The first Barred Plymouth Rock chickens were exhibited in 1869. For almost half a century, the Barred Rock chicken was the ‘go-to’ chicken in the United States for those operating commercial farms. While the Plymouth Rock chickens have fallen out of use in most commercial farming operations, they make a brilliant backyard chickens.
Let’s take a little look at what it brings to the table.
Plymouth Rock Chicken Characteristics and Facts
|Eggs||~200 (per year)|
|Use||Dual-purpose (Meat + Eggs)|
|Weight||Male: 7.5 lb (3.4 kg) |
Female: 6.5 lb (2.95 kg)
|Country of origin||United States|
The Origins of the Plymouth Rock Chicken
We do know that the Plymouth Rock started to appear in the United States in the mid-1800s. In fact, it is one of the oldest breeds of American bird. It was developed in Massachusetts, but we do not know what birds it was developed from, however.
It is evident that the Plymouth Rock was not all that popular when it first appeared. This is because shortly after people started to talk about it, it just fell off of the radar.
It wasn’t until the tail end of the 1800s that the bird started to make an appearance again. It stuck around for a long while at that time, often being exported around the globe.
The Look of the Plymouth Rock Chicken
There are nine different recognized varieties to the Plymouth Rock chicken (more on this later). However, the one that you are most likely to encounter (and one that you have probably seen the most) is the black and white striped version (Barred Plymouth Rock).
However, the White Plymouth Rock has gained popularity recently, and it is this variant that is most likely to appear in commercial farming operations.
The Plymouth Rock will always have a single comb type. There will be five points to this comb. It will be a deep red color. The same for their ear-lobes. The legs and skin is yellow.
They are quite a ‘wide’ bird, which isn’t surprising since the original purpose of the Plymouth Rock was to create a chicken that was good as a dual-purpose bird.
Plymouth Rock Chicken Recognized Variety
There are nine different Plymouth Rock chicken recognized varieties:
- Barred Plymouth Rock
- Black Frizzle
- Silver Penciled
- White Plymouth Rock
As said earlier the barred Plymouth Rock was exhibited in 1869, as the first virility. In the next years the white Plymouth Rock and the black appeared, while the buff came into the picture in the 1890s.
Barred Plymouth Rock Chicken
Among all the others, the barred Plymouth Rock is the original variety and remains the most popular for the backyard chicken owners.
The barred Rock chicken has very characteristic color pattern in its feathers. They are consisting of alternate crosswise stripes of two distinct colors with equal width.
It was admitted to APA in 1940.
Plymouth Rock Chicken Eggs
The Plymouth rock chicken egg color is brown. You should be able to get about 200 eggs per year from a Plymouth Rock Hen which are also excellent broodies.
Maybe, it isn’t the largest amount from the dual-purpose breeds, which is part of the reason as to why the Plymouth Rock chickens have fallen out of use in commercial farming operations, but it is good enough.
The real issue with the Plymouth Rock chickens isn’t so much the number of eggs that they produce, but the fact that egg production falls quite sharply.
This is a breed of chicken that can last a long time, but their egg production is going to plummet by the time they are four years old. Obviously, this makes sense, because in commercial farming operations they would have been sent to the slaughter long before this point.
The Plymouth Rock is a good ‘meat’ chicken. It can be raised specifically for meat, and it had been in the past. One of the things which makes this breed a great broiler chicken is the fact that it doesn’t require as much food as some of the other larger chicken breeds.
Obviously, it should always have food ‘handy’, but you will find that it probably won’t eat all that much of it.
In commercial farming operations, the Plymouth Rock Chickens are used to be slaughtered somewhere between 8 and 12 weeks old.
For the most part, the Plymouth Rock is a rather friendly chicken breed. However, they do have somewhat of a wild side. If they sense even the most remote of threats, they can become quite aggressive.
As a result, it probably isn’t going to be the right type of chicken to bring into a family, especially if you have noisy children. One of them could get pecked rather hard if they sneak up on your chickens!
For the most part, this is a chicken that should do fine if you confine it to a chicken run. However, do bear in mind that because it is a larger chicken, it is probably going to want to be let out free-range. The result for you would be happier and healthier chickens!
For the most part, the Plymouth Rock chickens can deal with just about any climate. They do well in both hot and cold weathers.
However, in the winter months, you may start to spot issues with their combs. You may want to keep an eye on them.
They do have thicker feathers, which means that you will probably want to dry them off quickly when the rain comes. You will also need to check them regularly for parasites.
Read also: The growth rate of Plymouth Rock chickens.