the Varieties of Plymouth Rocks

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by digitS', Jan 11, 2009.

  1. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I'm particularly interested in the size and availability of the various Plymouth Rock varieties. I think it would be fun to have a productive, dual-purpose flock with color as the only variable.

    1. The White Rocks are used as a parent for Cornish X's. Are they larger than the others?
    2, The Buff & Partridge are less-common varieties. Are they smaller and poorer quality birds especially in egg production.
    3. Oklahoma State lists Silver Penciled, Blue, and Columbian Rocks. Are these varieties at all commonly available?
    4. If a single order was placed for mixed Rocks, where would be a good source for some of these varieties?

    Thank you in advance for giving this some thought and helping me better understand the Plymouth Rock [​IMG]. I have Barred Rocks now and have had them once before.

  2. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    The only thing I can tell you from my own experience is that my buff rocks are good-sized and great layers. My main roo is about 9 lbs and my hens about 7 lbs each. During most of the year the individual hens average 3 eggs every 4 days. During January they average an egg every other day. Mine are very sweet-tempered.

    I'm working on obtaining blue rocks this year, but they are still in the planning stages, so I cannot offer any personal experience there. I am not aware of any hatchery that offers blue rocks.

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  3. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I just hatched my first blues last summer, so I don't have that much experiance with them yet. I can say I love their blue's a clearer blue than either my blue orps or my blue wyandottes. They have been very slow to start laying, but our weather this past fall and winter so far haven't helped.

    This is one of my roos
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Quote:Good to know about the Buffs, Rusty!

    Quote:Very pretty rooster, Katy!

  5. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    The thing about the cornish that the lines are VERY strictly bred. While White Rocks might have been used at one time down the line, the birds themselves resemble a white rock about as much as a gosling resembles a duck. Two separate things.

    White Rocks are bred for egg production, exhibition qualities or meat production. The cornish crosses are bred for the meat production, so the egg production is decreased VERY much so. Hatchery birds are bred for massive egg production, so their meat qualities, are alright, but nothing near what the Cornish X's are because...they were simply bred for the opposite end of the spectrum.

    White Rocks bred for show may have a lower egg production, because they are bred to resemble the standards. Breeders are more concerned with conformation and not as concerned with production since they generally operate on a smaller scale.

    In essence, the White Rocks used for the Cornish X's are a completely separate breed than the White Rocks seen as layers and as exhibition birds.
  6. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Superior Farm has:
    Columbian Plymouth Rock
    Barred Plymouth Rock
    White Plymouth Rock
    Buff Plymouth Rock
    Silver Penciled Plymouth Rock
    Partridge Plymouth Rock

    I have an order in for a dozen SP eggs as soon as they start shipping in Feb.
  7. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    I hatched this girl (now deceased from egg bound) and she was from Gordie's stock.
  8. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Crowing

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    The largest rocks are white and barred, followed closely by some of the better bred buffs. Partridge Rocks are smaller still since there haven't been many breeders involved in keeping the breed for heritage or dual purpose.

    Size varies by source - show may be largest but not lay as well or be as fertile.

    Heritage birds - from hobby farmers focusing on dual purpose - tend larger than production birds and usually slightly smaller than show birds. Heritage birds are harder to find, more expensive when you do, than production birds.

    Production bred birds tend to be smaller. Again production/hatchery quality varies from hatchery to hatchery as well.

    I got one lousy batch of PRs from one hatchery and a very good batch from a second. I'm going to work in heritage and show birds as they become available and build on them.

    I got an awesome heritage quality barred rock by trying to hatch my first eggs, only one hatched after a powerfailure but wow she's neat. I'll get more from that source.

    More than anything do your research, a good reputation is a great comfort. I got this very good batch of PRs from Welp.

    I may check out that Superior Farms place as well.

    NO matter where you get them, you usually cant just buy 20 and have all of them worth keeping to breed. You can make size and color and production improvements if you sort out of your group those that don't meet your goals.

    In the end whatever color floats your boat. Blues and Blacks run in the buff range. The size of the grown chicken isn't just about color but size and quality of it's parents. Paying more for well bred birds from good sources gets you generations ahead. But hard work, goals and good choices can get you to the same place.

    They're all beautiful.
  9. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    As you can probably tell from my inquiry - other than checking out the poultry barn at the Interstate Fair, I've never been involved with show quality birds. Also, for the last good number of years, I've limited myself to one breed at a time. That makes real comparisons difficult even of those breeds that I think I know something about. Of course, source of the birds makes a world of difference and it may be time for me to try to gain a little knowledge and more control over that.

    One thing I especially like about BYC is the chance to look at the pictures of people's birds. Beautiful . . . ! As far as variations within the group, I'm hoping to avoid that. My most recent purchase of chicks was the most amazing mix of shapes and even color (I mean, Black Australorps are supposed to be black, right?). It was disappointing to feel that only about 20% of those purchased even rose to the standards to my untrained eyes [​IMG].

    If the White Rocks in the Cornish X lines are different from what I'm hoping to have in my backyard - that is a good thing. With no real interest in these birds for meat production, it is also good to see some confirmation to my suspicion that the commercial hatcheries are primarily interested in egg production for their own benefits. Well, that fits for me and, maybe, the 2 hatcheries cited would work also. It's encouraging that the Silver Penciled and Columbian Rocks are out there (and the Blues obviously are too [​IMG]).

    Breeding isn't an important interest and . . . I'm almost reluctant to say what I'm thinking of and it isn't what most BYC'ers are aiming for. Wouldn't a Buff sire and Barred, White, and Columbian (perhaps even Silver Penciled) dams produce sex-linked chicks?

    They would be "mutt" Plymouth Rocks to be sure and with a different color than the other varieties but if there is some size, shape, and performance confirmation - well, that might "float my boat" also [​IMG].

    Thank you [​IMG].

  10. Laskaland

    Laskaland ThE gRoOvY cHiCkEn

    Aug 2, 2008
    Funny you should ask... I was looking at my White Rock hens today and noticed just how pretty they are. They are from McMurray Hatchery, born September 16th... They are big, broad breasted, friendly. Their feathering is consistant and shiny. They have not started laying yet (17 weeks tomorrow) But they are happy birds.

    I also have Barred Rock boys from McMurray, and I am not as impressed. Frankly they are scrawny. Healthy, but not what I would consider a "HEAVY BREED" like MM claims.

    I would get more White Rocks from there in a heartbeat.
    Good Luck, I like Rocks, even though they aren't what I would call Fancy or Flashy [​IMG]


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: