Are you a chicken breeder wanting to spruce up your poultry? Try buying one of the top 10 red chicken breeds. They will add color and personality to your farm and are unique additions. If you can’t pick, look no further than this compilation of the top 10 red chicken breeds.
1. Rhode Island Red
The first breed is one of the most popular red chicken breeds. The Rhode Island Red chickens are one of the easiest breeds to maintain. Originating from Rhode Island and Massachusetts in the late 1800s, they’re well-known worldwide.
This breed is great for beginners because it is extremely easy to take care of. They’re pretty self-sufficient and work perfectly as backyard chickens. They are also hardy and do not get sick often, and are not aggressive with children. They’re perfect for when you are just starting, have kids around, or just want to keep your poultry low-maintenance.
These birds have striking red plumage, giving them their name. They have black tails, a red single comb or rose comb, and distinct red markings on their toes and shanks.
Rhode Island Reds are special because they have two strains: a Heritage or Exhibition type, and an Industrial or Hatchery type. Heritage or Exhibition types are mainly used for their better tasting meat and as exhibition chickens. Industrial or Hatchery types, meanwhile, are more common and are capable of laying a lot of eggs.
Most Rhode Island Red chickens start laying eggs early- around 18-20 weeks old- and lay about 5-6 eggs per week, and about 180-300 eggs per year. They have brown-colored eggs that increasingly grow in size each year and live for 8 years or more.
2. Red Cochin Bantam
Red Cochin Bantams are small and adorable chickens that require special care and love. They’re perfect when you want chickens that can be kept in your backyard, or if you want a show bird.
These chickens originated from China in the mid-1800s and people called them Pekins chickens or Shanghais. They have since gained popularity and are one of the most popular breeds of bantams.
They are small chickens — weighing approximately 1 ½ lb for hens and 2 lbs for roosters — but look bigger because of the abundance of red lustrous feathers around their body, extending to their legs. Birds of this red chicken breed look extremely fluffy and round, like a ball of feathers. Also, they have a red single comb and red wattles and earlobes along with a red patch around the eyes.
Described as one of the sweetest chickens, they are friendly and talkative in disposition. You can even let them sit on your lap or let them perch on your shoulders. They make for good family pets and are quick to make friends with both humans and other chicken breeds. The roosters, however, have a reputation for being bossy.
True to their nature, Red Cochin Bantam hens have strong maternal instincts and can hatch their eggs as well as those of other breeds. They are also broody, and you will have to control them if you don’t want a lot of new chicks. They are good layers, laying about 204 small brown eggs per year.
Red Cochin Bantams need special attention. They do well in moderate climates and you should not leave them wet or muddy as this may cause them to be sick. They like open spaces, but will also thrive in backyards. When taken care of properly, they can live for 8-10 years.
3. Red Frizzle Cochin Bantam
The Red Frizzle Cochin Bantam is just an offshoot of the Red Cochin Bantam, but with a special twist. These chickens have feathers that curl away from their body, giving them a fluffy and wild look. They are sweet, friendly chickens that are usually used for exhibitions or shows.
An absence of the ‘mf’ gene causes these frizzled feathers that curve both upwards and outwards. They’ve been around since the 1600s and came from the Far East, East Indies, and Africa.
They start as chicks without frizzled feathers, a single comb, and red feathers splashed with white around the wing face, chest, abdomen, and wingtips. When they grow to adulthood, they will have an entirely red plumage that curls outwards and feathered feet.
This red chicken breed has a pleasant disposition and is friendly with kids. They are not naturally aggressive and enjoy the affection you give and when you enter them into shows. They are mostly an ornamental breed that poultry enthusiasts breed for their looks. However, you should be careful of putting them in other chickens because they tend to be bullied by them.
They are not great layers, and will only produce about 2-3 small to medium-sized cream-colored eggs per week, or about 120-150 eggs per year.
This red chicken breed has several special needs because of its feathers. They cannot fly because of their feathers, so you should place them somewhere lower. Sometimes, their feathers can also block their vision. They should be placed away from predators if they are free-range.
Breed the Red Frizzle Cochin Bantams with average chickens in order to produce frizzled or normal chicks. Breeding a frizzled Cochin bantam with another frizzled chicken will produce frazzle chicks, whose feathers are so curly, it harms their health.
4. Whiting True Green
The Whiting True Green is a very special breed that looks unassuming but holds the greatest surprise of all. They lay eggs that are a special color; from the name itself, a Whiting True Green lays green eggs.
A hybrid breed, they were created by a poultry geneticist called Dr. Tom Whiting who specialized in the development of feathers for use in the fly-fishing industry. Their genes come from those of the ISA Brown chicken, and because of this they are good layers and are primarily raised for their eggs.
They have a reddish-chestnut color with a single comb, white earlobes, and yellow legs, and are on the smaller side. Hens weigh around 4 lbs while roosters weigh approximately 7 lbs.
Their most special feature is the color of their eggs which are green. This red chicken breed is excellent at producing eggs and will lay about 300 medium to large-sized green eggs per year. These layers do not need as much feed to produce a large number of eggs compared to other breeds. If you want to raise chickens for their egg production, then this red chicken breed is perfect.
Whiting True Green is a generally docile breed and will rarely brood. They are well suited for free-range pastures and can withstand moderately hot and cold climates.
5. ISA Brown
One of the most popular and versatile breeds, the ISA Brown is one of the most loved and acclaimed. Known for its hardiness, egg production capabilities, and easy nature, the ISA Brown is one of the best breeds there is for beginners or those with kids.
The forebears of the Whiting True Green, this red chicken breed hails from France. ISA is an acronym of Institut de Sélection Animale who was responsible for creating the breed back in 1978. They are a hybrid chicken raised for laying eggs.
The ISA Brown is a brown to reddish-colored chicken with lighter feathers on the underside. They have a red wattle and earlobe, a single comb, and yellow legs. They are also on the medium side, with hens weighing around 5 lbs and roosters around 6 lbs. Upon hatching, male chicks will have white feathers, while female chicks will have tan ones.
This breed is one of the highest egg producers. They can lay about 300 to 350 medium brown eggs per year, and have one of the best feed conversion rates. The hens start laying early, at around 16 to 22 weeks of age; other breeds will start laying at around 24 weeks of age.
ISA Browns are good as family pets, as they are calm and gentle. They are friendly and open to humans and will allow you to pet them or put them in your lap. They are also quiet and trusting and are not skittish around humans. Because of their docile nature, they can get bullied around more aggressive breeds, so care must be taken.
These chickens are remarkably hardy. They are, however, prone to kidney problems. They are at their best when they are allowed free range and are given lots of space and love.
6. New Hampshire Red
New Hampshire Reds are an underrated breed that actually has a lot to offer to the table. Related to the Rhode Island Reds, this dual-purpose breed is overshadowed by its more popular cousin. These robust and friendly chickens are extremely versatile and economical.
The New Hampshire Red was, as the name suggests, created in New Hampshire and Massachusetts by Professor Red Richardson while working in an Agricultural Experimentation Station. Their close links to the Rhode Island Reds meant that it took some years before a distinct difference between the two could be made.
They are generally large and heavy, weighing about 7-8 lbs. These chickens have plump, broader bodies compared to their cousins. They also have a light reddish color that molts throughout the year, with a single red comb and red earlobes and wattles. In addition, they have black-tipped neck and tail feathers, and yellow shanks and toes.
This red chicken breed can be great for beginners as chickens are friendly but may display aggression towards meeker breeds. New Hampshire Red Roosters, especially, can bully other breeds.
They are talkative and inquisitive chickens that are good at foraging and protecting themselves from predators, so you don’t have to worry too much about them. As a moderately hardy red chicken breed, it can survive both heat and cold. The New Hampshire Red can also make for great pets, egg layers, or a source of meat.
Hens of this red chicken breed are great egg layers, and they can produce about 3-4 eggs per week or 150-200 large brown eggs per year. Their plumpness is also great for those who want to raise them for their meat. Poultry enthusiasts consider them one of the important breeds in the broiler industry. They serve their dual-purpose very well.
7. Derbyshire Redcap
Hailing from England, Derbyshire Redcaps have majestic combs that make them stand out from the crowd. Emerging in the late 1800s, it’s a majestic bird that is truly an English dual-purpose breed.
Derbyshire Redcaps’ origins trace back to the 1870s in Derbyshire, England. Originally, it was important for its egg-laying abilities, but as time went on it also became valued for its meat. Although it failed to achieve worldwide popularity, it remains a beloved staple in English poultries.
They usually weigh around 6-7.5 lbs. Birds of this red chicken breed have a red back with red-colored wing bows and covert feathers; the breast, tail, and body have black feathers with half-moon spangles.
Their most striking feature is their grand comb. Derbyshire Redcaps have a rose comb, usually around 3 inches long, that have fleshy protrusions coming out of it and a noticeable spike that points backward. This makes them stand out and lends them a regal and unique air.
They are an active and self-sufficient breed and are adept foragers that work best when allowed to free-range. Also, these chickens thrive in cold weather and are not prone to many diseases.
A dual-purpose red chicken breed, the Derbyshire Redcaps can lay around 200 large white eggs per year and also produce adequate meat. Their meat has a white color and has a taste akin to game birds. They seldom brood, and are prone to be wild.
Derbyshire Redcaps are perfect if you want an exciting, energetic breed. They are at their happiest when they can roam free in a large space and forage to their heart’s contents.
8. Red Leghorn
One of the most graceful and regal breeds, the Red Leghorn is a handsome and striking bird. Having originated from Italy, they have spread all over the world and are admired for their majestic countenance.
Red Leghorns came from the region of Tuscany in Italy and people called them Italians. They were brought to America in the early 1800s and were exported through the port city of Livorno, which would later lead to the birth of their name: Leghorn. Chicken raisers would eventually export them to the UK in later years and the breed continuously refined.
Red Leghorns have a brilliant deep red plumage with white ears. They have red wattles and either a single comb or a rose comb (specially bred to deal with the colder winters of America), yellow skin, and yellow legs.
To add, they have a long, narrow body that is thinner in comparison to other breeds, which does not make them suitable for meat production. Red Leghorns, however, tend to be larger than their white counterparts.
They are skittish by nature and are not suitable in places where there is constant human contact. They are noisy, intelligent, and active birds that like to forage and keep themselves busy. If you have a large space without too many people, they’re perfect for you.
Red Leghorns are hardy and can survive in both hot and cold climates. You can rely on them to produce eggs, averaging about 280 large white eggs a year. Their thin bodies mean that they are not good sources of meat, and they are mainly kept for show and egg production.
9. Nankin Bantam
One of the oldest breeds, the Nankin Bantam is an ornamental bird that holds a special place in history. If you’re looking for a breed that looks beautiful, has a history behind it, and is suitable as a pet, then the Nankin Bantam is a good choice.
People say Nankin Bantams originated from somewhere in Southeast Asia and as early as the 1500s, there are records of the breed in England. Once popular in England, its star began to wane in the 1800s when the English people were on a quest to find newer and more exotic breeds.
This red chicken breed is one of the smallest, with a weight of only 1.2 lbs. They are a true bantam breed, which means that they are not the smaller version of a breed.
This sets them apart from other bantam breeds, which are smaller-sized counterparts of the parent breed. In terms of plumage, the breed is a beautiful chestnut red-brown which is deeper in roosters and lighter in hens and buff tails. They have slate legs, and either a rose comb or a single comb.
They serve as good backyard pets because they have calm and docile personalities. On top of that, this red chicken breed is talkative, full of energy, and friendly, and very easy to raise — perfect for beginners. They stick close to each other and do not tend to like sharing a coop with other breeds.
Nankin Bantam hens like to brood both their eggs and the eggs of other birds. They are mostly ornamental and are show birds. Their small size makes them unsuitable for meat production, and they can produce a moderate number of small white eggs. Their small size will add variety to your coop and a dash of cuteness.
One of the newcomers to the game, the Welsummer is a popular backyard breed. Its open disposition and distinctive eggs make for an easy-going pet. Their eggs boast lovely hues that can actually be rubbed off!
The Welsummer is a breed that came from a small town called Welsum in Holland. It was officially presented in the world as recently as 1921, where it grew in popularity all over the world. Today, it is a popular backyard pet in countries such as Australia.
Welsummer chickens have a distinct feathering that incorporates rich reddish and golden-brown hues. For hens, their neck feathers are dipped in black at the tips. These make them look extravagant and highly rare. They have bright yellow legs and a single comb. They range from 5-6 lbs.
Welsummers are easy to keep and work well with other breeds, and they love foraging. They have easygoing dispositions and amiable temperaments. They are not particularly averse to being petted, but they are not inclined to it either. Their downside is they are somewhat dramatic and are prone to loud squawking when in distress.
Hens of this red chicken breed are not prone to broodiness, and will usually need other hens to hatch their chicks. One of their best traits is their ability to lay about 160 eggs per year that are a deep and rich dark-brown or terracotta color.
Another exciting trait is that the color of their eggs can be rubbed off, since the pigment for it is only added towards the end of the egg-laying process. They can also give meat, having originally been bred for this purpose.
They are fine in cold temperatures and can handle heat well. This red chicken breed does not have any special maintenance needed. They are an easy to handle yet unique pet that brings joy.
Choosing the right red chicken breed
Whether you want a simple family pet that won’t take too much effort or an elegant show bird, the top 10 red chicken breeds are sure to satisfy you. They each have their unique beauty, temperament, and qualities. You will never go wrong with these top 10 red chicken breeds.