The Rhode Island Red originally comes from the town of Little Compton in the US state of Rhode Island in the late 19th century and arrived in the UK in the first decade of the 20th century. This breed is still Rhode Island’s State bird and has come to symbolise American Poultry. Although originally developed as a dual purpose bird, the Rhode Island Red’s ability to lay up to 300 eggs per year insured its popularity with commercial egg farmers. The Rhode Island Red is possibly the best-known breed in the world today and the The Rhode Island crossed with a Sussex forms the basis of most of our present day hybrids.
Rhode Island Reds may be the heavyweights of the chicken world, but they are an active breed. Rhode Island Reds like nothing better than foraging amongst grasses and hedges and are also surprisingly quiet for their level of activity. These are tough, disease resistant, birds that can cope with harsher climates, while their active nature and general alertness makes them interesting pets.
These chickens generally are good-natured and are good pets for children, but they can get aggressive when annoyed or feel threatened, especially the roosters. Although they are widely known as good layers, during particularly cold periods, if the coop temperature drops below freezing (0 °C (32 °F)), their egg output does drops considerably. The tips of their combs are also very susceptible to frostbite, so liberal applications of petroleum jelly may be needed.
The bird’s feathers are usually rust coloured often with white streaks, however darker shades are not uncommon including a maroon bordering/black variation. Their eyes are a red – orange colour and they have yellow feet and reddish-brown beaks. Chicks are a light red to tan color with two dark brown bars running down their backs.