Rhode Island Reds are prolific egg layers. To keep them healthy and laying at maximum capacity you can expect a Rhode Island Red to eat at least ¼ lb of quality layer feed a day.
What Should I Feed My Rhode Island Reds?
A Rhode Island Red’s dietary needs are not much different from other chicken’s.
Once they start laying it’s important you provide a quality layer feed. Eggs require protein and calcium, so they’ll need to consume a feed high in these nutrients to keep those big, tasty eggs coming.
Here are the two different feeds you should provide based on their age:
0-18 weeks old – Newborn chicks need a feed high in protein and rich in nutrition. RIR’s need a quality feed ranging between 12%-20% in protein.
This feed from Purina available on Amazon has been specially formulated to provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrition a baby chick needs. It’s also 18% protein.
18 weeks onward – At around 18-20 weeks of age, Rhode Island’s typically start laying. As soon as they’ve laid their first egg, which will be small at first, you should start providing a layer feed.
Layer feeds, like the one below are high in protein and contain increased levels of calcium and other nutrition needed to produce eggs.
This feed from Manna Pro is 16% protein, and made with Non-GMO and is USDA certified organic.
If you’re going to be eating their eggs, it makes sense to give you chickens a quality feed. You’ll notice the difference when you eat them. Especially if you let them roam free and graze on natural stuff too.
How Often Should You Feed Them?
The most common way to feed chickens, especially when they’re laying is to use what’s called the “full feeding method”.
This basically means you make a constant supply of feed available at all times. Chickens will rarely overeat, they’ll eat as much as they need to keep optimal health and egg production.
This usually means topping up their feeder in the morning, and again in the evening. You don’t want to dump out a few days’ worth in one go. Keep their keep as fresh as possible, and protected from pests overnight.
How Much to Feed Rhode Island Red Chickens Per Day?
It helps if you have a good idea of how much feed to put out each day.
The general rule of thumb should be a minimum of ¼ lb of feed per day, per chicken. So, if you have 10 chickens in your flock, they should consume 2 ½ lbs of feed per day.
I would put out at least 1 ½ lbs in the morning. Then look at how much is left in the evening and top up their feeder.
Don’t be alarmed if they’re eating more than this. This is a rough measurement and will vary based on the size and activity of your birds.
If they’re eating less than this it might be cause for concern though. If your girls are also laying fewer or smaller eggs than they should, it’s cause for some investigation.
Related – 4 Reasons why chickens lay small eggs.
How Many Eggs Do Rhode Island Reds Lay?
If you’ve decided to add RIRs to your flock, chances are you’re doing so because you want a constant supply of large eggs.
They’re one of the best backyard egg-laying breeds. You can expect around 250 eggs a year from a healthy Red in its peak.
That’s 5-6 eggs per week!
Rhode Island Reds are one of the most common and easy to raise dual-purpose backyard breeds.
The bulk of their diet should come from a good commercial feed. When eating feed alone, Rhode Island Reds typically eat about ¼ lb of feed a day.
If you’re also giving them table scraps like fruits and vegetables or other treats, obviously they’ll eat less feed.
The important thing is to make sure they’re getting at least 90% of their diet from a good feed when they’re laying. This’ll ensure they’re getting all the nutrition they need to keep producing those large brown eggs.
Want to know more about this breed? Check out 18 interesting facts about Rhode Island Reds
Image credits – Header image by Photo by Carl Schlabach on Unsplash