One of the most economical egg layers among the heritage breeds is the New Hampshire Red. With its brown plumage it’s not as eye catching as many of the more colourful breeds but when it comes to maturing early (at five months the first egg can be expected in the laying box), laying well (250 eggs or more in a pullet’s first season) for many seasons and being calm, the New Hampshire Red can’t be beaten. The cockerels make a decent sized roast and are well worth raising for the table.
The New Hampshire Red is a selection from the Rhode Island Red (both American dual purpose heavy breeds) with a slightly lighter plumage and better laying ability.
During its lifetime a New Hampshire Red pullet from a good laying strain will easily outlay any commercial hybrid. The only reason why they are less popular than the commercial hybrids is that they can’t be auto sexed at hatching so the cockerels need to be raised and can’t be discarded at hatching. The New Hampshire Red lays a medium brown egg of large or very large size and it hardly ever goes broody.