Friday, December 8Food Security Matters

Growing Rhode Island Red Chickens in the Philippines

Growing Rhode Island Red chickens in the Philippines started to gain popularity during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. People were confined to their homes so they had no choice but to explore other ways to make extra income.

The Rhode Island Red (RIR) breed of chicken is not native to the Philippines. It is one of the American heritage chicken breeds which become the most popular backyard chicken breed not only in the US but also in other parts of Europe. In Australia, it is also widely farmed next to Australia’s Black Australorp.

Rhode Island Red hens

Rhode Island Red Characteristics

The color of the plumage of the traditional Rhode Island red ranges from a lustrous deep pink to almost black; the tail is mostly black. The comb may be either single or rose-comb; it is vivid red, as are the earlobes and wattles. Birds have red-orange eyes, reddish-brown beaks, and yellow feet and legs, often with some red on the toes and sides of the shanks.  Industrial strains may be smaller and paler in color than the old-type breed.

In the Philippines, there are two types of RIR. The first one is called “Dark Mahogany” which has a darker plumage and shiner and more neat feathers. The other one is the “Production Type”, which is lighter in color. Dark Mahogany is considered premium and always costs more than the production type. Dark Mahogany day-old chicks can cost between P120 to P150 while the production type RIR can cost from P90 to P120.

Growing Rhode Island Red in the Philippines

Raising RIR chickens is similar to growing native and other free-range chickens but since most of them do not sit and incubate their eggs, you need an egg incubator if you plan to farm Rhode Island Red chickens.

Whether you are living in an urban subdivision or a rural barangay, you must have a chicken house as RIRs do not fly to rest on tree branches as native chickens do. A chicken house is very important so it can be kept at night. They are no selective eaters so you can feed them the same way you feed your native chickens. Cooked rice, corn, grated coconut, banana, papaya, watermelon, and other non-sour fruits can be given to the chickens.

Rhode Island Reds are good layers. One instance is my first RIR that laid 43 eggs before it decided to start incubating. Of the 6 hens that I raised, only 2 were broody and incubated their eggs. The other 4 never sit and incubate their eggs.

If you are planning on growing Rhode Island Reds for free-range eggs, RIR is a good choice of breed. If your plan is to have a small business, selling day-old chicks can be a good income-generating activity since the demand for RIR chicks is high, especially if you grow the Dark mahogany line.

Growing Rhode Island Red chickens is not that complicated and not different from growing other breeds unless you are growing broiler chickens that need totally different care.

If managed well, farming Rhode Island Red can generate up to P50,000 a month for just 100 laying hens. Assuming those 100 hens lay eggs and produce at least P500 chicks, you can sell them for P120 and make P60,000. 100 laying hens can be taken care of by just your self so your expenses are just for feeds, electricity, water, and other supplies like feeders and vitamins which will cost not more than P10,000 per month. The 5 eggs per hen is already a very estimate. You can double the profit if all hens lay eggs.

Questions Related to RIR  Chickens

What is the best feed for Rhode Island Red chickens?

Rhode Island Red chickens don’t have any specific dietary needs, meaning you’ll be fine feeding them what you feed the rest of your flock. Chicks will need a 21% Starter Feed, which you can purchase right here! They will eat Starter from the day they’re born until they are around 8 weeks old.

How much room do Rhode Island Red chickens need?

Inside the coop, they will need a minimum of 4 square feet per bird. Reds are assertive birds and in a confined area without enough space, they can become quite ugly towards each other – so more space is better. An average of 8 inches of perch space is adequate for the Reds.

How many eggs does a Rhode Island Red chicken lay per year?

Hardy birds for all seasons, the Rhode Island Red can lay up to 300 large brown eggs a year. It’s easy to see why this breed of chicken is bred to make hybrids with other excellent birds. Australorp: This chicken, of Australian origin, became popular because of its egg-laying abilities.

Do Rhode Island Reds need a rooster to lay eggs?

While a Rhode Island Red hen can lay eggs without a rooster, they may not hatch into younglings. If you intend to breed your birds in the future, get a healthy rooster to fertilize the eggs.

What is the life expectancy of a Rhode Island Red chicken?

They are a self-sufficient heritage breed and this can play a big factor in their long lifespan. On average this breed will live five to eight years but can easily outlive this with the proper care

How long before Rhode Island Red chickens lay eggs?

Breeds such as Barred, Delawares, and Rhode Island Reds usually lay eggs around 18 to 20 weeks of age. They also lay eggs until their fourth or fifth year. Some breeds that are heavier and larger do not lay eggs until the 28th week.

How much does a full-grown Rhode Island Red chicken cost?

An adult Rhode Island Red hen that is ready to lay in the Philippines would cost you from P700 to P900 depending on the purity of the breed. If dark mahogany, it can cost up to P1,000.

Are Rhode Island Reds loud?

Rhode Island Reds are noisy. These birds are noisy before, during, and after egg-laying. They are very intense when preparing to lay an egg, and make extremely loud, agitated squawking noises pretty much non-stop.

How do you tell if my Rhode Island Red is a rooster?

The rooster has a larger comb than the hen and is also a vibrant red color; his legs are longer and thicker than the hen and you may even be able to see spurs starting to form although this doesn’t guarantee it is a rooster.

How much is a Rhode Island Red rooster worth in the Philippines?

Depending on location and time, prices will vary but expect to pay at least P1,000 for an adult rooster. A beautiful RIR Dark mahogany rooster could sell for up to P1,500.

Are Rhode Island Red hens friendly?

Rhode Island Reds are friendly to a fault and are simply happy to be in your company, watching over your garden work or keeping the kids busy with pats and cuddles on the weekends.

At what age do RIR chickens stop laying eggs?

As hens age, they will naturally start laying fewer eggs with many hens slowing down production around 6 or 7 years of age and retirement shortly after. Many laying hens can live several years into retirement with an average life expectancy between 8 and 10 years.

Do Rhode Island Reds go broody?

While some Rhode Island Red hens will go broody, don’t count on it if you want to raise chicks. However, those hens who do go broody and raise their own chicks are usually good mothers.

Where to buy Rhode Island Reds in the Philippines.

Growing Rhode Island Red chickens in the Philippines is not a problem as you can buy chicks everywhere.  Join chicken farming Facebook groups in the country and you’ll find a lot of breeders selling day-old chicks online. You may also discover some RIR breeders near you.

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