New Hampshire Reds

New Hampshire has its very own breed of poultry, called New Hampshire Reds.

Somewhere around 1915, a few New Hampshire farmers took Rhode Island Reds, and began developing them to improve their body size for meat production.  There does not appear to have been any introduction of any other breed. Birds that were observed to have quick growth, fast feathering and early maturity were used for breeding stock.

In 1919, at least one name stands out as a breeder of New Hampshire ‘Reds.’  Rev. Ora Wilfred Craig of Ashland, Laconia and Manchester NH (b. 2 Jan 1879), had hens as his hobby. A member of the American Poultry Association, Rose Comb Rhode Island Reds being his choice, imported to NH (before 1890).  [Granite Monthly, Jan-Dec. 1928] .  By 1935 there were at least 40 breeders in the state.

If you compare the New Hampshire and the Rhode Island Red side by side, you can see that the New Hampshire version has a deeper, broader body.  Both birds produce brown eggs.  The New Hampshire Red may end up a bird of the past.  In 2003 there were fewer than 5000 breeding birds left with ten or fewer breeding flocks.

Folks haven’t stopped trying to create new types of poultry.  The Delaware breed, according to “The Complete Guide to Raising Chickens,” by Tara L. Williams, is a breed developed in the 1940s, called first “Indian Rivers,” a cross between barred Plymouth Rock roosters and New Hampshire red hens.

Janice

*Additional Reading*

New Hampshire Reds

Old Poultry Breeds

New Hampshires

This entry was posted in History and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply