- 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:
Rhode Island Red
- Average User Rating:
Chicken Breed Info:
Breed Purpose: Dual Purpose
Climate Tolerance: Cold
General Egg Info:
Egg Productivity: High
Egg Size: Large
Egg Color: Brown
Breed Colors / Varieties:
The Rhode Island Red is only recognized in Red.
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.
Recent User Reviews
"A New Favorite"
Pros - Extra-large to jumbo cafe au lait eggs daily
Good foragers and free rangers
One of the first of our flock to run for cover when arial predators are present
Reliably return to the coop on time every night
Cons - None
There aren't enough words to describe how wonderful these chickens are. We have six hens in our flock of over 150 chickens. These were the first hens I placed in our cart earlier this year from a major hatchery in Iowa. They seem to be on the smaller size when compared to our Buff Orpingtons and Barred Plymouth Rocks, which is fine for us since we run a no-kill farm.
The Rhode Island Reds were not my favorites or even close when we first got them. They seemed a bit blank in the personality department, especially when compared to the Barred Rocks, which are ALL personality and winners. But over these last few months, the RIRs have really won me over.
They began laying at 20 weeks. Their eggs started out quite small in a friendly café au lait color. At about six months old, their eggs went from petite to grande. Always extra-large or jumbo, these eggs have firm whites that hold their shape and yolks that are bright orange and stand at attention. They are truly fabulous layers of works of art.
The hens are soft and personable, loving their cuddle time. They are independent and not beggars for food and treats but more so lovers of affection. They jump into my arms when I bend over and never try to get free. They used to be a bit skittish but not anymore. They were hatched March 26th and it's now November 4th. I'd say this growth in affectionate personality began about a month ago, at about six months of age.
We never see them pecking at other hens or having any pecking order issues. They are just perfect hens in our peaceful flock. All of our hens and roosters love them.
As far as free ranging, they range a respectable distance from the coop without worrying us. Our Buffs tend to range a bit far for our liking. They are always home in the coop safely before the threat of darkness falls upon the farm. This brings peace to our family as we can always depend on the Rhode Island Reds to be counted in full first. They're home early to reserve their nightly roost.
And their plumage...GORGEOUS! They look as though they've been to the salon to get a cellophane treatment. Their feathers shine like the sun with what looks like a liquid gloss. They're dark brown with flame red highlights. To some, they might seem boring. But to a more piercing eye, they are brilliantly shaded and designed to sheer perfection.
I honestly can't say enough good about these hens. They are certainly one of my favorite breeds and well worth the reputation they've earned.
"Glossy brown eggs!!!"
Pros - Great layers.
Big glossy brown eggs.
Great feed to egg conversion ratio.
Good response to low-density feed
Adores humans a lot.
Cons - The feather color wasn't appropriate for showing and exhibition.
Also, my strain was bred for egg production and not for a dual purpose.
Very aggressive to other chickens, not only to newcomers.
Good forager, but not as good as Mediterranean Breeds.
The best strain of the breed when it comes to eggs.
"Great layers, Great pets!"
Pros - Prolific egg layers, big brown eggs, friendly, sweet personalities, great with kids, some strains live past age 10
Cons - Some strains don't live very long (up to 4 years)
My very first chicks as a kid were Rhode Island Reds and I have adored the breed ever since. Over the course of my life I have ALWAYS had Rhode Island Reds because there is so much to love about them. I have never had a poor experience with hens or roosters. Even Rhode Island Red cross-breeds are great. The only negative thing I can think of is that some strains are short lived.