Rhode Island Red
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2009)|
Rhode Island Reds in a lithograph, c. 1915.
|Conservation status||Livestock Conservancy: recovering|
|Other names||Rhode Islands|
|Country of origin||USA|
|Use||Dual purpose layer breed|
|Weight||Male: 8.5 pounds (3.9 kg)|
|Female: 6.5 pounds (2.9 kg)|
|PCGB||Soft Feather: Heavy|
Gallus gallus domesticus
The Rhode Island Red is an American breed of chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus). It is a utility bird, raised for 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. Non-industrial strains of the Rhode Island Red are listed as "recovering" by The Livestock Conservancy. The Rhode Island Red is the state bird of Rhode Island.
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).
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 color, strong constitution, and relatively hard feathers.
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. This cock is on display at the Smithsonian Institution as the father of the Rhode Island Red breed.
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.[clarification needed]
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.
|Cock||3.9 kg||8.5 lbs|
|Hen||2.9 kg||6.5 lbs|
Exceptional layers, Rhode Island Reds are noted for their brown eggs. Healthy hens can lay up to 5–7 eggs per week depending on their care and treatment.
- Conservation Priority List. The Livestock Conservancy. Accessed August 2014.
- Breed Classification. Poultry Club of Great Britain. Accessed August 2014.
- "Rhode Island State Bird - Rhode Island Red". 50states.com. 1954-05-03. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
- "Poultry Breeds - Rhode Island Red Chickens". Ansi.okstate.edu. 1997-06-26. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
- Raymond, Francine (2001). The Big Book of Garden Hens. Kitchen Garden Books. ISBN 0-9532857-3-1. OCLC 650414762.
- Damerow, Gail (1995). Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens. Pownal, Vt.: Storey Books. ISBN 978-1580173254 (paperback). OCLC 43913153.
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