Its name motivates images of the very first inhabitants in the United States, a vision of patriotic marvel that can’t be neglected.
And real to that name, the Plymouth Rock chicken, among the very first chicken breeds to be raised in the United States, has a vibrant history. Today, in fact, it’s one of the nation’s most popular types of backyard birds.
Raised coast to coast prior to World War II, this chicken breed is an outstanding source of both eggs and meat. As a dual-purpose bird, it goes beyond practically every other breed in egg and meat production.
Is it the best chicken breed for you? Continue reading to discover whatever you require to learn about this renowned breed.
History of the Plymouth Rock Chicken
The very first forefathers of the Plymouth Rock chicken were first found in Massachusetts in 1849.
For about twenty years after their discovery, the chickens went dark, with historians uncertain of why there are no records about these birds in between 1849 and 1869.
In 1869, the Plymouth Rock unexpectedly came back. Bred in Massachusetts, the Plymouth Rock is thought to be a mix of barred males and Java Hens.
The concept in reproducing these 2 was that barred plumage, tidy legs, and extraordinary egg and meat production would result.
At the time, there was a good deal of confusion over the distinction between rose and single comb birds. Both ranges were described as DOminiquies.
Ultimately, in an effort to minimize this confusion, the New York Poultry Society designated all single-comb birds Plymouth Rocks and all rose-combed birds Dominiques.
Popular throughout World War II, raising the Plymouth Rock chicken was motivated by the United States throughout the war.
This is due to the fact that it was a fantastic source of food to assist support the soldiers who were battling overseas along with the households holding down the back house.
Welcomed by countless Americans throughout this time, the breed, sadly, fell out of favor after the war.
As chicken and egg production, like whatever else at the time, ended up being more mechanized, lots of types fell by the wayside.
Commercial types like the Cornish Cross and White Leghorn rose to the leading edge, as they were thought about far more efficient than the modest Plymouth Rock.
Later on, the Plymouth Rock was crossed with other types to produce hybrids that were fantastic at producing meat.
The chicken was among the structure types for the broiler market and was (and presently is) likewise raised for hereditary hackle to be utilized as a product in the synthetic fly building for fishing.
For several years, as a result, it was tough to discover pure-blooded Plymouth Rocks. Fortunately, the chickens are rebounding.
This is due in part to the Livestock Conservancy’s acknowledgment of this breed as a rarer breed.
Today, the chicken types noted a recuperating, with almost a million birds thought to be out there worldwide.
Appearance of Plymouth Rock Chicken
The Plymouth Rock chicken is most quickly recognized by its disallowed plumage. It looks similar to a detainee with its black and white bars, and while males and women look a fair bit alike, there are some distinctions between the genders.
Roosters have white and black barring, with equivalent quantities of both. Each plume ends in a unique dark pointer.
Hens, on the other hand, have black bars that are somewhat larger than the white. While this can be tough to see from far, at a distance, it might look like though your Plymouth Rock hens are a darker grey in color.
While the barred Plymouth Rock is the most popular color variation of this chicken breed, it is definitely not the only one. This is the very best understood, treasured in American culture and folklore.
This bird has a big triangular body that is durable with a complete, large breast and a long, broad back.
The plumes on this bird are loose and complete, along with incredibly soft to the touch.
The barring pattern is a sharp black and white, particularly when compared to a disallowed Dominique chicken that is fuzzier and grey in color.
The legs of this bird are tidy, with 4 toes on each foot. Both the legs and skin are yellow, while the comb, wattles, and earlobes are red. The eyes are likewise red. The comb is single with 5 points.
These birds are valued for their size. Typically, a hen will weigh about 7 and a half pounds, while a rooster will weigh near to 10 pounds.
There’s likewise a bantam range of the Plymouth Rock, although this is not almost as typical as the basic Plymouth Rock. Bantam Plymouth Rock hens have to do with 2 and a half pounds while males are somewhat bigger, at 3 pounds.
Acknowledged to the American Poultry Association in 1874, there are presently 7 acknowledged types of the Plymouth Rock. Once again, the Barred Plymouth Rock is the most popular, however other choices consist of:.
All types other than the barred and white are rather challenging to find. In Great Britain, just Colombian, Barred, Buff, Black, and White ranges are acknowledged.
The Barred Plymouth Rock was the very first to increase to appeal in the United States, it was rapidly exceeded by the White Plymouth Rock in 1888.
It was produced through selective breeding with the hopes that it would end up being a remarkable meat-producing bird.
Not almost as appealing in its plumage and general look as the Barred Rock, it is typically used as an industrial meat manufacturer.
The Behavior of Plymouth Rock Chickens
The Plymouth Rock chicken is among the most mellow birds you can raise. Not known for a nasty attitude or a propensity towards bullying habits, the Plymouth Rock will hit it off with every other member of your flock.
Pick 3 words to explain this chicken, and owners will most frequently choose adjectives like “calm,” “docile,” and “sweet.” Even the roosters aren’t vulnerable to aggressiveness and will get along with other chickens, animals, and even little kids.
Constantly curious and on the move, the Plymouth Rock will take pleasure in the liberty of free-ranging. It’s not a shy bird, either, and will gladly follow you around the lawn to see what type of treats you may need to use!
That being stated, the Plymouth Rock chicken can likewise endure confinement with ease. As long as you offer each bird adequate area, you should not have any concerns restricting this bird for sensible quantities of time.
A terrific household bird, the Plymouth Rock is easy to rely on and uncomplicated to handle. It will even get along with your pet!
There is some natural variation amongst individuals in the breed, naturally.
While many people argue that these chickens are sweet, laidback, good-natured, and active, there are some chicken keepers who have actually declared that their Plymouth Rock roosters can be bullies.
Plymouth Rock Chicken Productivity.
In this area, we go over the egg and meat production of the Plymouth Rock Chicken.
Is the Plymouth Rock Chicken Good for Eggs?
Plymouth Rock chickens are typically raised for egg production, laying about 200 eggs each year or 4 eggs weekly. These eggs are a rather big and pale brown in color.
Their laying can be unforeseeable as they reach older. For the very first couple of years, your Plymouth Rock chickens will lay well. After three years, you will observe that a gradual decrease in egg performance starts.
While this decrease can be avoided by basic procedures like preventing the temptation to hang a light in your cage throughout the winter season (which can burn your chickens out and decrease egg production in later years), remember that laying capability is mostly identified by genes.
Some Plymouth Rocks will lay well into their tenth year! There’s a fair bit of irregularity here.
Plymouth Rocks aren’t understood for being broody, however, it’s not unprecedented, either. When you do have a Plymouth Rock hen that ends up being broody, she is apt to be an excellent caretaker and an even much better mom to her chicks.
Is the Plymouth Rock Chicken Good for Meat?
Plymouth Rock chickens feather out rapidly and likewise mature quickly.
By 8 to twelve weeks of age, your Plymouth Rock chickens are ready for slaughter (although you can, obviously, raise them longer for heavier meat).
If you want to fill your freezer, you truly can’t fail with Plymouth Rock. This chicken stands out at meat production, with a deep broad breast and an extremely meaty body. It has a great market weight, too, at approximately 7 to 8 pounds.
Today, this bird isn’t typically raised specifically for meat. It makes up on-behalf of the popular Cornish Cross broiler bird, which is the most popular business meat breed.
Health Issues of the Plymouth Rock Chicken.
Plymouth Rocks aren’t noted for any health problems in particular. They are healthy and remarkably tough and aren’t troubled by any illnesses in particular. Similar to all chickens, you need to keep an eye out for internal and external parasites.
External parasites are most quickly avoided by checking your chickens regularly.
Comb through the thick, fluffy feathering of your chickens to ensure bugs aren’t concealing on them. Supplying your chickens’ access to a dust bath can assist keep parasites like lice and mites away, and will also motivate natural interacting social habits.
Internal parasites are unusual however can be dealt with and avoided with tidy, fresh food and water. You can similarly utilize natural dewormers, like apple cider vinegar, pumpkin seeds, and garlic to prevent these insects from appearing.
Another issue you will require to remember is that Plymouth Rocks have big wattles and a single comb.
Just like other single-combed chickens, these birds are more susceptible to frostbite in ice-cold conditions.
Ensure your cage is draft-free yet likewise well-ventilated to assist avoid wetness accumulation, as this is the most typical reason for frostbite.
Otherwise, you should not have a lot of problems with your Plymouth Rocks. They have excellent genes as heritage breed chickens, and can normally live for a minimum of 10 years.
Some live as numerous as twelve or thirteen, and there are even records of birds living for a remarkable twenty years! With the ideal care, this is possible for your chickens, too.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Raising Plymouth Rock Chickens.
In this area, we talk about a few of the advantages and downside of raising Plymouth Rock chickens.
Advantages of Raising the Plymouth Rock Chicken.
A significant advantage of the Plymouth Rock chicken is that it’s simple to keep if you have a household or other animals to fret about. Plymouth Rocks frequently end up being lap chickens, making this one of the most popular chicken types if you’re in the marketplace for an animal chicken.
These birds are curious and naturally analytical, they are awful leaflets due to the fact that of their heavy weights.
You will not require to stress about setting up a big enclosure or fence to keep them in.
They aren’t most likely to travel over to the next-door neighbor’s lawn if they require to fly to arrive.
Plymouth Rocks are likewise understood for being reasonably peaceful. They are talkative, producing their basic egg tunes and early morning crows, they do so at a low volume and aren’t most likely to disrupt your next-door neighbors.
A relaxed chicken breed, the Plymouth Rock is simple to look after, specifically for novices.
Even if you make a couple of errors here or there while you are getting going, this breed is really flexible. They can basically raise themselves!
They likewise have some lovely plumage. There are numerous options, consisting of brown and white and buff, without a doubt the most special and most popular option is disallowed. With a strong appearance, these chickens will stand apart greatly in your chicken lawn.
With a mellow character and a beautiful look, the Plymouth Rock is the ideal chicken for exhibit in addition to for 4H tasks, if you have kids.
Disadvantages of Raising the Plymouth Rock Chicken
There are extremely couple of obstacles to mention when it concerns raising the Plymouth Rock chicken. The majority involve the weather condition.
These birds can be raised in simply about any environment, you will desire to keep an eye out and be prepared for extreme temperatures. If the weather is too cold, your birds can succumb to frostbite. If it’s too warm, they can end up being overheated.
Make certain your Plymouth Rocks have access to a cage that is warm and draft-free in the winter season, yet aerated in the summer season. They will likewise require lots of shade and fresh, tidy water throughout all seasons, too.
Due to their size, you might have some flock vibrant problems in your cage, however, this is not likely.
Plymouth Rocks can quickly lead around chickens in the flock, utilizing their heft to get what they desire. This normally just appears at mealtime and is simple to prevent by supplying your birds with a lot of feeder options.
The exact same qualities can manifest as stubbornness, too, so simply keep this in mind.
Raising the Plymouth Rock chicken has many obstacles including obtaining chicks, permits, veterinary care, feed, water, and space to raise them. All of these can be expensive and time-consuming.
Another major obstacle is hatcheries only provide chicks to a limited number of farmers every year and oftentimes the farmers cannot keep all the chicks. This means that many of the chicks are eventually sent to slaughter.
The other major problem is that hatching eggs is very labor-intensive and often times not very profitable. Many farmers who hatch their own chicks experience financial losses because it takes so much time and energy to raise the birds.
If you decide to go into the business of raising the Plymouth Rock chickens, you should first evaluate if it’s really a business you want to get into. If it turns out that you do decide to go ahead with this project, then you need to have realistic expectations about its profitability.
How to Raise the Plymouth Rock Chicken
While Plymouth Rocks aren’t understood for being extremely broody, if you’re fortunate to have a Plymouth Rock hens go broody, you’ll discover that she’s an excellent mom. When you’re raising your own Plymouth Rocks, it’s your best option to have a hen goes broody, however, you can likewise nurture your own eggs.
While you will require to feed a chick starter for the very first 10 weeks, you can then proceed to a regular adult feed.
The Plymouth Rock Chicken does not have any particular dietary requirements, however, if you’re raising your birds mostly for eggs, you will wish to either utilize an egg layer feed or include some additional calcium with crushed-up eggshells or oyster shells.
Layer feed will supply all the dietary requirements your chickens require, however, if you’re raising a combined flock that consists of roosters, you’re much better off utilizing a versatile broiler feed.
This will have all the protein your flock requires, minus the calcium. Excessive calcium can be harmful to an adult rooster’s kidneys and liver.
Rather, you can feed a broiler feed to all of your birds, and after that supply free-choice oyster shells individually. Your hens will consume the calcium from this different feeder when they require it.
Just like all other chicken types, you’ll likewise require a protected, safe cage. Make certain you have a lot of nesting boxes (a minimum of one for every single 4 chickens) together with big perches given that these chickens are larger than regular.
Make certain the cage is well-ventilated to keep them cool in the summer season and warm in the winter season.
Is the Plymouth Rock Chicken Right For You?
While it’s uncertain what the particular origins of the Plymouth Rock chicken might be, something is for sure– this might effectively be the very best chicken for you. This chicken is appropriate for a household and can manage both confinement and free-ranging with ease.
If you’re looking for a chicken that will give you years of happy meals, then look no further. The Plymouth Rock chicken is a good all-purpose breed that is suitable for confinement and free-ranging.
If you want a chicken that can withstand a variety of weather conditions and can live in the coop year-round, then this is the chicken for you.
Plymouth Rock fell by the wayside after World War II, it is slowly restoring appeal as more individuals establish interests in raising heritage breed chickens.
There are great deals advantages to raising heritage breeds -particularly dual-purpose types that are durable in a range of situations.
While the White Plymouth Rock is the most popular in business settings, it’s simple to find Barred Rocks at a hatchery or farm supply shop near you, either.
These chickens are frequently raised by little household farms and homestead operations, so they’re readily available at a sensible cost almost all over.
As a wonderful backyard bird, Plymouth Rocks deal with outstanding meat and egg production. Plus, they’re friendly and simple to look after. What more could you desire? This chicken breed is the best option for practically anybody.
- Transboundary breed: Plymouth Rock. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed October 2016.
- Peter Hric, Cyril Hrnčár, Jozef Bujko (2012). Diversity in Population Size and Production Parameters of Selected Varieties of Plymouth Rock Chicken Breed. Scientific Papers Animal Science and Biotechnologies 45 (1): 189–192. ISSN 2344-4576.
- Victoria Roberts (2008). British poultry standards: complete specifications and judging points of all standardized breeds and varieties of poultry as compiled by the specialist breed clubs and recognised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 9781405156424.
- Plymouth Rock Chicken The Livestock Conservancy. Archived 10 October 2016.
- Carol Ekarius (2007). Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing. ISBN 9781580176675.
- Janet Vorwald Dohner (2001). The Encyclopedia of Historic and Endangered Livestock and Poultry Breeds. New Haven, Connecticut; London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300088809.