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Raising Chickens: Tips to Raising Chickens

Raising Chickens: Tips to Raising Chickens

New Hampshire Chicken, (New Hampshire Red)

New Hampshire breed of chicken

New Hampshire breed of chicken

The New Hampshire breed of chicken has to be one of my favorite breeds that I raise.

The New Hampshire chicken originated in the New England states, chiefly in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, from which it got its name but I am pretty sure you figured that part out already.

To obtain the New Hampshire breed, poultry farmers, started with Rhode Island Reds and began performing generation after generation of selective breeding to create the beautiful New Hampshire breed of chicken.

Unlike many other large fowl breeds of chickens like the Rhode Island Reds from which it was developed, Barred Rocks, Wyandottes, etc.  the New Hampshire chicken breed is known for it’s early maturity and very rapid full feathering.  It is not long at all before your new chicks will be completely feathered out and on their way to maturity.

The mature New Hampshire is a rich chestnut red, of a somewhat lighter and more even shade than the Rhode Island Reds. The baby chicks are also a lighter red as you can see in the picture above of my new arrivals this year.

The New Hampshire is a medium-sized to large dual purpose bird with a broad, deep body. Cocks or Rooster as many will call it will weigh right around the 7.5 to 8 pound mark and hens will usually weigh in at 5.5 to 6.5 pounds. They have a single red comb, red wattles, and red earlobes. The comb on some of the hen may have a tendancy to lop over slightly.  Usually I do not find this to be the case.

One of the really nice characteristics of the New Hampshire is it’s very good production of large brown eggs.  I would have to say that they do not lay quite as consistent as the Rhode Island Red, or a Barred Rock but some I dare say come very close.  They are very hardy in the winter and seem to keep going even in the cold spells here in Michigan.  I am very pleased with the quality and the production of these beautiful birds.   I have had them start laying eggs at the age of 4 months, but usually is around the 5 month old range which is very early compared to most large fowl breeds of chickens.

Although this breed is here titled New Hampshire “Red”, the accurate name for the breed is simply New Hampshire. Most folks do indeed call it the New Hampshire Red which is fine, but if we are going to be correct in the name it is simply New Hampshire.

Most of the New Hampshire chickens will find themselves in the higher end of the pecking order.  They are not scared to take their place and defend it against other chickens.  If you are going to consider the New Hampshire it is probably best raised as a breed on it’s own or with similar birds with similar aggression such as Rhode Island Reds or the Rock breeds such as White Rocks, Barred Rocks, etc.

I find the Rhode Island Reds to be more aggressive than the New Hampshire’s, especially the Rhode Isalnd Red Roosters.

I can’t recommend this breed enough.  I have tried several times to discontinue this breed from my flock in my desire to raise more rare and colorful birds but they always manage to warm their way back into my heart and into my flock.

If you are looking for a chicken that will have a tendency to grow broody and be a good mother raising her chicks then look no further.  The only other breed I like better for this job is the Orpington breed.

You will not be disappointed with the New Hampshire red.

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