Red Chicken 09102022

The 12 Best Red Chicken Breeds

If you’re a small-farm chicken keeper with black and white chickens, there’s a high chance you’re willing to spruce up your backyard with some red chicken. Other than bearing a red or dark brown color, most red chickens offer myriad benefits such as laying lots of eggs, laying large eggs, tolerating different housing conditions, and being both cold and heat-hardy.

Now, finding a red chicken that will fit as a wonderful addition to your backyard is not just a walk in the park. The reason is that there are over 50 different breeds that are available most of which are recognized by the APA. So, to make things easier for you, we’ve narrowed down the long list to just 12 breeds. Please check it out.

What Is Red Chicken?

Red chickens are those breeds that bear the red, cinnamon, soft sun-set, or deep mahogany color of their plumage. These chickens are gorgeous and beautiful and are mostly raised as hardy, self-sufficient, and prolific egg-laying birds. These chickens usually stand out from the crowd and their deep brown or red plumage helps to add an extra splash of color if you have a flock that consists of black, white, or gold-colored chickens.

Top 12 Red Chicken Breeds


1. Rhode Island Red

Origin United States
Purpose Both Meat and Eggs
Lifespan 8+ Years
Egg Production 250 – 300 Eggs Annually
Egg Size/Color Large Brown Eggs
Weight 6.5 – 8.5 Pounds
Temperament Calm, Friendly, Fairly Docile, Inquisitive, Aggressive
Feathered LegsNO

The reason why we’ve started with this chicken is that it’s the oldest and most popular chicken breed in the United States and the entire world at large. In fact, this is one of the popular breeds that are used in the creation of most hybrid chickens when crossed with genetically white breeds.

With its origin based in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the Rhode Island Red is a breed that bears a beautiful deep red color with other welcoming features being red-orange eyes, red comb, wattles and earlobes, reddish-brown beaks, yellow shanks, and reddish toes.

According to breeders, this chicken comes in two varieties that include the production strain and the heritage strain. Both strains are friendly and easy to raise with the production strain being a prolific layer of 250 – 300 eggs annually.

Rhode Island Reds start laying eggs early at 18 – 20 weeks and have a long lifespan that extends up to 8+ years. These birds can be raised for both meat and eggs with roosters weighing around 8.5 pounds and hens at 6.5 pounds.

2. ISA Brown

Origin France
Purpose Egg Production
Lifespan3 – 5 Years
Egg Production 280 – 330 Eggs Annually
Egg Size/Color Large to Extra Large Light Brown Eggs
Weight 5 – 6 Pounds
Temperament Gentle, Calm, and Docile
Feathered Legs NO

The ISA Brown is another chicken breed that’s very common in most parts of the globe. Unlike the Rhode Island Red, this one is a hybrid breed that was developed in France around 1978. The name ISA is an abbreviation that stands for Institut de Sélection Animale, the company that produced the breed.

Its breeding is regarded as a secret that consists of a complex genetic mix of various breeds. However, considering the reddish color of its plumage and the fact that it’s a sex-linked breed, many think that a Rhode Island Red rooster and either a White Leghorn or a Rhode Island White hen might have played a role in its production.

Nonetheless, the ISA Brown is a chicken that’s heavily regarded as an excellent layer and a producer of large brown eggs. This chicken is regarded as a factory hen that lays over 300 eggs per year. It matures early at 16 – 22 weeks making it one of the red chicken breeds with the best feed conversion rate.

3. New Hampshire Red

Origin United States
Purpose Meat and Eggs Produce
Lifespan 7+ Years
Egg Production 150 – 200 Eggs Annually
Egg Size/ColorLarge Brown Eggs
Weight 6.5 – 8.5 Pounds
Temperament Docile, Gentle, Aggressive (when feeding), and Extremely Broody
Feathered LegsNO

The New Hampshire Red is another red chicken breed that boosts a beautiful light red plumage. This chicken is a spin-off of the Rhode Island Red breed and was developed in New Hampshire and Massachusetts around 1910 by Professor Red Richardson.

This chicken was developed at a time when poultry breeders needed a chicken that could mature faster and produce more meat than the Rhode Island Red. Although this chicken became a huge success, its only downside is that it did not match the egg-laying ability of the Rhode Island Red.

But, other than that, this chicken served as a massive option for breeders of the time as it managed to lay around 150 – 200 eggs annually. The chicken is also similar to the Rhode Island Red with the only difference being a lighter shade of brown and black accents on the hackles and tips of the tail feathers.

This chicken is medium-sized as it weighs 7 – 8 pounds. It’s also a docile, gentle, and very friendly chicken breed. However, you need to note that New Hampshire can be very aggressive during feeding time.

4. Red Leghorn

Origin Italy
PurposeEgg Production
Lifespan 6+ Years
Egg Production 150 – 280 Eggs Annually
Egg Size/Color Medium-Sized White Eggs
Weight 5 – 8 Pounds
Temperament Intelligent, Active, Nervous, Noisy & Flighty
Feathered Legs NO

 If you hear of the Leghorn, what comes to mind is the iconic White Leghorn chicken. But, since our discussion is about red hens and roosters, what we’ll be looking at here is another rare Leghorn variety that has a gorgeous deep red plumage—the Red Leghorn.

To be sincere, this bird is handsome and striking especially when you consider the deep red comb and wattles, white earlobes, yellow skin, and yellow shanks. This chicken comes in two varieties, with one bearing a single comb and the other a rose comb.

Developed in Italy, this chicken was exported to other parts of the globe such as the United States in the early 1800s and the UK in later years. Its rose comb is a result of continuous breeding to refine it and make it tolerant of cold climates in America.

Regarding production, the Red Leghorn can average about 280 eggs annually, which is decent but quite low when compared to its cousin the White Leghorn (280 – 320 eggs). Its temperament is one that’s quite bearable as it’s gentle, active, and very intelligent.

However, you need to note that this chicken is shy and flighty. For this reason, you need to give it the freedom to free range and don’t forget to erect a high fence or clip the wings. Also, make sure that you provide it enough space away from too many people.

5. Red Frizzle Cochin

Origin East Indies, Africa & Southeastern Asia
Purpose Ornamentation
Lifespan 6 – 8 Years
Egg Production 120 – 150 Eggs Annually
Egg Size/Color Small Brown Eggs
Weight 1.75 – 2 Lbs
Temperament Docile and Friendly
Feathered Legs YES

The Red Frizzle Cochin is a variety of the Cochin Bantam that appears as though someone dried its feathers with a blow dryer. Due to the presence of the MF gene, this chicken has messy, frizzled feathers that appear to twist at the tips. Although it’s a condition, the appearance of the feathers looks gorgeous, eye-catching, and undeniably adorable.

About its origin, the Red Frizzle Cochin has been around since the 1600s when it was a common fowl in Africa, East Indies, and Southeastern Asia. This chicken is a single comb and has plumage that consists of red feathers with white splashes on the chest, abdomen, wing tips, and face.

Production-wise, the Red Frizzle Cochin lays around 120 – 150 eggs annually. It has a friendly and pleasant disposition that makes it a great pet and the best breed for ornamental use. Due to their frizzled feathers, which extend to the shanks, these chickens are poor flyers meaning extreme care should be observed.

6. Derbyshire Redcap

Origin England
Purpose Meat and Eggs
Lifespan 8 – 10 Years
Egg Production Around 200 Eggs Annually
Egg Size/ColorLarge White Eggs
Weight6 – 7.5 Pounds
TemperamentShy, Restless, Wild & Hardy
Feathered Legs NO

The Derbyshire Redcap is a medium-sized chicken that’s considered the oldest and true native bird of England. This chicken has a rich history that dates back to the 1870s when it was a popular breed in the southern Pennies.

Although the true parents of the Derbyshire Redcap are unknown, it is believed that this chicken bears the blood of Dorkings, Golden Spangled Hamburgs, Black Breasted Red Games, and Old English Pheasants.

Regarding their plumage, these majestic chickens are mostly red and brown with dark colors on the breast, tail, and covert feathers. They have red earlobes, clean feet, yellow-orange eyes and a characteristic rose comb with many points like a crown.

To those wondering whether this chicken is perfect as a backyard breed, then you don’t have to worry as it’s specifically raised as a dual-purpose breed. The hens can lay around 200 large white eggs annually while the roosters are large enough to produce adequate meat.

Lastly, these dark red chicken breeds are excellent foragers though they’re quite flighty. They’re shy, hardy, restless, and slow-growing with roosters taking up to 3 years to reach maturity.

7. Welsummer

Origin Netherlands
Purpose Meat and Eggs
Lifespan 6 – 9 Years
Egg Production Around 160 Eggs Annually
Egg Size/ColorLarge Dark Brown Eggs
Weight5 – 7 Pounds
Temperament Calm, Friendly, Confident, and very Talkative
Feathered Legs NO

If you’re a small chicken farmer looking to add a red chicken to your existing white flock, then the Welsummer is a perfect option. First, this chicken is naturally friendly, it’s an excellent free-ranger, and it’s easy to handle meaning it won’t interfere with the existing pecking order.

It’s also a layer of dark brown or reddish eggs in the range of 160 eggs per year. But, other than laying eggs, the Welsummer is a medium to large-sized bird that serves as a great table bird due to its decent meat production.

About its origin, the Welsummer originated in Welsum Holland in the 1900s. It was developed by Dutch breeders from a complex mix of various breeds such as Wyandotte, partridge Leghorn, Partridge Cochin, Barnevelder, and the Rhode Island Red. The result is a chicken that has an upright stance, a short beak, a full breast, and a broad back.

This chicken is a single comb with red comb and wattles. It has yellow skin and shanks and reddish eyes. Regarding the plumage, hens have reddish-brown feathers with golden color around the neck. Roosters, on the other hand, have golden brown color on the hackles, reddish-brown color on the saddles, and dark color on the underneath and sickle feathers.

8. Red Cochin Bantam

Origin China
Purpose Ornamentation
Lifespan 8 – 10 Years
Egg Production Around 100 Annually
Egg Size/ColorSmall Cream/Brown Eggs
Weight 1.75 – 2 Pounds
Temperament Docile, Friendly, Hardy, Noisy, and Broody
Feathered Legs YES

Just as the name suggests, the Red Cochin Bantam is a small-sized chicken that’s the most common in the Cochin Bantam variety. This chicken originated in China (where it was nicknamed Pekins) and was introduced in Europe in the 1860s by English soldiers returning from China.

Since Asia is well-known for being extremely cold, the Red Cochin Bantam resembles a fluffy ball as it’s covered with red feathers from the body down to the shanks and toes. Its thick plumage is what makes it appear larger despite weighing around 1.75 – 2 pounds.

This bantam breed has a bright red single comb, red wattles, red earlobes, and yellowish-red eyes. It’s also a layer of tiny cream eggs in the range of 100 per year. To those raising it as a backyard breed, the Red Cochin Bantam is docile, friendly, and very talkative. It’s also cold hardy and a natural setter meaning it gets broody pretty often.

9. Red Star

Purpose Eggs
Lifespan5 – 8 Years
Egg Production 280 – 300 Eggs Annually
Egg Size/ColorLarge Brown Eggs
Weight 6 – 8 Pounds
Temperament Docile, Friendly, and Flighty
Feathered Legs NO

The “Red” in the Red Star chicken refers to its red plumage. These chickens are among those birds that are specifically raised as factory birds in commercial large chicken farms for their excellent egg-laying. They’re bred as hybrid chickens that manage to lay upwards of 300 eggs annually.

Away from their high egg production, Red Stars are among the red-brown chicken breeds that are considered docile, gentle, hardy, and very friendly, especially with humans. This makes it easy to raise them as they have low maintenance costs. The only downside with these chickens is that they’re quite flighty making it easy for them to fly and escape.

Also, since they lay a lot of eggs, they tend to tax their systems heavily making them prone to reproductive health problems. This setback is also the main reason why these chickens have a very short lifespan of 5 – 8 years.

Other than that, the Red Star chicken is a sex-linked hybrid bird that was developed in the 1950s by crossing the New Hampshire Red or Rhode Island Red rooster with a Rhode Island White, Delaware, or White Plymouth Rock hen.

10. Nankin Bantam

OriginEngland & Southeast Asia
Purpose Ornamentation and Pets
Lifespan 5 – 8 Years
Egg Production Around 100 Eggs Annually
Egg Size/ColorCream/Tinted Small Eggs
Weight 1.4 – 1.6 Pounds
Temperament Calm, Gentle & Easy Going
Feathered Legs NO

The Nankin Bantam is another sweet chicken we can’t fail to mention. Other than its cool disposition and eye-catching appearance, this chicken has a red plumage, something that makes it a perfect contender on our list.

Now, the Nankin is hailed for being one of the oldest breeds on record dating back to the early 1500s. This chicken is also one of the few true bantams meaning it doesn’t have a full-sized variety. The chicken is believed to have existed in Southeast Asia though there are records of the breed existing in England.

About its features, the Nankin Bantam is a small-sized chicken that weighs around 1.4 – 1.6 pounds. The hens bear a chestnut color with black color on the tails while roosters have a deep red color with black flecks on the tail and flight feathers.

Regarding egg production, Nankins lay around 100 fairy small tinted white eggs annually. Since they’re not great layers, these chickens are specifically bred for exhibitions and shows. They can also be raised as pets as they tend to be gentle, calm, and easy to handle.

11. Whiting True Green

Origin USA
Purpose Eggs
Lifespan 5 – 10 Years
Egg ProductionAbout 300 Eggs Annually
Egg Size/ColorMedium to Large-Sized Green Eggs
Weight 4 – 7 Pounds
Temperament Gentle and Docile
Feathered Legs NO

The Whiting True Green is a chicken that has a deceiving name. So, when you hear the name, don’t expect to see a chicken that has a mix of white and green colors. Actually, the name “Whiting” refers to its breeder while “Green” refers to the color of the eggs it lays. Otherwise, this chicken is among the red chicken breeds we’re discussing in this guide.

Now, away from its name, the Whiting True Green is a chicken that has surprised many in terms of egg production. This chicken is a layer of 300-plus eggs that are green in color. Its excellent egg-laying ability is all thanks to a gene that comes from the ISA Brown.

However, its ability to lay green eggs means that this chicken must be a result of crossing brown and blue egg-laying breeds. In this case, the Ameraucana and the White Leghorn are believed to take part in the selective breeding of this chicken.

Away from that, this chicken is recognized by its reddish-chestnut color, red single comb and wattles, yellow shanks and toes, and white earlobes. This chicken is hailed for its gentle and docile temperament and above all, it’s an excellent forager that serves as a great backyard breed.

12. Production Red

Origin The USA and New England
Purpose Meat and Eggs
Lifespan4 – 5 Years
Egg Production 240 – 280 Eggs Annually
Weight 7 – 9 Pounds
Egg Size/Color Large Light Brown Eggs
Temperament Docile and Friendly
Feathered Legs NO

The Production Red is regarded as a production strain of the Rhode Island Red. This chicken was developed by crossing a Rhode Island Red and a New Hampshire Red in a bid to create a hybrid chicken that could produce a lot of eggs.

This chicken is very similar to the Rhode Island Red with the color ranging from light to dark red. Regarding production, this chicken is an excellent layer of large light brown eggs that range from 240 – 280 eggs per year. Since these chickens are considered heavy (7 – 9 pounds), they usually serve as dual-purpose breeds due to their high meat yield.

They’re also sex-linked chickens meaning breeders have a higher chance of determining the sex once the chicks have hatched. Lastly, Production Reds tend to be gentle and friendly making them great backyard breeds.

Raising Care Tips for Red Chicken Breeds

Raising Care Tips 09102022

Now, when raising red chickens, you need to note that this is not a specific breed but rather different breeds that bear red, light brown, or dark brown color. So, here, you’ll find many chickens that bear different physical characteristics.

For instance, our list has bantams, full-sized breeds, feathered breeds, and production breeds that produce a lot of eggs.

Now, if you’re raising bantams, you need to think of many factors such as coop setup and security. Since these chickens are dwarfs, they need short roosting bars, ventilated coops, and added security from both predators and aggressive breeds.

In the case of feathered breeds, you need to offer them a clean coop to prevent their feathered legs from getting wet and dirty. These chickens also need frequent grooming to remove parasites from their fluffy feathers.

Lastly, some of the breeds we’ve discussed here are excellent layers. So, to maintain high egg production, you need to feed your hens with a layer feed that contains 18 – 20% of protein. The chickens also need calcium in the form of grit or crushed oyster shells as well as fruits and green vegetables to ingest loads of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Frequently Asked Questions

Red Chicken FAQs 0910202

Q1. Can You Eat Rhode Island Red Chickens?

Yes, you can. Rhode Island Reds can make excellent table birds. With weights ranging from 6.5 to 8.5 pounds, these dark red chicken breeds are considered heavy enough to produce a high meat yield. However, you need to note that these breeds are notable for egg-laying so most people raise them for egg production and not for meat.

Q2. What is the Name of the Red Part of a Chicken?

Now, the red part of a chicken is called a comb. Below the comb are the wattles, which are also red. Combs come in 7 different types that include single, pea, strawberry, rose, buttercup, cushion, and V-shaped combs.

There are different reasons why your chicken has a comb. First, combs assist your chicken in thermoregulation during hot weather. Secondly, they help in circulating blood, and thirdly, they reflect a rooster’s testosterone levels.

In humans, combs allow you to distinguish hens from roosters and check for possible health problems with your chicken.

Q3. Are Red Chickens Friendly?

Yes, they are. However, their disposition will depend on individual chickens as most of them are crossbreds. The reason why they’re crossbred is to get a better strain that will lay a lot of eggs. So, everything here is all about production. However, most of these chickens are considered gentle, friendly, and easy-going. Most of them make great pets and are excellent when raised as backyard breeds.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. As you can see, this list contains some of the best red-brown chicken breeds that will surely quench your desire to add a red chicken to your backyard farm. In our list, we have all categories of chickens that range from bantams, and feathered breeds to hybrid breeds that lay large quantities of eggs.

So, whether you’re looking for a pet, an exhibition breed, or simply a factory bird that will lay lots of eggs, this list of the top 12 red chickens will surely offer you something to smile about.

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