The Rhode Island Red is an American breed of chicken. It is a utility bird, raised for both meat and eggs, and also as a show bird. It is a popular choice for backyard flocks because of its egg laying abilities and hardiness. All brown egg laying hybrid chickens are based on the Rhode Island Red.
Rhode Island Red - History
Rhode Island Reds were developed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, early flocks often had both single and rose combed individuals. It was from the Malay that the Rhode Island Red got its deep colour and strong constitution.
The Rhode Island Red were originally bred in Adamsville, a village which is part of Little Compton, Rhode Island. One of the foundation sires of the breed was a black-breasted red Malay cock which was imported from England by a sailor. This cock is on display at the Smithsonian Institution as the father of the Rhode Island Red breed.
The Rhode Island Red is the state bird. In 1925, the Rhode Island Red Club of America donated funds for an elegant monument to the Rhode Island Red in Adamsville. (The monument is now on the National Register of Historic Places.) A competing monument to the Rhode Island Red, claiming its creation not for the poultry fanciers, but for the farmers who grew them commercially in great numbers in Little Compton, was erected by the state in 1954 a mile or so (about two kilometers) south of Adamsville.
Rhode Island Reds are used in the creation of many modern hybrid breeds, mainly due to the prolific egg laying abilities of the Rhode Island Red.
Rhode Island Red - Characteristics
The bird's feathers are rust-colored, however darker shades are known, including maroon bordering on black. Rhode Island Reds have red-orange eyes, reddish-brown beaks, and yellow feet and legs, often with a bit of reddish hue on the toes and sides of the shanks. Chicks are a light red to tan color. The roosters usually weigh in at about 8.5 pounds (3.9 kg), the hens average slightly less at 6.5 pounds (2.9 kg).
Rhode Islands can be aggressive especially when kept in small spaces although they generally do very well with humans. they appreciate space to run around.
Rhode Island Reds - Use
Rhode Island Reds are good layers of brown eggs. Hens lay 5–7 eggs per week. The hens lay approximately 310 eggs in their first laying season and 220 in the second.
Rhode Island Reds - More Info
You can read about the story of the origin of the Rhode Island Red
The same site also has a section on the Rhode Island Red Commemorative Monument