Are Rhode Island Red Chickens Friendly?

I’ve raised all the common chicken breeds, including Rhode Island Reds and Browns. I’ve had dozens of Rhode Island Reds and like them a lot.

The Rhode Island Red is a docile domestic breed. The breed is generally good around small children. They are not known to be aggressive and do good around other breeds or farm animals. They are the most common home-raised chicken in the U.S.

How friendly are Rhode Island Reds?

   Chicken breed Friendliness chart (from my own experience)

BreedAggressive to adultsAggressive to childrenAggressive to each other*
Rhode Islandnevernevernever
Barred Rockneveroccasionallyoccasionally
AmeraucanaoccasionallysomewhatSlightly more

*causing harm to birds within the same flock and newly introduced birds.

The Rhode Island, in my experience, has the best temperament of the high egg production chicken breeds. That’s of the eight different breeds that I’ve had.  Sure, they can get aggressive or cranky for a number of reasons, but I’ve seen significantly less of it than with other breeds.

The Rhode Island is a classic, friendly American breed of chicken.  It’s been a staple sight on homesteads and farm yards for longer than anyone can remember. It’s been selectively bred for its friendly nature and human-loving tendencies.

They are great egg layers and wonderful dual-purpose meat/egg chickens.  They are one of my favorite breeds.  In fact, I bought mostly all Rhode Islands this spring to replace my Isa Reds and Barred Rocks. 

With a little know-how, you can help ensure your birds stay friendly and you can re-tame them if they get aggressive. Here’s what you kneed to know. 

What to do if my Rhode Island Red does get Aggressive?

If you notice your chickens losing their passive nature and getting aggressive, there’s often a cause for it.  Most of the behavioral problems with chickens are stress indued. A lot like it is with people. Stress is a harmful thing. Often, we can reduce the stress and the behavior will correct.

The most common cause of aggressiveness is overcrowding.  Overcrowded birds tend to fight and peck at each other a lot. The overcrowding often causes them to be short-tempered and grumpy.  Imagine if you had to live with your cousins and in-laws in the same house.  It might get pretty rough.

Another common cause of bad behavior is not getting enough food or water.  If there is a shortage, chickens will fight over food and water.  The stronger birds will get the meal, leaving the smaller ones to go hungry. This is the easiest one to fix. Give them more food.

If your birds are simply fighting over food for no reason, feed them with multiple feed bowls.  That one will usually handle it. 

Will my Rhode Island Red hurt new chicks?

Oftentimes, established flocks will not accept new chickens at first. The head chicken will usually bully the newcomers to establish dominance over them.  Sometimes, a severe injury will result.  Because of this, never introduce young chicks to an established flock.

When they are half-grown (8-12 weeks) you can try putting them together. Keep a close eye on them to see how they do together.  Leave them alone as much as you can.  But keep an eye out for injury. After a week or two, they will adjust to each other.

Will Chickens go Wild if Free Ranged?

Free-ranging often has a positive effect on the behavior of the bird.  Good exercise and a healthy varied diet tends to make them happy.  Open space also helps them to be relaxed and stress-free.  That’s why I like free range.  plus, the feed bill is smaller.

A big part, probably the biggest, is the extent of human interaction. When a chicken has only positive interaction with people, it tends to be happy around people and accept you as dominant.  if helps to feed your chicken in person.  They will forever love and respect you if you are their food bearer. 

If human interaction is limited, they don’t respect people as much.  If they run wild without ever encountering people much, and forage all their own food, they will be wilder.  Although, they will generally shy away from humans instead of attacking them.  

Unless treated severely, neglected, or abused, domestic chickens tend to be drawn to human interaction in a positive manner. Chickens should be safe around young children, but remember that they’re still animals and shouldn’t be around little kids unsupervised.

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I practice what I preach. Here in rural west Michigan, me, my wife, and 5 young kids work together to grow food, raise animals, and grow aninmal feed on just 1 acre. I teach homesteading classes locally, and help people where I can.

2 thoughts on “Are Rhode Island Red Chickens Friendly?

  1. I got baby RI red hens , one chicken has attached itself to me from the beginning but now it’s 12 weeks looking like a rooster but still loves me . Is this normal?

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