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What Does a Rhode Island Red Hen Look Like? (My Favorite Breed!)

rhode island red hen

Rhode Island Red hens are among the most popular breeds in the United States. Many people, from urban backyard chicken keepers to rural homesteaders with acres of open land, enjoy this chicken breed.

In addition to being hardy and excellent brown egg producers, Rhode Island Reds are also known for their friendly personalities and vibrant colors.

Here’s a look at what Rhode Island Red hens look like, as well as a few more details on what you can expect if you decide to add Rhode Island Red hens to your backyard flock.

What Does a Rhode Island Red Hen Look Like?

Rhode Island Red hens are smaller than roosters. Their color ranges from dark red to brown or even light rust. Some Rhode Island Red hens have dark colored tailfeathers with black and green tints.

Rhode Island Red hens 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. 

rhode island red chicken breed

More About Rhode Island Red Hens

Rhode Island Reds are the go-to hen for people looking for great egg layers who are also calm and friendly. It doesn’t matter where you put this cheerful bird; it’ll do well there. It doesn’t matter where you keep them; they’ll always have a positive outlook and a zest for life.

Good Pets

These birds are excellent pets and educational projects for children to engage in. Whether it’s a 4-H kid or an eccentric chicken lady, these birds are easy to handle and are known for forming strong bonds with their owners.

Rhode Island Red hens can be a bit noisy too. For example, when an egg is just about to hatch, they’ll let you know, and they’ll do it all day long.

Great at Pest Control

Rhode Island Red hens are excellent backyard pest controllers. They love to hunt for bugs and grubs and can easily spend an entire afternoon doing so.

Keep them in a coop if you must, but supplement their food with table scraps for the best results. When you show up with these sweets, it will be the highlight of their day.

With chicken toys and swings, you can add some fun to their cooped-up lives as well. There are a plethora of tutorials on the internet for making things that will keep your active girls entertained.

Pros and Cons For Raising Rhode Island Red Hens


  • Hearty and good for any climate. These birds can adjust to any climate in the US. Rhode Island Red will thrive even in harsh climates.
  • Aesthetically pleasing. With their red plumage that ranges from deep rust to maroon, both males and females are highly attractive. This iconic breed has been featured as art on everything from dish towels to pottery.
  • Large birds with big eggs. These hardy, large ladies produce quantity as well as quality when it comes to their eggs. You will be rewarded with an abundance of large brown eggs.
  • Friendly personalities. These chickens make great companions for kids and any chicken raiser that appreciate personable hens. They are docile and easily handled.
  • Great foragers. These lovely ladies will reduce unwanted insect populations. They are great scavengers and will relentless hunt bugs and grubs in your yard.


  • Roosters may be aggressive. There are breeds of roosters that have been deemed more docile than Rhode Island Red. You may get a good rooster or your rooster may end up being aggressive.
  • Noisy birds. If you don’t like chicken chatter, these birds may not be for you. They are very vocal and will chat it up all day long.
  • Not all strains are good for meat. The heritage breed is better for producing eggs than for eating. If you plan on eating your aging hens, they will need to be used for soups and stews.

Rhode Island Red Facts

OriginDeveloped by crossing the Java and Brown Leghorn chicken breeds.
TemperamentDocile and Active
Egg ColorBrown
Egg SizeLarge
Egg Production200-300 eggs per year
WeightHen: 6 1/2 lbs
Rooster: 8 1/2 lbs
Pullet: 5 1/2 lbs
Cockerel: 7 1/2 lbs
Primary PurposeEgg production and pet
Secondary PurposeMeat production
Lifespan8 years on average
VarietiesSingle Comb, Rose Comb
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