The Rhode Island Red is the classic hen from the children’s story Red Hen and Sly Fox. A flock of Rhode Island Reds is a sight to behold with their proud upright stance, their large size, their rich mahogany colour and beautiful lustre.
In their heyday Rhode Island Reds were among the top laying breeds and today many strains still are respectable layers. They also make a good table bird, especially for people who prefer a yellow skinned bird.
Many ‘Rhode Island Reds’ being sold these days are in fact commercial hybrids like Brown Shavers or Hylines. The latter are derived from this stately breed but bear no resemblance with their meagre size and white feathers showing in the tail and wings. Not to mention the flat colour without lustre.
A good heavy breed like the Rhode Island Red will lay well for four or five years and possibly beyond. A first cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and Light Sussex hens is autosexing with orange pullet chicks and yellow male chicks.