The Barred Plymouth Rock is the most well known colour variety of the Plymouth Rocks (the photograph on the left is of a Barred Plymouth Rock cockerel). They are stately fowls with beautiful black and white markings, complemented by bright yellow legs and feet. Specimens with the finest barring are highly sought after but in the quest to perfect the markings, selecting for good laying has often been neglected. They mature slowly, taking up to nine months to lay their first egg.
Plymouth Rocks are one of the largest of the heavy breeds. They are a dual purpose fowl but not all colour varieties perform equally well. The White Plymouth Rocks are massive birds – possibly the most suitable for the table – but they also lay well. The Buff Plymouth Rocks are smaller than the other colour varieties but they lay exceptionally well. Three hundred eggs can be expected from a well-bred pullet during her first laying season and she starts to lay before she is six months old. Black, Blue and Partridge Plymouth Rocks can also be obtained in New Zealand and these are excellent dual purpose birds.
As laying varies widely among Plymouth Rock colour varieties and also within strains it is worth asking the breeder how well they lay and how quickly they mature before purchasing.