Rhode Island Red
We have been raising RIR layers since 2005, we picked them because we learned they are a recovering species, and known as a dual bird, used for their meat or eggs the bird is great for homesteading. They just take longer to get to their revenue generating stage. They take longer to start laying eggs and for the males to get up to weight as apposed to their crossbred cousins. Hence, their demise as production birds for the masses and their near extinction on farms.
We found all of their traits to be true. We also found that the meat bird might be small but it is flavorful. Moreover, once they start to lay they are prolific layers. They lay an egg every twenty-five hours or so and they do this for about three years. They then start to decline from one a day to one every two, then one for every three and so on.
By the fifth year they pretty much stop laying and this is were the worst part of farming comes into play. I have chronicled coming to terms with processing meat birds, and the layers. Meat bird are around a lot less time then layers. Meat birds are only around for ten to twelve weeks and although I work with them, everyday I do not get as attached. That is because the meat bird never gets over the skittishness.
Behaviorally, the layers go the opposite direction, once they start to lay. I was giving a tour when one of them jumped up on my shoulder, it was the first and only time that happened but it was proof that they get over their shyness. When the layers see you coming one will start running towards you with this funny little waddle of a gate. Another will see the first one and start to run, then the rest will come, some will flap their wings and take flight (if you call being six inches off the ground and cover a distance of three feet flying) but it is the cutest sight and no matter the situation just brings a smile to your face.
By the second year, they not only come up to you, but they squat down to be picked up, they jump on the tractor and ATV and ride with you. Here is a picture of one on the ATV.
I took a couple of pictures and then decided to see if it would ride with me to go feed her family. I did not think fast enough because I could have taken a video. I will be prepared next time, but I did take a couple of shots while we were moving. She stayed on until I got around the barn then she decided the ride was over. Yes, they are skittish at first, however when giving tours the older ones are at their best while delighting both child and adult.
Buy Local: Buy non-gmo, chemically free food for your health and that of the land.