Rhode Island Red chickens are a good breed to choose if you want to keep a small flock of dual-purpose chickens. They are great for both egg production and also eating. Of the dual-purpose breeds Rhode Island reds are the best egg layers and are great for raising in the backyard.
The average hen lays large brown eggs. They are also fair sized roasters. The hens lay an average of about 260 eggs per year which is an ample amount to keep you in a small business if you have more than a couple of them. The cock will weigh about eight and a half pounds and the hens about seven and a half pounds.
Rhode Island Red Chicken
The Rhode Island Red chicken is one of the most popular breeds but it is also one of the more recently developed breeds as well. It got its name from being bred and developed in Rhode Island in the 1830s but it was also developed in Massachusetts. Rhode Island reds breeding are a combination of Brown Leghorns, Cochins and Malays. It gets the deep rich red color from the Malay influence in its breeding.
Rhode Island red chickens are perfect for small time homesteading or keeping in the backyard, they seem happy in smaller locations than other breeds. There are actually two different types of Rhode Island Reds – one with a double comb and one with a single comb. The single combed variety was admitted to the Ape’s Standard of Perfection in 1904 and the rose combed birds a year later. It is also one of the few breeds of poultry where exhibition qualities and egg production ability can be combined into a single strain.
This is also a very hardy bird that can stand all kinds of conditions including poor housing, cold and food shortages. They truly do have a great deal of stamina.
If you want to breed Rhode Island Red chickens there are some rules you should follow. Some breeders avoid breeding the bright red males as they can be unusually aggressive and pick on the hens and other roosters in your flock. You can recognize these birds because they have rectangular, relatively long bodies that are typically dark red in color.
Breeders also avoid using medium orange or brick road island red hens for breeding as this is not in keeping with the characteristics of the breed and could affect egg size or production.
Breeders of Rhode Island Reds also avoid what are called “smut” birds. Basically these “smut” birds are ones that have black feathers in their body or that are a bit small. However it is important to know that a Rhode Island Red chicken is not considered a “smut bird” if there are black feathers in the wing and tail.
It is also important to note that the Rhode Island Red chicken does vary in hue all over the world from a bright orange red to a tawny chocolate brown. The mutation of this breed is of some concern to professional chicken breeders as the chicken is losing its “red colour” and also its ability to lay large brown eggs. To keep this breed a heritage breed it is important for small flock owners to have some idea of how to breed this traditional breed properly.
The Rose Comb variety tends to be smaller but should be the same size as the Single Combed variety. If you notice that your Rhode Island Red chickens seem to be fading in color from standing out in the sun it is not your imagination. The red color fades after long exposure to the sun.
For great information about how to raise Rhode Island Reds then you should join a breed foundation such as the Rhode Island Red Club. This type of website can tell you the latest news when it comes to breed standards and how to breed Rhode Island Red chickens properly so that it maintains its qualities as a great layer of brown eggs and its dark red feathers for years to come.