The Rhode Island White originated in 1888. It was developed by John Alonzo Jocoy of Peacedale, Rhode Island by crossing White Wyandottes with Partridge Cochins and Rose Comb White Leghorns.
In 1903, he introduced the breed and offered them for sale. Development and improvement continued to make the bird more closely resembled the Rhode Island Red’s brick-like body shape. This distinctive shape helped to prevent the breed from looking like and being confused with White Wyandottes or White Plymouth Rock chickens.
In 1922, the Rose Comb Rhode Island White was admitted to the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection during its national conference in Knoxville, Tennessee. (The Single Comb Rhode Island White was never standardized with the APA.)The breed had some popularity in the US until the 1960s when their numbers began to decline. The breed never came close to the overwhelming popularity of the Rhode Island Red.
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. They have a bright red rose comb, wattles, and oblong earlobes, reddish-bay eyes, yellow legs and feet, and yellow beak.
They lay 200-250+ large/jumbo light brown-to-dark brown eggs per year, and are excellent layers of winter eggs. They do not tend to go broody. They also have a reputation as good meat fowl.
They do well in both warm and cold climates. They are friendly with people, but like their “space” with other chickens, and can be a bit assertive with more docile breeds. It is best to make sure that your coop gives them plenty of room to move around, nest, and roost. They do fine in confinement and are also good free-range birds that can forage for a lot of their food if given the opportunity, so this all-purpose chicken is a good choice for a family farm.
Unfortunately, the Rhode Island White has been declining in numbers, so it needs new stewards to help preserve this wonderful American breed.
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.