Sunday, September 19News That Matters

Are Production Red Chickens Rhode Island Red (RIR)?

Surely, growing both American heritage and Philippine native chickens are gaining popularity. There is an increasing demand for American breeds like Rhode Island Red, Black Australorp, Orpingtons, Sussex, Brahma, Jersey Giant, and the like. Even dual-purpose hybrids like SASSO, Kabir, Dominant CZ, and Hubbard are getting more and more popular as many people want to grow chickens in their backyard – both for extra income, and a hobby.

However, as the number of people who want to grow chickens increases, the confusion and arguments are also getting intense. As the argument between SASSO and Kabir remain an occasionally hot topic, the dispute between Rhode Island Red and Production Red is also getting attention.

Many people who are selling Production Reds on Social Media are calling their birds “RIR production type.” This “production type RIR” thing has no basis and no one knows where this term came from.

First, the correct term is “Production Red” and not “production type.” There are a lot of “production type chickens in different colors but the Production Red is different.

“Production Red” is very specific to hybrids developed by many American and Canadian hatcheries like Cacklehatchery and Truenorthfarm, to name a few. Production Reds are cross of Rhode Island Red and New Hampshire, or Rhode Island Red and Rhode Island White, and other similar breeds.  The purpose is to improve the RIR’s production capability by creating a new hybrid that can grow faster and lay more eggs.

Both traditional and industrial Rhode Island Reds have almost the same color but the Production Reds are far different. It is, therefore, safe to say that Production Red is not industrial Rhode Island Red.

So what is the issue?

Whether you grow Rhode Island Red or Production Red is not really an issue as both chickens are medium to large fowls, can lay many eggs, and are extremely friendly.

The alarming issue, however, is when you have a flock of Production Red and you tell the buyer that it is a Rhode Island Red – you are deceiving other people, especially those who have no idea and just starting to grow their own flock.

Rhode Island Reds have only one color group and that’s what we call locally the “dark mahogany”. The plumage of the traditional Rhode Island Red ranges from a lustrous deep red to almost black; the tail is mostly black. There is no UK or US line as what some people claim on Social Media. The original breed came from the State of Rhode Island in the USA and that’s why it’s called Rhode Island Red.

How Production Reds become Rhode Island Red?

Pure Rhode Island Reds are few compared to Production Reds here in the Philippines. Sometimes, the two are being crossed resulting in a confusing color. But for people who have been growing both chickens for years, the difference is very obvious.

Another reason why many people claim their Production Reds are pure RIR is that the latter is more expensive than the former, and they want to take the cost for granted when their Production Reds look closely similar to pure RIR.

How to avoid getting fooled and scammed?

If you are specifically looking for Production Red then that’s fine. But if you are looking to buy pure RIR and offered Production Red, don’t rush. take the photos and ask fellow chicken growers on Facebook groups whether the birds are pure RIR or production reds. You may get different reactions but the majority always wins.

Summary:

  • Traditional RIR in the Philippines and even in the US is rare as this breed was considered almost extinct by the American Poultry Association (APA) in the 1940s. many of what we have now is industrial Rhode Island Red (same color as pure and sometimes pale) developed during the same era. Traditional RIRs are bigger compared to what we have today.
  • The term “industrial Rhode Island Red” is not specifically used anymore but just Rhode Island Red.
  • Industrial Rhode Island Reds are what we can find in most American farms and backyards today.
  • There is no such thing as UK and US lines. The original RIR is from the US and the Production Reds are also from the US and Canada.
  • Production Red chickens are not industrial Rhode Island Red. They have different genetics and colors.

Selected references:

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