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Rhode Island


Pros: Curious, Loving, Good Eggs, Caring for other chicks.

Cons: None!

I have 3 RIRs in my flock, and they are the best. They always swarm me when I go into the coop in the morning. They even eat straight out of my hand, unlike the other birds in the flock. They will peck out my leg hairs, and peck at my freckles. They are the nicest birds I know. They even kind of guard this young Guinea Hen I have from the others. Plus, they have great nice size eggs; and lay an egg a day.D.gif


Pros: Economical brown egg producers and excellent free range foragers.

Cons: The Production Reds is a nasty flock member. Good Heritage Red Lines are hard to find but worth it.

That right, there is more than one type of Rhode Island and they are very distinct breeds. Reds are one of, if not the most common brown egg layer to be found. While the whites are practically unknown by comparision. So lets start with a little history before some compare and contrast of the Reds.


A highly informative history on the White type can be found here: Please read it as I dont care to plagerize or rehash.


Next lets cover a very real issue with Reds. This issue is the "Modern Industial/Production Red"(PR) vs. the "Heritage Red"(HR). Is there a definite difference? I think so. I would point out some key differences.

To those that would differ I would point to the original intent of the breed. This is that the Rhode Island Red is to be first a layer breed, then when hens were spent a decent meat animal could be harvested as well as a breed who's males quickly grow big enough to be a respectable table bird. In this one point of fufilling the breeds original intent I will agree there is very little difference.

Now then why I can see two different breeds.

First difference I would point out is the plumage colors. There is two shades of red to be seen. The PR was not bred for much else besides egg production and due to this the firery lusterous deep mahogany plumage that the HR still wears has given way to a lighter, duller, but still red feathered bird.

I would point out size next. The PR is a smaller bird than the HR. This does help the PR with how economical it is to feed laying hens. The PR should lay more eggs on less feed. Even if its a likely smaller egg.

Lastly, and in my opinion the clearest difference; the attitudes or disposition. The HR I have had were calm, unaggressive, nonflighty and quiet. The opposite can be said for the PR I have kept. Plainly the were annoying, mean, and a nuisance on my farm. While I had them I had a horrible feather pecking issue that turned to cannibalism. I would add that this was even while the birds were freely open to range over my lawn and the farm fields in the backyard. I removed the cannibal birds, all PR, and have not had a feather pecking issue since.

The reason for this divergance in the Rhode Island Red is soley breeder selection. The HR has been pure bred to a standard while the PR has been bred purely for economic utility. If the priorities of two flock managers differ enough it can not only create disinct lines but will eventually produce a recognizably different breed.



Seeing as hatcheries choose to sell PR labeled as Rhode Island Red it seems of little importance that New Hampshire blood was introduced in some PR lines. Ill review the Whites on a different breed profile.


Pros: Friendly, Good Layers, Not Broody, Nice Color, Etc.

Cons: There isn't anything I dislike.. I just worry about getting roosters, I hear they are aggressive.

I have 2 RIRs. Red and Ruthie. Ruthie was a rescue so she is shy, but not aggressive or mean. Red was raised by me as a chick and is a very friendly bird! She likes to be picked up. They are great layers. They don't go broody, which is good, I have enough broody hens! I had trouble deciding between 4 1/2 stars or 5 stars on this breed. They are good chickens anyway, and I have no dislikes. Hope this helps!

Pets from 2013 phone =) 031.jpg  Chickens and drawings 2013 end 011.JPG


Pros: Loving, Great Layers, Wonderful Foragers

Have a feeling that my 6 RIR's are not normal. They are mellow and just want to be loved on. They do become pests when the feed scoop comes out, but other than that have not had any issues with them or do they pick on the other breeds.. The girls all give an egg a day - even through winter (no added light and only turned on heat lamp when it was 15 or lower outside). My flock will always have RIR's in it. big_smile.png


Pros: Very hardy, very healthy, excellent layers.

Cons: Flighty, can be aggro, not very personable.

I have had three Rhodies for two years now. We raised them from chicks. They do not like being handled at all and generally keep their distance. My alpha hen is one of the Rhodies. She asserts herself but is not a bully. They lay nice brown eggs averaging around 5 per week. They have not gone broody at all. They have moulted and the moult lasted several months. They are pretty birds. Given the choice again, I would reserve Rhodies for more of a farm setting where their independence and hardiness would be very desired. For a backyard flock I would probably go with a more personable breed in the future.


Pros: Lay Almost Daily, Not Flighty

Cons: Mean to other birds

I have owned several RIR over the years, but that last 2 I have, will be my last! They are GREAT layers, but they have attacked a killed another chicken. They are top of the pecking order in my flock and they are the meanest to other birds. If your entire flock was RIR, it would probably be ok, but in a mixed flock with more docile birds, the docile birds don't stand a chance.


Pros: friendly, good personality, nice colors, good pets and layers

Cons: non that I can really thing of

My two hens have been a treat to have since they were babies. Isabeak and Chica are two of the friendliest chickens I have ever met! Every morning I open the coop and they run right out and follow me cooing for treats and attention as they've done since they were just ball of fluff. Isabeak even protects my bantam Popcorn from cats and dogs! When I need new chickens for my flock I will be adding at least one RIR.


Pros: Beautiful, prolific layers, large eggs, mild temperament

Cons: None that I can think of

My two RIRs are the favorite of my flock (followed closely by my Gold Sexlinks) - they have each been laying a solid egg per day since they started laying at 18 weeks, and the eggs have always been huge! They are very mild tempered, eat scratch out of my hand, and get along very well with all of my other chickens (except for the bullies, which they have the good sense to avoid). All in all, I am very happy with these birds and will likely always have RIRs in my flock!


Pros: Great layers, sturdy birds, neutrally friendly

Cons: Cliquish with other RIRs, dominant, moderately aggressive

We have 3 adult Rhode Island Reds in our flock. We started with a RIR, an Easter Egger and a Polish. I wouldn't have identified any of them as being highest in the pecking order; they were all buddies and it was pretty peaceful. Then I adopted 2 adult RIRs (they came with them names Betty and Veronica) from a friend, and everything that I read about new birds getting picked on left me unprepared for them to arrive and step up to the top of the pecking order. They bullied my 3 around for a week, until my RIR joined their clique and the 3 of them have been top of the pecking order ever since (we now have even more chickens than just the EE and Polish).


I am glad they integrated into our flock well, and the other chickens usually just stay out of their way. Betty, Veronica and Apple Jack are the queenly trio, and want first food, first water, and plenty of personal space from the other chickens. If the 8 week old chicks come too near, the largest RIR will peck it squarely on the back, and once even yanked out a beak full of feathers. They are all decently friendly to people, however, and usually if I reach out to pet them, they stay put and let me pet their back and neck for a few seconds before they dash off. My kids catch them and carry them around, and once in arms, they are gentle and easy to handle. They are pretty big birds too, though I've never weighed them.





They are my 3 brown egg layers and every single day I can count on at least 2 brown eggs, and often 3. One of the adopted RIRs lays an egg so big I can't close an egg carton for extra-large eggs around it if it's inside. I thought it would be a double yolker the first time I got one, but it wasn't and never has been. Just one GIANORMOUS egg. The other lays a pinkish brown egg. The third, Apple Jack (our original RIR) lays a bumpy brown egg that occasionally has speckles on it. They are lovely and taste delicious. I am pleased that they are such dedicated layers. The original RIR even laid throughout most of the winter, only stopping for about 5 weeks in January-February. I don't know how Betty and Veronica do in the winter yet.


I would never want to have a minority of other-breed chickens in a small flock, but in my experience, as long as the other chickens out number the RIRs, the Rhode Islands can't get too aggressive because they can't chase them all at once. But (for example) 3 RIRs and 1-2 chickens of another breed would probably be bad news. They seem to be able to tell who looks the same as them, and exclude those who don't! (Racists? Breedists? LOL).


Pros: Nice sized bird that lays a L/XL brown egg

Cons: Roosters can be very mean

Good layers, production types don't typically go broody. The meanest roosters I've ever had were this breed, but in some settings a good tough guy is exactly what you need. The hens were great... calm, good foragers, very good layers.


Some flying ability. LOUD crowing. Hens didn't much sing the egg song after 8 months of age, so I wouldn't call the girls loud. The girls were not prone to frequent cackling.


Roosters not recommended around small children unless he's proven to be well behaved.

Rhode Island

Most often when one thinks of Rhode Island Reds they are thinking of the Large Fowl Rhode Island Red as it is one of the oldest known breeds of chicken and was developed mainly in Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the mid 1840's. The first birds were bred in Little Compton, RI with the use of a Black Breasted Red Malay cock who was imported from England. This Rooster can actually still be seen on display in the Smithsonian Institution as the father of the breed. The breed was accepted into the American Poultry Association in 1904. A monument funded by the Rhode Island Red Club of America was erected in Little Compton and today is listed on the national register of historic places. It can be seen here: The Rhode Island Red is the State Bird of Rhode Island. The breed was developed to withstand the harsh New England winters and be a very hardy bird who produced hens with excellent large egg yields and who also would dress out well and look nice on the table, a true dual purpose bird. While the names and places of origin are the same, the Rhode Island White is actually a distinct breed separate from the Rhode Island Red per the American Poultry Association.

Breed PurposeDual Purpose
Climate ToleranceCold
Egg ProductivityHigh
Egg SizeLarge
Egg ColorBrown
Breed TemperamentAggressive,Friendly,Flighty,Easily handled,Calm,Noisy
Breed Colors/VarietiesThe Rhode Island Red is only recognised in Red.
Breed SizeLarge Fowl
APA/ABA ClassAmerican
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Chicken Breed Info:

Breed Purpose: Dual Purpose
Comb: Rose/Single
Broodiness: Average
Climate Tolerance: Cold

General Egg Info:

Egg Productivity: High
Egg Size: Large
Egg Color: Brown

Breed Temperament:

Aggressive,Friendly,Flighty,Easily handled,Calm,Noisy

Breed Colors / Varieties:

The Rhode Island Red is only recognized in Red.

Breed Details:

The Rhode Island Red- Large Fowl and Bantam are available as both Single Combed and Rose Combed. The red should be a deep, dark Mahogany or Rust color, the darker the better. Some birds can be so dark as to appear black from a distance, both sexes have black tails with a "beetle" green sheen. The body is best known as being "Brick" shaped for both Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Islands Whites for both Large Fowl and Bantam. The legs are clean and feather free. The skin and feet are yellow. The eyes are red orange. The beak for the Rhode Island Red LF and Bantam is Reddish Brown. Large Fowl weights as follows: Pullet 5 1/2 pounds, cockeral 7 1/2 pounds, hen 6 1/2 pounds and cock 8 1/2 pounds. Bantam weights: 34 ounces for a cock and 30 ounces for a hen at eighteen months of age Eggs- Eggs are always brown (From all varieties) and range from light to dark in color, large in size for the Large Fowl. Not uncommon for first year LF laying hens to have eggs too big to shut into a carton. Eggs are known for hatching well. Rhode Island Reds can be fiesty and a little hot tempered. Especially the cockeral but if handled a lot from early on and won over with treats they can make lovely back yard chickens who tolerate roomy confinement well. Temperments differ greatly between induvidual birds depending on sex, and method of raising.


The Ideal Flock



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