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Department of Animal Science - Oklahoma State University

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Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science

Poultry Breeds - Rhode Island Red Chickens

Poultry Breeds - Rhode Island Red Chickens

Rhode Island Red


Origin: The Rhode Island Red originated in the New England states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Early flocks often had both single and rose combed individuals because of the influence of Malay blood. It was from the Malay that the Rhode Island Red got its deep color, strong constitution and relatively hard feathers. They were also developed from the black-red Java, where is most likely got its rose comb. The Rhode Island Red was recognized by the APA in 1904 for the single comb then again in 1906 for the rose comb.

Characteristics: Rhode Island Reds are a good choice for the small flock owner. Relatively hardy, they are probably the best egg layers of the dual purpose breeds. Reds handle marginal diets and poor housing conditions better than other breeds and still continue to produce eggs. They are one of the breeds where exhibition qualities and production ability can be successfully combined in a single strain. Some "Red" males may be quite aggressive. They have rectangular, relatively long bodies, typically dark red in color. Avoid using medium or brick red females for breeding because this is not in keeping with the characteristics of the breed. Black in the main tail and wing feathers is normal. Most Reds show broodiness, but this characteristic has been partially eliminated in some of the best egg production strains. The Rose Comb variety tends to be smaller but should be the same size as the Single Combed variety. The red color fades after long exposure to the sun. They have yellow shanks.

rhodeislandred-web-2.jpgStandard Weights:

      • APA
        • Cock: 8 ½  lbs; Hen: 6 ½  lbs; Cockerel: 7 ½  lbs; Pullet: 5 ½  lbs.
      • PCGB
        • Cock: 3.85 kg; Hen: 2.95 kg; Cockerel: 3.60 kg; Pullet: 2.50 kg

Varieties: Single Comb, Rose Comb

Skin Color: Yellow.

Egg Shell Color: Brown

Use: The Rhode Island Red is a dual-purpose for meat and eggs, laying around 150 - 200 per year.



      Chicken Breeds and Varieties (A2880), John L. Skinner, University of Wisconsin-Madison

      "Rhode Island Red - Non Industrial Chicken." The Livestock Conservancy. The Livestock Conservancy, n.d. Web. 07 July 2015.

      Roberts, Victoria. British Poultry Standards (6th Edition). Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 7 July 2015.


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Updated June 26, 1997


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