All you need to know about the Plymouth Rock Chicken

If you’re a novice backyard chicken keeper or seek a friendly, calm, and quiet chicken that looks beautiful, then this might be the breed for you. It is a relaxed and responsive bird that is a great addition to your backyard coop.

What are Plymouth Rock Chickens?

These Chickens are one of the oldest breeds of domestic bird in North America. They were first brought to Massachusetts in 1849. In 1869, they were first bred selectively to achieve the clean legs and the black and white barred plumage pattern that is associated with the modern breed.

During World War II, this bird was the main source of eggs and chicken meat across the USA. The US government actively encouraged citizens to breed and keep their own for food purposes.

The Appearance of Plymouth Rock Chickens

barred rock rooster

These chickens are noted for their attractive barring. Males have an equal amount of black and white barring, and each feather ends with a dark tip. Females have slightly wider black bars than white bars and this results in a darker overall hue.

Their Characteristics:

  • A single comb with five points
  • The body is strong, triangular, and sturdy
  • The back is long and broad
  • The chest is full
  • The feathers are loose and very soft
  • Legs are clean (unfeathered) and each foot has four toes.
  • The comb, wattle and ear lobes are red, and the chicken has a red face with reddish eyes.
  • The beak is horn colored.

Standard Plymouth Rock roosters weigh 4kg and the hens weigh about 3.5kg.

Varieties of Plymouth Chickens

There are currently seven different varieties of these Chickens accepted in the USA, ten in Europe and five in the UK. The most common by far is the Barred Plymouth Rock. Others are quite rare and include the Blue, Buff, Colombian, Partridge, White, and Silver Penciled.

Are they Good Layers?

As a strong, larger breed of bird with a longer lifespan than many others, they are predominantly raised for their meat. Some varieties, however, are very good layers, and as a dual-purpose bird (meat plus eggs), it is only rivaled by the Rhode Island Red.

Plymouth Rock Chicken

The eggs they lay are large and brown, and you can expect each to lay around four eggs per week. Productivity is highest in the first couple of years and then it declines, though some hens will still lay eggs periodically at ten years old.

This is not a particularly broody bird. You can actively encourage your hens to sit, however, and they will usually learn to be good sitters and are great mothers to their chicks.

Plymouth Rock chicks mature at between eight to twelve weeks old.

Why Choose this breed of Chickens?

  1. This is a breed that is healthy and strong and can live for ten to twelve years on average. Some birds have even been reported to live far longer, a few up to twenty years.
  2. They generally have a very mellow temperament and are calm, relaxed, and docile. Even the roosters cause few problems.  
  3. Plymouth rock hens are very trusting and will bond with their human family, including small children. Their curious nature means the chickens will follow you around just to see what you’re doing or to cadge treats!
  4. These chickens are very happy free-rangers and need plenty of space in their coop if they are going to be confined much more than overnight.
  5. Are good layers and will deliver a reliable supply of large brown eggs.
  6. They are easy to care for and, as they don’t fly well, they are much easier to keep in your yard than some other chicken breeds. Escape is usually on foot.

If you’re looking for a loving, calm, sweet-natured backyard chicken that is great with kids, a good layer, and easy to care for, choose Plymouth Rocks! They are chatty but quiet, love a snuggle, and will even become a lap bird in many cases if given plenty of attention. They might just be the perfect poultry pet!