Posted Mar 29, 2015
My family has had Rhode Island reds since I was a little girl. We were all raised on farm fresh eggs, beef, pork, and garden veggies.
We have always preferred the reds due to their ability to forage and the quality and quantity of the eggs they lay. Normally we would let ours out every morning, early, and let them forage all day. They seldom go too far, but you could always see them scratching around for food. Evening time we would go out with some cracked corn and chicken feed and pen them up for the night.
We generally kept about 9 chickens and a rooster or two. The hens never seemed to stop laying eggs or get moody, but occasionally you would have one that would try to hatch her eggs and we would have to separate her from the others. My father would normally put those hens under a crate for a few days, he said it kept them from trying to set their eggs, which it did seem to do but I don't know why. Anyway, with 9 hens we normally got about 4-8 eggs a day. Their eggs are large and brown, and good quality.
My biggest complaint about these chickens are the roosters. We never owned a single rooster that was not mean and aggressive at some point. We always got ours when they were young, but after about a year or two, they would be mean and attack you. About a year or so after they first start attacking, it only seemed to get worse, so we would get rid of them (or eat them) and start over with young roosters again.
Rhode Island reds are not hard to care for at all. Their eggs and meat are good quality, and they are very hardy. We never had a problem with them dying from heat or cold, so they seem to do well in a range of temperatures. No experience is needed to raise these chickens, but be warned, the roosters will attack!