Chicken Breeds: Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Red (often abbreviated on forums as “RIR”) is one of the most popular breeds for the non-industrial trade. And rightfully so! Rhode Island Reds give lovely brown eggs of a good size, and plenty of them! They are also a friendly breed, relatively calm and easy to handle, and therefore suitable for a home with children. Add their beautiful russet color, and you have a winner.
Rhode Island Reds are a hardy breed, originally bred by the early American colonies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They were bred to be a “utility breed,” one that could thrive on poor food, forage on their own, and provide both meat and eggs. Rhode Island Reds are tough, rarely sick, and able to handle difficult weather better than some of the more delicate breeds.
Of course, just as you might expect from their pioneering history, Rhode Island Reds can be tough, too. Roosters in particular can be very protective of their flocks, and can be very effective at killing or deterring large predators such as hawks, foxes, and dogs. Hens will defend themselves if they feel cornered, just as any animal will. Children should always be supervised, just as you would with any other breed of chicken.
The classic Rhode Island Red is a medium sized bird, with a body typically described as “brick shaped.” Modern birds are excellent egg-layers, producing about 300 eggs per year per bird. They probably aren’t the best choice as a meat bird, as they tend to be very lean.
As an unscientific aside, out of all the chicken breeds I have kept, I definitely feel that the Rhode Island Reds have been the smartest! (“Smart” being a relative term when applied to chickens, obviously.)
More by this Author
This is a question that I see crop up often online. There are risks to having chickens which are either too fat or too thin. An underweight chicken could be sick, and is definitely in danger of having an overly...
A “sex link” chicken breed is one where you can tell the difference between male and female chicks when they are hatched. The female and male chicks will be different colors, which means that you are...
A guideline to how often blankets, sheets, and pillows should be washed in the laundry.