There are many factors you have to consider when you are choosing a breed of chicken for your farm or backyard. Perhaps you are tired of black and white breeds or want to jazz up the flock. Red chicken breeds are a wonderful addition to the backyard, especially when you choose the right breed. While there are over 50 breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association, here are 12 gorgeous red chicken breeds for you to consider today. Perhaps you may even see chickens that you have never seen before.
Whiting True Green
The Whiting True Green may have “green” in the name, but that does not refer to the color of the bird. Rest assured, these chickens are a lovely light chestnut and red color that is rather unique. The Whiting True Green was developed by a geneticist named Tom Whiting. The “true green” refers to the color of the egg this chicken lays. Light green and large in size, this is one chicken for those who want to sell a colorful dozen.
This breed is relatively new and may be difficult to find if you want one or two, but they are worthwhile. Their feed-to-egg conversion is remarkably high, and they are also avid free-rangers. In short, this hybrid is great for homesteaders who want a definite supply of eggs throughout the year.
Red Star Chicken Breed
Also known as Cinnamon Queens, the Red Star chicken breed is popular among those who want a low maintenance bird with the potential for hundreds of eggs (up to 310 per year). Red Star chickens are hybrid, meaning that they require a combination of several breeds to create. The most common mix is either a New Hampshire Red or Rhode Island Red rooster paired with a Delaware hen, Rhode Island White hen, or While Plymouth Rock hen.
Although these birds are superior egg-layers, they are not considered dual purpose. This is because their bodies are small. Red Star chickens also have a shorter lifespan than many other breeds, because they were designed for rapid egg production. That taxes their systems.
You can also watch these birds in this video:
Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Red is a beautiful deep red chicken that is also the state bird of Rhode Island, This breed was created when Malay chickens were crossbred with Leghorn chickens. Initially, Rhode Island Reds were meant to be dual purpose, meaning that they are useful for both meat production and laying hundreds of eggs throughout the year.
However, Rhode Island Reds are no longer used in meat production. Instead, they have been selectively bred to make their egg-laying abilities all the better. Therefore, if you want an egg-laying wizard for your backyard, consider these birds. There is one caveat, however. Rhode Island Reds may be able to produce up to 200-300 eggs per year, but they have a terrible disposition. Especially the roosters.
Don’t expect a lap chicken out of a Rhode Island Red.
New Hampshire Red
Many people accidentally confused Rhode Island Reds and New Hampshire Reds, but they are two completely different breeds. First off, the New Hampshire Red was bred in, you guessed it, NH. The roosters have a light red plumage that is accented by their black tail feathers. Females are a light red, sometimes laced with white or darker browns.
Over the years, these chickens have become an excellent dual purpose bird that can lay 240 brown eggs annually and feed a family. They are large birds, nearly the same size as Rhode Island Reds.
Additionally, New Hampshire Reds can be friendly; they can also be extremely broody. Beware of the New Hampshire Reds in a mixed flock, as they may attack or bully other smaller breeds.
Derbyshire Redcap Chicken
As the name suggests, the Derbyshire Redcap is from the UK, Derbyshire county to be exact. This British breed is wonderful for a yard or farm where free-ranging is an option, because they are hardy and resourceful. Furthermore, despite their small size, they are dual purpose.
Of course, there is more to Derbyshire Redcaps than popping out eggs. These chickens have a large characteristic comb that is both unique and fun to see in person. Do keep in mind that Derbyshire Redcaps are not the most friendly of birds. They are more independent than some breeds, and they evade both people and predators with ease.
If you are looking to hatch some Derbyshire Redcap chicks, you may have some trouble. Hens do not go broody, and so they also are poor mothers.
The Nankin Bantam is the smallest bird on this list. Being that this is an ornamental breed, they are not meant for producing a whopping number of eggs or meat. Instead, they are fun companions who are gentle and poised. Nankin Bantam hens tend to be a little broody, and they make excellent mothers — even for the chicks of other chickens. The eggs from a Nankin Bantam are tiny and cream-colored.
The Nankin Bantam is a true bantam, meaning that there is no bigger counterpart. Hens are a chestnut color. Roosters have the same reddish color around the shoulders and wings, but their tails are half red and half black. One of the defining features of this breed is their short gray legs.
If you are looking for a red chicken breed that you can have as a companion and to take to shows, then go with the delightful Nankin Bantam.
While the Leghorn chicken is common enough, the Red Leghorn is considered a rare find. Red Leghorn roosters are beautiful to see; they have bright red feathers, a long, elegant tail, striking white lobes, and a poised stance. Like other varieties of Leghorns, the Red Leghorn is an active chicken that likes to roam and search for food throughout the day. They are rather efficient at what they do, so do not expect them to take well to containment.
Leghorns, in general, excel at flying, too. They will clear a 10-foot tall fence with ease.
Red Leghorns are not as productive as the Pearl White variety. Typically, Red Leghorns lay about 150-220 eggs per year.
Some chicken keepers call this breed unfriendly, but the truth is that they are vigilant. Red Leghorn roosters keep a careful watch of the flock. They often stand guard, protecting the hens from potential predators. For this reason, Leghorns tend to be flighty and wary of strangers. They are independent, not lap chickens.
For the small homesteader, the gorgeous Welsummer breed is outstanding. Having been born in Welsum around 100 years ago, this Dutch breed is newer to the US but has a lot of popularity in Australia and the UK. Welsummer hens have a red and brown partridge pattern, as well as golden shading around the neck. The roosters, on the other hand, look completely different. The saddle feathers and hackles of the rooster are a rich chestnut. His sickle feathers tend to be black with an iridescent green shimmer.
Combs, wattles and ear lobes are all red. Both hens and roosters are robust, with broad chests and long backs.
Welsummer chickens are also friendly and calm. Roosters and hens alike enjoy human interaction. Some chicken keepers also say that their Welsummer roosters are so mild-mannered that they will eat out of their owner’s hands. Do keep in mind that this breed is talkative, and they will shout whenever they are troubled. Furthermore, they are not great flyers, but they do love to roam.
Red Frizzle Cochin Bantam
The Red Frizzle Cochin Bantam is the frizzle variety of the Cochin Bantam, which is also red. However, the dark red frizzled plumage of the Frizzle Cochin Bantam makes them a fun addition to your yard’s flock. Frizzling, if you are unaware, means that their feathers lack a feature that allows them to lay flat. Instead, frizzled feathers curled away from the body, making the chicken look fluffy. The disheveled appearance of these red chickens is adorable, indeed.
The downside to frizzled feathers is that your chickens have a harder time regulating their body temperature. Frizzled chickens can freeze more easily, and they also need shelter from the rain.
Whether you choose the regular Red Cochin Bantam or the frizzled variety, you can look forward to a sweet companion. They are not designed for mass-producing eggs or providing meat, but the broody hens do make excellent chaperons to young chicks.
Easter Egger Chicken
Throughout America, the Easter Egger chicken has become a backyard favorite. While this breed is not recognized by the APA, it is well known and well loved. Why is it called an Easter Egger? For the hen’s ability to lay eggs in a variety of hues. Blue eggs, which come from the Araucana or Ameraucana parentage, are just one of the colors this chicken produces.
Easter Eggers are the cute little mutts of the chicken world. Due to their heritage, you may have Easter Eggers with pea combs or single combs or different body types. Ear lobes are either white or red. Although some Easter Eggers have tails, those with Araucana genes may be tailless. Most Easter Egger chickens are light or dark red in color, but their plumage may also have splashes of white or black, as well as patterns.
They produce around 4 eggs a week, or around 200 years annually. The hens are not broody.
ISA stands for Institut de Selection Animale, which is an organization in France that developed this particular breed. The ISA Brown might have ‘brown’ in the name, but it is red in color. As a hybrid, it is not an officially recognized breed, but it is popular nonetheless. Interestingly, the ISA has kept the mixture of breeds a secret throughout the years. What magical combination of chicken breeds made this pretty and productive bird, we may never know.
ISA Browns are sex-linked, so you can distinguish their genders from birth. Furthermore, an ISA Brown hen can lay around 300 eggs a year. The large brown eggs are sure to be a favorite among your customers. Since they are a more docile breed, they are perfect for both farmers and backyards.
What do you get when you combine a New Hampshire Red with a Rhode Island Red? A sex-linked red chicken breed known as Production Red. These birds can be either light or dark red, and they have a similar body style to Rhode Island Reds. They are energetic and hardy enough for farms and backyards in a variety of climates.
Since these birds can lay up to 280 eggs a year and are considered dual purpose, they are an excellent choice for people who want the best of both worlds. Their eggs are medium to large in size.
While Production Reds can be broody and a little aggressive, they are also friendlier than Rhode Island Reds.
Final Thoughts on Red Chicken Breeds
Having seen these gorgeous red chicken breeds, you might be wondering if you should get one or several for your backyard. For smaller properties or flocks, the Red Cochin Bantam (frizzle or plain) is a wonderful option. But if you want to produce as many eggs as possible, go with a Rhode Island Red, Production Red, or ISA Brown. Which one of these amazing red chicken breeds is your favorite?
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.