Rhode Island White Chicken Breed

Rhode Island White Chickens (summary):

  • Country of origin: United States
  • Primary uses: Eggs and Meat providers
  • Lifespan: 4 – 5 years
  • Eggs
    • Production (annual): 240 – 280 Eggs
    • Size: Large and Extra Large
    • Color: Brown
  • Weight:
    • Cock: 8 – 8.5 lb
    • Hen: 6.5 – 7 lb
  • Bantam:
    • Cock: 34 oz
    • Hen: 30 oz
  • Colors: White
  • Useful to Know: Rhode Island Whites are very different from their counterparts, which is the Rhode Island Red breed. They just originated from the same U.S state of Rhode Island.
  • Photo:
Rhode Island White Chickens
Rhode Island White Chickens

The Rhode Island White chicken is a breed originating in the Rhode Island of the U.S. It is a dual-purpose chicken breed, suitable for both meat and egg production. The breed was pretty popular in the 1960s and previous times, but quite rare nowadays. It even appeared in the list of American Livestock Breeds Conservancy as a breed to watch.

The chickens are completely different from the Rhode Island Red chickens in spite of their very similar names and the place of origin. The combination of these two chicken breeds can create Red Sex-Link hybrid chickens. Rhode Island White chickens were chosen by Sugar Feather Farm as a heritage breed of chicken on the conservancy list, with an excellent layer, and a great meat provider.

You can find this chicken breed works well in both applications. The chickens are gentle and extremely hardy birds, and don’t mind confinement. Rhode Island White is a nice heavy robust bird that is surprisingly calm and gentle with their giant body frame. Their appearance is stunning with beautiful white feathers glistening in the sun.

The babies are strong and robust and the hens can go broody and raise them by themselves.

Background and History

Rhode Island Whites are the result of J. Alonzo Jocoy’s work in Peaceable, Rhode Island in 1888. He developed this breed by the crosses of Partridge Cochins, White Wyandottes, and rose comb White Leghorn. The new breed was officially recognized by 1903 when Jocoy brought the breed out to the market. After that, this chicken breed continued to develop and improve in order, but it wasn’t until 1922 that the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection accepted it.

The Rhode Island White gained a considerable reputation in the U.S up till the 1960s before the decline in number. During the peak time, this chicken breed got the overwhelming reputation, that the well-known Rhode Island Red had.


The Rhode Island White breed is moderate in size and completely white. The chickens have long, broad, and deep bodies. The horizontal carrying gives them an oblong appearance like a brick. The breasts appear full, deep, and well-round. Their heads are quite deep and flat on top rather than round. Almost all Rhode Island Whites have rose-shaping combs.

They have some similar features to the Rhode Island Red breeds like looking sturdy and well-put-together. They all have longish and brick-like bodies with strong-looking heads and medium wattles and single combs. They are beautiful birds with solid white plumage, yellow legs, and beaks.

While some roosters have very large combs, hens often have decent-sized combs. If your coop is too cold in the winter, these chickens are susceptible to frostbite.


Rhode Island White chickens are pleasant and easy-going. They can make an enjoyable addition to any family farm.

They are smart and hardy chickens which are also fairly predator-savvy.

Both roosters and hens are highly alert to predators and will warn their flock members of any potential dangers. For example, they scream or screech whenever they see another animal like a squirrel, a dog, or a flying bird.

Rhode Island Whites are great free rangers, and they also do well in backyards and runs as well. They like to forage and are very good at it. They totally fill a tough-range bird.

Rhode Island Whites are quite human-being. They enjoy having you around and like to attract your attention. If you spend enough time with them, some chickens might want you to hold and pet them. The Rhode Island White roosters are also not aggressive at all.


In general, Rhode Island Whites are not a broody breed. The hens are more likely to be reliable layers, but they often stop laying during their broodiness. That’s why you should have another breed if you want hens to hatch and raise their own chicks.

If you keep a good ratio of hens and roosters in the flock, normally 1 to 10, the hens can produce fertile eggs for hatching.

Further reading: 21 Best Chicken Keeping eBooks

Rhode Island White Chicken Productivity

Is the Rhode Island White Chicken Good for Eggs?

Like their red counterparts, the laying ability of the Rhode Island White is excellent and respectable by all accounts. They are solid layers and eggs are brown. Exceptionally, one hen at the Mountain Grove Experiment Station in Missouri laid 306 eggs in a year. But the typical productive strains of this breed are respectable at around 240-250 eggs per year. Rhode Island Whites are winter layers because they lay better than many other chickens during the winter months.

Is the Rhode Island White Chicken Good for Meat?

Some strains of the Rhode Island White breed are good for meat as they grow fast. They can make an impressive amount of meat. These straits have been developed for fast maturity, good size, and phenomenal taste. As a result, the laying ability of these straits is not as good as the layer strains. By contrast, when you focus on egg production over meat production, you will end up with smaller birds. These chickens do not have as much meat on their bones.8

Common Issues of the Rhode Island White Chicken

The predator-savvy character makes them quite annoying animals sometimes. They make loud noises to alert other chickens to danger whenever an animal poses a threat. Besides that, they like to talk, squawk, gossip, and roosters love to crow. They tend to be noisier than average chickens. Because of this, if you have neighbors living nearby, this breed is not a really good idea.

Their white plumage is a major drawback for Rhode Island Whites when it comes to predators. It shines like a beacon, which makes them easy targets. In environments with a range of predators, white chickens are the first animals to be taken away.

The foragers can also become a problem because they can tear up your lawn very quickly.

Environment Requirements

  • Rhode Island White chickens can thrive in a backyard as long as they have enough space to play and forage.
  • Your backyard should keep away from the neighbors around to prevent the noise from your chickens.
  • Although they are cold hardy birds, you should still make a firm and warm coop in the winter. It is because Rhode Island Whites have single combs that are easily frostbite in the winter months.
  • Be in mind to not make the flock too overcrowded. Rhode Island Whites need space for their physical activities like spreading their wings and having a run sometimes.
Rhode Island White are very nice and easy-going chickens
Rhode Island White are very nice and easy-going chickens

Benefits and Drawbacks of Raising Rhode Island White Chickens


There are certainly other chicken breeds that are better than Rhode Island Whites, but they mightn’t lay in the winter. Rhode Island Whites, by contrast, are a cold-hardy breed that can lay throughout the winter months. They do have down feathers to keep them warm in the winter.

Challenges or Drawbacks

Like almost all breeds with single combs, Rhode Island Whites are at risk of frostbite, particularly roosters.

Is the Rhode Island White Chicken Right for You?

Rhode Island Whites are suitable for almost all keepers including beginners. They have a quite good egg-laying ability, in the winter months as well. Rhode Island Whites are also meat birds which have deep, well-developed breast meat and mature quite easily. So the meat quality of this breed is also very good for most people. Their adaptability and easy-going nature make Rhode Island Whites a solid choice for almost any farm or homestead.

How to Raise the Rhode Island White Chicken?

When you decide to take the priority of one over another, between egg and meat production, you should first consult the sellers.

The first step should be buying very good quality, healthy and disease-free birds. You can purchase either day-old or mature birds which are more expensive, depending on how much you can afford.

You may also like: Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Chickens

Then you should make a comfortable and secure coop for your chickens. It helps the chickens stay healthy and free from all types of predators and extreme weather conditions. The house can be either a full concrete setup or easily available and low-cost materials. It also depends on your budget for that.

For feeding, you should prepare nutritious and healthy foods for your chickens. It can be either ready-made poultry feeds or home-made foods by yourselves. Never give your chickens contaminated feed. Rhode Island Whites need cold water available all the time and enough deep shade to protect them from direct heat.

Rhode Island White generally need less caring and other management. However, taking more care will help the chickens grow better and produce much better.

It is necessary to vaccinate them timely. Also, keep good contact with a vet in your area in case some chickens get sick. You should invite the vet right away if you do not want the whole flock to get the disease as well.


1/ Are Rhode Island White similar to Rhode Island Red?

Actually no, Rhode Island Whites are completely different from their more popular counterparts. They are both from the state of Rhode Island, but the Rhode Island White existed 50 years later.

2/ Is the Rhode Island White breed all white?

Yes, it is. They have all white feathers with single combs, bright red wattles, yellow legs, and feet.

3/ What are the advantages of Rhode Island White chickens?

This chicken breed is hardy and even-tempered. They are adaptable and truly all-purpose chickens. They can do fine in confinement and free-range environments as well. They get on well with other chickens and are overall great barnyard birds.

Final Thoughts

Rhode Island Whites are very nice and straightforward chickens. They can make a gratifying addition to any household farm, family stock, homestead, or any situation. Unfortunately, the Rhode Island White hens have declined in numbers in the past decades. However, they are still one of the most popular chicken breeds worldwide.

They are famous for good egg layers and excellent meat providers as well. After this short article, we hope you can understand more about the Rhode Island White, their origin, physical and mental features. Then you might decide to raise some of them in your backyard.


  1. Rhode Island: A History (States & the Nation)”, William McLoughlin, June 17, 1986

Links to useful resources:

  1. Considering Rhode Island White chickens? The 15 things you must know first”, The Featherbrain
  2. Rhode Island White Chicken”, The Livestock Conservancy
  3. Rhode Island White Chicken”, Purely Poultry
  4. Rhode Island White”, The Chick Hatchery