Ever met a chicken so damn fabulous they built a statue of it? Well, now you have. The Rhode Island Red is undeniably top of the crops when it comes to beginner's breeds.🙌🏼
If you're just starting your journey to chicken town, the Rhode Island Red is an im-peck-able choice. She's a poster girl! She's Rhode Island's state bird and has her very own monument there. Fancy pants!
Rhode Island Red hens are easy layers. I don't mean that to sound rude. I'm sure she's very picky with her roos. What I mean is that they're easy to care for, they're easy to house, they're easy-going by nature, and they're eggs-tremely easy to love.
Rhode Island Reds (often lazy-lined as RIRs) are not a compromise breed. Just because they're such great beginner birds, that doesn't mean you compromise on looks, personality, or breakfast.
These sassy redheads are perfect hen-wife material! They're gorgeous, smart, friendly, affectionate, and inquisitive. They're fun to be around and they'll deliver eggs for breakfast 5 times a week. I'm actually a bit in ore of how perfect this girl is. Thank God she's a chicken or I'd have serious competition!
I'll warn you now – reading this is going to make you want a Rhode Island Red…or four. So don't forget to send me your pics of Scarlett, Rosie, Ruby, and Flame ☺
26 chicken knowledge nuggets to come are:
- Are Rhode Island Red Chickens Friendly?
- Do Rhode Island Red Chickens Make Good Pets?
- Are Rhode Island Red Roosters Aggressive?
- Are Rhode Island Red Chickens Suitable for Beginners?
- How Big are Rhode Island Red Chickens?
- Can You Get Rhode Island Red Bantams?
- How Many Eggs Does a Rhode Island Red Lay?
- How Long Will a Rhode Island Red Lay for?
- How Big is a Rhode Island Red's Egg?
- Are Rhode Island Red Hens Broody?
- What Do Rhode Island Red Chickens Look Like?
- Are There Different Colors of Rhode Island Red?
- Are There Different Variations of Rhode Island Red Chickens?
- Which Chicken Breeds are Similar to Rhode Island Reds?
- Are Rhode Island Red Chickens a Free-Range Breed?
- Are Rhode Island Red Chickens Cold Hardy?
- Do Rhode Island Red Chickens Tolerate Heat?
- Are Rhode Island Red Good Meat Birds?
- Are Rhode Island Red Chickens Noisy?
- Do Rhode Island Red Chickens Have Health Issues?
- How Long Do Rhode Island Red Chickens Live For?
- How To Care For Rhode Island Red Chickens
- A Brief History of Rhode Island Red Chickens
- Is There a Rhode Island Red Chicken Club?
- Are the Downsides to Keeping Rhode Island Red Chickens?
- Is The Rhode Island Red Chicken Right for Me?
Are Rhode Island Red Chickens Friendly?
Rhode Island Red hens are friendly, affectionate❤️, and loving ladies who savor their human snuggles. They can occasionally be a little skittish to start with, but rightly so, you should have to earn a lady's trust. Lots of friendly chicken breeds are described as docile or laid back. Rhode Island Reds are more on the sassy side of sociable: they're inquisitive, alert, funny & happy chickens.
Do Rhode Island Red Chickens Make Good Pets?
Rhode Island Red chickens make great pets. They're just so low maintenance in the scheme of chicken keeping but give so much in return! They're hardy but affectionate, low maintenance but amazing layers, they mix well and are fabulously funny to watch. To top it off, they look eggs-quisite.
Don’t just take my word for it. A resounding 96% of Rhode Island Red keepers refuse to have a future flock without their favourite breed amongst it and will be keeping these loveable red heads for life!
Are Rhode Island Red Roosters Aggressive?
Rhode Island Red roosters can be aggressive, but they aren't always. There seems to be a real debate over this, which leads me to think this one depends on the lad's nature and nurture! You can chat to your breeder about it if temperament is a deal-breaker. They'll have a sound knowledge of which chicks have the best chance of meeting your needs.
Just a thought though. If you are keeping your RIRs free-range, is a protective rooster for the ladies such a bad thing?
Are Rhode Island Red Chickens Suitable for Beginners?
Yes, yes, and yes again! Rhode Island Red Chickens are a genius breed choice for beginners! They have very few downsides and give an awful lot in return. They're low maintenance, they're friendly, they pop out eggs with a smile and they're fun and engaging to keep. They will become your favorite pets whether you like it or not.
How Big are Rhode Island Red Chickens?
Rhode Island Red hens weigh 6-7lbs and roosters weigh 8.5 – 9lbs. Hens stand at around 13-16 inches tall, and roosters are around 15.5 – 18 inches tall.
Rhode Island Reds are a large breed, but they're not the biggest of the big. Let's line up those layers:
Can You Get Rhode Island Red Bantams?
Rhode Island bantams are miniature-sized single comb Rhode Island Reds and were admitted into the American Poultry Standard of Perfection in 1940. Rhode Island Red bantam hens weigh a featherweight 1.9lbs and roosters average 2.1lbs.
They are great little micro layers, and still have a fun and friendly personality. They're thrifty little foragers and do well in shows. Just like their big sis, they're low maintenance, easy to keep, and cheap to feed. They're on my wish list!
How Many Eggs Does a Rhode Island Red Lay?
Rhode Island Red hens lay 200–300 eggs🥚 a year, that's 5 – 6 every week putting them right up near the top of the eggy championships. Go girl!
Too good to be true? It’s true! We asked over 400 Rhode Island Red Keepers what the real deal was with these beauties, and 47% told us their hens did indeed lay six eggs each week. But wait. It doesn’t stop there. Almost as many keepers (43%) said they got seven eggs a week. SEVEN!
How Long Will a Rhode Island Red Lay for?
Rhode Island Red hens reach maturity at 19-weeks-old and start delivering the goodies soon after that. They'll carry on laying until they're 3-4 years of age when they'll slow down gradually and retire at around 4.5 years.
How Big is a Rhode Island Red Chicken's Egg?
A mature hen will lay medium to extra-large eggs. Their earlier eggs may be small, but by the time she's around six-months-old, her eggs will be large or even jumbos! Their eggs are a beautiful medium brown color with bright orange yolks and strong, sturdy whites which are popular with baking fanatics.
Are Rhode Island Red Hens Broody?
Rhode Island Reds are not really into chick-kids. Hens are not very broody and if they do have hatchlings, they'll turn their backs on them quickly. They're not earning any mother-of-the-year awards. I knew she had to have a flaw!
If you're hoping to hatch Rhode Island Reds at home then the heritage strains are your best bet as they're still more inclined to humor their hatchlings than the production strain. You might still need an incubator, or you could call in a Silkie-nanny
What Do Rhode Island Red Chickens Look Like?
Rhode Island Reds are…well, red! These foxy red ladies and handsome red roos have the perfect plumage. They're chestnut red in color with the occasional black feathers in their wings and tail. They have beautiful yellow stockings and sunset orange eyes. Sometimes hens rock a single comb, sometimes they wear a rose comb: it's a woman's prerogative to mix up her look!
Are There Different Colors of Rhode Island Red?
No. That would be silly! Rhode Island Reds only wear red: it's just their thing! It's easy to think that Rhode Island Whites are a color variety of Rhode Island Reds, but they're a completely different chicken breed that was developed fifty years later to withstand even colder climates.
Are There Any Variations of Rhode Island Red Chickens?
Rhode Island Reds have two variations: most have a single red comb but some have a rose comb as a result of a recessive gene from the Malays in their family poul-tree. The single comb variety was the first to be recognized in 1904, followed by the rose comb variety just two years later. Nobody knows which is the original trait.
There are also two strains of Rhode Island Reds. The production strain has been fine tuned to lay more yummies for you, but the heritage strain is still equally beautiful, a great layer, and will lay for longer.
Which Chicken Breeds are Similar to Rhode Island Reds?
The New Hampshire Red chicken looks a lot like the Rhode Island Red but is a smidgen darker in color. The New Hampshire Red is also an eggs-pert layer, but she's not quite as popular as the Rhode Island Red. Why? Well, she can be a bit of an arrogant diva! New Hampshire Reds often get aggressive with other breeds and sometimes with people.
Are Rhode Island Red Chickens a Free-Range Breed?
Rhode Island Reds were born to roam! They're peaceful and content pecking around for nibbles all day long, but they're also alert, switched on to danger, and quicker than other breeds to dodge disaster. They're home birds too, so they'll totter on home to the coop before dark without any fuss.
However, they are nosy and inquisitive which does give them a little bit of a Houdini characteristic. If there's somewhere they're not supposed to go, they'll go there. Stock up on that chicken wire!
Are Rhode Island Red Chickens Cold Hardy?
Rhode Island reds are cold hardy and can handle temperatures as low as -20°C without their feathers being ruffled.
They are pretty and tough, which is why they're a super-successful and popular poultry pick. She's the kind of girl you'd have liked to hang around with at school.
Do Rhode Island Red Chickens Tolerate Heat?
Despite being so cold-hardy, Rhode Island Reds cope better in the heat than other, fluffier, cold-hardy breeds like Orpingtons and Plymouth Rocks. Shade and water are non-negotiable though!
Are Rhode Island Red Good Meat Birds?
Whilst Rhode Island Reds are dual-purpose chickens, so they're not as fast-growing as meat birds and take 2-years to reach their full weight. Their market weight is 5.5-7.5 lbs.
They're primarily a heritage egg-laying breed, so if you’re looking for a fast-growing meat bird, Rhode Island Reds are not the best breed for the job.
However, if speed and quantity are not an issue and you decide to cull extra roos or retired layers, then their meat is meant to be delish: dark, juicy, fine in texture, and rich in flavor. Winner winner chicken dinner!
Are Rhode Island Red Chickens Noisy?
Rhode Island Red Chickens aren't mega chatty, but they're not mute either. Some people claim they're quiet chickens, some say they're too gobby for their own good.
They'll make sure you know about it when they lay, which can be rather useful to minimize the hopeful dressing-gown runs to the coop. They'll have a natter with you about their day when you check in on them, but unless you have a particularly grumpy neighbor, they're not likely to offend.
How Long Do Rhode Island Red Chickens Live For?
Rhode Island Red Chickens live for 5-8 years, so have the shortest life expectancy of the popular laying breeds. Sad, I know, but she'll make such an impression in those years she needs less time for you to fall in love with her.
Do Rhode Island Red Chickens Have Health Issues?
Rhode Island Reds are hardy little firecrackers! Other than the standard risk of pests, they don't have any hereditary issues to worry about. But as with all chicken breeds, you should look to prevention rather than treatment which is why I recommend that you check out Chickenpedia!
How To Care For Rhode Island Red Chickens?
Rhode Island Reds don't have any specific care requirements. They'll need 4 square feet of coop per chicken, and one nesting box for every 5 hens. They don't have any specific dietary requirements and will free-range happily. Check-out Chickenpedia's guide to feeding chickens for all the tips on maintaining a balanced diet and nutrient dense diet for your chickens.
If you keep them in colder conditions, the single comb variety may be prone to frostbite so be sure to add a heater above the roost bars when temperatures are at their lowest.
A Brief History of Rhode Island Red Chickens
She's red, She's from Rhode Island. She's a chicken. Finally, a chicken breed where the clue is in the title!
The Rhode Island Red is one of the oldest known chicken breeds and was developed way back in the mid-nineteenth century in Little Compton, Rhode Island. The standard-sized breed has been officially recognized by the American Poultry Association since 1904.
The first of these scarlet-colored lovelies were born to a Black Breasted Red Malay roo obtained from England, and Mama hen who was a mixed breed with Leghorn, Shanghai, and Java ancestors.
Is There a Rhode Island Red Chicken Club?
Of course! How could any creature this cool not have groupies! If you're a super fan, then check out The Rhode Island Red Club of America.
What Are the Downsides to Keeping Rhode Island Red Chickens?
I'm scratching at the ground trying to think of many cons, but if you insist, this is all I've got:
- Roosters can be aggressive / protective
- Hens aren't typically broody or maternal IF you want her to hatch babies for you
- They...nope. That's it! That's all I have. They're brilliant birds.
Is The Rhode Island Red Chicken Right for Me?
Unless you are after a chicken just for meat, or looking for a broody breed, then yes! This is such a great breed that there are very few keepers whose needs aren't met by this ruby gem.
If you need any more convincing that this is the breed for you (you don't, right?) then I'd say the next step is to check out the online chicken courses by our friends at Chickenpedia. One course hops to mind – it's dedicated to chicken breeds and compares each breed to suit your needs and lifestyle. I'm sooo cocky that the Rhode Island Red will be amongst them, but I wonder what other breeds could complement your coop?