New Hampshire Red

Bird with UNH ties gets acclaim

Tuesday, July 31, 2018
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NH Red chicken

South Carolina has a state spider. Montana has a state lullaby and Vermont, a state flavor. Four states have wild turkeys as their game bird. Until now, only Delaware and Rhode Island had chickens. On June 18, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill designating the New Hampshire Red, a chicken bred to withstand hard winters, as the state’s official poultry.

The measure was approved by the State Legislature in April at the urging of fourth-graders at the Canaan Elementary School. Teacher Ian Henry ’14 ‘15G worked with his students to create the bill with encouragement from Rep. Tim Josephson, whose daughter was in Henry’s class.

“When it was presented on the House floor, my class had the special privilege of attending the session,” Henry says. “They were able to take part in the whole legislative process.”

The measure was approved by the State Legislature in April at the urging of fourth-graders at the Canaan Elementary School.

A lush chestnut color, the New Hampshire Red was developed by Oliver '21, Austin '25, and Leslie Hubbard '27, with the help of UNH poultry specialist A.W. "Red" Richardson. The disease-resistant breed helped the Hubbard brothers grow their Walpole, New Hampshire, farm into one of the largest poultry operations in the Northeast.

With a focus on research and development, the Hubbards used advanced poultry genetics and management techniques to develop superior breeding stock that provided more meat and egg protein efficiently and more economically. By 1974, when the business was acquired by pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., Hubbard Farms had become a worldwide success, operating in more than 50 countries.

The Hubbards’ commitment to education led them to contribute millions of dollars to UNH. Throughout the years, their gifts have funded scholarships as well as new programs, strengthening the university's reputation for excellence in teaching, research and public service.