What is a Rhode Island Red Chickens

Fertile Rhode Island Red Eggs
Fertile Rhode Island Red Eggs | Source

Rhode Island Reds are one of the most popular breeds of chicken, and for good reason! These hardy, easy keepers do well in virtually any climate, and are one of the best layers of brown eggs, and these chickens come in both standard size and a much smaller bantam size.

Created in the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the 1840's, early flocks contained chickens of various |shades and comb types, but the most common color currently is a lovely deep red that has become the most identifiable attribute of this iconic breed.

Inquisitive and athletic, and able to handle poor diets and even poorer weather, they're a great choice for small flocks. They are unusually, gentle, quiet, and sociable both towards humans and other hens and roosters. Rhode Island Red can be feisty and independent, and their seemingly endless curiosity can get them into trouble. They can be kept in close quarters, but frequently become restless and pushy in really tight confinement. These traits, however, also make them great foragers a quality which makes them popular among backyard flocks.

Hens begin laying early 5-6 months of age, and although they will not always lay in the extreme heat or cold, they can lay more than 200 large size brown eggs a year. It isn't too |uncommon for them to lay large eggs in their first year, and they may go on to lay double yoked eggs in subsequent years. Because due to the fact of their egg laying capabilities, Rhode Island Red chickens are usually used in some of the most common commercial hybrids such as red sex links, ISA browns, and golden sex links. As you may guess from some of the names, the color of day old chicks from some of these hybrid crossings depends on their gender, making it easy to tell the males from the females as soon as they are hatched.

Roosters are large and handsome, and are big enough as cockerels that Rhode Island Reds are considered a "dual function breed", meaning that |while the hens make great layers extra roosters and older hens typically provides large and meaty carcasses for the Sunday dinner table! Don't be too quick to send young roosters to the freezer the make great watch dogs, always alert and make a hell of a noise when something comes around that their not familiar with.

The hens seldom go broody, making them ideal for flocks where the maximum number of eggs is wanted. But beware: due to the fact of their popularity, and mainly because they are so accessible, some flock strains are considered much better layer than others. If you are considering keeping Rhode Island Red chicken, do your research and make sure you get your birds from a reputable source. Also be informed that there are both "production" lines and "show" lines. In show quality lines, |hens and roosters are bred to have close to perfect color and conformation, but may not lay quite so many eggs in a year as their less pretty relatives.

For adaptability, willingness to forage for some of their own food, personality, and egg laying ability, it's really hard to beat Rhode Island Reds. Regardless of standard size, bantam, show quality or production a selection of these chickens will continue to be among the most popular breeds worldwide.

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mariekbloch profile image

mariekbloch 4 years ago

Nice hub. Beautiful birds.

homesteadpatch profile image

homesteadpatch 4 years ago from Michigan

Rhode Islands are one of the best breeds for beginners and veterans.

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