Recently I have been talking about how to develop a great chicken house plan or chicken coop. As part of the planning process, you need to determine what types of chickens you wish to raise. Now this depends on whether you are looking for eggs, or meat or even both.

In a previous article, I presented some information that shows what particular breeds are good for laying eggs, and which type are good for both eggs and meat. In today’s article, I will be talking about the New Hampshire Red breed. (All right, I won’t actually be talking…. and you won’t be listening. I will have typed and you will be reading. Anyway…)

The New Hampshire Red is a relatively new breed. During the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s some breeders decided that the Rhode Island Red, although a great breed, wasn’t as big as they wanted when it comes to meat. So the breeders mucked around (“mucked” .. that’s one of those technical terms I use occasionally) with the Rhode Island Red breed until they had a chicken breed with the attributes they wanted.

The breeders, primarily in New Hampshire but also in Massachusetts ( so maybe it should be called the MassHampshire Red!… Then again, maybe not) used selective breeding (also known as “mucking around”) over many generations of the Rhode Island Red breed to intensify specific characteristics.

The resulting New Hampshire Red reaches maturity quickly, rapidly feathers and produces large brown eggs. They are prone to becoming broody and make great mothers. (I wonder if my mom was part chicken. She was a great mother! And her mother raised quite a lot of chickens. Nah! ) It is also considered a medium heavy chicken. When dressed, and I don’t mean in a tuxedo, it presents a rather plump carcass which can be used for broiling or roasting.

Although a fair egg layer, the breed is principally raised for meat. Your basic fully grown cock or rooster is going to come in around 8 1/2 lb. A cockerel, a rooster less than a year old will be up to 7 1/2 lb. Hens are typically 6 1/2 lb. and their less than one year old counterpart, or pullet, will come in at 5 1/2 lb.

Color wise, the mature birds are a chestnut red, somewhat lighter than their Rhode Island counterparts, but with a more even shade.

For more info regarding the types of chickens to be used for meat and/or eggs see my article What Kind of Chickens?

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