Most poultry farmers know that Rhode Island chickens are birds that are beneficial for breeding, but are unable to survive in extreme conditions. For their maintenance it is required to create all the necessary conditions, which will ensure high survival of the chicks. The article discusses the external characteristics of birds, as well as the diet.
Rhode Island - chickens bred in the USA. Farmers worked on breeding in the mid-20th century. For the first time, they started breeding chickens in the state of Rhode Island, from which the birds got their name.
Today, almost all farmers breed birds in this area. Hens have become one of the symbols of the state. For the first time, birds took part in the exhibition in 1880. This indicates that the breed is old. But so far, she has not seen any signs of degeneration. Farmers carefully monitored the cleanliness of the line.
When breeding, the birds were originally crossed with fighting fawn roosters. Then they continued to improve the new breed, crossing it with speckled Leghorn , characterized by increased egg production. In Russia, the breeding of the Rhode Islands became popular in the 20s of the last century.
External and quality specifications
Rhode Island has a dark brown color, a bright reddish shaft along the entire length of the pen. The swell is a light brown. The plumage on the tail is black with a greenish tint. The head is small, on it is a leaf-shaped, red crest, usually with 5 regular teeth. The lobes are bright red. It has a curved beak, yellowish, but with a brown spot. Powerful become - the consequences of crossing with fighting birds.
Birds are characterized by a rectangular, long and deep body. They have powerful breasts, a long and wide back. The length of the neck is small, with a fluffy mane on it. On small wings, wide feathers. Legs are low, unopposed, powerful, metatarsus and toes yellow. Sometimes there is a red stripe on the sides of the metatarsus. The advantage of the Rhode Islands is mobility, well-being on a free range. Animals are undemanding to food and keeping conditions.
Representatives of this breed have a balanced, non-aggressive character, but rarely can fight among themselves. From them there is no fuss in the house, no conflicts are heard. They tend to quickly get used to the owner, can admit it to their eggs. Such behavioral characteristics are inherent not only to laying hens, but also to roosters, which differ in aggressive temper in other breeds. Rhode Islands normally tolerate a change of feed and temperature, do not lose weight and always delight with good productivity.
White Rhode Island was bred in 1888. Sometimes the white and red individuals of this breed are crossed to obtain highly productive hybrids. A distinctive feature is the color of the plumage. It is a meat-and-egg variety with similar weight and productivity. In white Rhode Island, the crest is larger in size, and its hue is richly red.
The white bird was bred by crossing the white Leghorn, the Konkhinkhins, the white Wyandots. At the American Poultry Association, the first white Rhode Island was registered in 1922. For 40 years, the bird was more or less popular, then it began to disappear. In 2003, only 3 thousand individuals of this population were registered.
Dwarf Rhode Island was bred by German breeders. The weight of the bird does not exceed 1.2 kilograms, and the mass of eggs is not more than 40 grams. Representatives of the dwarf species have the same proportions and species standards as large birds.
The only differences are performance and egg quality. Dwarf Rhode Island has significantly lower parameters. For these reasons, these birds are bred mainly by collectors.
Birds have a rather massive body structure - this helps to obtain a large amount of juicy, tender meat. The average weight of males at the age of one and a half years is 3.1-3.9 kilograms. At a similar age, laying hens weigh between 2.5 and 2.9 kilos. They are much smaller.
Puberty occurs at 7 months. Rush regularly. The Rhode Island breed is a great solution when you need to get a large number of products. Experts note a good egg production of birds - for a year, a laying hen brings about 160-170 eggs. But some individuals are pleased with record-breaking egg laying - up to 215 pieces per year. The average egg weight is from 58 to 63 grams. Layers give eggs with a light brown, sometimes brown, shell.
Content and diet
Rhode Island is a bird adapted to look for pasture. With limited free range, vegetation is quickly exterminated. In this case, it is necessary to provide the animal with a balanced diet. Depending on the age of the bird, the living conditions and diet vary greatly.
Rhode Island chicks are born strong and tenacious. This is due to the genetics of previous generations of fighters who were previously used to breed.
A characteristic feature inherent in this variety is the rapid growth rate. But fouling with feathers is not so swift - in cubs this process is protracted.
Regarding the rearing of young animals, there are no secrets. In the care of chickens, farmers adhere to certain rules that are relevant for all varieties. The following are recommendations for growing, feeding and enhancing the immunity of chicks:
- While maintaining the optimum air temperature, it will be possible to provide the chicks with comfortable conditions. Initially, young animals are kept warm at a temperature of + 28-32 degrees, then every 7 days they gradually decrease by 2 degrees - this contributes to the speedy adaptation of chicks, and adaptability to a normal climate.
- Small chicks are given millet with grated boiled eggs and finely chopped greens. This food is suitable for young animals from 10 days old. In the future, the diet needs to be expanded by introducing new products into the menu. Usually birds are fed with wet and dry mash mats, vegetables, and cereals.
- Do not forget about drinking, pouring water into special drinkers so that the birds do not overturn them. Be sure to follow this, because wet litter can lead to hypothermia and the development of diseases. Chicks are drunk with warm water, not more than 38-40 degrees.
- The breeder will have to take care of the health of the young from the first days of his birth. For this, regular cleaning of the house, disinfection of drinking bowls and feeders, and the introduction of vitamin supplements into the diet are considered an important point. Chicks are vaccinated on time against dangerous infectious diseases. Vaccination is not a guarantee that birds will not get sick, but it significantly reduces the risk of developing infections.
- In a month and a half, active chicks are relocated to adult relatives. Here they feed from one feeder. They will eat everything that they will be given, because both small and adult individuals especially need protein feed.
When selecting feeds and making a ration, it is important to take into account the basic needs and characteristics of Rhode Islands. It is believed that birds of this breed are unpretentious in nutrition, but this does not mean that they are fed to everyone. Due to a lack of nutrients, productivity can decrease.
It is advisable to feed the layers with whole and crushed grains. The whole is poured into the feeders as an independent dish, and crushed grain is added to cereals and mash mashines. The presence of cereals is mandatory in the diet - birds are fed with barley, wheat, rye, corn, oats. Experienced farmers recommend adding meal and cake. In specialized stores they sell ready-made combined feed containing all the necessary components in the required proportions. You can read more about feeding hens here .
In the summer, half of the daily diet can be green feed. In winter, the Rhode Islands are fed with dry grass. During active masonry, an increase in chalk and shells is recommended - this helps to fill the need for minerals.
Rhode Island among the breeds of birds of combined productivity, are considered one of the best for home breeding. The chicken instinct is not peculiar to incubation, but in 50% of individuals it manifests itself. To increase the offspring of birds, use incubators or other brood hens.
Hatchability and fertility is up to 75%. Chickens have excellent survival, safety is at the level of 95%. Already at the age of one day, chickens show sexual dimorphism due to the golden gene. On the top of the head there is a characteristic spot, which allows the farmer to form a herd of potential layers. For roosters, such a mark is not present - they are planted separately. So it is possible in a short period of time to feed a brood purposefully for meat.
Breeding the breed for commercial purposes is not advisable, because of which purebred individuals are extremely rare. But Rhode Island roosters are used to breed broilers. They contribute to a significant improvement in meat characteristics, for example, at the Kuchinsky anniversary.
The maximum egg production of chickens of this breed occurs at the age of one and a half years, after which it begins to gradually decline. After the layers are two years old, they are usually sent for slaughter, replacing with younger hens.
Diseases and prevention methods
Rhode Island birds begin to get sick due to inappropriate care or poor, unbalanced nutrition. The farmer needs to pay attention to the appearance of the birds: if they look disheveled, indifferent to food, sleep standing far from everyone, their eyes are dull and their plumage is “dirty”, this indicates animal disease. They must be immediately isolated to avoid contamination of other birds.
The most common chicken diseases:
- cesspool inflammation;
- bowel disease (diarrhea);
- tyllorosis typhoid.
The main disease prevention in Rhode Island chickens is the proper varied nutrition of high-quality feed, space in the house, regular cleaning in the cages, disinfection of the premises, compliance with temperature and humidity.
Advantages and disadvantages
The breed of birds has many positive qualities. Initially, the unpretentiousness of animals to the conditions of detention, the ability to grow them in various climatic conditions is noted. The universal nature of the breed is also considered a plus - a farmer can use it to get both meat and eggs. The meat of carcasses has a high taste. Early puberty sets in, proper maintenance allows for 100% chick survival.
Among the shortcomings, average egg production, a high rate of rejection of animals by breeding characteristics, are distinguished. Because of this, the breed is not advisable to grow for commercial purposes. It is bought by breeders breeding birds in small farms to breed new crosses.
On the Internet there are many positive reviews about the breed Rhode Island. Here are some of them:
Peter, 41 years old, farmer.
I have been breeding Rhode Island chickens for almost 10 years. Started with a small farm, over time it turned into a farm, which contains 400 individuals. I tried to grow other breeds, but for me the main priority is the taste of meat, and the rest remains in the background. My family and I have not bought meat in stores for many years, we prefer our fresh, home-made meat. Even if you have never had to deal with birds, Rhode Islands are animals with which there are no difficulties.
Ksenia, 35 years old, a housewife.
I somehow got Rhode Island to get meat and eggs. Surely I can say that for those who live in private homes, this breed is the best. They told me that laying hens give large eggs, but in fact it turned out that their size is quite ordinary - 50-60 grams.
It was very important for me that the birds were not aggressive, because the family has five small children. The seller assured that the animals are very calm - this turned out to be true. Even roosters do not show aggression, so you can safely go out into the yard without fear of these birds. We are pleased not only that the birds give eggs, but also that they have tender, juicy meat.
Sergey, 44 years old, breeder.
Once I tried to get a bird species Faverol, and I regretted that they turned out to be excessively tender, with a low resistance to disease and weather conditions, because of this they quickly died. Then a friend of mine recommended to buy Rhode Islands. I looked at their photos, found a lot of information on the network, from which I came to the conclusion that this is an industrial cross, and I certainly can’t see chickens.
But a friend explained that in fact this breed is often involved in the breeding of meat and egg crosses, that is, it is quite possible to get thoroughbred chicks from Rhode Island birds. I believed her beliefs, and how good. The birds have good egg production, chickens hatch well. Chickens are universal, they can be kept in cages. Everything suits me.
Rhode Island - unpretentious birds, they have many positive characteristics. With proper care, regular cleaning in the house and taking preventive measures, the animals will not get sick, will quickly gain weight, will please their owners with juicy meat and medium-sized eggs.