Rhode Island Reds have a well-deserved reputation as an excellent egg-producing breed. This historical breed starts laying fairly young and can continue to produce throughout their entire lives. When a single hen in her peak laying years can produce up to 300 eggs a year, you know that they’re good at what they do.
When Do Rhode Island Reds Start Laying?
When you’re watching your cute little chicks grow up, it may be difficult not to get a little impatient waiting for your first egg. Luckily, it doesn’t take too long. The standard age Rhode Island Reds begin to lay is about 18 weeks old.
Rhode Island Reds are divided into two major varieties. The production strain is bred to produce large numbers of eggs, as the name implies. There is also a heritage strain, which is bred to stay as close to the traditional type of bird as possible. Since Rhode Island Reds were originally developed in the nineteenth century, they can be a little different than the kind of high-producing chickens we’re used to today.
This is important because it can affect the age they start to lay. Production-strain Rhode Island Reds may start laying as young as 16 weeks, while heritage birds may take up to 24 weeks.
When Do Rhode Island Reds Stop Laying Eggs?
Most Rhode Island Reds lay eggs throughout their entire lives, although the frequency typically drops off in their later years. The average lifespan of a Rhode Island Red is about five to eight years.
If a younger chicken stops laying eggs, it can be a sign of health issues. Common problems that slow or stop egg production include inadequate nutrition, parasites, and disease.
How Often Do They Lay?
Production-strain Rhode Island Reds are stellar laying hens, with many of them producing up to five eggs a week. Heritage-strain Reds lay a little less frequently, but you can still generally expect three to four eggs a week from a healthy bird.
If your Rhode Island Red isn’t producing very many eggs, you might want to look at management factors. Make sure you’re feeding a healthy, balanced diet, since nutrition is a major factor in egg production. Hens also need plenty of natural sunlight and access to fresh, clean water for ideal production. Stress, parasites, and other underlying health issues may also cause them to stop laying very frequently.
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