Chicken Breed Focus - New Hampshire


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
The New Hampshire is an American breed, developed beginning around 1910 in the New England states from the Rhode Island Red breed. The New Hampshire breeders selected for a vigorous dual purpose bird, one that would be early maturing, very fast growing, fast feathering, and producing a good table bird with hens having good egg laying ability. By the 1930’s they had successfully developed the New Hampshire to the extent where it was a popular breed choice for commercial egg production, used as crosses in the commercial broiler industry on the east coast, and were popular entries in the Chicken of Tomorrow contests which led to the development of the modern broiler industry.

It was admitted to the APA in 1935 and are very popular as show birds today. The APA recognizes one color, that being a rich chestnut red with black tail feathers. Birds kept outdoors will often find their red color is prone to fading. They are found in several other colors, including blue and white in other countries.

They are friendly birds with people, usually making good pets, and can be tamed fairly easily. They are good foragers and do well free ranging. They are vigorous and competitive and should be watched that they aren’t overly bossy with gentle breeds. They are quite cold hardy and good winter layers. The hens will go broody and are good mothers.

Though often called New Hampshire Reds, the name of the breed is New Hampshire, with the name New Hampshire Red often being used to identify a hatchery New Hampshire / Rhode Island Red cross.
There is a bantam New Hampshire, though it was developed primarily in the Netherlands.

It was recognized by the APA in 1935.
It is on The Livestock Conservancy's Watch list.


Breed purpose: Dual Purpose
Comb Type: Single
Broodiness: Occasional
Climate Tolerance: Average, Cold Hardy
Weight: roosters 8.5lbs, hens 6.5lbs
Egg Productivity: Good 200-240 year
Egg Size: Large
Egg Color: Brown

Chicks - pic by @lualshannon

New Hampshire rooster - pic by @Arizonachicken

New Hampshire rooster - pic by @kathyinmo

New Hampshire hen - pic by @Barred Rocker

New Hampshire hen sunning - pic by @little farmer

BYC Breed reviews:

General breed discussions & FAQ threads:

Do you own New Hampshires? Are you a New Hampshire breeder? If so, please reply to this thread with the your thoughts and experiences, including:

· What made you decide to get this breed?
· Do you own them for fun? Breeding? Some other purpose?
· What are your favorite characteristics about this breed?
· Post some pics of your birds; male/female, chicks, eggs, etc!

We have a bunch of other awesome breed-focus threads for you to enjoy. You can see all of them here:
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BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Dec 12, 2013
Those roosters sure are handsome.

Another interesting breed to learn about, thanks Sumi!

Bogtown Chick

Free Ranging
9 Years
10 Years
Mar 31, 2012
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
My Coop
Love this breed. Temperment, looks etc. The leader of my flock is this breed of rooster. Gorgeous. Aerial predators think twice about him--big and red. I had a hen which gave me many many eggs for a year and a half..but as a result she succumbed to internal laying issues. They are cold-hardy bodily...but the combs do not make it in harsh cold winters. I only wish they weren't single comb...I would get more.


Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Feb 18, 2011
Nice breed, I've had some hatchery ones from McMurray, easy to get along with in general, the girls are good layers.. One interesting thing is the hens tend to lay a lot more of the "purplish" eggs / ones with a lot of bloom on them than the other breeds (no idea why), always fun to get those.
X4 the roosters are gorgeous.
Old picture of a couple of four month old McM birds.


Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Jan 18, 2008
Gorgeous birds! I, like others, hadn't realized they'd been around so long! I guess I knew they were a breed, bred for production, but I had thought they were a relatively new breed. 1935! Wow!

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
11 Years
Mar 19, 2011
NW Oregon
Thank you for high lighting this sometimes over looked breed...I think the result of typically being overshadowed by the Production Red and RIR.

Your description matches my experience perfectly. I purchased a breeder quality New Hampshire and really enjoyed her, so my one experience is limited but sounds typical of the breed.

She never went broody for me, but she was friendly, gentle, though could be a bit pushy with timid birds, and a good overall layer of really large eggs even in winter. (I got my biggest egg ever from her). Nice size girl. Had one of the worst molts ever at 2 years of age, worthy of a BYC photo shoot. We retired her at 3 years of age to a friend's farm as my focus is on egg output, and she was still laying well but "older" but I've ever regretted doing so.

It is a breed I need to return to as I've worked my way through my own cornucopia of breed experience.

Thanks for sharing about this lovely breed, and yes, gorgeous photos.

Here's my biggest egg from that grand girl I had.


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