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Rhode Island is the pride of American breeders. This meat-and-meat breed of chickens was initially bred as a productive one, but later the main direction was taken to the exhibition selection of plumage. In recent years, the belief has even spread that this is not a productive, but an ornamental breed, since the egg production of Rhode Island chickens has dropped dramatically. But you can still find the "working" lines of these chickens.
Breeding began in 1830 in the village of Adamsville, located near the town of Little Compton. Adamsville is located right on the border with another state of Massachusetts, where some of the breeders lived. For breeding, red Malay roosters, fawn Cochinchins, brown Leghorns, Cornish and Wyandot were used. The main producer of the breed was a black and red Malay rooster imported from the UK.
From the Malay rooster, the future Rhode Islands received their rich feather color, strong constitution and dense plumage. Isaac Wilbur of Little Compton is credited with inventing the name Red Rhode Island. This name was proposed either in 1879 or in 1880. In 1890, poultry expert Nathaniel Aldrich of Fall River, Massachusetts proposed the name of the new breed "Gold Buff". But in 1895, the chickens were on display under the name Rhode Island Red. Prior to that, their names were "John Macomber Chickens" or "Tripp Chickens".
Rhode Islands were recognized as a breed in 1905. Quite quickly, they got to Europe and spread throughout it. It was one of the best versatile breeds at the time. In 1926, chickens were brought to Russia and have remained in it to this day.
Thanks to the red Malay ancestors, many chickens of this breed have dark red-brown plumage. But although the description of the Rhode Island chicken breed indicates exactly such a desired feather color, lighter individuals often come across in the population, which are easily confused with industrial egg crosses.
The head is medium-sized, with a single crest. Normally, the comb should be red, but sometimes pinkish ones come across. The eyes are reddish brown. The beak is yellow-brown, of medium length. The lobes, face and earrings are red. The neck is of medium length. The body is rectangular with a straight wide back and loin. Roosters have short, bushy tail. Directed at an angle to the horizon. The braids are very short, barely covering the tail feathers. In chickens, the tail is set almost horizontally.
The chest is convex. The belly of chickens is well developed. The wings are small, tightly attached to the body. The legs are long. Metatarsus and toes are yellow. The skin is yellow. The plumage is very dense.
According to English-speaking sources, the weight of an adult rooster is almost 4 kg, and layers are almost 3, but the reviews of the owners of Rhode Island chickens show that in fact an adult chicken weighs a little more than 2 kg, and the rooster is about 2.5 kg. Egg production of hens is 160-170 eggs per year. Egg weight ranges from 50 to 65 g. The shell is brown. Chickens have tender tasty meat. When bred at home, the breed can provide the owner with both.
Vices leading to the exclusion of birds from breeding:
- not a rectangular case;
- massive skeleton;
- curvature of the upper line (humped or concave back):
- deviations in plumage color;
- white patches on the metatarsus, lobes, earrings, crest or face;
- too light feathers, fluff or eyes;
- loose plumage.
Chickens with similar characteristics are most likely not purebred.
In the photo, the breed of Rhode Island chickens is white. This breed comes from the same area as Red, but its breeding was started in 1888.
Important! These two varieties should not be confused.
In fact, these are different breeds, but sometimes they are crossed to obtain highly productive hybrids.
The white variant was bred by crossing the Cochinchin, White Wyandot, and White Leghorn. The American Poultry Association was registered as a breed in 1922. The white version enjoyed moderate popularity until the 1960s, but then began to disappear. In 2003, only 3000 birds of this population were recorded.
According to the photo and description of the Rhode Island White chickens, they differ from red only in the color of the feather. It is also a meaty breed with similar weight and performance. The white variant has a slightly larger ridge, which has a more saturated red color.
Like Red, Rhode Island White comes in a bantam version. The Rhode Island red mini-chicken breed was bred in Germany and has almost the same characteristics as the large variety. But the weight of the birds is much lower. The laying hen weighs no more than 1 kg, the cockerel no more than 1.2 kg. And according to the testimony of one of the owners of the dwarf version of the breed, the chickens weigh barely 800 g.
The descriptions indicate that the productivity of mini-forms is lower than that of large ones: 120 eggs per year weighing 40 g. But from the reviews of the owners of Rhode Island mini-chickens, it follows that the productivity of the small form is even slightly higher than that of the large one, especially taking into account the consumed stern. Dwarfs lay eggs weighing 40 to 45 g.
Other differences between the dwarf and the large form: lighter plumage and lighter color of the eggshell.
Conditions of detention
The breed is considered not adapted to the cage, but in fact, these chickens are often kept in a cage, unable to provide walking for all available poultry. All varieties of Rhode Islands are quite cold-resistant: they can walk at temperatures down to -10 ° C, and are able to independently obtain food for themselves. When walking in a limited area, the chickens will quickly destroy all the available greens.
To provide chickens on the run with a full diet, greens will have to be given additionally. When trying to release chickens for free range, they will destroy plants in the garden. Good walking option with simultaneous weed control: mesh tunnel around the beds.
For wintering and egg-laying, the chicken coop is equipped with perches, nesting sites and additional lighting. A litter is laid on the floor, which is only poured in winter, and completely cleaned in summer. Additional lighting is needed only in winter so that chickens do not reduce egg production.
A group of 10-12 chickens is selected for one rooster. In chickens of this breed, the incubation instinct is relatively poorly developed. Only half of the hens express a desire to become hens. Therefore, an incubator is required to breed this breed.
Eggs are taken to the incubator without external defects and cracks.
The incubator temperature is set at 37.6 ° C. This temperature is optimal for chicken eggs. Embryos do not overheat and do not hatch prematurely prematurely. The hatchability of chickens of this breed is 75%. Thoroughbred chickens have a reddish feather color. The breed is autosexual. Already at one day of age, it is possible to determine the sex of the chick by the characteristic spot on the head, which is only found in chickens.
The cockerels are planted and fed for meat with more high-calorie feed. Laying hens are raised so that they do not become fat. At the beginning of autumn, the flock is sorted and only highly productive birds are left for the next year.
Chickens begin to feed either starter compound feed, or the old-fashioned millet porridge with an egg. The second can lead to intestinal diseases.
Ksenia Lavygina, Kurgan
I took chickens of the Island breed just as meat and meat. I think that for a private house, a universal breed of chickens is best. I was assured that these birds lay very large eggs, almost 70 g each. In fact, the weight of the eggs turned out to be normal. Given the relatively large size of the layers, the eggs are even small. The usual egg weight is 50-60 g. But in the description of Rhode Island chickens it was said that these are very calm birds and even roosters do not show aggression. Since I have five small children, it was important for me that they could safely go out into the yard without fear of roosters. And this fact turned out to be completely reliable. The rooster, indeed, does not show aggression towards other animals in the yard. True, chickens get underfoot. But these are trifles.
Sergey Ptitsyn, Rozhdestvenka village
I love chickens since childhood. Grew up with them in the village. But when I tried to start the Faveroli, they turned out to be too delicate and quickly died. A friend suggested Rhode Islands. Based on the photo and description of the Rhode Island chicken breed, I decided at first that this was an industrial cross, from which I could not see chickens. But a friend explained that in fact this is the breed that is often involved in the breeding of egg and meat crosses. That is, you can get thoroughbred chickens from them. In general, in my opinion, their egg production is not bad, and the chickens hatch well. And also this breed can be kept in cages if it is not possible to keep it in the yard. Truly versatile chickens.
The elegant color of the plumage and the calm disposition of these chickens attract the owners of private farmsteads. Given that birds are quite economical and require less feed than other versatile chicken breeds, it is beneficial to breed them for eggs and meat. On an industrial scale, this breed is not profitable, so it is quite difficult to find a purebred livestock. But these chickens are often used to produce industrial hybrids and you can make inquiries in breeding nurseries.