Rhode Island Red

Average User Rating:
  • Breed Purpose:
    Dual Purpose
    Climate Tolerance:
    Egg Productivity:
    Egg Size:
    Egg Color:
    Breed Temperament:
    Friendly, Easily handled, Calm,
    Breed Colors/Varieties:
    The Rhode Island Red is only recognised in Red.
    Breed Size:
    Large Fowl
    APA/ABA Class:
    Red or white

    Most often when one thinks of Rhode Island Red 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.

    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 and will be featured in another Breed Focus thread.

    The Rhode Island Red breed comes in both large fowl and bantam size and and single as well as rose comb varieties can be found readily.

    Rhode Island Red eggs

    Rhode Island Red chicks

    Rhode Island Red rooster

    Rhode Island Red juvenile

    Rhode Island Red hen

    For more info on Rhode Island Reds and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here:

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

    General Egg Info:
    Egg Productivity:
    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






Recent User Reviews

  1. Audrey Watson
    "Love her but she doesn't lay...?"
    Pros - She's very sweet and loved to be cuddles, eats out of your hand very gently
    Cons - My hen doesn't lay, I know most do but mine just doesn't for some reason
    I have a RIR who's conveniently named Red(I know, I'm so creative with my names), but she's so beautiful so it's fine. As I mentioned, she's very very pretty and beautiful and her temperament is wonderful. She is the sweetest not so little thing and will always come running up to you when you have treats(or sometimes even when you don't). Mine lets me sit her on my lap and she'll just stand on my leg and stare. However, mine doesn't lay eggs at all! She is one of the two oldest in our flock, around 5 but she's never laid at all, not even when she was younger. I know most RIR are known for their high egg output but mine's just an outlier I guess. I don't care if she doesn't lay because I just feed the eggs right back to my chickens, they're all just pets to me. I'm vegan so I don't eat the eggs.
  2. N F C
    "Good Birds!"
    Pros - Good layers
    Cons - I never had any cons with them
    I really enjoyed the RIR's I raised...they were prolific layers and beautiful to look at. Mine never showed any of the "aggressiveness" others have reported.
  3. chicklove14
    Pros - Pretty, Protective
    Cons - Aggressive, massive, messy

User Comments

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  1. idaholbrook
    I have not had much luck with my RIR's being friendly. They run from me, are hesitant to eat out of my hand. I handled them a lot when they were chicks but they just are very standoffish.
  2. beati
    I love my Rhode Island Red:) She is so sweet and funny. When I go out to our yard, she always comes running to me, chatting away.
  3. Chickielady
    I LOVE my Rhoddies ! They lay like crazy and are easy to get along with !
  4. Chilly Lizard
    We loved our girl, she was so friendly & spunky.
  5. Robin K.
    I love my RIR’s very friendly.
  6. Thomas Lamprogiorgos
  7. carlsonbwin
    Our Henny-Penny was our best egg layer but this spring she has been laying soft shell eggs for about a month and we can't figure out why. She has oyster shells available and also we feed layer feed with oyster shells in the feed. Anybody got any ideas or has had this problem?
      IrishLad61, beati, Robin K. and 2 others like this.
    1. farmgirlinok
      How old is she? When they get over 2 years old the egg quality reduces a lot and the egg shell is where you will see it. I have had this happen in hens 2-3 years old.
      farmgirlinok, Apr 15, 2018
    2. Thomas Lamprogiorgos
      She needs some antioxidants too. Be patient. She will lay good shells again. I had leghorns 14 ys old capable of laying excellent shells.
      Thomas Lamprogiorgos, Sep 5, 2018
      Robin K. likes this.
      JRCOOKFL, Apr 2, 2019
  8. hannahgood
    These are the birds I grew up with. I definitely want to incorporate a few into my flock!
  9. kariejohnson
    I loved every Rhode Island we've had! I have one now I love so much her name is actually Favorite. :)
  10. millermcnutt
    I found a good home for my RIR rooster. He was too aggressive so someone took him and made a pet of him. They didn't have any other chickens, so he is becoming a PET whether he likes it or not.
      IrishLad61, Charlenesmom and beati like this.

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