Rhode Island Blue Chickens: 5 Things You Didn’t Know

Rhode Island Blue Chickens
Rhode Island Blue Chickens consistently lay around 1 egg every single day, are quiet and friendly to live with while also being beautiful and resilient. This breed makes for the perfect combination of beauty, friendliness and production. 

Many of the most popular chicken breeds today were created by crossbreeding other popular breeds of the time. By combining two different breeds, many breeders are able to take the best attributes of both breeds and combine them to create a “new and improved” breed of chicken.

In this article, we will be looking at a great example of a breed that has been intentionally developed by taking two exceptional breeds of chickens and combining them into an exciting breed: Rhode Island Blue chickens.

1. The Perfect Combination

Rhode Island Blues were created by hybrid crossing the Rhode Island Red and the Australorp, both of which are notoriously fantastic egg layers. Breeders took one of the most popular American chickens, the Rhode Island Red, and crossbred it with one of the most popular Australian breeds, the Australorp. This was a naturally fantastic pairing.

When they people hear of Rhode Island Blue chickens, they often think of one of the best-known American dual-purpose breeds: the Rhode Island Red, or “RIR” for short. Rhode Island Reds were originally created in the late nineteenth century in Massachusetts as a dual-purpose breed, and are the state bird of Rhode Island.

The American Poultry Association first admitted Rhode Islands into their Standard of Perfection in 1904. Rhode Island Blues are best known for yielding delicious, rich meat and for laying a remarkable 200-300 eggs each year. Most Rhode Island Reds are a deep red, almost black, color.

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Rhode Island Blues’ other half, the Australorp, was developed for the sole purpose of laying eggs. In fact, their egg-laying prowess brought them into the spotlight in the early twentieth century when they broke a record by laying 364 eggs in 365 days.

Today, that record is owned by the White Leghorn (371 in 364 days) but the Rhode Island Blue continues to be a reliable egg layer, averaging around 250 eggs per year. Australorps are recognized by the Australian Poultry Standard for having three colors: white, black, and blue. As the name makes apparent, the blue Australorp is what was used when creating the Rhode Island Blue.

2. A Beautiful Blue

What makes Rhode Island Blues stand out from the Rhode Island Reds is their stunning blue coloration. Most Rhode Island Blues have a primary grayish blue color that is perfectly contrasted with a red coloration in the neck and head.

The face, beaks, combs, wattles, and earlobes also have a blue hue to them that differentiates them from the usual red color. Most Rhode Island blues sport a single comb, though rose combs are known to exist.

Their coats also can vary quite a bit, with some chickens having a brighter red complexion, and others being almost black in color. Many Rhode Island Blues have black-laced feathers, meaning that each feather is outlined with a thin black line. This looks amazing when it is paired with the gray and blue colors, making the Rhode Island Blue a sight to behold.

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Rhode Island Blues are considered large fowl and are similar in stature and size to Rhode Island Reds, with roosters weighing in at around 8lbs, and hens weighing in at around 6lbs. There are known bantam varieties of Rhode Islands, though they are definitely less common.

3. Prolific Egg Layers

Rhode Island Blues are known to be fantastic egg layers when compared to other similarly sized birds, such as the Orpington which lays about 175-200 eggs per year.

Rhode Island Hens lay beautiful large brown eggs. Some owners report seeing some more creamy, almost white eggs, but on average they will have a light brown egg color.

Egg Production260 to 290 eggs per year
First Laying18 to 20 weeks
Laying Span5 years+
Egg ColorLight brown
Egg SizeMedium to large
Lays in Winter?Sometimes

Pullets take to laying very naturally, so its recommended to introduce them to nesting boxes even earlier, potentially at 16 weeks old, for them to quickly become good layers.

4. Wonderful Personalities

If you’re looking for a bird that’s quiet and friendly, Rhode Island Blues might be the perfect fit. They are known for being incredibly docile and easygoing, and can even become lap chickens. 

If handled frequently after hatching, Rhode Island Blues will quickly take to human company. While hens are usually always friendly, the roosters can be aggressive at times. If you decide to have a Rhode Island Blue rooster in your flock, be cautious when allowing children near your chickens.

Rhode Island Blue hens aren’t particularly broody, which is a common trait of breeds that are bred to produce a lot of eggs. When they do go broody, the hens become good mothers and will be highly protective of their baby chicks. 

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5. Hardy and Reliable

Cold weather climates can sometimes be an issue for different breeds of chickens; however, the Rhode Island Blue is a remarkably cold-hardy breed that can adapt to a variety of climates. Because of their thick feathering, and the fact that they don’t have large combs, Rhode Island Blues are resistant to the cold and aren’t usually affected by frostbite.

Rhode Island Blues are also excellent foragers, and so can confidently be free-range as backyard chickens. They are highly curious, and will happily roam around your yard in search of a meal. Foraging is excellent for a chicken’s health, as it allows them to eat a wide variety of nutrients.

Overall, the Rhode Island Blue are incredibly healthy birds, and this is largely due to their Rhode Island Red lineage. Rhode Island Reds were created from Malay chickens, which are known to be incredibly hardy birds. Besides the usual potential health threats that chickens face, like parasites and mites, Rhode Island Blues are an exceptionally active and healthy breed.

Is The Rhode Island Blue Right For You?

When it comes to finding a friendly, egg-laying breed of chicken, the Rhode Island Blue is an excellent choice. Not only are they perfect in a backyard flock as active foragers and friends to your other chickens, but they are also going to consistently produce quality eggs. 

While roosters might have a more fiery temperament, most hens are incredibly sweet and loving. So if you want a chicken that will add a lot of personalities and a lot of eggs, to your flock, the Rhode Island Blue might be the perfect addition to your chicken coop.


Raised in Wisconsin, Leland has spent most of his life adjacent to the rich farmlands of the Midwest. He has visited many farms while exploring his home state, which eventually led him to work directly with farmers on a variety of projects. Between building furniture with Amish-milled wood and helping a local farmer construct a greenhouse, Leland developed a deep interest in homesteading and wants to one day have farmland of his own. Leland is able to combine his love of writing and recent passion for agriculture by writing articles focused on a variety of aspects of farming and homesteading.

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