The short answer to this question is that the Rhode Island Red can lay three to five large brown eggs per week.
But that’s only when it’s laying season and they’re in their prime!
Even though Rhode Island Reds are known to lay about 250 large, brown eggs per year, their age, season (how much light they’re exposed to), health, and living conditions will all have an effect on how often Rhode Island Reds will lay eggs.
But, overall, the Rhode Island Reds lay eggs very well. In production and continuity, it’s almost impossible to find a better breed.
Factors That Influence Egg Production
Season and Light
Rhode Island Reds need at least 16 hours of daylight to produce eggs at their peak rate. And they need at least 12 hours to lay eggs at all.
The high laying season for the hens is summer. This is because a hen’s reproductive system responds to light exposure. The number of eggs your chickens will lay drops when the number of daylight hours is reduced.
Be prepared for a shortage of eggs in the winter and when they are molting in fall.
Poor nutrition or illness can lead to a drop in production. The hens may also lay eggs with soft or deformed shells.
Many internal and external parasites can infect chickens and decrease egg laying.
For example, internal parasite infestations can damage the digestive tract. And infestations of mites can cause anemia. Both of these parasites will reduce egg-laying.
Besides giving them plenty of fresh water, if you want your Rhode Island Reds to lay a lot of eggs, it is very important to maintain good nutrition. A poor diet can lead to health problems and limited egg production.
Here’s how you should feed your chickens:
- 0 to 6 Week Old (Chicks): Their diet should contain around 20-20% protein. You should feed them some kind of chick starter.
- 6 to 20+ Week Old (Pullets): Their diet should contain around 14-16% protein. You should feed them some kind of high-quality pullet grower until they start laying.
- 20 Week or Above (Layers): Once chickens start laying eggs, they require around 15-18% protein in their feed. You should feed your hens layer feed to help them in their egg-laying. (Don’t feed this to your non-laying hens).
A stressed hen will not make as many eggs as a happy, healthy one. If hens are handled too much or they’re regularly scared by predators, they will probably produce fewer eggs.
For example, laying hens must have sufficient space. It’s recommended to have a minimum of 1.5 square feet per Rhode Island Red, but the more space you give them the better!
Hens are also picky and they like things just right to be good egg layers. At night, they need a comfortable perch in their coop to sleep on. And they also need private, clean nest boxes.
If you want to provide your chickens with outdoor space, usually 2 square feet per Rhode Island Red is needed. But, similar to the coop, the more space the better.
If you’re not an expert woodworker (like me) but you’re still thinking of building your own coop and run (it’s really not that hard!), you might want to check out my favorite do-it-yourself chicken coop eBook called “Building a Chicken Coop“. You’ll save tons of money and your coop will most likely be of higher quality than a store-bought one.
When Do Rhode Island Reds Start to Lay Eggs?
My Rhode Island Red pullets typically start laying eggs at around 18 to 24 weeks, but they don’t lay three to five eggs a week right away. I find it takes about 30 weeks for them to start laying more regularly.
It’s common for these chickens to lay large eggs in their first year. And, in the following years, they may sometimes lay double-yoked eggs.
How Long Do Rhode Island Reds Lay Eggs?
Usually, when they reach a certain age, chickens don’t just stop laying eggs. But they will lay less as they get older.
I find, with my Rhode Island Reds, that they typically hit their egg-laying prime when they’re one to two years old. Then the production decreases by about 10% a year after that.
Although egg production tends to decrease every year, they still produce fairly consistently for about four to five years.