Introducing the Rhode Island Red Chicken
The Rhode Island red (gallus domesticus) is probably best known by the public in general because of the striking pose that the rooster makes – not to mention the very loud wake-up call !
As the name suggests, the Rhode Island chicken is a deep red in color and is known as a utility bird which is raised both for eggs and meat. Being a hardy bird the Rhode Island Red is popular with smallholders as it is easy to raise, and good in temperament.
History of the Rhode Island Red
It will come as no surprise that the Rhode Island Red was originally bred in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. It was bred from the Malay where it got its deep red coloring along with a strong constitution enabling the bird to survive and prosper in fairly harsh conditions. The Malay cock from which the strain was bred was actually imported from the United Kingdom and was a black breasted Malay cock; which is now on show at the Smithsonian Institution as the father of the Rhode Island Red breed of Chickens.
Such an impact has this breed had on the public perception, that two monuments have been raised to pay homage to the Rhode Island Red; one in Adamsville in 1925 and another in Little Compton in 1954.
The Rhode Island Red Cockerel has been bred many times with the Sussex hen to produce prolific egg laying Chickens, thus enhancing their popularity amongst chicken breeders.
Rhode Island Red – Characteristic’s
Generally the Rhode Island Red is a friendly bird, however the Cock can be very territorial especially towards strangers or youngsters. I remember my younger brother (who was a red-head) being chased regularly down the yard with this Rhode Island Red rooster leaping after him – we used to say it was his red hair that upset the Rooster .
It has been recorded that they have been known to attack and kill even fox’s when agitated, however I do find this hard to believe (maybe you’ve had some experience here?). For these reason it is wise to watch their behaviour with chickens of other breeds as they often do not mix well.
A sociable Chicken
All that said, the Rhode Island Red is a very good friend with those that it knows, and can become very attached to their owners. They will often respond to commands and will even walk alongside you like a dog or other domestic pet, if allowed to do so! For this reason also the Rhode Island Red is a popular bird – as everyone wants to feel loved and thought well off !
They are very much social animals and develop better when kept in groups as they look after each other and seem to enjoy company.
Rhode Island Red – Eggs
To summarize this article we look at the egg laying capacity of this great bird. The Rhode Island Hen is a very good layer and gives a large brown egg, often we used to get ‘double yolkers’ from the early birds – which was a great bonus to us kids, two eggs yolks in the one shell seemed like a god-send !
A good well fed and healthy hen will lay 5-6 eggs per week, sometimes producing one a day every day which is far more than the normal average of around 4-5 eggs per week.
The Rhode Island Red – A 5 Star egg layer.
What are the best chickens for eggs ?
Everyone wants to know what the best chickens for eggs are before they go out to spend their hard earned cash on a bunch of ‘plugs’. What would be the use after all if you were to spend a lot of time making a nice chicken coop for your hens, if they will not produce the goods ?
However the question of what are the best chickens for eggs, is not as easy to answer as it may first seem. The reason being that if a chicken is not content then it will not lay – end of story! So even a breed that is renowned for its good eggs – such as the Rhode Island Red – will not lay if the surroundings are poor or if the bird is stressed, under fed or otherwise unhappy.
That said, here are a few chickens that warrant consideration if you are looking to populate your new (or old) chicken coop.
Rhode Island Red Chicken
This is a Hen that is very popular as it is a large chicken that produces plenty of flesh as well as a good large brown egg. Not as large as say the Plymouth Rocks, it is nevertheless very popular with chicken keepers and is a very hardy bird. More..
The Plymouth Rock
As mentioned this is a very large bird that is good for the table, weighing in at around 9.5 lbs fully grown. It also is known as a dual purpose chicken as it is good for both meat and egg production. A very docile bird that comes in several varieties both white and barred, the Plymouth Rock Chicken also produces brown eggs and is regarded as one of the best chickens for eggs.
The Leghorn Chicken
This breed is distinguished in that it is recognized as one of the highest egg yield chickens. Originally from Italy, it is also quite flighty (Italian blood ?!) and noisier than other chicken breeds.
The Jersey Giant Chicken
This is a breed of chicken that is definitely more kept for its meat as it can reach an astounding 13lbs when fully grown. A popular bird around Christmas time as you may imagine!
The Java Chicken
Known as one of the ‘old breeds’, the Java has been used in breeding programs for decades. It is hardy and reliable and produces fine eggs. Weighing in at approx. 7.5 lbs it also makes a fine bird for the table.
The Orpington Chicken
Another good bird for egg production, the Orpington is know as a big gentle bird that is quiet natured and easy to keep. Because of its docile nature it is know to be bullied by other hens so it is wise to keep a watch on it especially if newly introduced. Full grown at about 8 lbs, it produces a large brown egg.
The Plymouth Chicken
This is a popular bird that has fine barred markings and is known to be easy to care for, producing a pinkish brown egg. It also makes a fine table bird weighing in at around 8 lbs.
This is a lesser well-known bird but one that none the less is a great egg laying chicken that is also known as a good mother, and so is a good choice for a broody chicken if eggs are to be hatched. Not a particularly large bird at around 6.5 lbs, it is known for the fact that it has 5 toes instead of the usual 4.
This is of course not a comprehensive list of the chickens out there as there are indeed hundreds to choose form. Some will be familiar to you and others will be complete strangers. Choosing the best egg laying chickens is probably a little academic really, as most of us will have no real say in the matter and will have a very limited choice according to where we actually live.
Reviewing The Best Chickens for Eggs
Most chicken species are thankfully very hardy and provided they get the right amount of food, shelter and general care, will produce a good batch of eggs for 2-3 years. Egg producing will of course decline as the chicken gets older and it is generally accepted that after around 3 years they are ready for ‘the pot’; after this period they can be a little tough to eat. Or if you are too attached to them they can still make great pets to have around and clean up the food scraps !
Chicken coop Plans are essential because…
Without proper Chicken Coop plans plan to follow, it is very easy to fall into costly errors that should easily have been avoided. Believe me, I am unfortunately talking from experience!
My name is James and I’m a 53 year old guy who has ‘been around the block’ a few times when it comes to rearing poultry including chickens, geese, ducks and even pheasant’s. I myself was raised on a smallholding and my father was a pig farmer, so rearing poultry was just something I was put in charge of as a young lad as it helped supplement finances and stock the larder with fresh eggs. So why are Chicken Coop plans so essential ? There is an old adage that goes something like “Failing to plan, is planning to fail” and I have found that it definitely applies to most things in life, including rearing poultry and building a chicken coop, here are a few reasons why chicken coop plans are so essential..
Importance of Chicken Coop plans – Security
Let me start with a tragic story of a Stoat attack. When I was just a young lad my Father took me to the market to collect some chickens, and I was put in charge of planning the chicken coop where they were to go. I was always very good with my hands so it was natural that I should build the coop or chicken shed. Needless to say I was not following Chicken Coop plans as I thought I had it all in my head – wrong! Coming back from the market we duly installed the week-old chicks in the coop under the heating lamp, and after making sure they were comfortable and the lamp was at the right heat, left them for the night.
In the morning there was NO SIGN of them, it seemed they had mysteriously vanished, the truth was later revealed however…they had all been KILLED and hidden down the side of the shed ! I was devastated, how had it happened? The answer was unfortunately that because I was not following proper Chicken Coop plans, and did not have any understanding of these things, a predator-probably a Stoat or Rat had managed to gain entry and killed every single one of them. Lesson learned, from that day onward I was paranoid about security and keeping the vermin at bay.
Good Chicken Coop Plans = Happy Chickens !
Why do Chickens need to be happy, you may ask? Simple, if a Chicken is not happy it will not lay any eggs. It’s a fact honest! Of course if the Chicken does not lay ,then you are unhappy because your spending money and time on something that is not producing the goods. Which is a recipe for unhappiness all round. By following a proper chicken coop plans you can be sure that you are building a house for your chickens that they will be happy in and in turn lay you plenty of eggs – which unless you are just rearing for the meat or companionship!! – is the whole aim of the exercise.
How to keep your Chickens happy
Well how do you know that they are unhappy first of all? Sure sign’s that your chickens are unhappy are things like, poor egg laying (less than 4 per week per chicken) as well as behavioural things like pecking each other, leading to bald bloody patches on the skin. Lethargy is a common sign in chickens that are unhappy. A chicken will stand around head down doing nothing for ages at a time when it is unhappy. By not following proper Chicken Coop plans you may have built a coop that is not’ fit for purpose’ and is in fact leaving your chickens vulnerable to the weather or potential predators, these will all affect your egg numbers in a negative way.
To keep your chickens happy and thereby assure yourself of a decent ‘harvest, there a number of things that are required and that good Chicken Coop plans will take into account. It goes without saying that the right amounts of food and water are a pre-requisite (more on this later), a balanced diet is all-important to life in general let alone chickens. The Chicken Coop itself must be dry and secure, the interior kept clean and free of vermin, mites etc. The nest boxes must be put in the right place within the coop (good chicken coop plans takes all this into account), in order for the eggs not to get damaged and dirty and for fights to break out between your chickens (yes honestly !)
Following expert Chicken Coop plans will make sure that you build enough room for the chickens to move around, and that they are not too crowded – this can lead to pecking each other.
Chicken Coop Plans – Location of Coop
It is important to plan ahead when it comes to the location of the coop and indeed if the Chicken Coop is mobile or not. If the Chicken Coop Plans have encouraged you to build a mobile Coop then this is not so much of an issue, however if the Chicken Coop is not able to be shifted then you will have to carefully consider its position. Do not build your Coop where it will get roasted by direct sunshine for the whole day, an area of shade is essential if you are to avoid the Coop and your Chickens from overheating. Avoid also the opposite situation and do not build under permanent shade such a tree canopy as this can result in all sorts of damp/mildew problems and ailments. Any chicken Coop plans worth their salt will encourage you to build in the right location as well as building a physically sturdy coop.
Chicken Coop Plans – Planning ahead
There are many aspects of rearing chickens I will cover in other articles on this site, including the type of chicken to rear for eggs or meat. How to get eggs through a bad winter, and more on the general care and well-being of your poultry. I hope also to cover the rearing of Ducks, Geese, turkeys etc. Running throughout these themes I will place emphasis on following proper Chicken Coop plans or indeed plans for building huts and coops for many kinds of poultry.