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Rhode Island Red: What to Know Before Buying One

Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red is probably one of the most successful chicken breeds in the world!

It has spread from its homeland to all corners of the globe and is thriving even in the face of the modern industrial hens and intensive farming practices.

Why is it so successful?

They certainly are a bird that requires little in the way of care and is usually extremely healthy.

My personal opinion is because it is such a personable chicken – I have never met a Rhode Island hen that I didn’t like!

In today’s article, we will discuss this breed in-depth, including its history, temperament, egg-laying rate, behavior, and more…

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The History of Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red

The story of the Rhode Island Red really started back in 1854. A sea captain by the name of William Tripp bought a Malay rooster from a fellow sailor. He took that bird home and mated it with his own chickens. Tripp noted the offspring of those to lay more eggs.

He enlisted the help of his friend John Macomber, and the two of them began to cross breeding in earnest.

The resulting birds were called either ‘Tripp’s Fowl’ or a ‘Macomber’ and were known to be superior to existing fowl in the area.

Several breeds were used to improve and refine the desired hen – these breeds included the Malay, Java, Chinese Cochin, Light Brahma, Plymouth Rocks, and Brown Leghorns.

These birds came to the attention of Isaac Wilbour, an already successful poultryman. He bought some of the birds and began his own selection program.

Despite all the work put into the ‘breed’ by Tripp and Macomber, Wilbour is credited with naming the Rhode Island Red.

The Rhode Island Red was developed first and foremost as a dual-purpose bird. It was developed by the poultry farmers of the New England area and not ‘bird fanciers,’ so the defining qualities were utilitarian, not ‘good looks.’

In honor of the breed, two statues have been erected near where New Englanders formed the breed. One statue is in Adamsville, and the second is in Little Compton – both in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Red is the state bird of Rhode Island – it was elected to this honored place in 1954.

Rhode Island Red: Breed Standard and Appearance

Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red was accepted to the American Poultry Association in 1904. APA accepted the rose-combed variety in 1906. They are considered to be ‘American class – large fowl, clean legged.’

Rhode Island Red was accepted to the British Poultry Standard in 1909.

The overall picture of the body should look like a longish ‘brick’ – rectangular and solid.

Feathers are expected to be ‘hard’ – this they inherited from their Malay and Java genes. The preferred color of ‘perfection’ has varied over the years from rich mahogany to a dark rust color.

Some black feathers in the tail and wings are perfectly normal but are considered ‘smuttiness’ by judges of the APA standard.

The wattles, comb, and ear lobes should be red. Eyes are orange/red in color.

The Rhode Island is a yellow-skinned bird – the yellow is also seen in the feet and legs. Each foot should have four toes, and their beak is yellowish/horn colored.

The comb is usually single upright, but the rose combed Rhode Islands do exist, although they seem infrequent.

Bantam Rhode Islands also exist, but these seem to be even less popular at the current time.

The weight of a large fowl rooster is approximately 8.5 lb, with a hen reaching 6.5 lb. The rose comb variety usually weighs slightly less than the single comb.

Bantamweights for a rooster are 2.1 lb and a hen at 1.9 lb.

Rhode Island Red Egg Production


Rhode Island Red

The Rhode Island Red is very good at laying eggs – it is hard to surpass them in output and continuity.

The original flocks of Rhode Islands were bred to be dual-purpose hens. However, in the 1940s’ following the War, keepers again refined the breed to produce more eggs.

This was when the breed was essentially split into Rhode Island ‘heritage’ and Rhode Island ‘industrial.’

Those that were bred for better egg-laying are the hens that we generally see today. The Rhode Island hen will usually start to lay around 18-20 weeks, although some will start as early as 16 weeks old.

A good hen can lay 200-300 eggs each year, although other people put the egg-laying at a more modest 150-250 eggs.

In general, a Rhode Island hen will lay around 5-6 eggs/week. These eggs are medium to large and light brown in color. Eggs will increase in size over the years, as with all hens.

The ‘heritage’ type hen is not too far behind this number in egg-laying, but the major difference is table quality, taste, and texture of the meat.

Temperament and Disposition of The Rhode Island Red Breed

Rhode Island Red Eating

Rhode Island Reds can be anything from docile to raucous and pushy! Over the last several years, my personal experience has been that they are exuberant, curious, friendly, a bit pushy but very lovable – but never quiet!

They are somewhere in the middle of the pecking order usually.

Rhode Island Reds are active foragers, scavenging for bugs and seeds, and are not averse to the occasional frog or mouse that happens to wander in their direction.

They will tolerate confinement but love nothing better than investigating the yard for any tasty morsels.

The hens are generally pretty laid back and docile enjoying the company of people and chickens alike. The roosters can be aggressive, so you should take care to select the least aggressive of the bunch.

Needless to say, roosters should not be allowed around children if there is an aggression issue.

The Rhode Island Red hen is said not to be broody. While the instinct has been actively suppressed by breeding and selection, they can and do occasionally go broody.

When they turn broody, they are diligent about sitting on the nest and making very protective mothers.

The Rhode Island Red rooster has gotten a bad rep over the years as one of the most aggressive roosters. With that being said, there is always room for variety amongst the breed and individual birds.

In fact, one of my sweetest roosters is a Rhode Island Red. He is far from pushy and extremely calm, and docile.

Potential Health Issues of The Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Reds are renowned for their hardy nature. Their robust constitution comes from the Malay side of the family, which gives them an A+ in health.

As with all birds, mites and other ectoparasites can be a problem. This can be kept at bay by dust bathes, careful checking, and dusting as appropriate.

Otherwise, they are usually a very healthy and active breed.

Is The Rhode Island Red Right For You?

If you want a first-class laying hen with tons of personality – look no further! These gorgeous red/ brown hens brim with their own individual personalities and enthusiasm.

The Rhode Island Red is a no-frills kind of chicken. They can exist quite well on sub-standard feed, although, of course, it is not recommended.

The same can be said of its accommodations. Where many other breeds will ‘survive’ in adversity, Rhode Island seems to thrive on it!

They really are very tolerant and easygoing. Rhode Island Reds enjoy the company and will often follow you around looking for ‘freebies.’

They get a good rating as a family-oriented hen and do well around children (watch out for roosters, though). A small number of these hens in your backyard will certainly put out a good amount of eggs for the family.

It has been said that if you are undecided what type of chicken will suit you best – get a Rhode Island Red. You can’t go wrong, and there is more than a grain of truth to this saying!

Regardless of where you live, from Canada to Australia, these robust birds will take almost any climate in their stride.

They do not seem overly bothered by cold or heat, but of course, you will need to provide suitable accommodations and care for them.

The yellow skin is considered undesirable for birds being bred for meat purposes, which is why you won’t see yellow skin on the majority of the chicken you purchase in the grocery store.

In other words, those grocery hens aren’t likely to be Rhode Island Reds.

Predator Savvy

The Rhode Island Red is a predator-savvy chicken, and they tend to be in tune with their surroundings while foraging the yard. Thus, they do very well in a free-range environment. The only problem you might have if you free-range them is to find all those eggs.

Hens are sure to find the ideal spot to lay their eggs, and it’s usually not your nesting box.

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  • Works Rain or Shine so you don’t have to let them out in inclement weather.
  • Go ahead and get those extra hours of sleep or go on vacation, our door has you covered.
  • Protect your Chickens from Predators with our self-locking feature

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

Happy Grubs: More Calcium Than Mealworms

  • Increase Egg Production
  • Stronger Egg Shells
  • Healthy Feathers

Our Picks On Best Chicken Coops

The Best Selling Chicken Coop For Small To Medium Flock

Best Choice Products 80in Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop Multi-Level Hen House, Poultry Cage w/Ramps, Run, Nesting Box, Wire Fence, 3 Access Areas
Best Choice Products 80 in. Outdoor Wooden Chicken Coop Multi-Level Hen House

See Price on Amazon

Rhode Island Red: Final Thoughts

Rhode Island Reds have certainly left their imprint on the poultry world. What started as a ‘backyard project’ has become a world-renowned pillar of the egg-laying industry.

The ‘modern industrial’ Rhode Island Red is consistently a great laying bird with bags of personality.

Sadly, the Rhode Island Red ‘heritage’ side of the breed languishes in the American Livestock Breed Conservancy list as ‘watch.’ This means that there are less than 2,500 registered birds in the USA and less than 10,000 worldwide.

My Rhode Island Red ladies all have character. While they are assertive, I have not found them aggressive or overly obnoxious to the other hens, even the docile ones.

They are always inquisitive; they will come rushing to the gate to see if there is anything for them to eat! Regardless, they always seem pleased to see you and will have entire ‘conversations’ with you.

At the end of the growing season, I allow them into the garden, where they do a fine job of catching bugs, eating seeds, and turning the earth over. What more could you ask of your hens?

Do you keep Rhode Island Reds? Let us know your experience with them in the comments section below…

Read Next:  What’s the Perfect Ratio of Hens to Roosters?

Rhode Island Red- What to Know Before Buying One

88 thoughts on “Rhode Island Red: What to Know Before Buying One

  1. This is my first year raising chickens. We hatched two batched in the spring in an incubator and it’s been an awesome adventure for the whole family! I have 3 RIR’s, 2 roosters and one hen. I am getting about 6 eggs a week from her. One of our roosters is being a bully and keeps attacking the neighbors chickens so we have him “locked” up in a chicken tractor during the day. He is not at all happy and is now attacking us every chance he gets. I think he’s going to become a nice chicken dinner soon! Other than the bullying we love our RIR’s! Thanks for the great article!!

      1. Hi lori. i think you are lacking of hens for the rooster, the advisable ratio of rooster to hen is 1:10 or 1:7.
        1 rooster to 10 hens or 1 rooster to 7 hens. Hope this info will help.

      2. Hi, thank you for insight on the reds. This is my first year as well and I had no idea. My chickens have a little swimming pool, I only keep couple of inches of water in it, a swing that I have never seen them use and a mister for summer, which they love. My granddaughter held them minute we got home with them and now they want to be loved all the time . they
        Are about 8 months old but do not lay as many eggs as I thought.very seldom are there three eggs a day..I thoroughly enjoy them. They are lovers for sure. Thank you for histkry

    1. Hi, sorry to hear of your feisty fella, I hope he learns to behave, heh.
      I have a RIR roo and RIR hen along with 2 Easter Egger hens and 2 White Leghorn hens. Everyone is friendly except for the Leghorns. They’ll eat from my hands but won’t sit in my lap or care to be petted like the other 4. We had our first hatchling a few months ago and although my EE is my broody hen, I believe it is my RIR hen who supplied the egg, which is entirely possible. The little pullet looks just like my RIR pair. She’s super bright and thriving and we’re having a great time watching her grow!

  2. I have 2 Rhode Island Reds. They have great characters and are very Hardy. I live in Northern Ireland and in a windy spot but they thrive. However they are terrible layers. One doesn’t lay at all, the other one very occasionally in Summer but nothing now winter is here. They are my only hens and had them siince they were 4 months old.

    1. The RIRs are great birds. How’s your light access for them in the dark months? They respond well to 12+ hours of light, and some do well with 15 or so.
      Good luck!

    2. RIR are great egg layers and if your’s are not laying right you need to make changes to there routine, diet and or their enviorment. You can give them what ever you eat, so give them any left overs, they will eat just about anything you give them, Literally! FYI-they love watermelon They need laying mash 2x’s a day, every day and a scratch grain once a day, a rooster will make them lay more freuently and bring them into season and they should lay at least 5 eggs a week. It is a good idea to have a heat lamp at niight and in the winter months they need it 24 hrs hours a day and when it rains so they can dry off more quickly. Good luck and happy chicken farming!

    3. Moulting in the fall requires more energy to go into replacing feathers, more protein in their diet will help. The natural cycle is to lay when there is ample daylight, spring, summer and early fall and then during the days when daylight wanes, to allow their bodies to rest, rejuvenate. Unless you keep chickens for production, then it is better for your flock/pets to follow what nature has intended, a well deserved rest.

      1. i need original rhode island reds 2 or 4 pieces kindly help . i am in Pakistan . and you know it is better to buy an RIR pair from native land = i-e rhode island

        1. Order eggs…..the shipping of eggs is much easier and far more humane than trying to ship live birds great distances, not to mention the possibility of spreading who knows what chicken diseases internationally ! Much less expensive too !

    4. I have two Rhodies and 3 Wyandottes. The Rhodies are by far the better layers for me. I even had one start laying this winter when the day length was only 9 1/2 hours long, whereas most breeds require 14 hours of daylight. Right now one of my Rhodies is giving me about 3 eggs out of every 4 days. Sorry to hear yours aren’t laying well. Mine are definitely the leaders of the flock, the first to go exploring, the first to come when I call, the most sociable of the flock.

    1. Hi Ben, RIR’s are nice but don’t limit yourself ! I find barred rocks and brahmas are not only beautiful to look at but incredibly friendly and docile while laying lots of eggs too !

  3. I had two of these hens a few years ago when I had my chickens. They were delightful, great layers and friendly. Nellie, one of the two, would always “supervise” me when I came out to feed, water, clean, etc.. She would tilt her head sideways and watch what I was doing. Sometimes she would jump up on the tractor, hay bale, fence or feed bin to more closely watch me and we would chat with each other the whole time! It was so cute!

  4. You’re spot on describing my 5 girls. Becky is the boss, the prettiest, but she doesn’t lay. The worse looking ones are the best layers and they all are very vocal with a lot to say.
    Off the subject, I need a recommended breed for some Blue eggs please.
    Keep writing.

    1. I have an Americaunas that is a very good layer about 5 a week and some extra large. She lays blue eggs and has a very good temperament. Gets along well with my RIRs. She is beautiful.

  5. We have 14 Reds, 2 Americanas, and 5 Bard Rock. Each time I go out to tend to their needs, to include cleaning the chicken house, I always have a long conversation with 4 or 5 different hens. They follow me around all over the yard. That actually act like they’re trying to help do whatever I’m doing. Our grand daughter loves them. Great layers! We average 10 -12 eggs (medium to ex-large) a day. I go to one of the local stores during the winter months and get “chicken scraps” from the vegetable department. They love it. Like the author of this article I too let them in my garden area after harvest. They clean up the area and help fertilize it for the new growing season. They are well worth the 10-15 minutes a day it takes me to see to their needs.

  6. Began keeping chickens last year with one Rhode Island and a Black Rock. To my delight, they have consistantly laid an egg each every day for nearly 2 years now. The Rhode Island is exactly as you describe in your article and a true delight to keep and enjoy, and great friends with her yard-mate. I recommend this breed to anyone!

  7. I loved my Rhodes – but I fed them well and the developed “fatty liver syndrome”. I lost 3 out of my 4. Exercise and making sure their food treats did not include excessive fatty foods was the key. The one that did survive was low on the pecking order and she is doing very well. But now, I also allow the chickens out so they can run around the yard. That eliminated the “fatty liver” – but I lost two to a hawk. Sad – the Rhode Island Reds are my pets and occasionally they allow me to pick them up. ?

  8. I have only two. Trying to introduce a young girl of a different breed. They will not have it. Attack the younger bird whenever she is put into their run. Anything I can do?

  9. I recently had to put my RIR to rest due to ovarian cancer. I’ve been drowned in grief beyond words. She was my most brilliant gem, and will always be. She’d given me the sweetest, most rewarding 7 years of my life, and I think that’s more than anyone can truly give me. She was more than a perfect chicken – she was my beloved child, companion, and pet. She was a very good layer, and it cost her, her life. She had problems with processing calcium, and her egg shells were almost always very thin. Thus, she laid several eggs without shell. I put her under treatments so she didn’t have to lay eggs, but that didn’t help. She continued to lay a few. I really didn’t care for the eggs, but wanted for her body to stop the laying. It cut her life short, brought nothing but pain and numerous trips we had to make to the vet. I had to tube-feeding her for a period of months to give her body a cocktail mix of herbal medicine and nutrients so her body can replenish some health because of the devastating effect of laying an egg a day. I really would do almost anything if I could to stop her from laying. I’m sure most think that I’m crazy, but only when you get to know Pebble, will you be able to understand why, and how terrible it is for the industry to breed hens to lay eggs more than their natural body can handle. I know it’s in their genes to lay eggs, but for some reasons, her body just worked way too hard.
    I agree with your description about RIR characters. They are indeed one of the most wonderful breeds to have if you are looking to have more than a hen to lay eggs.

  10. My husband and I just got our first chicks today! We got 4 RIR’s ; they’re still too young to tell what sex they are. We are beyond excited to have them in our lives! I will be checking this website daily for tips.

  11. I have 2 rir’s 1rooster and 1Ben she finally laid her first egg Monday and since then the rooster has had a nasty attitude. He was really nice until she started laying is that normal. They are great birds and I love Jack and Jill

    1. Hi Aidan,
      If you don’t want to raise chicks, I would recommend buying them at point-of-lay. So around 16-18 weeks old 🙂

  12. I was just wondering if RIRs and buff Orpingtons get along together. I know they are both great birds.

    1. Hi Aidan,
      Yes! You should have no problem mixing these two breeds 🙂

  13. I have a black star and a Rhode Island Red. The Red bullies my older black. I’m wondering if it is a Rooster? How can I tell. It was supposed to be a laying hen.

    1. Hi Sherli,
      Please send us some photos of him (her) and I will take a look for you 🙂

  14. does any one know the height and length of a common (not bantam) rhode island red, we dont plan on eating them so we dont care on weight, just need to know how they would fit in our yard.

  15. I don’t understand why the Rhode Island red rooster gets such a bad reputation for being overly aggressive. Any rooster can become aggressive if he thinks his hens are threatened. That is what he is for, to protect and mate with the hens. My point is if you spend some time handling him and petting him when he is young and continue to do this as he becomes mature he will except being around people and children just like a cat or a dog. I know this from personal experience.I had a pet Rhode Island red rooster named Buddy when I was a teenager. He would follow me around and lay down at my feet so I would pick him up. He loved for me to carry him around. When I would come home from school he would come running and lay down at my feet. He was a beautiful and loving friend. All it takes is a little kind attention that’s all.

  16. I had 2 RIR roosters when I was a teenager. They were amazing pets. They would sit on my shoulder like a parrot. I loved them!

  17. I have 5 RIR now and they are so very social chattering when I come up to my ‘babies’. They’re only a little over 3 months and I’m waiting on them to start laying. They all look alike but one has a reddish colored facial area around the eyes. This is my second time with RIRs. Two years ago we started with 8 and let them run loose after they were 6 weeks or so and after about a year and a half they started disappearing. We finally saw a fox sneaking away with one. We tried keeping them in their pen but being used to free range they flew out the top. We ended up loosing them all before my grandson got the fox. So now with the new ones the pen is covered and no more free range. They have a very very large covered pen. It’s heart breaking knowing you’re losing them one by one and you can’t stop it.

  18. I have had 2 rir, I Longhorns and 1 silver wyandotte for 2 years. They free range around the back yard in the daytime and go in the roost at night. They live in south Carolina. I put a red light on them at night. They get purina organic layer pellets, meal worms, and sweet corn every day. Occasionally they get some table scraps and yogurt. Like I said. They are only 2 years old and a month ago one of them started acting strange. A few days later she passed away. Now the other rir is acting different too. All 4 chickens came at the same time and eat the same diet. I read they are supposed to live 10-14 years which makes me suspect I’m doing something wrong. Can chickens overeat? Should I stop giving them treats and scraps and only give them layer pellets? The Longhorn and wyandotte seem to be fine so I dont understand what is wrong with the rirs. Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated.

    1. How is their water? I would suggest no scraps and no treats, go strictly to pellets and change water at least twice a day to rule out diet.

  19. This article describes my RIRs to a T. I have 3 RIRs and 3 Americanas. We have plans to get 4 more RIRs this year and that’s because of their fun personalities. They are spoiled rotten and as soon as they hear the door, they run to the fence to greet us They love to follow us around when we’re out in their pen and they’re always right at our feet when we’re digging in the garden so they can grab any worms that we might uncover. Love my chicky girls! 🙂

  20. How do these hens do in a backyard environment as far as noise go? I had a lyonnaise and she was so noisy we had to give her to my friend with property. She would cackle all morning and even crow at times. Great layer, pain in the ear though ? I’m ok with talking/chirping, but we can’t have the yelling.

  21. I bought some RIR eggs from a reputable breeder and have raised some healthy chickens. I ended up with 2 roosters which are dark chocolate in colour, red comb and wattles and are very impressive. I also have a RIR rooster from another batch of eggs which is very different in that he is deep ginger/rust in colour with red comb and wattles. By all intense and purposes, both these roosters fit the description of a RIR and having looked at many images on the internet, I note that there is quite a difference in the RIR rooster colouring and can see both my roosters in the images….is this the case that there is a variation?
    Thanks for your help, Glenys

  22. Great Article! Very informative! I just recently got 3 rhode island red hens that are about 3 years old. The first six days that I had them they were laying normally. I got 1-2 eggs per day and the seventh day I didn’t get any eggs. I have had them for just under 2 weeks now and they are still not laying. We live in a suburban area and have a Labrador Retriever that hovers around their coop sometimes. We also tried putting wooden eggs in their nesting boxes to get rid of any snakes getting their eggs but there were no takers. Any suggestions on how to get them laying again?

  23. My son just acquired his first RIR, what a fun bird. He will eat anything and is always looking for more. He/she, not sure, is being fed 16% feed from feed store, how often and how much should he be fed? Can you over feed these chickens? Is what he gets on his own enough? Thank you for any info.

  24. I’m just setting up my first coop and run and of course, I’ve decided to keep some RIR’s. I’m starting off with 4 but hoping to get another 4 within 6 months. I think they are a beautiful looking bird and can’t wait to pick them up next week

    1. Hey Moe, I am also a “Mo”. I just got 4 RIRs on 11/4/19. This is our 1st chicken raising attempt. Unsure of age, but I know they are pullets. They still have a TINY bit of fluff around their head area but are almost completely feathered. We’re in metro N.O. area. Where are you located? How are your chickens doing?

  25. To clarify a few things, you are confusing American Poultry Association classes. Standard (full size) Rhode Island Reds are in the American class while bantams are in the Single Comb or Rose Comb Clean Legged Class. Rose comb Reds are quite common in both standard and bantam varieties. Black in the tail feathers,as well as the wing fronts and bows,is not only not smuttiness,it is required in Reds and any bird without it would be seriously defected and marked down accordingly at a show. The color pattern in Reds is actually called “Black tailed red” and is a common color pattern in many breeds. This article uses the terms “Heritage” and “Industrial” in place of the proper terms “Standard Bred” (birds bred as closely as possible to the “Standard of Production” with less emphasis on meat or egg production qualities) that you would find at a poultry show and “Production Bred” (birds bred with more emphasis on meat or egg laying qualities with less emphasis on type and color) that you would typically find in a backyard flock. Finally, there is no difference in the quality or taste of meat or eggs from either Standard Bred or Production Bred birds if they are raised under the same conditions.

  26. I have 24 Rhode Island Reds(yes I know that is a LOT. My dad bought them as a gift for me. I do not know whether they are male or female yet. Most of them should be female…) and 4 turkeys(I cannot recall the breed of the turkeys. Three males and one female). I want to get a few Bantams but the problem is that I’ve had to separate my RIRs and turkeys because the RIRs keep plucking out the turkeys feathers making them bleed. Both the RIRs and the turkeys are only 12 weeks old. What should I do?

  27. I have had many different breeds of chickens and RIR is my very favorite. They have the best personality and are very good layers. I always raise mine in my house to start out. They get held, petted and played with. My hens have always been sweet and never aggressive, not even my rooster. They used to climb up on my shoulder and bring their head down for me to pet them. You would’ve thought it was a Parrot. Love your article, very informative and definitely on point.

  28. I have 26 feather babies. I enjoy each and every one and spoil them rotten. I have 1 rooster, he is a Rhode island red, his name is buddy. He’s super friendly, character he has a whole lot of that. He’s is one of the best roosters I’ve ever owned. He does his job and to the fullest. I also have 7 Rhode island girls. They definitely love company. They are right there waiting on me every evening. I usually spend several hours talking to them, hand feeding etc. I have white leghorns, Maran’s, brahmas, Plymouth Rock, bantams, Andalusian, Ameraucana, Legbars. They all are super friendly. Chickens are intelligent birds. I enjoy them all. ?

  29. I just got 2 road island reds today and they have already been very friendly. I live inTampa Florida so it is really hot. The chickens, are very good with the heat

  30. Thank you for the great information! We are just starting a flock, and this article has helped me settle on starting with RIRs. Keep on writing!

  31. I have had two groups of RIR. I get about 20 per group. Hens are wonderful and dependable layers, and can be very freindly. All the roosters were vicious mean, every one. They were all butchered for dinner at about 6 months. Both groups were from different sources, unrelated. Interesting how different the hens and roosters were in freindliness.

  32. I love my RIR. Out of my chicken coop they are my most loudest bunch of girls but I love it and when I open my doors they are the first ones to come say hi or explore outside ( first one out last week / spring is here I guess haha). They are extremely friendly, I have one girl who I can walk up and just pet her whenever and pick her up and hold her. They also were laying steady some weeks they were doing 5 easily a week per hen. They are hardly this winter was cold and with one heater in the coop these girls provided their breed and stayed in a healthy weight and laid even through the cold snaps.

  33. Hi! I am new to the chickens realm, I have always wanted to raise them but opportunities never presented themselves ‘til now! I currently have 27 RIR chicks – I am parting with 7 this afternoon, for breeding & laying purposes. I’m super excited, but cannot seem to find a good list of traits for breeding a good RIR, like best colors or traits, etc. I was also trying to find how to help with the ‘heritage’ line for breeding. Anyone got any ideas on either good traits for choosing a breeding flock and/or how to Help breed the heritage line – I am in Alberta, Canada. THX!!! And awesome website btw!!

  34. I love my little chickens. They are all over me when I go out to their pen. Each one has to picked up and petted and fight over who gets picked up first. My little rooster always gets on my shoulder and stays there untill I leave the pen.

  35. I have one hen that is aggressive, she will stand her ground and occasionally peck you. Especially my husband. But the others are great.
    Mine are an avg of 22-24 weeks old and are laying small eggs. How long before they lay bigger eggs?

  36. Wealth of info here! I am looking into getting some RIR’s and came across this. Read all the comments and started taking notes. Thank you for the post.

  37. I just raised 2 RIR they over 5 months and are noisy as heck! They are giving me 1 small egg a day right now. My Delaware and 6 Easter eggers haven’t laid any yet.The RIR are also bullies yo my EE’s will that be a problem when they start laying?

  38. How much would a established laying hen be worth? They were 2 years old. A couple of dogs broke into my coop and killed all 24 of my hens. The owners are willing to pay for them and damages. How do you figure the time, money and fees to get them back. Plus loss of revenue for the eggs I was selling.

  39. Thank you for this informative article about the RIR Chickens. My wife and I are thinking of setting up a coop with 18 foot run for around 10 to 12 RIR’s once we move out of town to the country. We are both retired so time isn’t a problem. Our son raises meat birds for Tyson and has 5 chicken houses to run. We plan to keep our flock small. Maybe some free ranging which will be decided by how much property we buy and how close our neighbors live.

  40. Are these the same as the UK Warren?
    They sound like the same temperament and laying skills.
    My little girl hasn’t let me down since she started laying. Even to the point of having 2 eggs a day on occasions.
    Loves to be cuddled as long as no one else is looking.
    Loves attention and will tell me if I’m in her way of bugs shes digging up

  41. I have 7 RIR’s 1 rooster and 6 hens, they’re only a few weeks old but already love the heck out of them!! There’s one that is already kind of my favorite! Her name is Henna! I’ll put my hand in the tub that I have them in right now and she jumps on it and climbs up to my shoulder and lays there while I clean, feed, and water them!! Once all is said and done she “flys” Down and gets her grub on with the rest of the flock!! I try and pick all of them up and give them all attention!! They’re all so inquisitive and super brave!! I can’t wait til they’re older and I can actually have them outside and go exploring!! Thanks for all of info everyone!!


  42. I have just got a Rhode Island Red a columbian black tail
    And a black rock 10 days old now and 2 ducklings all in together seem to getting on well and ducklings keeping me busy cleaning out every 5 mins lol ( I have created a messy area and dry area ) but any advice would be a bonus many thanks

  43. Thank you for all the info on Rhode Island Reds. My neighbor has suggested I get some to add to my flock, because she had them in the past. She claims they almost always lay double yolks, but I am not finding any info on that. Everything I have read suggests that double yolks happen at the beginning of laying cycles.

  44. Hi!
    I have 1 RIR rooster and 14 chickens (I can’t remember what kind-10 black with spots and 4 white). Our rooster seems to be getting pecked at on his comb by the other chickens. He looks awful and has lost a ton of feathers. The feathers on his bum are gone too. I don’t know what’s going on. All of the chickens are doing fine and are healthy producers. I’m worried about my rooster. Please help.

  45. When I pick the eggs up and take them in the house, what is the cleaning and setting time out side the refrigerator and how long do they last in the refrigerator

  46. My Daughter bought her home and the owner gave her the chicken coop with the opener from ya’ll and the 6 RIRs just layer no rooster. They are the sweetest and playful girls I guess I’ve ever seen. My Daughter loves them. They hear that signal and they file up and in their suite too rest at night . Lauri gave them a pumpkin at Halloween and they loved it. Waiting on you comment about the eggs that I wrote earlier. Thanks
    JoAnn Haynes

  47. I have lost 2 RIR hens to reproductive disease cancer in the last week. I am new to raising chickens but my vet says RIR are prevalent for reproductive disease. I’m really worried about my 6 remaining hens and plan to take them for health checks after the holidays. They have so much personality and I love them. How can I ensure the next RIR I purchase will not develop reproductive disease?

  48. I’m considering purchasing a Rhode Island Red chicken, and this post has been incredibly informative! I had no idea they were such social birds, but now I’m convinced I want one. Do you have any recommendations for breeders in the Northeast? Thank you for sharing!

  49. I’m considering getting a Rhode Island Red chicken, but I’m not sure if it’s the right breed for my needs. This blog post has been really helpful in providing information on the breed’s temperament, egg-laying abilities, and care requirements. I appreciate the thorough research and the easily readable format. It’s given me a good starting point for my research and I feel more confident in my decision-making process.

  50. This e-book exceeded all my expectations! Not only does it offer practical advice on raising egg-laying chickens, but it’s also written in a way that’s easy to understand and engaging to read. I appreciate the author’s dedication to providing accurate information backed by experience. I can’t wait to put these tips into practice in my own backyard!

  51. I found this article to be incredibly helpful! As someone who is interested in purchasing a Rhode Island Red, I was unaware of the breed’s history and temperament. Now, I feel more informed and confident in my decision to bring one of these beautiful birds into my home. Thank you for sharing!

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