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Rhode Island Red Chickens Pros And Cons

Rhode Island Red Chickens Pros And Cons

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Once upon a time, the Rhode Island Red chicken was so famous that you could find them everywhere. They were so popular that the official state bird of Rhode Island is this chicken. That is some real dedication! But why these fantastic birds dropped in popularity, we don’t know. Luckily, they are starting to make a come-back. And we couldn’t be more excited! Do you want Rhode Island Red chickens? Read these Rhode Island Red chickens pros and cons first. 

Cons Of A Rhode Island Red

We are going to start by talking about all the negative sides of owning Rhode Island Reds. There aren’t many cons to owning these birds. But once you see the positive side, you will gladly look past these cons as well. 

Cat-Like Moods

We all have known a cat that doesn’t seem interested in people. But when they are interested in affection and attention, you had better hurry. If you aren’t quick to respond, the cat will bite you and run away. Rhode Island Red chickens are a lot like this. 

You will notice that the Rhode Island Red isn’t an incredibly affectionate chicken. But when they want your attention, it’s because they are jealous. Because of this, they don’t always make the best pet chickens. 


The price of Rhode Island Red chicks can be a little expensive in some areas. In some areas, it can be tough to find these chicks at all. This scarcity is what contributes to higher prices. 

But with the rise in popularity, the price of these chicks are already dropping. Your local feed stores might even have these chicks in stock regularly. 


In the complex pecking order of a flock, Rhode Island Reds are usually on top. They are pushy and like to pick on weaker smaller breeds. Some owners have to rethink their hens due to pecking and pulling out feathers. 

If you have a mixed flock, this can be particularly problematic. Small hens, pullets, and fluffy birds are all at the mercy of a Rhode Island Red. But in a flock of only Rhode Islands, they fare well together. 

Rhode Island Red Rooster

You don’t need roosters for quality eggs. But some people like roos to protect the flock and keep the hens in line. And if you want to breed your hens, a rooster is needed. But if you don’t need any of these qualities, you might want to rethink a Rhode Island Red rooster. 

The biggest difference in Rhode Island Red roosters vs hen is their temperament. These roosters tend to be aggressive. They don’t warm up to people well and even protect their hens from you. And if you have small children, you don’t want a Rhode Island Red rooster. These birds are too aggressive and will pick on young kids easily. 


For an urban setting, Rhode Island Reds aren’t the most practical. They are a loud bunch that always talk. You can hear them cackling from all around. Even throughout the night, these birds seem to have something to say. 

If your coop is near a fenceline, your neighbors won’t appreciate the noise. And no amount of eggs will make up for the loss of sleep and constant noise. 

Pros Of The Rhode Island Red

Now that we got the bad out of the way let’s look at the positive. When looking at the Rhode Island Red chickens pros and cons, you will see this list is much longer. And for a great reason. Here are all the reasons you need a Rhode Island Red hen. 

Eggs Eggs Eggs! 

The best part of a Rhode Island Red is her eggs. You can expect 5-6 eggs a week from these beauties. And the Rhode Island Red egg color is a lovely light brown. You can expect the average Rhode Island Red pullet to start laying around 18 weeks. And they continue to lay for four years! So you will get plenty of pretty farm fresh eggs throughout the week. 

Winter Eggs

Rhode Island has frigid winters. And these birds are bred to lay throughout the cold months. Your Rhode Island Red eggs might decrease some during winter. But with proper care and feed, you will be surprised to see the same excellent quality you know and love. 

On average, your Rhode Island Red will lay a whopping 300 eggs a year. So if you live in naturally cold climates, these birds are for you. And for those of us with extreme seasonal changes, the Rhode Island Red is the best option. 

Beautiful Color

One of the most notable things about a Rhode Island Red is its striking color. We love flocks of different colors and breeds. And it only makes sense that adding a Rhode Island Red to the mix will add warmth and variety.

Dual Purpose

The original Rhode Island Red was a dual purpose bird. They made for nice and healthy meat birds and fantastic eggers. Most backyard owners keep Rhode Island specifically for eggs. But if you breed broilers, a Rhode Island Red might be a great addition to your flock. 


Even Rhode Island Red baby chicks are healthy and sturdy birds. They aren’t prone to anything major, and most of them live long healthy lives. Genetically, these chickens are a workhorse. 

The only concern some may have is a prolapsed vent. A prolapse is very common in chickens that lay a lot of eggs. You can take a few precautions to prevent this-things like keeping them at a healthy weight and not giving supplements to increase egg production. 

A Good Beginner Chicken

Since the Rhode Island Reds are so resilient, they are perfect for a beginner flock. Rhode Islands don’t require anything unusual and are relatively low maintenance. They are so easy to keep that you might reconsider getting any other breed after owning a Rhode Island Red. 

Don’t Go Broody

Sometimes having a broody hen can get a little complicated. It is nearly impossible to break them, and this leads to weight loss and illness. But Most Rhode Island Reds won’t go broody at all. 

There are two types of Rhode Island Reds. One type is called a heritage line. These hens don’t lay as many eggs, but they are perfect mothers. If you want to breed, the heritage line is what you need to get. These hens go broody often and lay eggs for many more years than a layer hen. 

The other type of hen is called a producer. These hens have the genetics to produce eggs all year round. For the average backyard owner, a producer type is what you want. These hens lay eggs rain or shine, and they rarely go broody. 

Bantam Sizes

If you are looking for size variation in your flock, the Rhode Island Red has you covered. The standard female Rhode Island Red weighs about 6.6 pounds. But these hens also come in bantam sizes at only 1.9 pounds. Having a variety of sizes can make a flock fun and exciting. And their smaller sizes don’t take away from their large personalities. 

Hens Are Good With Kids

Many of us keep hens specifically for their eggs. And if you have kids, they want to be apart of this exciting and educational process. While a Rhode Island Red hen is known for its sass, they are generally good with kids. You won’t have to worry about your hens getting too aggressive or attacking people. 

Prefer Foraging

At first glance, you wouldn’t think that a need for foraging is a good thing. But in reality, it is probably the best thing for a laying hen. Foraging chickens have a well-rounded diet, which in turn produces the best eggs. 

Not only that, but a chicken that prefers foraging also saves you money. Rhode Island red chickens eat less commercial feed because they get most of what they need from pecking around. They love bugs, weeds, and grasses over any commercial feed. And they do best when they can feed all day. 

But this doesn’t mean you have to free-roam your hens. You could plant a chicken garden inside the run. Another option is to buy a chicken tractor for smaller flocks that allow them fresh foraging grounds every day. 

Flock Size

And the last on our Rhode Island Red chickens pros and cons is flock size. When you have chickens that produce 5-6 eggs a week, it means you can have a smaller flock. Smaller flocks are fantastic for the backyard owner. 

The smaller your flock is, the more it saves on time and money. Usually, with a small flock, you compromise how many eggs you get a week. But even a flock of 3 chickens will give you at least 15 eggs a week. And that is a huge accomplishment for such a small bird. 

Are You A Rhode Island Fan? 

When reading this Rhode Island Red chickens pros and cons list, it’s easy to see that we love them. Not only are beautiful to look at, but their constant supply of fresh eggs pays for itself. Have we made you a Rhode Island lover too?

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Lisa D

Sunday 12th of February 2023

Thanks for the information, I think I know the breed of hens to purchase. This will be my first flock. We live out in the country in East Tennessee and have some concerns about predators. I know that we have a few coyote in the area.


Tuesday 10th of January 2023

Knowing little about chickens I really enjoyed this article and feel as though I have a good beginner's grasp on this particular bird. The RIR sounds like the perfect bird our circumstances call for.