The Rhode Island Red
So over the last few years the Rhode Island Red has quickly became our favorite chicken breed. We have had many different breeds including White Plymouth rocks, Light Brahmas, New Hampshire red, Americanas. and an assortment of chickens that we did not know the breed. We Really liked the Light Brahma. This is a big strong chicken. It grows feathers down its legs. It is really pretty. We have Americanas currently. The girls really enjoy the Easter egg color eggs they lay.
So with our small, tiny little micro-business of selling eggs I have decided on two different breeds. The Rhode Island Red and the Barred Plymouth Rocks. This article is on the Rhode Island Red.
In my opinion the Rhode Island Red is one of the best things to come out of the northeastern United States. It was bred in Rhode Island in the mid 1800’s as a Dual Purpose chicken. Meaning it was raised to provide both meat and eggs to a family. To me the Rhode Island Red is a good-sized bird. It is not as large as a Light Brahma(so naturally does not consume as much feed) and not bantam sized although there is a bantam Rhode Island Red Breed. We will focus on the standard breed.
Here are some quick facts:
Rhode Island Red Chicken Info
- Adult Weight – Male: 8 pounds ; Female: 5.5-6.5 pounds
- Color – Black and Dark Red (may have some white tipped feathers prior to full maturity is reached), Yellow Skin, Red or Rose colored Crests
- Purpose – Dual Purpose: egg laying and meat production
- Egg Color – Brown
- Egg Production – Prolific: 200 – 280 eggs per year (varies depending on conditions)
- Country of Origin –United States (Rhode Island)
- Broodiness – Sometimes Broody
- Comb – Single
I like this breed because it is really reliable for laying eggs. 200-280 eggs per year is a good amount of eggs. I also like them because I think they are pretty. The rusty red color of their feathers really shines in the sunlight. I had some White Plymouth Rocks before. They reminded me to much of the chickens that are raised in chicken house CAFOs(concentrated animal feeding operations).
At LAM Family Farms our chickens are raised in chicken tractors. Where they can scratch in the dirt, chase and eat bugs and really just behave like a chicken. We are not free range as of yet. The chicken tractors are to protect the birds from predation. Just last year we had 12 chickens killed over a three week period. I let them roam about on the property, free ranging and neighbor’s dogs attacked them. I’m sure dome were killed by foxes or coyotes as well.
I really like the looks of this bird to. The iridescence of the feathers combined with the subtle rust color makes for a pretty yard-bird. The gold colored eyes are almost regal.
So to wrap this up i will say that the RIRs are a good hardy, fairly tame chicken that is fairly reliable at laying eggs. I still get probably an egg every other day from this three-year old hen. So decide on a breed or just take what someone will give you and get started raising chickens.