Red Wicket Market Farm is a small farm 25 minutes from downtown Columbus, Ohio, near Slate Run Metropark. Breeding Black Copper and Blue Copper Marans to the Standard of Perfection.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Breed Profile: Plymouth Rock

Another warm spring week. Another week with rain and 100% humidity days, which means that, once again,  my garden is too wet to till. The tomato seedlings I planted back in March are so tall, I can't close the cold frame any more. Seriously, I just need a good, warm, less-humid, windy week to dry this garden out, and then it can rain a good inch a week all summer and I'll be perfectly content. Is that too much to ask?

Other than the dreaded weeding (no, I didn't weed in front of the barn yet...), not much is going on this week. The meat birds will go to processing tomorrow, so if you want to order one, today is your last day to order. Call us to reserve one before it's too late! Since this has been a quiet week, I thought I'd offer another breed profile: the Plymouth Rock.

Do you have a collection? Cat figurines, troll dolls, Beanie Babies, Dresden china? Well, I have a collection of Plymouth Rocks. They are my favorite chicken breed right now, and they come in so many colors I just have to have a few of each.

The Plymouth Rock is an old-fashioned, American breed of chicken, first exhibited as a breed in 1869. They have been popular ever since, and are a good dual-purpose bird, which means that they lay a good number of eggs, but are meaty as well. Their eggs are light brown with a touch of pink. There are eight recognized colors of Plymouth Rocks: Barred, White, Buff, Partridge, Silver Penciled, Blue, Columbian, and Black. Right now I have four of the colors--Barred, Buff, Partridge and Silver Penciled.

Barred Rock:

This is the original breed of Rock, and is still synonymous with the breed. All the other colors of Rocks were developed from this one. This hen happens to be very young, which is why she is so slender and has such a small comb. As she gets older, she will develop the breed's distinctive "cushion" of feathers right in front of their tails. It kind of looks like an old-fashioned ladies' bustle.

Buff Rock:

The Buff Rock is another standard, easily found color variation of the Plymouth Rock. It's pretty common, although this chicken is often confused with a Buff Orpington.

Partridge Rock:

The Partridge Rock is a gorgeous hen, and a lot more rare than the Barred or Buff variations. She has striking red and green feathers around her neck, and the lacing on each individual feather is green in the sun.

Silver Penciled Rock

The Silver Penciled Rock is even more rare than the Partridge Rock. This is partly because of how difficult it is for breeders to achieve a good feather pattern. As pretty as this girl is, she would not win at a show because her penciling makes little Vs down each feather--to be considered correct, that penciling should be rounded, not pointed.

I don't have any white, black, Columbian or blue Plymouth Rocks. The white variation is very common, and is an ancestor of the Cornish X broiler meat birds we're raising--the whole name of the Cornish X is Cornish Rock Cross. Columbians have white bodies and black feathers on their necks. I've never even seen a black or blue Plymouth Rock! I'm keeping my eye out, though. You know how it is when you have a collection--gotta have them all!