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The Best Heritage Layers
Production Red is the name that has been given to Rhode Island Red crosses bred for maximum egg laying for over 100 years. Our Production Reds are a cross between Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Island Whites, both excellent layers in their own right, and the cross is even better. They are bred for self-sufficient homesteads and farms that need to supply consistent top quality large brown eggs. The parent lines are unique to us, and produce chicks that come in ‘50 Shades of Brown’, from nearly white to dark mahagony.
No heritage chicken can lay as well as the commercial hybrids (Bovans, ISAs, etc) and, being heavier birds, they are not quite as feed efficient either. But they wind up being a better investment because they will molt properly each year, restore their body reserves, and give you a second and third year of good laying. The commercial hybrids are programed for 15 months of laying and then most of them will need to be replaced. If you compare the cost of replacing your birds every year with the cost of a 2 month molt and slightly lower production you will probably find that Production Reds are a better buy.
If you're planning to get farm status from egg sales, pack a carton of eggs with your CSA box, or have a guaranteed profitable project on your hobby farm, Production Reds are the chickens for you.
We sell Production Reds straight run (unsexed) or females. The sexing is guaranteed 90% accurate. The cockerels of this breed are a little scrawny for most people, but you can improve them - read the blog Raising Better Dual-Purpose Chickens for tips on getting more meat from them. Don't keep them too long in the hopes they will get heavier; it's best to process them by 18 weeks, before they get tough. If you want to keep the flock going choose a young rooster that is not the heaviest or lightest, and has good manners. There is enough genetic diversity in these birds to tolerate 2 generations of inbreeding before you should get 'fresh' stock.'