Production Red Chicken – Breed Profile & Facts
More people worldwide are now taking up poultry keeping as a hobby and as an avenue for generating extra income. As the number of poultry keepers increases, so does the confusion about the best breeds for coops.
Nowadays, there is a growing popularity for American chicken breeds like Black Australorps, Rhode Island Reds, Jersey Gants, Brahmas, and Orpingtons. Though touted as the best for poultry keepers, some people need help understanding the crosses of these American breeds. One crossbreed at the center of the confusion is the Production Red.
If you plan to buy a Production Red, here is information on this breed to ease your poultry farming.
What is a Production Red Chicken?
On social media, some people are erroneously calling the Production Red an Industrial Rhode Island Red. Though industrial and traditional Rhode Island Reds have colors that look almost similar, the Production Red is different. This means the latter cannot be categorized as an industrial Rhode Island Red.
Production Reds are crosses of Rhode Island Reds and New Hampshires or Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Island Whites. This crossbreeding is mainly meant to boost the chicken’s egg production by creating a new bird that matures faster and lays more eggs. This makes Production Red among the best choices when looking for a chicken breed for eggs and meat.
Rhode Island Reds have dark plumages with yellow shanks and tails that look almost black. On the other hand, Production Reds have bluish-yellow or white legs with brownish to light red plumages. Nonetheless, Production Reds come in diverse colors because many hatcheries develop them with different mixed breeds and parent stocks.
Production Red Chicken Characterisitcs
Here are some characteristics of a Production Red chicken to help you ascertain that you have gotten the right bird.
– Size and Weight
Production Reds weigh 6-9 pounds when mature. The rooster weighs approximately nine pounds, the hen will be about seven pounds, the cockerel is around eight pounds, and the pullet often weighs about six pounds. These weights are higher than most chicken breeds meaning that you will get a substantial amount of meat from Production Reds.
According to most seasoned poultry keepers who have raised different chicken varieties, the Production Red is among the most personable breeds. The birds are curious, friendly, exuberant, and lovable but never quiet.
Production Reds are often in the middle of the pecking order in a mixed flock. They tolerate confinement well, but they are active foragers that will love scavenging for seeds and bugs.
Production Red hens are usually docile and laid back. They enjoy the company of people and other chickens. On the other hand, the roosters are sometimes aggressive and should ideally not be allowed around kids unless you are sure of their temperament.
The Production Red hen is not prone to being broody since the instinct has mostly been suppressed by selection and breeding. Nonetheless, when it goes broody, it diligently sits on the nest and makes a protective mother.
Production Reds live for eight years on average. Some aspects that determine your bird’s lifespan are the environment in which it grows, diseases, genetics, and diet.
Production Reds will generally live longer than the other breeds in a mixed flock because their selective breeding results in stronger genes that make them hardy in most adverse conditions.
– Egg Production
Production Reds are primarily bred to get maximum egg production. You can expect not less than three hundred large brown eggs from your chicken annually.
Though renowned as exceptional egg producers, do not expect a Production Red to lay an egg daily. It takes 24-26 hours for a hen to create an egg, so daily egg production is not a guarantee.
Production Red hens will start laying eggs when they turn eighteen weeks and continue laying for 3-4 years. When the birds start laying, the eggs will be small, but they increase in size as time passes.
Invest in the best chicken layer feed to guarantee you get quality eggs and maintain their high numbers. Like most breeds, a Production Red’s egg production might slow down in cold months because of reduced daylight hours. This can be remedied with artificial lighting.
– Meat Production
The large sizes of Production Reds make them among the best choices for meat production. Unlike Rhode Island Reds, for which they are often mistaken, these birds mature quickly so that they will be ready for the table in a few months. Nonetheless, you should take optimal care of your Production Red for tender, delicious meat.
Production Red Chicken Care
Here are guidelines on various aspects of a Production Red’s care.
– Feeding and Nutrition
Thankfully, Production Reds have no strict dietary needs. This means that if you have a mixed flock, you can feed them together with other breeds. Start your chicks on a starter feed immediately after birth until they turn eight weeks old. You will change the feed to a grower feed at eight weeks old.
This feed is the main one for pullets until they lay the first egg at around eighteen weeks. Once the first egg is laid, switch to a layer feed. The layer feed will remain your Production Red’s main feed for life to maintain the production of quality eggs.
Thankfully, Production Reds are inexpensive to feed because they love foraging. As such, they will get most of their nutrition from what they forage. Though they often feed on worms and bugs, some chickens will go for larger prey like frogs and mice. Provide enough clean drinking water as well for your flock.
Inside your coop, you will need about four square feet per chicken when keeping Production Reds. The space might seem too large for the birds, but this is an assertive breed that will fight off other breeds in the coop when it feels cramped.
On the perch, aim for about ten inches of space per bird. Though they might not need this much in the winter when they cuddle to keep warm, the chickens will stretch out to stay cool in the summer.
Since production Reds are excellent foragers, it is prudent to have a fenced backyard where they can roam. Fifteen square feet per chicken is ideal to allow the birds to stretch their wings and legs. For the nesting boxes, provide 12×12-inch boxes for your birds.
Boxes smaller than this might cause your bird to start laying eggs elsewhere, whereas boxes larger than this might cause two or more Production Reds to nest in the same box and break their eggs.
– Health Problems
Thankfully, Production Reds are pretty hardy, so you will not deal with disease frequently. The birds thrive even in cold climates. Nonetheless, you will need a heat lamp to heat a coop to protect the birds’ combs from getting frostbite in extreme cold.
Routinely check your Production Red for mites and parasites. Your bird might be less prone to parasites if you have somewhere with soil or sand where it can take dust baths. Otherwise, you might need a commercial product for the dust bath to protect your chickens from parasite and mite infestation.
Keep intestinal parasites under control with regular checks and drugs when necessary.
How Much do Production Red Chickens Cost?
Fortunately, Production Reds are relatively inexpensive. Unsexed day-old chicks cost about $6, while females go for approximately $9. Eight-week-old chicks cost about $20, while hatching eggs retail for roughly $30 per dozen. Older chicks will cost more, with 16-week-olds retailing for around $30.
Are Production Red Chickens Good for Beginners?
Yes, Production Reds will suffice for beginners because they are resilient chickens and almost self-sufficient as exceptional foragers. The hens are also kid-friendly, so even a novice poultry keeper can safely and easily handle them.
Are Production Red Chickens Hardy?
Yes, the Production Red is a hardy breed because it has been selectively bred to withstand most of the rigors that affect poultry.
Can Production Red Chicken Fly?
Though all chickens can fly to some extent, Production Reds are not among the most agile breeds because of their large body sizes compared to their wingspans. This means that even when your chicken flies, it will not gain a lot of vertical height and can only fly a short distance. A 3-4-foot fence is enough to contain your Production Red if it keeps trying to escape.
Tips on Keeping Production Red Chickens
Here are helpful tips for raising Production Reds:
- Rub petroleum jelly on your chickens’ combs to protect them from frostbite in freezing temperatures.
- If you want chicks, incubate the eggs because Production Reds are not so broody.
- Provide calcium in your chicken’s diet as crushed oyster shells or eggshells, to guarantee healthy and strong eggs.
From the above information, you can now confidently raise a Production Red. Remember to source your chicken from a reputable breeder, hatchery, or farm. This minimizes the issues you might have to deal with when keeping chickens and guarantees healthy offspring if you choose to get chicks.