I once read that there is no end to what a man can accomplish if he does not care who gets the credit. I remembered that sentiment as I examined the various histories of the Barred Plymouth Rock. It seems that the further we get away from the original poultry show where they were first shown, more and more obscurity surrounds the origin of the Barred Plymouth Rock. To search for the “truer” history, I went back to the book The Plymouth Rock, by A. C. Smith, copyright 1906.
According to Smith they were first shown in 1869 in a poultry show in Worcester, Mass. by Mr. D. A. Upham. Mr. Upham showed a trio of fowls and two trios of chicks. Mr. Upham states, “They were bred originally by a Mr. Joseph Spaulding, of Putnam, Conn. from a Dominique or Hawke colored male” and a Black Cochin. Various stories circulated that the breeding was from a Dominique and Java cross. But according to Smith, Mr. Upnam said it was a Cochin, and the Standard makers also called it a Cochin.
Physical Traits and Behavior
Our Barred Plymouth Rocks have excellent barring. Barring is due to a dominant sex-linked gene. The gene prevents pigment being applied to feathers—it creates a light spot on the feather. Because the male carries two copies of the gene, and the female only carries one, the males tend to be lighter in color than the females. The barring feathers tend to grow more slowly, and so feather growth is slow. Barred Plymouth Rocks are a great general farm or homestead bird—they are good egg layers, and the males make a nice carcass for the table. Excellent foragers, they do well on pasture.
(Click to enlarge photos.)
BARRED PLYMOUTH ROCKS
AT A GLANCE
- Prolific layers of light-brown eggs
- Dual purpose, meat and eggs
- 9.5 pound cocks
- 8 pound cockerels
- 7.5 pound hens
- Selectively bred for 16 years