Rhode Island Red | Dual-Purpose Backyard Chickens

Rhode Island Reds are an American breed of chickens that’s known for being good meat birds and egg layers and for some cockfights in the Philippines. These birds were primarily bred as egg and meat birds and modern Rhodies are currently bred for their egg laying capabilities. Today, all brown egg laying hybrid chickens are based on the Rhode Island Red.

Rhode Island Red

This bird was developed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Early flocks of this breed often had single and rose combed birds with deep colors and strong constitutions that they inherited from Malay gamefowls. Many breeders will find several uses for this bird and some Rhodies have even been spotted in several cockpits as an occasional gamefowl breed.

Brief History on Rhode Island Reds

Rhode Island Reds were bred from Malays, specifically black-breasted red Malay cocks imported from England, and a Brown Leghorn. Rhodies became the state bird of Rhode Island. The Rhodies were officially recognized as a breed by the American Poultry Association in 1904. Some Rhode Island Reds were also developed from black-red Javas.

Today, Rhode Island Reds are primarily used as egg-layers but are not exactly well-known in Rhode Island’s economy for their eggs. Breeders typically use this breed to develop hybrids with characteristic egg production properties.

Two Rhode Island Reds

There are currently two strains of the Rhode Island Red, which are the Production and Heritage strains. Production Rhodies are known to produce five to six eggs per week or 250 to300 eggs yearly while the Heritage strain lays less, three to four per week or 150 to 200 per year. Production and Heritage strains can easily be distinguished since Production Rhode Island Reds are typically lighter in color than the Heritage birds. The main advantage that Heritage birds have over the Production is that Heritages can lay more eggs throughout their lives.

Because Malays have been used as a base for the earliest Rhodies, some of these birds have seen action in different cockpits. Playing through Sabong International’s cockpits may allow players to see some Rhode Island Reds or their offshoots.

Key Features of Rhode Island Reds:

Rhode Island Reds are generally distinguished through the following:

  • Medium size
  • Well-proportioned build
  • Upright and serrated comb with five to seven points
  • Well-developed and broad bodies
  • Tight-fitting and glossy
  • Lustrous mahogany feathers for Production strains
  • Short and stout beaks
  • Yellow legs

Rhode Island Reds by themselves aren’t generally known for cockfighting, but some breeders might develop hybrids focused on cockfighting mainly because of the bird’s Malay ancestry. They are quite aggressive though, so some breeders may be tempted to leverage this for the pits.

What Rhode Island Reds are Known for

Rhode Island Reds aren’t known for cockfighting and are better known for egg production. Both Production and Heritage strains can produce quite a large number of eggs, with Heritage being able to lay eggs for longer than Production. The best use for Rhodies today is both for the egg production and to develop new breeds to further improve a certain breed’s egg production.

Production Rhode Island Red

Additionally, Rhodies are known for their dual-purpose utility as farmers and breeders can use their meat and eggs. Because of this, many backyard farmers will love this due to their egg production capabilities and the fact that their meat can be used for meals instead of going to the grocery to buy poultry.

Should Breeders Use Rhode Island Reds for Cockfighting?

Generally, no. Breeders should focus on producing eggs using Rhodies instead of pitting them in the cockpits. If they really want to use them for cockfighting, they should focus on crossing it with a known gamecock breed to leverage the breed’s natural aggressiveness and the gamecock breed’s cockfighting capabilities.

The supply of Rhode Island Reds in the Philippines is currently low, so wasting the chickens in the cockpits isn’t exactly a good idea. Some breeders can try and increase the supply of chicks and chickens in the country and make a killing out of selling Rhode Island Red chicks and roosters.


Rhode Island Reds are well-known for their egg-laying capabilities but are better known as dual-purpose breeds. Rhodies are best used to produce eggs and even to produce poultry meat for households if farmers can’t sell their meat.

While this breed is aggressive against what they perceive as threats and the fact that the Malay gamefowl was used to create this breed, Rhodies aren’t known for cockfighting. As such, bettors shouldn’t stake high on any of these birds they see in the cockpits since they’re aggressive nature is all this has to offer. More specialized sabong breeds are not only aggressive but also have certain skills that make them better suited in cockpits and easily outclass Rhodies.

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