The ever-popular Rhode Island Red chickens are a cross between Red Malays, Brown Leghorns and Asiatic native stock. They were originally called Red Javas until 1880. After facing threats to its breeding population, hobby farmers and hatcheries focused on restoring the Rhode Island Red to its former status as one of the most popular breeds of chicken in the country.
The Rhode Island Red chickens are some of the most productive and low-maintenance dual-purpose birds a backyard farmer can own. They are a great egg-layer that will also dress very nicely if used for their meat. They produce large brown eggs and are hardy enough to be very productive in just about any climate you could find within the United States.
Their active nature, foraging prowess and hardiness make them suitable for free range living as well. Both males and females have a rich and lustrous mahogany red color and a black tail. Hens are infrequent brooders but can be dutiful mothers. Rhode Island Reds have become smaller over time, but hens still weigh over 6 pounds and males over 8 pounds. Their winter hardiness helps these hard workers lay anywhere from 200-300 eggs per year!