You may hear the Plymouth Rock Chicken referred to as “Rocks” or “Barred Rocks.” This New England breed was first exhibited in 1869 as a cross between Black Javas, Cochins, Dominiques, Dorkings and Malays. They were promoted as a useful fowl that produced tasty meat, as well as a good supply of eggs. Prior to WWII, the Plymouth Rock Chicken was the most extensively bred chicken breed in the United States. Since the 1920s, the Barred Plymouth Rock has been a popular choice for the broiler industry.
What Does A Plymouth Rock Chicken Look Like?
Plymouth Rock chickens come in eight different colors. The most popular is the barred (black and white), white, buff, partridge, silver penciled, blue, Columbian and black. Barring goes all the way down to the skin, but solid-colored Plymouth Rocks will have a yellow skin tone to match their yellow feet. The chickens are relatively large, with cocks weighing in at 7.5 – 9.5 pounds and hens at 6.6 – 7.5 pounds on average. They have long, broad backs with full breasts. Hens with deep, full abdomens are the best layers, producing four to six eggs per week.
Do Plymouth Rock Chickens Make Good Pets?
Both roosters and hens get along well with people and pets, which is one reason they’ve been so popular throughout the years. Plymouth Rocks are so friendly and docile they even make suitable pets for children. They make extremely smart and plucky additions to the farm. They bear confinement well and the hens can be quite broody, making excellent mothers. They are especially hardy in the winter as well.
Tips For Raising Plymouth Rock Chickens:
- Breeders will want to avoid underweight birds, high tails and narrow bodies.
- Keep newly hatched chicks fed, watered and free from drafts at 90-95 degrees.
- Birds raised for meat will generally mature early, between 8-12 weeks.
- You will need to clear the nests every day, as these hens tend to produce many eggs.