Rhode Island Red

 
 

History

The dark red Rhode Island Red is one of the better known breeds no less through its good egg production. The breed was developed on the coast of the Narragansett Bay, centred in the towns as New Bedford, Little Compton, Tiverton and Westport in the state of Rhode Island in America. It was in the middle of the last century and red coloured Asiatic fowl, like Malays, red Javas and the Shakebags, a Cochin related breed, were crossed with local farm breeds. Later on, brown Leghorns and Wyandottes were introduced to improve the egg production - notably through the wintertime - and to produce brown eggs. Brown eggs fetched a higher price from the egg dealers in Boston in those days. The forerunner of the Rhode Island Reds, which already looked very much like them, was first exhibited in Philadelphia under the name of Golden Reds in 1891 and 1892. Initially the birds were not very uniform in exterior and it was not until the end of the last century that real breeders began to take an interest in the breed and agreed on a reasonable breed description. The first breed club was formed in 1898 and in 1901 and 1902 the first breed descriptions were recorded. They are recognised by the American Standard of Perfection of the American Poultry Association since 1904. At the turn of the century, the first Rhode Island Reds came to Europe via England. At the beginning of this century, the white rosecomb variety was developed from white Wyandottes and rose comb white Leghorns. They never became as popular as the original red variety and these days they belong to the group of rare breeds.

Description

Rhode Island Red is a medium heavy breed with a horizontal, almost oblong type. Breeders refer to this as "brick shaped". The body looks longer as the neck is carried forward and the tail is carried fairly backward and at an angle of 20 degrees above horizontal. The main tail feathers are black and the sickles beetle green-black. The medium sized head is broad, slightly long and rather flat on top. The single, medium sized bright red comb is broad at the base and has five points. The reddish eyes are prominent and have a lively expression. The bright red wattles are medium sized and of equal length. The red ear lobes are slightly elongated. The neck is long and the body is deep, straight and well forward concerning the legs. The large wings are well folded, tucked against the body and carried horizontally. The medium long legs -which are placed well apart- and toes are a rich yellow in colour; the toes have a reddish, horn coloured overlay, which is more of a red colour on the sides of the legs.

Characteristics

The Rhode Island Reds are well known for their excellent egg production of brown eggs. Good management and selection can push the egg production up to 250 eggs per year of around 55 to 60 grams. Its meat qualities are very good as well and the chicks mature very fast.
A hardy breed that can be kept free range as well as penned up, they seldom become broody. Best known is the single comb variety, but the rose comb is still around. It's a quiet, strong breed that is very resistant to diseases.

Weight

The adult weight for the cock is 4000 grams and for the hen 3000 grams.

Varieties

The dark red coloured with single comb is the most common variety. Occasionally we see the rosecomb. The other recognised colour is the white with rosecomb.