The Plymouth Rock Chicken is one of the older and most popular layers of brown eggs in the United States. The Barred Plymouth Rock, also known as the Barred Rock, is the most popular variety of the Plymouth Rock breed, and it is also one of the most popular brown egg layers for small farm and back yard chicken farming in the United States. The Barred Plymouth Rock was first shown in 1869, and it was one of the first breeds to be admitted to the American Standard of Excellence in 1874. Barred Rock Chickens were created by crossing a male Dominique with a female Black Cochin or Black Java to produce a heavy breed of chicken with the plumage pattern and egg laying capabilities of the Dominique and the broodiness and docile temperament of the Black Cochin.
Barred Plymouth Rock Chickens are an excellent dual purpose chicken breed and they will lay an exceptional number of large brown eggs over their lifetime. They will lay between 200-300 eggs in a year, and when they no longer have any laying utility they are large enough to produce a good amount of chicken meat. The Barred Plymouth Rock is often confused with the Dominique Chickens, but they Dominique will have a rose comb while the Barred Rock has the more recognizable single comb. They are great backyard birds and usually have fairly calm temperaments when interacted with from a young age. Another great quality of the Barred Rock is that their “barring” plumage pattern is a sex-link characteristic, meaning that the males and females can be differentiated from birth simply by color. The females will be much darker and have much more black than the males.
The Barred Plymouth Rock Chicken is an extremely hardy and heavy breed that will thrive in almost all conditions and climates in the United States. Under the right conditions they will continue to lay well throughout the winter. This bird is highly recommended for families and backyard farmers who wish to raise birds for egg purposes, but may also want to harvest the meat as well. They can be tamed easily and are great for children wishing to handle the birds.