approximately 5 to 7 large light brown or pinkish eggs weekly. That's an astonishing 260 to 290 eggs per year!

These little egg-making machines keep on laying during winter; however, production may slow down from 7 eggs per week to 5. Keeping Sapphire Gems will ensure you from getting a year-round egg supply, except during molting. On top of that, older Gems can lay extra-large eggs.

The Sapphire Gems need a lot of protein and calcium to produce that many large eggs. If you only let them free range, or you don't provide them with enough nutrients, they will stop laying. They are bred for the poultry industry, after all.

Gems are not known to go broody easily, which is something to keep in mind when planning to hatch eggs. They can get more broody with aging, but not like the heritage Plymouth Rocks. Generally, egg production will stay stable all year.

Free-Ranging

Sapphire Gems have excellent free-ranging skills. They love to forage in the garden, looking for bugs and scratching their feet in the dirt. If you want to keep your Sapphire Gems inside an enclosed pen, ensure they have enough space to feel happy and healthy. Check out our 'Chicken Coop Size Calculator' for the minimum space requirements.

free ranging sapphire gem chicken in the sun
Credits: @redbirdranch (IG)

Just bear in mind that they need extra sources of calcium and protein for their eggs. They won't have enough nutrients in their free-range diet to lay at their maximum capacity.

If you have the space and your neighbors don't mind an occasional visit from your birds, it's perfectly possible to let them forage on your property. They'll find their way back to the coop once dusk comes and it's time to go to bed.

Summary

Sapphire Gems are a fairly recent blue cross-breed originating in the Czech Republic. Gems are popular due to their lovely grey-blue colors, docile nature, and excellent egg-laying skills.

Sapphire gems can lay up to 290 eggs yearly. They are a beginner-friendly breed and easy to take care of.

The name Sapphire Gem is a retail name. The American Poultry Association does not recognize the breed or color variation.

To learn more about chicken breeds, check out our 'Chicken Breeds Page' to see every specific breed we address. Or go to our listicle breed summary on 'The Classroom', or, if you're unsure where to start, take a look at our 'Chicken Breeds: Ultimate Beginners Guide'.

Credits Featured Image: @redbirdranch (IG)

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Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The editorial team consists of 3rd generation chicken owners Kat, journalist, editor-in-chief, and Nick, working with illustrators and specialists in the field.

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