The Plymouth Rock (Barred Rock or Rock) originated in the United States taking their name from the town of Plymouth. Plymouth Rocks are considered to be a heavy breed and was recognised as early as 1874 under the name Barred Plymouth Rock which describes the markings they had. Plymouth Rocks were bred as a dual-purpose bird, meaning that they were valued both for their meat and for the hens’ egg-laying ability. The first Plymouth Rock was barred and other varieties were developed later. The breed became popular very rapidly, due to its hardiness and good nature and excellent production of both meat and eggs. In fact until World War II, no breed was ever kept and bred as extensively in the United States as the Barred Plymouth Rock.
They are friendly birds which are easy to tame and are vigorous and hardy birds which do not need a lot of space, but at the same time love to run free, They are not good fliers so do not require high fencing. Plymouth Rocks do tend towards broodiness though, so regular egg collecting is important to avoid this. Chicks feather up quickly and make great pets due to their docile nature. Plymouth Rocks lay a large egg that varies in colour from light to medium brown with a touch of pink. The birds continue laying throughout the winter but with decreased production. The amount of eggs laid is dependent upon the strains of the birds.
They are large, long-lived chickens and the hens have a deep, full abdomen which is a sign of a good layer. They have a broad, deep and well-rounded breast and bright yellow legs. The face is red with red ear lobes, a bright yellow beak, bay coloured eyes and a single medium-sized comb. There are eight colours of Plymouth Rocks recognized in most of the world, but in Australia, the barred colour is split in to two separate colours, Dark Barred and Light Barred. The difference between these colours is highly noticeable, with the bars of white colour wider and the grey lighter in the Light Barred, than in Dark Barred. Other colours include multiple pencilled or triple laced, pencilled partridge, multiple pencilled silver partridge, Columbian, buff Columbian and blue laced.