Plymouth Rock chickens are some of the most impressive breeds to date. They are a true American classic that only gets better with age. But you may be wondering, Are Plymouth Rock chickens right for me? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the Plymouth Rock chicken. Once you know all the basics, you can decide if they are the right fit for you.
Plymouth Rock Chicken Origin
The Plymouth Rock originated in Massachusetts in the mid-1800s. With careful breeding, farmers created a chicken that is not only beautiful but also useful. By combining chicken breeds such as Dominique, Cochin, Brahma, and Java, breeders created the perfect bird. And since they are one of the first USA originals, it makes sense to name them after Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts.
What Are Plymouth Rock Chickens Used For?
Plymouth Rock chickens are perfect for just about anything you can think of. No matter if your flock is for eggs, fresh meat, or as pets. The Plymouth Rock fits the bill for all of these tasks.
These hens are excellent egg layers. But they also grow up quickly. The average Plymouth Rock size is 7-8 pounds, which is perfect for broilers. But their docile nature makes them ideal pets as well. Are Plymouth Rock chickens right for me? Well, since they are suitable for anything, they should be. But let’s dig a little deeper.
What Are Their Eggs Like?
We will cut right to the chase here. Most of us keep backyard chickens for their delicious eggs. And our first concern is how many eggs we can expect. The average Plymouth Rock chicken lays about 200 eggs per year. That means you will get four large brown eggs a week without fail.
How long do Plymouth Rock chickens lay eggs? Most Plymouths lay eggs like clockwork for the first three years of life. After three years, there is a steady decline in production. But they don’t stop completely. In fact, most owners see eggs at least once a week well into the tenth year. So if you want reliable eggs, the Plymouth Rock chicken is right for you.
How Do They Fair In Winter?
If you have ever been to Massachusetts in the winter, you know that it gets below freezing. And since these chickens originate there, it only makes sense that they fare well in cold climates. Most of your Plymouth Rock hens even lay throughout the winter. It might not be at the same frequency to conserve heat and energy. But they deserve a little break before springtime anyway.
The only worry you will have during the winter is frostbite. The Plymouth Rock chicken has larger wattles and combs to watch. With a little petroleum jelly and proper coop ventilation, you shouldn’t have any issues, though.
Plymouth Rock Temperaments
So we know how we can use the Plymouth Rock chicken, but how will they interact with your flock? Most Plymouths are docile and calm natured hens. They aren’t too loud and enjoy the affection of humans. That is what makes them great for beginners and kids alike.
But around other chickens, your Plymouth Rock will hold it’s own. They aren’t incredibly aggressive, but they don’t let others push them around either. If they feel threatened, they will get testy until the other chicken backs off. Most Plymouth Rock chicken owners report that they stay near the top of the pecking order in most cases.
One of the best parts of these hens is their lifespan. The average Plymouth Rock chicken lifespan is 10-12 years. And while they might not give you eggs for all 12 years, they make incredible companions. In fact, their long lifespan is mostly due to their reduced egg production and superior breeding. Chickens that lay more eggs have shorter lifespans and are more prone to disease.
More and more people are getting Plymouth Rocks as pets because of their sweet temper and lifespans. They can be like owning a cat. But unlike cats, your chicken will at least give you a few benefits like eggs and pest control.
Breeding Plymouth Rock Chickens
For breeders, the Plymouth Rock is a dream bird. While these birds aren’t known for excessive broodiness, they are exceptional mothers. When given a clutch, your Plymouth Rock will sit on the eggs without abandonment. And once the chicks have hatched, she becomes the ideal mother for them.
But if you don’t want to breed your hens, this is still to your advantage. Since these hens don’t regularly go broody, you won’t have to keep breaking them of the cycle. And for a new chicken owner, that is great news.
Are There Any Medical Concerns?
Just when you think the Plymouth Rock can’t get any better, you learn that they are healthy birds. Besides your usual risk of internal and external parasites, the Plymouth Rock doesn’t get sick often.
As long as you have a clean environment and a well-balanced diet, you will never have a sick chicken. This is why these chickens live for so long. They are least likely to suffer from genetic defects or reproductive issues. The Plymouth Rock chicken couldn’t be easier to take care of.
Plymouth Rock Chicken Colors
When most people think of the Plymouth Rock, they think of the more common Barred Rock. But did you know that these birds come in a variety of different colors? There are currently seven color varieties, including blue, partridge, white, Colombian, buff, and silver penciled.
Having so many color varieties makes it hard to choose only one. But luckily for you, you don’t have to pick one. No matter what color variety you have, they all have the same fabulous temperament that we know and love. So you could have one of every color if you want! It’s not chicken hoarding until you have more chickens than you have room and food for.
Are Plymouth Rock Chickens Suitable For Urban Settings?
Urban flocks are becoming more popular as the years pass. Are Plymouth Rock Chickens right for me in the burbs? Yes! They are! These chickens have so many beautiful qualities about them. And one of the biggest is that they are one of the ideal chickens for urban settings.
First of all, the Plymouth Rock chicken is a quiet breed. They don’t get into squabbles often. So your neighbors will thank you for that. And you will appreciate not losing sleep at night.
But another part that makes these chickens urban-perfect is that they can’t fly well. They can’t fly over fencing and usually stay in the yard. You won’t have to worry about them getting into the neighbor’s yard or your garden. So it will make everyone happy.
What About Plymouth Rock Roosters?
We’ve been going on and on about hens, but what about the Plymouth Rock rooster? The truth is that these roos are not much like their hen counterparts. Roosters are very territorial and make it their mission to protect their hens.
Unfortunately, that also means they protect their girls from you. If you have children, these roosters are not the best to have around. Unless you keep the flock in a run all day, roosters are too unpredictable and might attack people.
But there are positives to owning Plymouth Rock roosters. Like, if you want to breed your hens, you will need a roo. And your rooster will also protect your flock if they free-range the pasture. But you don’t need a rooster for delicious eggs.
Plymouth Rock Chicken Fun Facts
If everything so far hasn’t convinced you that the Plymouth Rock isn’t a fantastic bird, maybe this will. Here are a few fun facts about the Plymouth.
The Plymouth Rock used to be the most common chicken in America. But for some reason, they fell out of favor. But recently, they have gained notoriety again. If you buy brown eggs at the store, they most likely came from a Plymouth Rock. These chickens are some of the most used hens for eggs and broilers on farms.
#2 Foundation Breed
Another fun fact is that the Plymouth Rock is often mixed with other birds to create fantastic hybrids. Breeders often use the Plymouth Rock as a base breed when creating new breeds too. And that tells you how great these birds are.
#3 Easy To Sex
Another fun fact is that the Plymouth Rock chicks are easy to sex. Males generally have a large white spot on their heads, while females have a small narrow one. You can’t get any easier than that without being a sex-link chicken.
#4 Soft Feathers
If you have ever held a chicken, you know that feathers are not as soft as they seem. Most chickens have stiff feathers that are coarse. But your Plymouth Rock will have soft feathers that feel loose to the touch. You might think that this is a weird fun fact. But if you are keeping Plymouths as pets, this is a good thing to know. Not only will your hens like the cuddles, but you will too.
Are Plymouth Rock Chickens Right For Me?
We think the Plymouth Rock chicken is right for everyone. They are beautiful birds with so many extraordinary qualities. We don’t know why more people don’t own them already.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!