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Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by fowlsessed, Feb 16, 2012.
I thought that NHR were improved RIR, so why aren't they more popular? Or am I mistaken?
you are mistaken. NHR are a good egg laying breed... popularity has nothing to do with production quality
They did use rir's in the making of the nh's. There is also a big difference in a production/hatchery nh and rir compared to a heritage bird. Check out the thread on the german line of nh's, to see the difference, and the heritage rir thread.. I think you will find this german line to be a great dual porpose bird. There is really no red in the name of nh's.
In hatchery stock (most of them out there) the main difference is color. The reason New Hampshires aren't so popular is the same reason Catalanas aren't - Popularity by word of mouth. In production strains they really don't differ much but for better temperament but sometimes less production, however, most people when they think of chickens they think of two things - Rhode Island Reds and Leghorns. And, most people don't want Leghorns.
In true to type stock that meets the original breed standard and purpose, -
Rhode Island Reds are more brick like in shape, have a very deep nearly blackening red coloration that is also very lostrous even in females, and the tail angle is very low, the tail itself being kinda small. The bird truly does look like a brick with no "sore thumb" attributes like a squirrel (90 degree) or pinched tail, folded comb, skinny type, etc. They were originally meant to be a dual purpose bird, weighing more than what most you see now a days.
New Hampshires (no red in the name) were an improvement from them but are of different color. One of their better qualities was feathering in faster, another was well known meat qualities. True New Hampshires now in the US are very rare, moreso than Rhode Island Reds. In type, they're also pretty bulky but not so much a brick shape; one notable characteristic is their medium sized, well expanded, slightly low carriage of tail (but higher than RIR's)
I'd normally say look at some good SOP illustrations to see the difference, but personally I think the available New Hampshire example out there is just not a good one. My opinion. But, a good difference that is easy to see besides color is that New Hampshires have a higher set tail with good expansion, like a fan; Rhode Island Reds have a small tail, very low set, not so obviously visible to detract from the birds' general geometrical shape.
I've never owned a RIR, so I can't compare the two.
What I think happened is that the folks who were developing the New Hampshire in the States, did improve it, but the Rhode Island Red folks kept improving their breed also. So, currently we've got two distinct breeds, plus the German line that came from original New Hampshires in the 40s which were originally imported to Austria, then to Germany. The German line is currently making itself known here in the States. The German re-imports are from a darker group of New Hampshires in Germany. There are still many New Hampshires in Germany that are the orangey-buff color that is found in the New Hampshires in the States if photos on the internet hold any weight and I can't see why they wouldn't.
Newcomer developed an egg laying strain of New Hampshires sold by Cackle Hatchery. Some lines of New Hampshires were also developed to be a broiler bird before the advent of the Cornish cross with the White Plymouth Rock that we now call Cornish Rock or Cornish X or Cornish Cross. I think I've heard that there are some breeding flocks being kept of the old original New Hampshires (besides Cackle's), but I haven't paid much attention so I don't really remember much about that.
I haven't a clue why they aren't more popular, but I can make a few guesses. Maybe some people keep criticizing them without ever having owned a small flock of them for a few years. Maybe it's because a lot of farm stores don't stock New Hampshires in the spring when many people are buying their chicks. Maybe because there is no one that is promoting and talking up the current flocks, although Harvey Ussery gave them a nod in his most recent book. Maybe it's because they are an old breed and are boring to some people. Possibly it's because New Hampshires don't lay as well as sex links, but neither do many breeds. I moved one of my three year old hens out to be with somea couple of other hens with different colored eggs (meaning I knew which egg was hers) earlier this winter (December) and she was laying an egg every third day--dead of winter and trying to finish up her molt. That's a diehard layer. Oh, and no supplemental light or heat either.
The New Hampshire breed of chicken, which is commonly called the New Hampshire Red, was selectively bred from Rhode Island Reds to mature faster and have a larger body for meat production. In the process, some of the egg-laying production was lost.
I would argue that Rhode Island Reds are more popular because they are better egg-layers, and I think most people favor egg-laying over the meat qualities of a chicken. In addition, the New Hampshire is not a great deal larger.
The Rhode Island Red has earned its place as probably the best dual-purpose chicken breed. The Australorp can match it for size and egg-laying, but the Australorp has white skin, and that has not been as popular for meat birds as the Rhode Island Red's yellow skin.
The Black-Tailed Red color genome. There are four genomes in this atagory.
1. New Hampshire: eWh/eWh s+/s+ Ar+/Ar+ Di/Di Mh/Mh
quote : "The first has an overall orange tone, being a Black-Tailed Buff with the addition of Mahogany
a Red Brown as in a New Hampshire. The male bird had no black in the hackle."
4. Exhibition Rhode Island Red : eWh/eWh s+/s+ Ar+/Ar+ Mh/Mh/ Db/Db 'rb/rb'
quote " ...the darkest form, the exhibition Rhode Island Red. This bird gets its depth of colour from
the interaction of Mahogany and the 'recessive blacks' on the Wheaten base."
All above quoted from "The Genetics of Chicken Colours, The Basics" by Van Dorn, Hancox and friends.
you forgot about the Columbian restrictor Db(Dark Brown)...
They look Db to me!! it is believe by some that they also carry Di(dominant Dilute, pheomelanin diluter) there is a difference between Db and Co.. let me find some pics to show you ...