Simply called “Rocks” by some, these hardy, cold resistant chickens get their name from Plymouth Rock (yep, the one from the early days of our wonderful country)…
Barred Plymouth Rock Chicken History
Plymouth Rock is a light grey color. When a fence was built around the monument it created a striped, light, dark gray pattern on the rock (caused by shadows from the fence). So… when the chicken breed was first bred (first showed in 1849), it reminded people of Plymouth Rock. However, since the naming of the breed, several color varieties have been bred (such as white). However, there are many other chicken breeds that have barred genetic variations (such as Marans, Crele Orpingtons and ect…)
Breed Laying ability
Hens of the Plymouth Rock breed are known to be very good sitters. They are also very crafty (and generally somewhat picky) about nest making. Plymouth Rock hens lay about 200-250 eggs per year, which means they are very good layers. Plymouth Rocks are lay light brown/cream eggs.
Above: Cookie (3 yr Barred Plymouth Rock hen) and Sam, my younger brother.
A Dual Purpose Breed
Since Plymouth Rocks are a dual-purpose breed, they are somewhat large. Plymouth Rock roosters weigh about 7-8 pounds. Plymouth Rock hens weigh about 6-7 pounds. The breed is reputably known to have very tasty meat… but, to be honest, I have never tried it. As you might be able to observe from the photos, we have become… well… quite attached…
Plymouth Rocks are generally docile and easy to handle. However, the roosters have a slight shadow in their reputation for being overly territorial and aggressive. However, not all… or even most roosters in the breed are that way. Plymouth Rocks are very notorious foragers (particularly if there are spiders on the loose). For this reason, they do very well as free range chickens. However, they are known to be fairly tolerant of confinement for such a productive breed.
Barred Rocks are very hardy… and are also very adaptable (as you may observe from the pet rooster below). They are very tolerant of cold weather but also are known to bear heat well. However, care must be taken to ensure that Plymouth Rock chickens do not catch frost-bite. This is because they usually have fairly large pointed combs.
This full-grown Barred Rock rooster (below) is a pet. He accompanies his owner everywhere in a travel trailer. (The rooster has his own, special box, of course). He gets let out whenever they stop… especially when he has photographs to pose for.