Even if you are in the metro, even more so if you live in the province, the cock-a-doodle-doos of roosters and chickens would always accompany you in the morning. Raising livestock has been one of the livelihoods of Filipinos in the country. Some raise chicken for its meat and eggs, while some raise them for sports such as cockfighting.
Depending on your purpose for raising livestock, there are numerous chicken breeds to choose from. One of the most successful chicken breeds in the world is the Rhode Island Chicken, formally known as the Rhode Island Red (RIR) chicken.
A Closer Look at the Rhode Island Chicken
The Rhode Island Red is a hardy breed of chicken that is not prone to disease. Just give them their basic needs such as food, water, and shelter and they can thrive easily and love to forage and free range. They are also friendly and relatively docile towards humans and children, except for the roosters. Because they are easy to raise, they are ideal breeds for beginners.
Though the Rhode Island Red chicken gets an A+ in health, mites and other ectoparasites can cause health problems to your chickens. So make sure that your chicken gets their regular dust baths, checkups, medication, and dusting.
There are two strains of Rhode Island Chicken: the production and the heritage strains. Production Rhode Island Red chickens are ideal for egg production because they lay many eggs. This strain produces about five to six eggs per week or 250 to 300 eggs annually. On the other hand, Heritage Rhode Island Chicken may not lay as many eggs as the production, but they do lay for more years. The heritage strain lays about three to four eggs a week or 150 to 250 eggs per year.
Rhode Island Red chickens have rectangular and solid bodies. They are well-proportioned with their heads held high and tails at a 45-degree angle. Their feathers are compact and can have either a single or a rose comb. Their eyes are orange or red, their wattles and ear lobes are red, and their skin, shanks, and feet are yellow. The primary color of their feathers is shiny chestnut red. Some may have black feathers on their wings and tail.
This chicken breed is considered standard-sized. The hens are around 6.5 pounds and roosters around 8.5 pounds on average. On average, the bantam Rhode Island Red chicken weighs 1.9 to 2.1 pounds.
If you want to keep this type of chicken, note that their egg song is loud and proud. They are not always noisy but talkative and enjoy interacting with humans.
Taking Care of Your Rhode Island Red Chicken
A Rhode Island Chicken will tolerate a wide variety of weather conditions. Their basic needs are dry, draft-proof shelter, food, and water. When it comes to food, you can feed them any chicken, but remember that these chickens are excellent foragers. If you like them free range, they can often find food for themselves.
As for their shelter, their coop should be at least four square feet per chicken. Their perch space should be at least eight inches. Nesting boxes should be around a 12×12-inch cube. If you place them in a big nesting box, they will nest together, which can break eggs. To minimize the spread of disease in your flock, it is recommended that you clean their coop every few weeks.
As for roaming space, this chicken breed needs at least 15 square feet per hen. That won’t be a problem if you own a spacious farm lot. If you allow your chickens to free range, ensure they are safe from predators.
The Rhode Island Red chicken breed is undeniably one of the best chicken breeds you can keep for different purposes. Just provide their basic needs, and you can be confident that these brown egg-laying chickens will thrive on your farm. They are excellent layers and meat producers, resistant to disease, good-natured, and very hearty. If this is your first time venturing into raising livestock, consider keeping RIRs.