The Rhode Island Red rooster has a regal demeanor, standing tall and imposing. Black tail feathers with green highlights decorate his mahogany red coat, which is adorned with gleaming black feathers. The first Reds were not bred for color, but rather for their ability to compete in the show ring.
The rooster can have either a single or rose-comb. The single comb has rows of spikes. The rose comb is flat with no spikes. The combs are a vivid red as are their earlobes and wattles.
Rhode Island Reds all have orange-red eyes and reddish-brown beaks. The feet and legs are yellow, with some red on the toes and shanks. They each have four toes.
Related: How To Tell If You Have a Rooster
Rhode Island Red Rooster Temperament
Rhode Island Red roosters are a great addition to any backyard flock. You should know however, that they can be docile or aggressive. And you won’t know which personality you’ve inherited until the first breeding season. When the hormones kick in, a normally friendly cockerel can transform into a ruthless dictator.
Rhode Island Red roosters may become overly aggressive with the hens, attacking other animals and even humans. Of course, this is not always the case, but one must be prepared for the possibility. Remember that it is simple to go out and find another rooster.
How To Care For Rhode Island Red Roosters
If you have an especially aggressive rooster, it can be dangerous to your hens, other animals, and even humans with its spur. While you may not be able to control a rooster’s attitude, you can manage that spur with filing, clipping, and sheath removal.
The outer shell of the spur is made of keratin, just like human fingernails which means filing is quite possible. Many successful chicken farmers use a Dremel tool with a sanding attachment. Wrap your rooster in a blanket or towel to immobilize him.
File the spur down, taking care not to reach the bone. If you are doing this for the first time, it is best to simply take the point off the spur and stop. This way, you are unlikely to injure the bird.
Choose a set of clippers that fit around the spur easily. Be sure the clipper blades are very sharp to make the procedure go quickly and cleanly, with minimal stress to the bird. Cut the top of the spur, removing the sharp point, remaining far from the bone. You may file down the edges of the clipped spur with a file if you wish.
Rather than risking cutting the rooster’s bone, you might opt to simply remove the sheath. The sheath is the outermost layer of keratin and removing it will expose the unsharpened second layer.
To do this, you will need two potatoes (one for each spur) and a set of pliers. Heat one potato in the microwave on medium for about ten minutes. Insert the spur into the heated potato, but not so far that it makes contact with the shank, as it will hurt him.
Hold it in this position for about three minutes. This will cause the sheath to become soft. Then remove the potato and use the pliers to twist the sheath free of the spur. Do the same for the other side.
Attempting to remove the sheath this way may fail the first time you try it. Do not be discouraged. Simply try again, or clip and file the tip of the spur if you’ve had enough.
Rhode Island Red Facts
|Origin||Developed by crossing the Java and Brown Leghorn chicken breeds.|
|Temperament||Docile and Active|
|Egg Production||200-300 eggs per year|
|Weight||Hen: 6 1/2 lbs|
Rooster: 8 1/2 lbs
Pullet: 5 1/2 lbs
Cockerel: 7 1/2 lbs
|Primary Purpose||Egg production and pet|
|Secondary Purpose||Meat production|
|Lifespan||8 years on average|
|Varieties||Single Comb, Rose Comb|
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