White Jersey Giant vs Rhode Island Red – What is the Difference?

With advanced selective breeding, there is a whole load of chicken varieties in the market. There is so much to choose from the cute ornamentals, egg-laying champions, tiny bantams, gentle giants, to scrumptious broilers.

One primary joy of rearing backyard chicken is an assurance of a steady supply of eggs or meat.  If you want to get the best out of your investment, consider keeping a breed that meets your purpose.

In this article, we will delve deeper into two popular species; White Jersey Giant and Rhode Island Red. Keep reading as we point out our main similarities and disparities between these adorable birds.


Experts created the bulky birds from black Jersey sports. Note that sports are broods that develop with a different coloration from their parents.  After more refinement, breeders came up with pure White Jersey Giants, which was documented as a breed by 1947.

The beautiful square-shaped massive birds have elongated deep breasts, bright red combs, ear lobes, and long wattles. In addition, they have yellowish beaks and dark brown eyes. The skin is usually yellow with soles and shanks in a similar color.

On the other hand, we have a similarly large bird, the Rhode Island Red. The first thing you notice about this bird is its fluffy, silky red plumage, which appears more prominent.

Akin the Jersey Giants, they have a yellowish beak and skin easily noticeable around the legs and feet. In some chickens, you can notice a reddish hue around the shanks and toes. RIs also have red ear lobes, comb, and wattles plus red/orange eyes.

Size and Weight

The bulkiest chicken you must have ever seen was probably a White Jersey Giant.  White giants have moderate to long bodies that resemble a square shape. The males measure approximately 22 to 26 inches, while the females come in at 16 to 20 inches.

When fully grown, roosters weigh 13 to 16 pounds while the hens reach around 11-12 pounds. Additionally, they have a broad flat back and a significantly short tail compared to their considerable body.

If you are interested in keeping a Rhode Island Red chicken, you should be aware of its massive size as well. Most roosters weigh 8 to 10 pounds. Like almost any other chicken species, the hens weigh slightly less at 6 to 7 pounds. Bear in mind that RIs also has a Bantam variety that weighs 850g.  On average, they measure 16 to 24 inches long.


White Jersey should be at the top of the list when you hear about gentle giant bird species. The docile birds have a well known warm temperament towards other chickens and human beings. Thanks to their large size, they are easily picked on by small predators or other birds. Unfortunately, the bulkiness makes it complicated to run away in case of danger.

Given that RIs are pretty aggressive, most people wonder if they are friendly to their keepers and others. It is worth noting that these birds are very expressive and make lots of noise in the process. Also, they are curious, easily handled, and appreciate frequent petting.

Overall, RIs are human lovers and very comfortable in their presence. Therefore, this is one breed you should keep if you want some company around. However, due to their bulky weight, they may also face some challenges running away from attackers.

Egg Production

Although most farmers keep White giants for meat, they are relatively good layers too. On average, you can get two to four eggs weekly and roughly 150 to 200 annually. Often the birds start laying eggs much later than other species, at about 24 weeks.

The long wait is worth it as the birds produce eggs right through the year. Even in the coldest winter months, rest assured that your hens will steadily put eggs on the table.

Rhodes Island Red egg-laying prowess depends on the chicken strain. All in all, they are prolific layers that give 5 to 6 eggs weekly. In total, this translates to 250 to 300 eggs annually. Even so, some heritage strains produce fewer eggs at an average of 150 to 250 per annum.

Compared to White giants, RIs pullets will give their first egg at 18 to 20 weeks. Still, there are larger fowl species that delay till the 28th week. They can continue laying eggs for the next five years though not consistently as they age.

Meat production

Even if you may raise Jersey giants as dual-purpose, they may excel better as meat producers. With their colossal body size, a mature chicken should give you about 12 pounds each. They add weight very fast, especially when fed on a rich protein diet. Mainly, the birds are ready for harvesting from 9 to 10 weeks.

Rhodes Red does not perform so poorly when it comes to meat production. They are true heritage birds that are perfect both for eggs and meat production. In contrast to White Jersey, the dead weight is slightly lower at about 10 pounds. The birds are ready for the grill as early as eight weeks.

Care & Housing

Both Rhode Island Reds and White Jersey giants are resilient against most fowl ailments. However, you must keep them in optimal conditions and offer nutritious meals for better immunity. Moreover, they require clean water and regular vaccinations or de-worming.

Do not forget to clean the coop after every two weeks. That way, you will protect your birds from mites and other disease-causing parasites. Since these birds are slightly heavier than others, please place them in a sizable pen of 6 by 8 feet.

Remember that some birds can stand tall at 26 to 28 inches. Therefore, ensure that the coop’s ceiling is approximately three feet beyond their heads.


Apart from giving you eggs and meat, there are other various benefits of raising chickens. For instance, due to their foraging nature, the activity may end up reducing waste in your home. What’s more, you will get rich natural fertilizers and entertainment from these delectable creatures.

If you are looking for these and more, you can never go wrong with White Jersey white or Rhode Island Reds chicken. Hopefully, this piece will instigate an inner desire to own one.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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