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Plymouth Rock chicken

The Plymouth Rock is an American breed of domestic chicken. It was first seen in Massachusetts in the nineteenth century, and for much of the early twentieth century was the most popular chicken breed in the United States. It is a dual-purpose breed, raised both for its meat and for its brown eggs. It is resistant to cold, easy to manage, and a good sitter.[2][6]:68

Plymouth Rock
Barred Plymouth Rock Rooster 001.jpg
Cock bird, Barred plumage
Conservation statusRecovering
Other namesRock
Barred Rock
Country of originUnited States
UseDual-purpose breed
  • Male: Standard: minimum 3.4 kg (7.5 lb)[1]:241
    Bantam: maximum 1.36 kg (3.0 lb)[1]:242
  • Female: Standard: minimum 2.95 kg (6.5 lb)[1]:241
    Bantam: maximum 1.13 kg (2.5 lb)[1]:242
Skin colorYellow
Egg colorBrown[2]
Comb typeSingle
ABASingle comb clean legged
PCGBSoft feather: heavy[5]
APSheavy breed softfeather
Barred hen
Plymouth Rock egg



The Plymouth Rock was first shown in Boston in 1849, but was then not seen for another twenty years.[2] In 1869, in Worcester, Massachusetts, one D.A. Upham cross-bred some Black Java hens with a cock with barred plumage and a single comb; he selectively bred for barred plumage and clean (featherless) legs.[6]:68 His birds were shown in Worcester in 1869; the modern Plymouth Rock is thought to derive from them.[2] Other people have been associated with the development of the Plymouth Rock, as have other chicken breeds including the Brahma, the Cochin (both white and buff), the Dominique, and the White-faced Black Spanish.[2]

The Plymouth Rock was added to the Standard of Excellence of the American Poultry Association in 1874.[2] The barred plumage pattern was the original one; other colors were later added.[2]

Because of its many good qualities – tasty meat, good egg production, resistance to cold, early feathering, easy management, good sitting – the Plymouth Rock became the most widespread chicken breed in the United States until the time of World War II.[2] With the advent of industrial chicken farming, it was much used in the development of broiler hybrids, but began to fall in popularity as a domestic fowl.[6]:68

The Plymouth Rock is listed by the Livestock Conservancy as "recovering", meaning that there are at least 2500 new registrations per year. Worldwide, numbers for the Plymouth Rock are reported at almost 33,000;[7] about 24,000 are reported for the Barred Plymouth Rock,[8] and over 970,000 for the White variety.[9]


The Plymouth Rock has a single comb with five points; the comb, wattles and ear-lobes are bright red. The legs are yellow and unfeathered. The beak is yellow or horn-colored.[6]:69

In the United States, seven color varieties of the Plymouth Rock are recognized: Barred, Blue, Buff, Columbian, Partridge, Silver-penciled and White.[3] Ten plumage varieties are listed by the Entente Européenne d’Aviculture et de Cuniculture, of which five – Barred, Black, Buff, Columbian and White – are recognized by the Poultry Club of Great Britain.[4] In Australia, the Barred variant is split into two separate colors, Dark Barred and Light Barred.[10]


The Plymouth Rock is a dual-purpose breed, and is kept both for its meat and for its large brown eggs, of which it lays about 200 per year.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Victoria Roberts (2008). British poultry standards: complete specifications and judging points of all standardized breeds and varieties of poultry as compiled by the specialist breed clubs and recognised by the Poultry Club of Great Britain. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 9781405156424.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Plymouth Rock Chicken The Livestock Conservancy. Archived 10 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b APA Recognized Breeds and Varieties: As of January 1, 2012. American Poultry Association. Archived 4 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b Liste des races et variétés homologuée dans les pays EE (28.04.2013). Entente Européenne d’Aviculture et de Cuniculture. Archived 16 June 2013.
  5. ^ Breed Classification. Poultry Club of Great Britain. Accessed August 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Carol Ekarius (2007). Storey's Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing. ISBN 9781580176675.
  7. ^ Transboundary breed: Plymouth Rock. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed October 2016.
  8. ^ Transboundary breed: Plymouth Rock Barred. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed October 2016.
  9. ^ Transboundary breed: Plymouth Rock White. Domestic Animal Diversity Information System of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Accessed October 2016.
  10. ^ James Bishop (1998). Australian Poultry Standard, first edition. Linton, Victoria: Victorian Poultry Fanciers' Association. ISBN 9780646362311.