Need advice on Rhode Island Red / Production Red strain

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by mississippifarmboy, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    Now first off I realize he's not up to standard. Until a couple of years ago I'd never even heard of a standard of perfection and although I've had this strain for many years I've always just breed them towards what I was looking for in a chicken. (Sorry, I didn't know any better) As I have a lot of respect for the different breeders, genetic, coloration and other experts on BYC, I thought I'd get some opinions on whether it's worth trying to breed them back to standard or just start over with better birds. I might add I've had these for around 20 years, they originally came from somewhere in central Alabama. We replaced most of our flocks this past spring, but I couldn't make myself get rid of my reds.
    I've been following the threads on Rhode Island Reds and I know mine don't have the same "Brick" shape, the darker coloation and my roos comb is different. Originally ours were much darker, but over the years as I've culled more for egg laying ability and larger body size I've lost most of the dark color. This roo is about 5 1/2 months old and weighs about 5.74 lbs right now. Most of our red roos top out at between 8 and 10 lbs but have had a couple go a bit over 10 lbs. They lay around 175 -200 eggs a year most years, but this past year the main pen averaged around 225.


    So should I try to breed up or just buy new stock?

    edited to better decribe the thread [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010

  2. Robert Blosl

    Robert Blosl Rest in Peace -2013

    Mar 1, 2010
    Silverhill, Alabama
    Looks Like A Nice Male. He Is Not Standard But If The Females Lay 200 Eggs A Year And They Have Good Meat On Them When You Eat Them You Dont Have To. If You Got A Female Or Male Say From William Bennett Strain In Georgia You Could Cross Them Onto Your Strain To Darken The Color. If You Want The Old Fashion Brick Shape Standard R I Reds Like I Use To Have You Would Have To Breed Them Up. You Could Get Twenty Five Chicks From Mr. Bennett And Raise Them Compair Them To Your Birds And Make A Cross Or Replace Them With His Birds. Why Did I Choose His Reds They Will Do Well In Your Climate As Its About The Same As His. Hope This Helps.

    Bob Old Large Fowl Breeder.
  3. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    Thanks Bob. They do lay great and are meaty as that is what I always breed for. I have noticed that the smaller hens outlay their larger sisters though.
  4. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    I've been following several of the Rhode Island Red and Rhode Island Red versus New Hampshire threads on BYC and have come to conclusion that it is possible that these have had other breeds breed in over the years. Some of the other threads mentioned early strains having brown leghorns breed into them in the early days to improve egg laying ability and hence we get "production reds".
    I've had this strain around 20 years I think, they came from a breeder my great uncle (Hubert Gray) knew somewhere in Alabama and he brought them to the farm in I think it was in the fall of 1989. We started with 2 roosters and around 10 hens if I recall correctly. (My oldest daughter was born in November of '89 and I remember them being in the temp coop when I brought her home) We've always had our breeds separated during the breeding season (We separated January first each year into individual coops, started collecting eggs to put in the incubator in the first part of march) After we hatched all we wanted for that year (Usually around May) we would turn all the chickens loose to free range the rest of the year.
    The first few years they were super dark colored, I would decribe it as "Bing Cherry" red, almost black. The shape was much different back then with a bigger more "forward" chest and lower tail. They were considerably lighter in total weight though. We never weighed them that I can recall, but I know I've always breed the largest ones back and I can tell they are most likely a couple of pounds heavier than our original strain was. I picked the roos from my hatches from my best laying hens and my hens from matings with the biggest, fastest feathering roos.
    Like I stated above, they were never breed to a standard because I never even heard of one at the time or knew one existed. They might have been "production reds" to start with, but I've never seen anything that looked like them until I started seeing pictures of the heritage Rhode Island Reds here on BYC. Unlike some people though, I realize that over the years it is possible that a stray roo temporarily made it into a breeding pen, or maybe there was some fertilization holdover from when they were all free ranging together before we put them into individual coops.
    I do not call mine "Heritage" and generaly just tell visitors to the farm that they are production reds or Mississippi reds if asked. I don't have any true-to-standard show type birds at this time although I do plan on starting with some in the spring from the very best birds I can get from the very best breeders out there that will sell to me.
    I do plan on keeping this strain also though because of the good meat producing size, the good egg laying ability and because they are a part of our family and it's roots. Now my question to you master breeders is... what would be the proper breed name to call them when someone asks me?

    Those of you who have been helping me learn about heritage birds... Thank You! I know there are lots of agruments and fussing going on, but I personally am glad you are all here to teach us more about that 1%.

    I know I want to start in the spring with rose comb rhode island reds, and have contacted the owner of the best (And one of the very few) flocks I've seen out there about getting some when they start selling. I also want to find the best barred rocks. I think two breeds is enough to keep me busy for several years. [​IMG]

  5. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    Quote:Before you get rid of them I'd like to buy a couple of dozen hatching eggs from you.
  6. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    I've decided to keep them anyway, I'll try and get a start on some more "heritage" birds in the spring, but I'll always have these I think. [​IMG]
    They aren't laying much right now, but when they start back I'll give you all the eggs you want.

    I did get the wrong weight though (Note I changed it above.) The one pictured was 5.74 pounds at 5 1/2 months. I was looking at the wrong page (The father of this one at 1 year old). oh well.
  7. punky rooster

    punky rooster Awesome

    Jul 21, 2010
    Quote:good luck!

  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    It sounds as if you have developed through selective breeding a strain that suits your needs. I would do nothing to your present strain. If you want to work with more to the standard birds, get some. Sounds like you have done a lot of work with your birds and have developed a good looking, healthy, productive bird. Congratulations on your achievement. Don't discard 20 years of work.
  9. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    Thanks. I'm lucky enough to have plenty of land and space to breed more than one kind, so I'll keep these and start next year with a new strain of more heritage type birds.

  10. Kaceyx73

    Kaceyx73 Chirping

    Dec 14, 2010
    Hello all.

    As a new flock owner, I chose the Rhode Island Reds. Of course, I also had no real idea that there was much difference between the "production" reds, and the "Heritage" reds. After seeing more pics of the deep red color of the heritage, I felt a little bad about it. For me, in the long run I think the production reds will suit me just fine. I was looking for a beautiful bird that lays well and is suitable for meat. I also wanted to be able to leave them be, for the most part, without worrying too much about breeding.

    Out of my half of 25 chicks, I did get a Roo. Good for me, I wanted one. With outdoor cats roaming around, I also wanted at least one adult rooster to keep the kitties away. Mr. Vic is great, and as a newbie, I didn't recognize that he isn't a RIR, maybe a cross. He is a beautiful bird, and has been a great asset in protecting, teaching, and leading his flock. I will be posting (as soon as I figure out where its best to post it) a thread to get recommendations on breeding. Im posting here mainly because your Roo at 5mos looks alot like mine, also around 5.




    For those of you familiar with breeding, be looking for my post. What I've been told so far, is to breed Roo (the young dark one) to the darker hens, and Mr. Vic to the lighter colored ones, to breed roosters to look more like him. Also, told by a Maran breeder that he was possibly a RIR crossed with a black tail buff Maran. Good luck with you flocks!

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