Rhode Island Red chicken are among the most popular breeds globally. They are classified as a medium sized breed with rich dark red-brown plumage and some green-black tones. This breed is characterised by rectangular bodies that are relatively long and dark red in colour. The legs and feet are yellow with a bit of reddish colour on the toes and sides of the shanks. Feathers are rust coloured, but some breeds have darker shades including maroon bordering on black. This breed is highly famed for being hardy and resistant to most common diseases. For this reason, Rhode Island Red chicken have a longer lifespan compared to most breeds. Rhode Island Red chicken can live up to 8 years or more depending on their housing facility, feed nutrition and health among other factors. Poor living environment can reduce the Rhode Island Red lifespan. As such, it is of the essence for farmers to have an in depth knowledge about various factors that determine the Rhode Island Red lifespan so as to ensure a prolonged successful farming venture.

Dietary Plan

In the past few decades poultry feed was considered a secondary concern to most farmers. Chickens were expected to primarily forage for food. As such, they often lacked important nutrients that are needed for health maintenance. Nowadays, nutritious chicken feed is manufactured and there are various agricultural research dedicated towards availing affordable, well balanced diets. The result are chicken breeds that live longer. It is hence clarified that similar to all chicken breeds, the Rhode Island Red lifespan is dependent on the availed dietary plan. An ideal dietary plan constitutes a range of nutrients including vitamins, proteins, and carbohydrates among other nutrients. Minerals should also be provided such as calcium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, fluoride and selenium.  Lack of adequate nutrients and minerals weakens the immune system thereby exposing livestock to a range of diseases and parasites leading to a decline in the lifespan of Rhode Island Red breeds. In fact, agricultural research has proven than a poor dietary plan causes suppressed immune system and increases the impact of invasive diseases. For this reason, the impact of a proper diet towards Rhode Island Red lifespan can never be over emphasised. It important for farmers to make sure that chickens are neither overfed nor underfed. Overweight hens are prone to health issues such as leg and back problems, heart problems and respiratory issues. Too much protein in the diet can cause kidney problems thereby shortening the Rhode Island Red life span.

Diseases

The lifespan of Rhode Island Red chicken is often threatened by many diseases. As such, farmers must adopt a range of preventative measures in order to protect chickens from rampant diseases and parasites.  Although Rhode Island Red chickens are quite hardy and tolerate many diseases, they are highly susceptible to chicken mites which are tiny external parasites that bite and extract blood from chickens. Symptoms include illness, anaemia, and in severe cases even death. The Rhode Island Red lifespan can also be threatened by Marek’s disease, a Herpes virus infection which is highly contagious. Signs of the disease include paralysis, weight loss, and lesions under the feathers. Parasites like lice and worms can cause skin irritation, feather damage, anaemia, and discomfort. Chickens therefore need to be vaccinated in order to prevent occurrence of diseases. In addition, preventative actions such as dusting and worming can be performed regularly. Chickens should be monitored regularly (at least on a weekly basis) for signs of infestation. Treatment should be administered timeously to ensure longer Rhode Island Red life span.

Housing

Housing is an essential aspect of poultry farming. An appropriate housing facility must protect chickens from predicators and harsh weather conditions that can rapidly decrease the lifespan of Rhode Island Red chickens. It is advisable to provide shelter that is spacious, temperature controlled and protected from rain and snow as well as predators. Poor housing facilities can cause livestock to freeze to death, be trampled by bigger animals and killed by predators. A common mistake made by most farmers is allowing various breeds to share a single ban without much consideration of the temperament, age, type and size of different breeds. Commercial chickens that are kept in ‘warehouse’ type conditions are more susceptible to respiratory diseases because of the close quarters and being trapped inside with dust and dander. Furthermore, contagious diseases tend to be rampant in poor housing facilities thus shortening the Rhode Island Red lifespan.

 Environment

The lifespan of Rhode Island Red chickens is also determined by their environment. The Rhode Island Red lifespan is generally longer, possibly exceeding 8 years in environments with good hygiene. The opposite applies to breeds that are kept in dirty facilities. In fact, agricultural research has proven that there is a direct correlation between the living environment and the Rhode Island Red chicken lifespan. This is partly because chickens that are kept in dirty conditions are prone to rampant diseases which can spread very fast affecting the entire flock. An ideal environment is a clean, dry, warm coop with adequate food and water. In addition, Rhode Island Red chicken should have access to clean and fresh air that circulates to prevent respiratory diseases among many others. Also, the area should also be relatively dry and be able to keep the chicken warm.

Veterinary Care

Another factor that is essential in improving the Rhode Island Red lifespan is veterinary care. Unlike during the old era where chicken health was solely reliant on breeders, currently there are veterinary medical practitioners whose sole purpose is to treat animals. It is therefore recommended to take the livestock for regular check-ups. Farmers who cannot afford these services should gain adequate knowledge and skills that enables them to efficiently monitor animal health. For this reason, farmers should always keep a first aid kit in cases of injury as well as other medical emergencies. Note that despite the knowledge and skillset held by a farmer, Rhode Island Red chicken must be taken to a professional doctor when ill or severely injured. This generally leads to an increase in the lifespan of Rhode Island Red chicken.