The Plymouth Rock chicken is one of the most popular early breeds of poultry. The Barred Plymouth Rock was a favorite farm chicken since it was both a good egg producer and also developed a large quantity of meat. One thought is that the originator was Dr.John Bennett who exhibited some birds of this name at Boston in 1849. However another strain that was being developed by D.A.Upham of Massachusetts who had used Dominiques in their make up exhibited in 1869 was another probable ancestor.. As the demand for white eggs increased, the breed lost popularity. White Plymouth Rocks were white sports of the Barred variety, other strains trace their ancestry to other white fowls. Buff Plymouth Rocks originated in Rhode Island, not far from Fall River, Massachusetts, and were first exhibited as Golden Buffs. Buff Cochin blood was introduced in some strains in New York State. Silver Penciled Plymouth Rocks originated in the state of New York. Dark Brahma and Silver Penciled Wyandottes blood were used to produce this variety. Partridge Plymouth Rocks are a result of Partridge Cochin, Dark Cornish, Single-comb Golden Wyandottes males, Brown Leghorns, Golden Laced Wyandottes and Barred Plymouth Rocks being amalgamated to form the new variety. Columbian Plymouth Rocks originated in Ohio as the result of crosses between Light Brahmas, Barred Plymouth Rocks, White Plymouth Rocks and Columbian Wyandottes.
"This breed of fowls we hardly think is known outside of the New England States. It is said the Plymouth Rock is produced by crossing a Cochin China cock with a hen, a cross between the Fawn-colored Dorking, the great Malay, and the Wild Indian. The cock has been bred to stand, at a year old, from twenty to twenty-five inches high, and weigh from eight to ten pounds ; the pullets from six to seven pounds each. Generally speaking, the pullets are very early layers ; commencing at five months of age and continue to lay until the molting season. They lay a medium sized egg, of a rich and reddish-yellow color. The plumage of these fowls is very rich and variegated, showing off in the sun the most brilliant hues. The cocks are usually of a beautiful red or speckled color, and the hens of a darkish brown. Some of the colors thrown by this breed are not dissimilar to the Dominique fowl. They have very fine flesh, and are fit for the table at an early age. The legs are quite large, and usually blue or green, but occasionally yellow or even white, and frequently having five toes upon each foot. Some of the varieties have the legs occasionally slightly feathered. They have large single rose-colored or red combs and wattles ; cheeks are rather large ; tails stout and short, and very small wings in proportion to their bodies. The chicks are quite hardy and have the same uniformity in size and appearance as those of the pure bloods of primary races. The hens make good mothers and close setters."
A quote from Dr. J. C. Bennett in the Boston Cultivator, Aug 25th ,1849 says :-
" I have given this name to a very extra breed of fowls which I produced by crossing a cockerel of Baylies` importation of Cochin-China, with a hen, across between the fawn-coloured Dorkings, the Great Malay, and the Wild India. Her weight is six pounds and seven ounces. The Plymouth Rock Fowl , then, is in reality, one half Cochin-China, one fourth fawn-coloured Dorking, one eighth great Malay, and one eighth wild India-having five primative bloods, Shangahae, Malay, Game, Turkish, and India, tracable by referring to the history of those breeds and their crosses respectively."
Hardy;General purpose ; brown egg breed ; sitters ; medium to large in size. Standard weights, cock 9 lbs., cockerel 8 lbs., hen 7 lbs., pullet 6 lbs. The typical Plymouth Rock is a compactly built, strong, but not coarse boned fowl, the general contour of the body presenting the "wedge" shape so noticeable in a good dairy cow. This is more readily seen in the females than in the males, whose more erect carriage and lesser abdominal development takes away somewhat the wedge-like appearance of body. In all varieties the comb is single and serrated, in size medium to small ; ear-lobes red, tail of medium length, and abundant. In beak, shanks and toes, deep yellow is the color coveted by fanciers. The skin should be yellow.
Classification: Heavy / Soft feather
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Numbers: 160 per annum
Scottish Plymouth Rock Club Phone - 01505-683251
The Plymouth Rock Club of Australia Phone - (08)-8836-7242
- Poultry Craft by John H Robinson, 1904
- Pictures courtesy of Poultry Photos
- THE PEOPLES PRACTICAL POULTRY BOOK" BY WM.M.LEWIS 1871,New York