Rhode Island Red’s Egg Laying – The Complete Guide
Originally, Rhode Island Red chickens were once thought to be the best layers on the planet. Even if other outstanding chicken layers developed after that, some people still swear by Red’s prowess. Most impressive is that the bird has been used extensively throughout history to create different kinds of hybrids.
Principally, this is because they are excellent egg layers, easy to manage, economical, and produce the best type of meat. If you’re interested in raising your own Rhode Island Reds for eggs, read on as we cover everything you need to know.
When Do Rhode Island Reds Start Laying Eggs?
Your hen will start laying eggs at around 21 weeks of age. Rhode Island Reds lay their first eggs approximately 25 days after molting. This is a natural process where the hen sheds her old feathers and grows new ones.
Usually, a hen will molt every six months, although some do it more often than others. Molting is essential for the chicken because it gives them a new set of feathers.
In other terms, it gives the birds a fresh lease on life because the reproductive system might not perform appropriately without molting taking place first. In the long run, the process helps the birds to lay fertile and well-sized eggs.
How Many Eggs Does A Rhode Island Red Lay Each Year?
Averagely, a healthy Rhode Island Red hen will lay around 180-200 eggs annually. This translates to about two or three eggs weekly. However, your bird can lay more eggs than if fed well and kept in an appropriate environment. It is nearly impossible to say how many eggs a Rhode Island Red will give you its lifetime.
Given so many breed variables, you can expect your hen to lay around 1,000 – 1,200 eggs before she stops molting and laying altogether. Still, the number could be higher or lower depending on the breed, feeding, and caring program.
Rhode Island Egg Color
Often, Rhode Island Red hen will produce an off-white color egg with lots of brown speckles. If you notice any other egg color green or grey, most likely, the bird has an infection and might need veterinary attention immediately.
Rhode Island Reds Eggs Size
Rhode Island Red eggs are typically between 52 and 55 grams in size. A larger egg size can give you a higher level of nutrients and more money. The egg size tends to vary from one bird to the other depending on their diet and the time they start laying.
Rhode Island Red eggs all have pointed bottoms and smooth tops with very little or no air bubble holes in them. When they come out of your hens’ body, they will be soft but start to harden up within 24 hours.
What Age Do Rhode Island Reds Stop Laying Eggs?
If your Rhode Island Red hen lives indoors and is kept in optimal conditions, stakes are high that they may continue laying eggs until their death.
Also, it depends if you offer them proper nutrients all time long. Nevertheless, if you place them in a stressful environment, the birds might stop laying eggs after one year.
Do Rhode Island Reds Lay Speckled Eggs?
All Rhode Island Red hens are known to lay speckled eggs with dark brown spots on them. Each egg has a unique pattern which most people find fascinating.
As a matter of fact, some individuals enjoy collecting Rhode Island Red’s eggs because they are different from normal white ones.
Do Rhode Island Reds Lay Eggs in Winter?
Most Rhode Island Red hens lay eggs all year round. They are more likely to give you more eggs in the spring and summer months than any other time of the year. Like any other chicken, Rhode Island Reds require lots of warm light inside their coop.
Moreover, you should provide a clean and comfortable nest for them to lay their eggs. This is essential because if their environment becomes cold, the body temperature might drop and reduce laying intervals. Sometimes, low temperature makes the hen lay soft eggs.
Will Rhode Island Reds Lay Eggs Without a Rooster?
While a Rhode Island Red hen can lay eggs without a rooster, they may not hatch into younglings. If you intend to breed your birds in the future, get a healthy rooster to fertilize the eggs.
Why is my Rhode Island Reds Not Laying Eggs?
There are several reasons why the Rhode Island Red hens might stop laying eggs. For instance, a poor or inadequate diet may affect the laying of eggs. Furthermore, if you subject them to excess distress, the hen may give you fewer eggs.
Still, a new pet in the house or excess noise can be one source of worry. If this is the case, you may consider moving your bird to a different environment altogether as an attempt to reduce stress levels.
Bear in mind that the birds should be protected no matter what. If you’re currently keeping them inside a hen house, then make sure no predators are lurking nearby. Note that some cats can climb into the coop, while dogs might dig under fences. In such instances, install an electric fence that will keep away any unwanted animals from hurting your chickens.
Do Rhode Island Reds Eat Their Eggs?
There is a big myth surrounding Rhode Island Red chickens that says they will eat their eggs. This is entirely untrue because not all birds have this tendency. All in all, they may peck at the eggs if you fail to give them adequate food. Remember that this habit is more often about laying birds. The hen requires plenty of food to produce an egg.
Thus, if they feel hungry, they’ll probably try to eat anything in the vicinity. As a result, provide extra feeds or change their diet altogether to satisfy the new need. Most importantly, avoid leaving any eggs within the bird’s reach.
What to Feed Rhode Island Reds Chicken to Lay More Eggs?
If you want your Rhode Island Red hens to lay more eggs, you need to feed them more often. Chickens enjoy picking around and looking for different things to eat. Thus as part of their feeding regime, consider introducing regular commercial chicken feeds which contain all kinds of minerals and vitamins.
Alternatively, try to make a homemade diet for them. Here are some of the things that you can include in the homemade chicken feed.
Vegetables are the best way to go here. You can give your chickens lettuce, carrot tops, cabbage, broccoli stalks, and anything else fresh and green. However, ensure that you do not offer them poisonous plants in the process.
You can get this from different sources such as chicken, turkey fish, eggs, peanut butter, etc. If possible, allow your birds to scavenge around for some fresh worms and insects.
The best way to offer proteins is in dried or powdered form. Altogether, minimize the portions to prevent obesity which might lead to heart-related conditions.
Some good sources of fat are whole milk, peanut butter, and avocado. These should be given as an occasional treat because they might bring a lot of nutrition to their diet. So it would help if you considered using them once in a while to spice things up.
Calcium is essential for producing eggs. Therefore, include lots of collard greens, seaweed, or oyster shell grits daily. Also, throw in some oyster shell pebbles, which contain lots of minerals.
Corn is the best carbohydrate for hens because it’s nutritious and easy for their digestive system. Similarly, wheat is another good option but avoid giving them any ground-up seeds that contain lots of protein as it’s not always great for them.
Your Rhode Island Red hens will need to hydrate themselves constantly. Note that they would also appreciate a small basin of water to bathe now and then. Just ensure the container is cleaned thoroughly out afterward, or else you’ll be inviting bacteria into the mix.
If your hens stop laying eggs due to old age, you might not want to keep them anymore. Instead of slaughtering them for food, you can sell them to another owner as a pet.
It is vital to confirm if the new has a genuine bird’s interest and if they are willing to place them in a comfortable and spacious environment with plenty of nutritious food.
The Rhode Island Red is a prolific egg layer and generally docile bird. Anyone who would like to add this beautiful breed to their flock should thoroughly research the breed before purchasing, as well as find out where they will be kept, either in an outdoor coop or fully enclosed environment.
There is also another thing which you need to do before buying your chickens: plan ahead! Planning doesn’t mean that you have to know everything about the Rhode Island Reds. Instead, it translates to commitment and diligence in giving your birds the best time of their lives.
By planning ahead you’re less likely to overlook critical hurdles along the way, leading to a rewarding experience.
I bought Rhode Island Red chicks in April this year. They have not started to lay eggs yet. Previous years I bought IGA Browns. Chicks purchased Mar 1 started laying eggs by mid July. We are now halfway thru Oct, and still no eggs.