Sunday, March 02, 2008

Barred Plymouth Rocks

Take a look at these Barred Rock hens! Hopefully our chickies will grow up just as lovely.

Barred Rocks are the original variety in the Plymouth Rock breed, with the other colors (pencilled, buff, white, black, Columbian, partridge, blue) coming later. Developed in America in the middle of the 19th century and was first exhibited as a breed in 1869. Several individuals claimed its invention, using crosses of Dominique, Java, Cochin, and perhaps Malay and Dorking. The Breed became popular very rapidly, and in fact, until World War II, no breed was ever kept and bred as extensively as the Barred Plymouth Rock. Its popularity came from its qualities as an outstanding farm chicken: hardiness, docility, broodiness, and excellent production of both eggs and meat. Most of the other varieties were developed from crosses containing some of the same ancestral background as the barred variety. Early in its development, the name Plymouth Rock implied a barred bird, but as more varieties were developed, it became the designation for the breed. The Barred Plymouth Rock was one of the foundation breeds for the broiler industry in the 1920's, and the White Rock continues to be used as the female side of the commercial broiler cross.
Barred Rocks are considered a dual purpose bird, reliable winter layers of large brown eggs, and attaining good size for the table - Cock-9-1/2 pounds; hen-7-1/2 pounds; cockerel-8 pounds; pullet-6 pounds. They are docile; normally will show broodiness; possess a long, broad back; a moderately deep, full breast and a single comb of moderate size. Some strains are good layers while others are bred principally for meat. They usually make good mothers. Their feathers are fairly loosely held but not so long as to easily tangle. Generally, Plymouth Rocks are not extremely aggressive, and tame quite easily. Some males and hens are big and active enough to be quite a problem if they become aggressive. Breeders should be aware of the standard weights and not select small or narrow birds for the breeding pen.
Here's one of our Barred Rock chicklets, snuggling on my shoulder. Of the 3 breeds we are raising now, the Rocks are the calmest and most curious. They quickly settle down to being held and seem to enjoy the attention.

More info about Barred Rocks can be found on the OSU Breeds of Livestock site.
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Stella update - She's still completely preggers, as wide as she is tall. We've noticed a few changes in shape and carriage that mean calving day is close, but nothing too exciting yet.

1 comment:

Manerva said...

Beautiful hens and my best to Stella!