Rhode Island Chicken Facts, Profile, and Characteristics

Rhode Island Chicken Breed Profile:

Today, let us talk about Rhode Island Chicken breed facts.

  • Name: Rhode Island Red, RIR, and Rhode Islands.
  • Varieties: the only recognized variety is red.
  • Chicken Weight: Male chicken weighs 8.7 pounds (3.9 kg); Female chicken weighs: 6.5 pounds (2.9 kg).
  • Eggs: very good layer (lays approximately 300 eggs per year).
  • Cost: A Rhode Island chick costs: 3 to 4 $.
  • Rarity: Very common.
  • Purpose: Dual purpose chicken breed (reared for both meat and eggs).
  • Egg Laying: High.
  • Egg Color: Brown.
  • Egg Size: Large.
  • Comb Type: Large, single, or Rose Comb.
  • Feathered Legs: No.
  • Number of Toes: 4.
  • Cold Hardiness: Hardy in winter.
  • Heat Tolerance: Not especially heat hardy.
  • Personality: Aggressive Calm, Friendly, Curious, Noisy, and are Easily Handled.
  • Uses: They are kept as pets and mainly reared from eggs and meat.

Introduction to Rhode Island Chicken Breed:

Rhode Island Red.
Rhode Island Red.

Rhode Island Reds are the high esteem birds and are the official Rhode Island state bird. Many years back, they are highly popular in America, and is the best choice for the small farmers. These birds are the do-everything bird: they are very good layers, and their meat has very high value, this breed chickens are extremely cold hardy, and hardy in general. If planning to raise the birds that suits for all the climates, the Rhode Island Reds will do well.

The Rhode Island Red is a domestic American breed chicken. It was introduced in the late nineteenth century in Massachusetts and Rhode Island by cross-breeding birds of Oriental origin, such as the Malay with brown Leghorn birds from Italy.

This is best dual-purpose breed, raised both for meat and for eggs; modern strains have been bred for their egg-laying abilities. 

Read: Leghorn Chicken Facts.

Origin of Rhode Island Chicken Breed:

  • The production of Rhode Island Red was initiated in 1854, by the name of William Tripp a sea captain. He bought a Malay rooster from his colleague and mated it with his own chickens at his home. The cross birds of those were noted to lay more eggs.
  • And with the help of his friend John Macomber he began cross breeding with the offspring chicken in earnest. And the produced birds were called either ‘Tripp’s Fowl’ or a ‘Macomber’.
  • They used several breeds to improve and refine the desired hen, the breeds included are the Malay, Java, Chinese Cochin, Light Brahma, Plymouth Rocks and Brown Leghorns.
  • And these birds were attracted by Isaac Wilbour, an already successful poultry man. He then bought some of the birds and began his own selection program. And he named the breed as the Rhode Island Red.
  • The Rhode Island Red introduced first and foremost as a dual-purpose bird. It was developed by the poultry farmers of the New England area, so the defining qualities were utilitarian not ‘good looks.
  • To honor this breed, two statues have been erected near where the breed was initially developed. One statue is in Adamsville and the other in Little Compton in Rhode Island.
  • The Rhode Island Red chicken was elected as the State bird of Rhode Island in 1954.
  • American Poultry Association accepted The Rhode Island Red in 1904. The rose-combed Rhode variety was listed in 1906. They are ‘American class – large fowl, clean legged’.
  • The British Poultry Standard accepted Rhode in 1909.

Physical Characteristics of Rhode Island Chicken:

  • Rhode Island Red chickens are hardy and the best egg layers among the dual-purpose breeds. This breed is a good choice for small poultry farmer. They produce eggs, even in poor housing conditions compared to other breeds and they can also handle marginal diets.
  • Rhode Island Red has an excellent exhibition qualities and good production abilities at the same time. This breed chickens have a rectangular, relatively long bodies, in dark red in color. Their eyes will be in a red-orange eyes, with reddish-brown beaks. Their feet and legs are in yellow and the skin is yellow colored.
  • The feathers of these birds are in rust-colored, some darker shades are known, including maroon bordering on black. Rhode Island Red chicks will be in light red to tan color. On an average, a male Rhode Island Red weighs up to 3.9kg and a female weighs up to 2.9kg.
  • The overall body of the chicken look like a longish ‘brick’ that is rectangular and solid.
  • They have very hard feathers that are inherited from their Malay and Java genes. Some have a black feather in the tail and wings is perfectly normal, but is considered ‘smuttiness’ by judges of the APA standard. `
  • Each foot should have four toes and the comb is usually single upright, but rose combed Rhode Islands also exists although they seem to be infrequent.
  • Bantam Rhode Islands are also available, but these are less popular at the current time.

Read: New Hampshire Facts.

Egg Production of Rhode Island Chicken Breed:

  • The original flocks of Rhode Islands are basically dual purpose chickens. But after the breed was again refined to produce more eggs.
  • At the present time the breed was essentially split into Rhode Island ‘heritage’ and Rhode Island ‘industrial’.
  • The Rhodes reared for better egg laying are the hens are the varieties we see today. The Rhode Island hen will start to lay around 18-20 weeks, and some will start as early as 16 weeks.
  • A good healthy Rhode hen can lay 200-300 eggs each year, some people put the egg laying at a more modest 150-250 eggs. In general, a Rhode Island hen will lay around 5-6 eggs/week. These eggs will be in medium to large and in a light brown. The size of egg will increase in size over the years, as with all hens.
  • The ‘heritage’ type of hen is also good layers, but the major difference is table quality, taste and texture of the meat.

Rhode Island Chicken Behavior:

  • Rhode Island Reds are docile to raucous and pushy. And they are exuberant, curious, friendly, very lovable and very noisy birds.
  • They are very active foragers, scavenging for bugs and seeds and are not adverse to the occasional frog or mouse that wander in their direction.
  • They can easily tolerate confinement, but they love investigating the yard for any tasty morsels.
  • This breed hens are pretty laid back and docile enjoying the company of people and chickens.
  • The Rhode roosters can be aggressive, It is recommended to select the least aggressive of the bunch.
  • The roosters should be kept away from the children if there is an aggression issue.
  • The Rhode Island Red hen doesn’t go broody. While the instinct has been actively suppressed by breeding and selection, they can go broody occasionally. When they go broody, they are diligent about sitting on the nest and make very protective mothers.

Health of Rhode Island Chicken:

  • Rhode Island Reds are famous for their hardy nature. Their robust constitution is inherited from Malay chicken breeds, which gives them an A+ grade regarding their health.
  • All the birds, mites and other ectoparasites are a big problem for this breed. We should be a bit protective from the bay by dust bathes, careful checking and dusting as appropriate.
  • Compared to other breeds, Rhode are a very healthy and active breed.

Read: Plymouth Rock Chicken Facts.

Advantages of Rhode Island Chickens:

  • Rhode Island Chickens are one of the most beautiful breeds of chicken.
  • This breed chickens are every calm, and sturdy birds.
  • Very Curious birds.
  • Rhode hens are very good mothers, they care lot for other chicks.
  • Rhode Island breed hens are very good layers. They lay large brown colored eggs.
  • They produce very high-quality meat.
  • They are good at confinement and free ranging. And they are good foragers.
  • Mild temperament.

Disadvantages of Rhode Island Chickens:

  • Rhode Roosters are little bit aggressive.
  • In some instances, they can be mean to other birds.
  • They behave very dominating.
  • They are very noisy birds.
  • These are bit expensive birds.

Read: Raising Free Range Chickens.



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