Rhode Island Red Chickens


Last Updated on February 9, 2021 by Pauline G. Carter

The Rhode Island Red chicken is considered to be one of the most successful chicken breeds – across the world! It’s an American breed, developed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts as way back as the middle 1840s.

This bird came about from cross-breeding birds from Oriental origin with the brown Leghorn chicken from Italy.  Since 1954, the Rhode Island Red is the state bird of Rhode Island. Today, it has spread from areas of origin to all over the world. 

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It still takes its place amongst modern industrial-type laying hens and rapidly changing farming practices. It is an excellent egg-layer but is also bred for its meat. They are considered as all-rounders because they make magnificent show birds as well.

Rhode Island Red Chicken | Breed Profile


Country of origin:United States
Primary use:Dual-purpose meat/eggs
Weight:Male: 8.7 pounds (3.9 kg)Female: 6.5 pounds (2.9 kg)
Recognized Varieties:Rose Comb, Single Comb
Egg production (annual):260
Egg color:Brown
Egg size:Large
Comb type:Single

Characteristics of the Rhode Island Red

A quick summary of the Rhode Island Red would be to say it looks like a longish ‘brick’ – a rectangular, solid brick. But let’s take a look of what it all comprises:

Feathers are ‘hard’, inherited from their Javanese and Malayan genes.

Colour: the colour of this bird has varied over time, from a deep mahogany to dark rust in colour. There can be some black feathers appearing in the tail and the wings. This is perfectly normal. Some judges call it ‘smutty’ if they are from the American Poultry Association.

Wattles, ear lobes and comb: Red. The comb is generally a single upright. But you can expect to find rose-combed Rhode Islands as well – they are just less frequent.

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Eyes: Red/orange in colour

Skin: This bird is yellow skinned, seen in the legs, feet and beak. Each of its feet should have four toes.

Bantam Rhode Island Reds: They do exist, but are not as popular at the moment.

Weight: A large rooster weighs in at around 8.5 lb and a hen will reach around6.5 lb. The rose-combed variety weighs a bit less than the single-comb. Bantams weigh about 2.1 lb for a rooster and about 1.9 lb for the hen.

Egg laying: Probably the best layers out of the dual purpose breed chickens.

Chicks: Are tan to light red in color.


The Rhode Island Red can range in temperament from being docile to raucous, even pushy. But they are curious, friendly, exuberant birds, never quiet, even noisy. But all these temperaments add up to just two words – extremely lovable!

Even though they do put up with being confined, they just love wandering around the yard, investigating for any tasty titbits they can find. They enjoy having company from people as well.

The roosters can get aggressive and should preferably not be around children, if they did tend to get on the aggressive side. They are not really broody type hens, but when they are broody, they are excellent nest-sitters and mothers.

What to like (love) and not to like (hardly anything) about the Rhode Island Red:

We Liked

  • Easy going, happy laid back chicken.
  • Attractive to look at.
  • Tough and hardy, but sweet-natured.
  • Great for backyard pest control, being active foragers.
  • Eggs all year round.
  • Good breed for small flock owners.
  • Calm.
  • Care for other chicks.
  • Large eggs laid.
  • Forage well.
  • Sturdy.
  • Not flighty.
  • Curious.

We Don’t Like

  • They love attention. Being perceptive, if you don’t treat them well, they can become aggressive.
  • The above aggressiveness can affects the entire flock.
  • As there are not many of this wonderful breed left, it makes them a bit more on the expensive side.
  • Difficult to find a good breeder source.
  • Roosters a bit aggressive.
  • Sometimes bossy.
  • Can be very loud.

Is the Rhode Island Red a good choice for you?

  • Yes, they are if you want to have high egg-producing hens and you want large brown eggs. If you want to utilize your kitchen wastes, The Rhode Island Red Chicken isn’t a fussy eater.
  • Yes, if you are searching for the right chicken breed which forage well.
  • Yes, if you want sturdy hardy chickens that are able to survive in any kind of climates.
  • Yes, if you want a dual-purpose type breed which produces more eggs than they do meat.

If you’re looking for a good egg-layer, and a chicken with loads of personality, you can never go wrong with this delightful ‘farm’ bird. They are simply gorgeous, brimming with enthusiasm and individuality.

They just seem to thrive wherever they go, being tolerant and easy-going. It has often been said by many people that if you are ever wondering about what type of chicken will suit you the best, then get a Rhode Island Red.

That’s the truth. They do not seem phased by hot or cold, but that does not mean they do not require absolutely the right accommodation and care – that’s important.

These amazing birds have left their mark on the poultry world. They are now a renowned pillar of light in the egg laying industry.

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5 thoughts on “Rhode Island Red Chickens”

  1. Rosemarie Richardson

    I am looking for a Rhode Island Red chicken to photograph in Rhode Island for my boss who wants to take his own photos.

    1. I think I will try the Hillbuzz boyz suggestion about attacking rich donors. We have tons of them in SF and I love going to Nancy Pelousy’s house. This is going to be fun.

  2. The Rhodes Island is absolutely a nice breed, their ability to thrive in either hot and dry seasons makes it stand out for me. I am thinking of crossing with a local breed here, the hybrid will surely be amazing. Thanks for sharing.

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