12 Ravishing Red Chicken Breeds For Your Backyard Coop

Whether you’re planning to buy your first chicks or to expand your flock, you might be thinking of classic red chickens, either for the whole flock or to add some variety.

Some breeds of red chickens are better suited for meat production, while others shine for their egg laying abilities, and a few that fulfill both purposes. Some breeds are aggressive and have impressively bold temperaments, while others are the gentlest lap chickens you could ask for.

Raising Red Chickens: Which is Best For Your Flock?

Raising Red Chickens

Since the red breeds vary so much, start by thinking about what you expect from the birds, whether you’re looking for meat, eggs, or even a pet. Or maybe you have small children, so you need a gentle breed that’s a good egg layer. You can even choose a red chicken breed for ornamental purposes.

Welsummer

With its elegant red and black plumage, the Welsummer was born to impress. This chicken breed has a long tail and a sleek silhouette that is an absolute delight to observe. While these dark brown egg layers are rare in the United States, they’re worth considering due to their beauty and incredible yield of up to 280 eggs a year.

Nankin Bantam

The Nankin Bantam, one of the few true bantams available, is a small ginger chicken breed with wonderfully calm and friendly temperaments, making them a good choice for families with small children. The Nankin Bantam is sexually dimorphic, with the roosters being darker than the hens, and are known to be incredibly talented and dedicated brooders. They can be found with rose combs or single combs.

Red Cochin Bantam

Red Cochin Bantam

Cochins come in a standard size and a bantam size, and there is a red Cochin bantam. Distinguished by its fluffy leg feathers and thick plumage, the red Cochin Bantam is a wonderfully sweet and broody bird. These birds are so broody that they will often raise more than one clutch of eggs per year. Like all bantams, the Red Cochin Bantam chicken breed is tiny, so they generally aren’t used for meat.

Production Red

The Production Red chicken is not a breed but a modern hybrid developed specifically as an egg layer. It is a crossbreed of Rhode Island Reds and various other breeds. It is a great addition to any homestead looking to increase its egg production. These birds can lay up to 280 large eggs or more yearly, but keep in mind that they are not as hardy as heritage breeds.

Red Leghorn

While the famous White Leghorn chicken is more commonly known, the red variety is a great choice for anyone who loves having a more rare chicken in their flock. The Red Leghorn is a prolific egg layer and their white ear lobes give you a hint that they are white egg layers. Like all Leghorn chickens, which are a Mediterranean breed, they have very large single combs, which are more prone to frostbite in colder climates.

New Hampshire Red

New Hampshire Red Chickens

The New Hampshire Red chicken is a beautiful chestnut-red breed prized for its egg laying and delicious meat. These birds are descended from Rhode Island Reds but are distinguished by their black-tipped tail and hackle feathers. You can expect around 200 eggs every year from New Hampshire Red hens.

Buckeye

Buckeye

Buckeyes, a historic American breed created by Nettie Metcalf in the mid-1800s, is a gorgeous ruby-red breed known for its bold personalities and incredible tolerance to almost all weather conditions. These birds are excellent egg layers but are, unfortunately, hard to find and considered an endangered chicken breed.

Whiting True Green

The Whiting True Green is a modern hybrid that got its name from its creator, Dr. Tom Whiting, and because it lays light green eggs. They are lightweight, putting all of their energy into excellent egg production. Like many modern hybrids bred for production and confinement, the Whiting True Green chicken breed is very calm and sweet and can be found in colors ranging from gold to light red and even chestnut brown.

Red Star, Red Sex Link, Red Comet

Whatever you call them, they are a modern hybrid with a muddy pedigree. These birds are a crossbreed of Rhode Island Reds and a white chicken. Some say a Delaware, some say Rhode Island Whites, and some say White Plymouth Rocks. It varies from one hatchery to another. They were created as production egg layers and produce about 300 eggs per year. Like most production egg layers, they may get stressed when temperatures climb much beyond 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

ISA Brown

Some websites will tell you that the ISA Brown is the same thing as the three red hybrids mentioned in the previous paragraph, but the real ISA Brown was developed in the 1970s in France as a production egg layer. ISA is an acronym for Institut de Sélection Animale where the chicken was developed. Being bred for production means they do well in confinement and lay about 300 eggs per year.

Rhode Island Red

Rhode Island Red Hen with her chicks

Famed for its iconic appearance and ease of care, the Rhode Island Red chicken is one of the most popular breeds. Egg laying can vary from as little as 200 to as much as 300 eggs per year, depending upon the individual strain. The more old-fashioned strains are dual-purpose, which means they have more meat and don’t lay quite as many eggs. Most commercial hatcheries today sell a chicken that is more like the production red chickens, which have a smaller body and lay more eggs.

Derbyshire Redcap

Derbyshire Redcaps are a dual-purpose breed originally from England, popular for excellent foraging, high egg yield, and tender meat, even from older hens. These birds love to roam and forage and are generally better kept on a free-range homestead than in confinement. You can expect your Derbyshire hens to lay 150 to 200 eggs yearly.

Other Red Chicken Breeds

Aside from the 12 breeds mentioned, there are many more to choose from. You can consider Red Silkies for an adorably fluffy pet or choose Red Shavers for egg production. Each day of raising your new red chickens is another day that they’ll transform and add value to your homestead.

Struggling to find funny chicken names? Check out 500+ Funny Chicken Names.

Curious about the other chicken breeds? Delve into a wealth of information on various chicken varieties by exploring our comprehensive list on “Encyclopedia of Chicken Breeds”.

Are you thinking about getting chickens or do you already have a flock? Check out this post – A Beginner’s Guide to Chickens which includes some of Thrifty Homesteader’s most useful posts and videos about keeping chickens.

Click here to visit our Amazon store, which includes lists of things chickens need, as well as our favorite chicken books!

New Hampshire red rooster

2 thoughts on “12 Ravishing Red Chicken Breeds For Your Backyard Coop”

  1. You state a production red chicken is a sexlink between RIR and NHR. This is geneticly impossible as they are both red birds. Most hatcheries list them as not sexlinks but rather a strain of RIR merely breed for egg production.

    Reply
    • Oh, no! The person who wrote this no longer writes for us. I remember this article requiring a lot of editing, but I can’t believe I missed this. Thank you so much for bringing it to our attention. We will get it corrected right away.

      Reply

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