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Standard Varieties of Chickens:

Plymouth Rocks


The Plymouth Rock is the most popular of all varieties of poultry as a general-purpose fowl. Its medium size, hardy growth, and good laying qualities make it a practical fowl for the farm. The Barred variety is the most generally known of the Plymouth Rock classes, and their history dates back a little over a quarter of a century. Various bloods were used in its making, the belief being general that they originally came from a cross between the American Dominique and Black Java. It has also been shown that the Light Brahma, Dark Brahma, and Pit Game have been used in their making.

The Barred Plymouth Rock (fig. 1) is of a grayish-white color, regularly crossed with parallel bars of blue-black running in straight, distinct lines throughout the entire length of the feather, and showing on the down or under color of the feathers. The barring is somewhat smaller on the hackle and saddle feathers than on other portions of the body. The bird is of medium size, with broad neck, flat at the shoulders, the breast is full, and the body broad and compact; medium-sized wings, that fold gracefully, the points being well covered with breast and saddle feathers. A medium-sized head, ornamented with upright, bright-red comb and wattles; a large, bright eye; and yellow beak, legs, and toes, places the picture before us in its entirety. The difference between the Barred and the Pea-comb Barred is that the latter has a small, firm, and even pea-comb, instead of single comb.

FIG. 1. - Pair of Barred Plymouth Rocks

For the farmer or market poultryman they are favorites, being of medium size, well proportioned, with a deep full breast, making a most admirable bird for market purposes. They are hardy, mature early, and make excellent broilers from eight to twelve weeks old. They are good layers the year round, and in winter they lay exceptionally well. Their eggs are brown in color and average 8 to a pound (.45 kg). They are good sitters and excellent mothers.

The Barred Plymouth Rock, besides being a practical fowl, is also one of the most sought after by fanciers. No class is better filled at the average poultry show of the country than is theirs. Their graceful figure, upright carriage, and active natures endear them to all as a farmer's fowl. There is a fascination in breeding them for plumage, the more regular and even their barring the better (fig. 2). It requires much skill to breed them for color, and two matings are generally used for breeding. An established rule for mating for cockerels is to use a standard color male with medium dark females, and for pullets, use light male and dark females. The double mating is resorted to by many, yet the writer has seen rare specimens produced from single matings.

FIG. 2. - Feathers of Barred Plymouth Rocks.

The characteristics of the Barred Plymouth Rock are noticeable in the other Plymouth Rock classes, excepting that of color. The size, shape, general outlines, and qualities are the same in the other varieties as in the Barred. The White Plymouth Rock is pure white in plumage throughout, and the buff variety is a clear buff, uniform in shade except the tail, which is deep buff or copperish-yellow brown. The buff color should extend to the under-color as much as possible; the deeper the better.

The standard weight of cocks is 9 pounds (4.3 kg); hens, 7 pounds (3.4 kg); cockerels, 8 pounds (3.6 kg); and pullets, 6 pounds (3.0 kg).


FOR FURTHER READING...

The first three images below come from the Oklahoma State University Department of Animal Science's Poultry Breeds pages. The fourth and fifth images are from the FeatherSite, "an on-line zoological garden of domestic poultry". The Plymouth Rock page at Oklahoma and the Plymouth Rocks page at FeatherSite contain further information about this breed's history and more images of these fowl. Clicking on each image takes you to the page specifically about that particular variety.


Barred Plymouth Rock Buff Plymouth Rock Partridge Plymouth Rock White Plymouth Rock Hen Silver-Penciled Plymouth Rock

Image Credits (from left to right): Copyright © 1996, Oklahoma State University Board of Regents; Copyright © 1996, Oklahoma State University Board of Regents; Copyright © 1996, Oklahoma State University Board of Regents; Courtesy of Bill and Sue Tivol; Courtesy of Barry Koffler

Please note: These links point to pages that are being served off of the Oklahoma State University's web server and off the cyborganic.net web server, which are not part of the Chickscope project. Because of this, the pages may be missing or corrupted, and control of this is generally out of the hands of the Chickscope development team.

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