The Barred Plymouth Rock is one of the most popular egg-laying breeds in the world. Originally created by utilizing breed genetics of the Dominique and Black Java or Black Cochin, this breed was first seen in 1865. It wasn’t until it was first exhibited in 1869 when the distinction between the Dominique and Plymouth Rock started to be made. The Dominique and Barred Plymouth Rock were first featured in the American Standard of Perfection in 1874.
While being a capable dual-purpose breed, the Barred Plymouth Rock is mainly utilized for its high production of large brown eggs. Like many other dual-purpose breeds, the spent hens can be used for their meat.
Wearing a Zebra-like black and white striped plumage, the Barred Plymouth Rock is a strikingly beautiful bird. The barring is a sex-linked trait, with females being much darker than their male counterparts. The Plymouth Rock also bears a medium sized single comb with 5 very pronounced and very regal points. To contrast its black and white build, the bird has a yellow beak, legs and feet. Plymouth Barred Rock chicks are black with a white spot on their head.
Like everyone in this world, there’s much more to this bird than its beautiful physical appearance. With the widespread popularity and functionality of the bird, there’s no wonder why so many breeders and farmers try to take credit for developing the Barred Plymouth Rock. Spawning out of a crossing between an American Dominique cock and a Black Cochin Hen, the Barred Plymouth Rock’s incredible ability to lay eggs year round made way for a rapid gain in the breed’s popularity. Also being one of the oldest American chicken breeds, its hardiness in many climates throughout the United States is astounding.
The Modern Barred Plymouth Rock
Halfway through the 20th century, the breed was dominating the egg-laying scene, being America’s most popular farm chicken. The amazing dual-functionality of the Barred Plymouth Rock led to the development of different strains of the breed that were aimed at either egg or meat production. The Barred Plymouth Rock wasn’t just a hard worker as well; many fanciers raised the breed with the single goal of getting the perfect color as according to standard. Colors were also bred, with the White Plymouth Rock being favored for meat thanks to its heavier body and white pin feathers. The White Plymouth Rock and other heritage broiler varieties eventually gave way to the modern day industrial broiler in popularity.
The Barred Plymouth Rock is a docile, tame, and cold-hardy bird that can lay year round in almost all conditions. What’s the catch you ask? There really isn’t one. Plymouth Rock hens will gladly go broody and are great mothers when they do. Maturing into a broiler at 8-12 weeks of age, cocks can weigh up to 9.5 pounds with hens growing up to 7.5 pounds. The hens clock in at around an extremely productive 200+ egg lay rate. During cold and dark winter days here in Colorado, the Barred Plymouth Rock is one of a few breeds that continues to produce day after day.
In modern times, the White Rock and White Leghorn have taken over the Barred Rock in terms of popularity, but the Barred Rock is still an extremely popular and effective dual-purpose breed seen on farms around the world.
You can find the Barred Plymouth Rock for sale from eFowl, as well as at many farm supply or feed stores around the United States during the spring and summer months.