Developed in New Hampshire in the early part of the 20th century by breeders who were working with Rhode Island Reds, this breed gained and lost popularity over the years. Currently the breed is listed as 'watch' by The Livestock Conservancy, an organization dedicated to preserving the diversity of livestock breeds.
These chickens may not be perfect for beginners, as they can be more assertive. However, if handled properly and often, the birds can become easy to interact with. In fact, several of the NRT's education programs include the use of New Hampshire Reds as part of the presentation. Here are some basic facts:
Temperament: Can be more assertive; with proper, regular handling can be well managed
Egg production: Excellent, extra large brown eggs
Used as meat birds: Yes
Size: Males up to 9 pounds, females 7 pounds
Listed by The Livestock Conservancy: Yes
If you are interested in learning more about this interesting, locally developed breed, stop by the NRT's Spring Farm Festival on May 7th to speak with Mr. Don Borroughs, the person who worked on the current New Hampshire Reds at Sheep Pasture. He is a lifelong poultry enthusiast who is very knowledgeable about chickens in general and loves to educate people about the birds. He will be at the NRT's poultry display on the day of the festival. Please stop by and say hello!
If you are considering purchasing birds for your own flock, we recommend researching the quality of the breeder facility, the care required for keeping chickens in New England, your local laws and regulations for keeping poultry, and the many different breeds available before purchasing any birds.