Rhode Island Reds are great hens for laying, partially because they are both hardy and temperamentally sound for the novice keeper. Keeping a Rhode Island Red means not having your hand pecked off every time you collect eggs, so certainly the breed has merit no matter who wants to care for them. Of all the breeds, few in my opinion are as versatile, this is a strong, proven breed with years of heritage as rich as the color of their plumes. When starting out with egg chickens, there are a few things to keep in mind first, so do some looking into what keeping Red hens will mean for you.
Rhode Island Red Considerations
One thing to consider is where you live. Though you may have a large enough lot to comfortably house several hens, your local zoning laws may forbid it. Certainly you won’t want to be at odds with your neighbors, so make sure the cackling of happy hens won’t be something you pay for by being wrong. Another thing to know is what the animals will face in poor weather. Rhode Island Red roosters and hens are hardy, but that doesn’t mean they won’t need warm drinkable water in winter and comfortable dry lodgings with a good bulb even. Also, you will likely be starting from peepers, and raising chicks is a real chore. It takes good equipment and know how, not to mention a lot of time if you don’t want a whole load of dead ones on your hands. If you work eighty hours a week you likely won’t have time to care for them like you should, at least when they are small.
Buy or Raise Your Rhode Island Reds
When you have made the above assertions, and then think about how many animals you would like to keep, or even would need. One or two will give good eggs, but a large family will need much more to completely fill their needs. If you decide to breed your own chicks, you will have to have a way to cull the unwanted roosters. Rhode Island Reds are great, but that said the roosters don’t lay eggs either so if you don’t want to suffer finding a million “pet” homes you will likely have to put some to freezer. If you don’t have the stomach, that means paying someone to kill and process the birds for you. If that is something that isn’t on your menu, keep to getting your peepers from outside sources.
If you think it out right and have a good set up to start with you will really enjoy keeping hens for your own eggs. Few breeds produce like the Rhode Island Red, and if you do your homework they should be a great hobby for the novice to try out. Rhode Island Reds are a dual-purpose breed, meaning they have quality meat should the whole egg idea not turn out or become something you don’t wish to pursue, and this versatility is what draws many to the breed in the first place.