If you’re planning to start a backyard chicken farm, then the Rhodebar chicken is among the breeds you should consider. In fact, most poultry experts recommend first-timers to pick this breed due to its low maintenance requirements. This breed is also calm and docile making it ideal for backyards with other docile birds.
But, other than its low maintenance, the Rhodebar is a rare utility bird that can be raised for both meat and egg produce. The hens are capable of laying up to 200 tinted brown large eggs annually. This is a huge clutch that’s enough to promise a bumper profit if you’re planning to sell the eggs commercially.
About the weight, this chicken has a standard weight of 6.5 – 8.5 pounds, which again is considered high. These chickens come in standard and bantam varieties with bantams being a suitable pick for farmers with small spaces. Lastly, the Rhodebar is among the few auto-sexing breeds that are available. Being sex link chickens means that farmers can easily differentiate the sexes by just looking at the plumage. With that said, this guide will walk you through the Rhodebar chicken breed to understand its features, temperament, level of productivity, and tips to follow when raising them.
A Short History of Rhodebar Chicken
The Rhodebar breed is among the few autosexing chicken breeds that are available. Developed in the UK, this chicken is a result of crossing several chicken breeds in the UK and the USA in an attempt to get a breed that would have an improved egg-laying ability.
Successful breeding began with the Brussbar, which was an autosexing chicken developed from breeding the Barred Plymouth Rock and the Brown Sussex. The Brussbar was then crossed with the Rhode Island Red to develop the Rhodebar. Before it was named the Rhodebar, this chicken was initially called the Redbar.
Now, the genetic engineering between crossing an American and a UK chicken breed resulted in a breed that had unique and rare characteristics. First, the Rhodebar became an autosexing breed with chicks that were very easy to distinguish even when they were hours old.
Secondly, the autosexing characteristics of the Brussbar and the egg-laying ability of the Rhode Island Red resulted in a utility chicken that was reliable for both meat and eggs. This was a huge advantage to poultry farmers as they had a backyard chicken that could be counted for its produce. Secondly, the chicks hatched were visibly sexable making it easier to distinguish the males from females.
In 1952, the Rhodebar was finally recognized as a standard breed by the Poultry Club of Britain. The breed was recognized as a utility breed rather than an ornamental bird due to its delicious meat and high egg production.
Specifications of Rhodebar Chicken
|Uses||Meat & Egg Produce|
|Life Span||6 – 8 Years|
|Weight||Roosters: 8.5 Pounds; Hens: 6.4 Pounds|
|Egg Production||180 – 250 Eggs Annually|
|Egg Size & Color||Large Light Brown Eggs|
|Colors||Roosters: Deep Red with White Barring; Hens: Deep Red with Grey-White and Black Barring|
|Bantam||Roosters: 2.2 Pounds; Hens: 1.8 Pounds|
|Temperament||Quiet & Calm|
Physical Appearance and Breed Standard of Rhodebar Chicken
When planning to raise rare chickens such as the Rhodebar, you should acquaint yourself with their physical appearance to make it easier to differentiate them from other breeds. When it comes to appearance, the Rhodebar is among the easiest breeds to differentiate males from females due to their autosexing advantage.
Starting with the plumage, males have deep red-colored feathers with black, grey, and white barring that get narrower towards the lower part of the body. Their breasts have a mix of red-gold, cream, and black barring while the tails have black and white barring.
The hens, on the other hand, have deep red plumage with gold, white, and black narrow barring that tend to get narrower as they approach the upper body. While roosters have upturned tails consisting of light brown, black, and white colors, hens have short tails that contain white and black colors.
About their similarities, both sexes have long backs, broad bodies, and full breasts. Both sexes have single upright combs, red faces, red earlobes, short bright yellow beaks, and yellow shanks.
The Rhodebar doesn’t come alone. It comes with a bantam variety that bears the same physical characteristics as the standard variety. The only difference, however, is the size.
Now, some of the features we’ve mentioned here are enough to make the Rhodebar an undisputed winner in most exhibition shows. However, considering it’s a utility bird, most people prefer to raise it for meat and egg produce.
Productivity of Rhodebar Chicken (Egg Laying and Meat)
Now, the Rhode Island Red, a parent to the Rhodebar, is an excellent egg layer that manages around 260 eggs annually. With these statistics in mind, it’s easy to assume that the Rhodebar can’t disappoint when it comes to the egg-laying department. Indeed, this chicken has not failed its breeders as it can lay around 180 – 250 eggs annually.
However, the Rhodebar doesn’t just start by laying such a high number of eggs. As a pullet, it begins its egg-laying journey 5 months after hatching. Here, the pullets lay around 200 eggs annually then increase the number to around 250 during the first year of production.
Now, have we touched anything on Rhodebar chicken egg color? I guess not. These chickens lay large light brown eggs that are great for consumption. The Rhodebar is also a resilient bird that continues to lay eggs during cold winter months despite lowing production just a little.
Since they’re tolerant to cold weather, they can sometimes maintain high egg production during winter provided you feed them a balanced diet.
Speaking of meat products, the Rhodebar is a breed that’s raised for its meat production. With roosters weighing up to 8.5 pounds, this breed can produce a lot of meat to feed an entire family. When cooked well, its meat has a soft texture and flavorful taste that makes it ideal for most restaurants.
Rhodebar Chicken Characteristics (Personality and Temperament)
When it comes to temperament, the Rhodebar chicken is considered a calm, quiet, docile, and very friendly bird. However, its calmness has a limit. While the hens are considered gentle, the roosters are sometimes aggressive and are considered bullies. So, if you’re planning to mix them with gentle breeds such as Cochins, Silkies, and Polish chickens, then you should be very careful.
Otherwise, Rhodebars are not known for being overly aggressive. When given special care such as a balanced diet, a proper coop environment, and plenty of treats, these birds can become good friends. In fact, most keepers admit that Rhodebars are among the breeds that form good social bonds with their owners.
Other keepers describe the personality of the Rhodebar as being confident and intelligent. Here, the hens tend to interact with their owners by sitting on their laps or perching on their shoulders. The roosters, just like most boys, enjoy seeking a human touch and also playfully pecking on your feet.
But, despite being playful, the Rhodebar is a chicken that’s very curious about its surrounding. The chicken is a savvy free ranger that loves to forage in search of worms, bugs, seeds, and other foods. This allows these chickens to thrive with minimal care from their owners.
About being broody, Rhodebar chickens are not known to be excellent brooders. This leaves them with two specific roles to play in your backyard—to lay eggs and produce meat. However, these chickens sometimes surprise their owners by getting broody. If they do, they usually make great mothers.
Common Health Issues of Rhodebar Chicken
The best thing about the Rhodebar chicken is that it’s a hardy breed with excellent health. This bird can survive in almost any weather condition, whether it’s in winter or hot climates. Unlike most breeds that have specific health conditions, the Rhodebar doesn’t have any known problems making it hardy.
However, being hardy doesn’t mean the Rhodebar is entirely safe. This chicken is susceptible to several health issues which we’re going to discuss here.
- Prolapsed Vent: The first problem you’re likely to face when raising the Rhodebar is a possible prolapsed vent. This problem is common among most breeds that produce huge amounts of eggs. Since prolapsed vent is caused by obesity and lack of a proper diet, exercising your chickens and feeding them with a special diet and supplements can help solve the problem
- Parasites: Parasites, such as lice and mites can get inside the coop via cracks or hide on chicken droppings, in case you allow them to accumulate for too long. When they infest your chickens, parasites can feed on blood and leave your chickens in grave danger. So, here, you need to inspect your chickens often and apply mite and lice sprays whenever you detect them. Also, ensure that you clean the coop by removing chicken droppings often.
- Frostbites: Lastly, there’s the issue of frostbites. Since Rhodebars are single combs, there’s a high chance of getting frostbite during cold weather. Sadly, frostbite can be very painful and can cause a massive decrease in egg production in hens. Common signs of frostbite, especially on the combs include swelling, blistering, and discoloration. To prevent frostbites, you can consider applying petroleum jelly to the affected areas. Next, insulate your coop and install heaters to keep the chickens warm.
Required Environment for Rhodebar Chicken
The amount of care you provide to your Rhodebar flock can play a huge role in the overall performance. Although Rhodebars are hardy chickens that thrive in almost any weather condition, giving them a good living environment is paramount if you want to enjoy high yields.
Consider the Coop:
So, the first thing you need to take into account is the condition of the coop. Here, you need to ensure the coop is well built to prevent parasites and predators from getting in.
The coop should have high roosting perches for the chickens to rest and sleep on. You should also consider the quality and number of the nesting boxes as Rhodebars are chickens that lay huge amounts of eggs.
In case it’s during the winter months, you should provide your Rhodebar chickens with artificial lighting to assist them with egg laying. Bulbs with soft yellow colors will be ideal here.
When it comes to the issue of temperature, Rhodebar chickens sometimes suffer from frostbite caused by extremely cold weather. Similar to what we discussed earlier, this condition can be handled by insulating the coop and installing heaters to keep the chickens warm.
On the flip side, during hot weather conditions, your chickens need adequate ventilation to keep them cool. Also, ensure that you provide them with plenty of cold fruits and cool water to drink.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Raising Rhodebar Chicken
- Now, the Rhodebar is an auto-sexing chicken breed that’s very easy to separate male chicks from female chicks. This is a huge plus to farmers as you can automatically tell their sex while they’re still young.
- Since they’re bred from Rhode Island Reds, Rhodebars are prolific layers that manage around 250 eggs annually. They also produce decent meat servings making them great for meat production as well.
- Rhodebar chickens are among those breeds that are quite easy to raise. Since they don’t have any complex demands, these chickens can be raised by almost anyone from enthusiasts to novices.
- Lastly, Rhodebars are chickens that have excellent health and strong immunity. This breed doesn’t have any known health challenges, which is great if you’re raising them for commercial purposes.
- Although Rhodebar hens are calm, the roosters tend to be aggressive at times. Being aggressive means that they can easily pick fights with other chickens creating a chaotic coop.
- Another setback with Rhodebars is the issue of noise. These chickens are known to be very noisy. Therefore, keeping them around neighbors can cause noise pollution.
Raising Tips for Rhodebar Chicken
- Starting with feeding, your flock needs a balanced diet to stay healthy. These birds are known for being great layers. For this reason, a 16%-layer feed with calcium supplement is enough to keep the chickens healthy. Calcium supplements allow this chicken to maintain excellent Rhodebar chicken egg color.
- Rhodebar chickens are great free-ranging birds. For that reason, they need enough space to free range and to dust bath. The space should be fenced to keep the flock safe against predators.
- Clean the coop regularly to remove excess feathers and droppings. Remember, excess droppings provide a perfect breeding point for parasites. Still, on the coop, add high roosting perches for the chickens to rest on and larger nesting boxes for the hens to lay in.
- Depending on the weather conditions, you can either ventilate the coop or insulate it to keep the flock comfortable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What Are Other Examples of Auto-Sexing Chicken Breeds?
Auto-sexing chickens are those breeds whose chicks are easy to identify their sexes right after hatching. Some of the breeds that are known examples of auto-sexing breeds include Waybar, Brussbar, Welbar, Rhodebar, and the Buff Brahma.
Q2. When Do Rhodebar Chickens Start Laying Eggs?
The Rhodebar chicken is among those breeds that are considered excellent egg layers. According to statistics, most breeds raised for egg laying tend to lay eggs quite early. Some of the best layers begin laying as early as 4 months. As for the Rhodebar, this chicken begins its egg-laying journey at 6 months where it produces 200 eggs. The number then increases to 250 or decreases to 150 depending on the raising conditions.
Q3. How Do You Differentiate Rhodebar Chicks?
Sexing Rhodebar chicks is usually straightforward. The males have yellow down while the females have dark stripes or barring that extend down their backs.
Q4. Why Is Lighting Important In Your Coop?
There are three main benefits of lighting your coop, especially during winter. The first benefit is to keep egg production at a high during the winter months. During winter, chickens get around 8 hours of sunlight instead of the usual 14 hours. So, to stimulate their pituitary glands (for the ovaries to release eggs), you need to add artificial lighting to your coop.
When temperatures are extremely low during winter, heating lamps are heavily recommended to keep the coop warm. Chicks, for instance, require warmth during this period as they lack fluffy feathers to keep their bodies warm.
Lastly, keeping your coop lighted up makes it easier for you to access the inside in case you need to clean it or pick something.
The Rhodebar is an economical chicken breed that can be raised by almost anyone. This chicken has minimal expenses in terms of feeding and overall maintenance. The chicken is an avid forager meaning it can free range easily in search of food.
Regarding its health condition, the Rhodebar is a hardy bird that’s resistant to most health challenges. The only setbacks you might encounter are the obvious parasite infestation and issues with frostbites, which again are pretty obvious with chickens with single combs.
The only two things you have to consider when raising this chicken is issues of bullying, which are quite common if the Rhodebar is raised alongside docile chickens. The other setback is issues of noise pollution, in case you live in an urban setting.
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Hello, I am John Reid. I have been raising chickens for the last 15 years. I have got my experience from my father. My father is the owner of a large chicken farm. This is our family business that has been continuing for over 35 years. I am very interested in backyard chickens and I know how to take care of them. You can learn more About Us here. Happy Reading!!