The Rhode Island White originated in 1888 through the efforts of J. Alonzo Jocoy of Peacedale, Rhode Island. He developed the breed by crossing White Wyandottes with Partridge Cochins and Rose Comb White Leghorns.
In 1903, Mr. Jocoy publicly revealed the breed and offered individuals for sale. They continued to be developed and improved so that it more closely resembled the Rhode Island Red’s brick-like body shape. This distinctive shape helped to prevent the breed from looking similar to and being confused with White Wyandottes or White Plymouth Rock chickens. In 1922, the Rhode Island White was admitted to the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection during the national conference in Knoxville, Tennessee. The breed gained some popularity in the U.S. until the 1960s when their numbers began to decline. The breed never came close to the overwhelming popularity that the Rhode Island Red chicken achieved.
Rhode Island White Chicken
The Rhode Island White is a moderately-sized, completely white bird with the males weighing 8.5 pounds and females 6.5 pounds. They have long, broad, and deep bodies that are carried horizontally, giving them an oblong and brick-like appearance. Their breasts are deep, full, and well-rounded. Their heads are fairly deep and inclined to be flat on top rather than round.
Though some single combed offspring occasionally occur, the breed has been standardized only with a rose-shaped comb. The historic laying ability of the Rhode Island White was respectable by all accounts, with one exceptional hen at the Mountain Grove Experiment Station in Missouri laying 306 eggs in one year. Productive strains typically lay around 240 to 250 eggs per year. They’re reputed to be splendid meat fowl and excellent layers of winter eggs. Rhode Island Whites are pleasant, easy-going chickens and would make an enjoyable addition to any family farm. Unfortunately, the Rhode Island White has declined in population, with less than 3,000 birds in The Livestock Conservancy’s 2003 poultry census, and even fewer in the 2015 census.
Did you know:
The Livestock Conservancy is America’s leading organization working to save over 150 heritage breeds from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants, and donations from the public to raise the $700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare breeds of farm animals. Click here to learn how you can help.