Date(s) - 11/16/2018
In the 1860’s, breeders in the state of Rhode Island made the first crosses that resulted in the development of Rhode Island Reds. Originally, crosses made between Red Malays, Brown Leghorns and Asiatic native stock were known as Red Javas but in 1880 were first exhibited as Rhode Island Reds in Massachusetts. In 1898, the Rhode Island Red Club of America held their first meeting. Single Comb Rhode Island Reds were admitted to the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection in 1904. The Rhode Island Red breed is one of the best known breeds and is classified as a dual-purpose breed although today only a few are used for meat production. Most of them are used for egg production and the breed is known for the high production of large brown eggs. Hen mature size is large enough that they can be used for meat following their use as laying hens.
A distinct characteristic of Rhode Island Reds is the horizontal, oblong body, which is deep, broad and long, sometimes described as being “brick shaped”. The color of both the male and female is primarily a lustrous, rich, dark or mahogany red with a black tail. The texture of the fairly close or tight feathers is smooth and firm. The comb is a fine textured, single comb of medium size with five well-defined points. The reddish bay eyes are large, full and prominent. The comb, wattles and ear lobes are bright red. The shanks and feet are rich yellow tinged with reddish horn.
Rhode Island Red chicks are dark red with some having even darker red streaks down the back. The wing tips, chest and abdomen are much lighter with the wing tips appearing to be white. The chicks have single combs. The beak, legs and feet are yellow with some reddish horn. They have clean legs and feet.
From the time the chicks hatch until maturity, Rhode Island Reds may have white on the wing tips. When the birds are fully matured, they should not have any white feathers.