Not only are Rhode Island Red chickens some of the best egg layers you’ll ever own, but they also make incredible pets.
Even if you don’t intend to become attached to the hens in your backyard flock, given the amount of time that you spend with them, it’s one of those things that’s just really easy to happen.
And when they do become a cherished member of your flock, you start to notice individual personalities and characteristics for each hen.
Unfortunately, these fascinating birds don’t stay around forever, and they eventually grow old and die. But how long can you expect to have them around?
Here’s a look at the life expectancy of Rhode Island Reds and on average how long Rhode Island Reds live.
Related: Raising Rhode Island Red Chickens
How Long Do Rhode Island Reds Live?
Rhode Island Reds on average live for 5 years, however under optimum living conditions, Rhode Island Reds can live as long as 10 years.
Of course, there are many factors that contribute to how long a Rhode Island Red chicken might live. Some of things that have the most impact on a chickens lifespan are
- The amount of room they have to roam
- Environmental and living conditions
- How well they are fed
How To Prolong a Rhode Island Reds Lifespan
Here’s a few things you can do to give your Rhode Island Red a leg up and give it the best chance at living a long and productive life.
Space To Roam
It should come as no surprise that a cooped-up chicken with barely enough room to stretch his wings will have a much shorter lifespan than a chicken free to roam.
The freedom of chickens allows them to do what they do best: forage and produce eggs.
If a chicken has enough space to do these things, she will live a much longer and happier life.
The living conditions of your Rhode Island Reds are another important factor that contributes to their overall happiness and longevity.
The best environment for your chickens is a coop or barn free of cold and windy drafts, as well as a coop that protects them from rain and other elements.
Provide a nice and high roosting area. Chickens prefer to roost high and in the air. This is one of their defense mechanisms against predators.
Speaking of predators, you’ll want to keep the coop safe and secure from animals like skunks and foxes that might try to attack your birds. Don’t forget about the run area. This may be difficult if your chickens are allowed to roam freely on your property. However, if you have a run, you must ensure that it is safe from predators as well.
High Quality Feed
Egg-laying chicken feed is typically fortified with extra calcium to ensure that the eggs aren’t too thin. If the egg shells of your chickens are translucent, soft, thin, or easily cracked, they are suffering from a nutrient deficiency.
Deformities such as bumps do not always indicate a nutrient deficiency. A surprising number of anomalies can be linked to a stressed bird, but thin shells, in particular, indicate a calcium deficiency.
Furthermore, layer feed will have a slightly higher protein content than all-purpose feed. However, it will still be lower than starter or grower feed. Your hens will require the extra protein to continue laying eggs as quickly as possible.
Visit The Veterinarian
Taking your chickens to the vet for a checkup, just like you would with a cat or dog, is essential if you want them to live as long as possible. This ensures that any health issues are detected and treated as soon as possible.
Related: How To Care For Older and Aging Chickens
Most Common Reasons For Premature Death in Rhode Island Reds
As much as we’d love for our favorite chickens to stay with us for 10 years, it’s simply not always possible. As a matter of fact, there are some very common reasons as to why your Rhodie might experience death prematurely. A few of those reasons are:
Predation is very common and easy to detect. Hungry predators (such as hawks, skunks and foxes) will try to capture your chickens. To prevent this, make sure your chickens have a safe, enclosed, predator-proof run.
Marek’s disease is very common among chickens and can be extremely deadly to them.
While some chickens may be asymptomatic making it difficult to spot, once infected, the chicken cannot be cured and will remain infected for the rest of its life. This significantly reduces their lifespan.
There isn’t much you can do to prevent Marek’s Disease aside from vaccinations and good living conditions.
If one of your chickens becomes infected with Marek’s disease, you will almost certainly have to euthanize the entire flock.
Rhode Island Red Facts
|Origin||Developed by crossing the Java and Brown Leghorn chicken breeds.|
|Temperament||Docile and Active|
|Egg Production||200-300 eggs per year|
|Weight||Hen: 6 1/2 lbs|
Rooster: 8 1/2 lbs
Pullet: 5 1/2 lbs
Cockerel: 7 1/2 lbs
|Primary Purpose||Egg production and pet|
|Secondary Purpose||Meat production|
|Lifespan||8 years on average|
|Varieties||Single Comb, Rose Comb|
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