Rhode Island Red hens are infamously good layers with adventurous personalities.
It’s no wonder they are such a popular breed for backyard chicken owners everywhere!
But broodiness changes how almost chicken acts.
Rhode Island Red hens rarely go broody; when they do, they aren’t reliable enough to sit on eggs for 21 days. This is not a breed of chicken to trust with a batch of eggs you want to be hatched. They prefer to lay their eggs and move on rather than sit on them.
There are plenty of reasons to raise Rhode Island Reds regardless of this trait.
Keep reading to learn more about Rhode Island Red hens’ habits and even discover some breeds of chicken who do go broody!
How Broody Are Rhode Island Reds?
While it’s true, Rhode Island Reds don’t spend much time in the nesting boxes warming their eggs.
This does not mean they never go broody.
Sometimes you may find yourself with a particular Rhode Island hen who loves to sit with her eggs for days or weeks.
This is true of just about all the birds in your coop.
Even the least broody bird breeds occasionally include a uniquely broody hen.
There are, of course, pros and cons to having hens who don’t go broody.
For example, Rhode Island Reds are not always as docile as some other popular chicken breeds.
Their high egg production and willingness to fight back would not be so exciting if they were to constantly sit on and protect their eggs.
Most chicken owners expect to get pecked occasionally when they reach their hand into the nesting boxes.
But having an ill-tempered, broody hen pecking you constantly when you go to collect the eggs gets tiresome.
Then again, if you enjoy hatching your baby chicks and would like to hatch Rhode Island Red chicks, this is probably disappointing news for you.
How To Hatch Rhode Island Red Eggs
There are other ways to hatch chicken eggs besides taking advantage of a broody hen’s maternal instincts.
Many people order their eggs online and hatch them in an incubator.
Of course, if you already have Rhode Island Red laying hens, you don’t necessarily have to buy your eggs online.
The eggs need to be fertile, so you’ll need to bring in a rooster.
While they aren’t generally as aggressive as Leghorns or Malay roosters, Rhode Island Reds sometimes are aggressive roosters.
Further Reading: Rhode Island Red aggression and personality
If you have small children or vulnerable chickens who hang out in your chicken coop, consider ordering online or outsourcing a rooster when your birds are in heat.
Often, these are much safer bets for your flock (and your family, if you have one) than keeping a rooster in your coop.
When purchasing eggs online, be careful to buy from a reputable source.
The eggs should be brown if they are from Rhode Island Reds.
However you go about getting your eggs, they will need to be kept in an incubator for 21 days, give or take a couple of days.
About Rhode Island Reds
They don’t have a penchant for broodiness, but Rhode Island Reds have much to offer.
These birds are beautiful.
They come in two different comb varieties.
Usually, they come with a single comb, but some rose comb Rhode Islands are also out there.
Their feathers are a dark rust color but darken into black in their tails.
Aside from their physical characteristics, Rhode Island Red hens are incredible layers.
Their egg production is high, and they often lay up to 300 brown color eggs per year at full maturity.
They don’t require extra care, either.
Just give them clean water and start with commercial chick feed before moving to a basic layer feed.
Make sure to account for all the necessary nutrients, of course.
But beyond the basic dietary requirements shared by most laying birds, Rhode Island Red hens don’t need special attention.
Furthermore, these birds lay in warm weather and cold weather alike.
They aren’t especially noisy, either.
They sing the egg song and make agitated noises only when they feel in danger or see a predator.
These are popular birds for a good reason.
Rhode Island Reds are a must-have if you’re starting a beginner flock.
What Are Some Broody Chicken Breeds?
If your concern is finding broody hens, we can help you there too!
Here are some of the broodiest birds available today:
Silkies are a hugely popular addition to backyard flocks all over.
These hens are positively adorable and make great mothers.
They are outstandingly gentle by nature and a great fit for chicken farmers with small children or other timid birds in their coop.
Like the other birds on this list, Silkies are happy to spend all kinds of time in the nesting box.
Sussex hens come in many color varieties and are another cold-hardy, heat-tolerant bird.
Their laying is impressive, they’re sweethearts, and they go broody much more often than Rhode Island Reds.
Orpingtons are another favorite addition to the coop for winter laying.
Their gentle souls have stolen the hearts of many chicken owners’ hearts over the years.
They make good chickens for meat as well due to their bigger size.
But most importantly for this list, Orpingtons are broody mamas.
Brahmas and Cochins are also exceptionally broody birds.
They will sit on their eggs in the nesting box for much longer than a Rhode Island Red has the patience to do.
Friendly Roosters for Hatching Your Eggs
Another bonus to the birds on this list is they almost all have gentler roosters than the Rhode Island Red.
This means, if you want to, you will be able to have your chickens lay and hatch their eggs!
Silkie roosters are smaller and easier to handle than most other breeds.
They do still get territorial, though.
Sussex, Brahma, Cochin, and Orpington roosters are all known for being very friendly and docile compared with most roosters.
This being said, just like silkies, these roosters are not guaranteed to be personable at all times.
While these breeds are less likely to include aggressive roosters, it’s still better to play it safe.
If possible, get a read on a rooster’s temperament before buying.
If you raise the bird yourself, keep an eye on its behavior.
This is especially important if you have small children.