Growing up, one of my mother’s favorite chicken breeds was the Plymouth Rock.
These birds are friendly, productive, and easy to care for, so she bought them as often as possible.
If you want this breed, I strongly encourage it, but you need to know how fast they grow.
Plymouth Rock chickens are dual-purpose birds that grow much more slowly than breeds raised specifically for meat. The hens begin laying eggs at around 22-24 weeks of age. But they may keep growing until about 18 months. Hens weigh over 7 pounds at full maturity, and roosters are 9-10.
There are several ways to measure how well your birds are growing.
Keep reading to learn about the milestones to watch out for in Plymouth Rocks!
Plymouth Rock Growth Rate
The Plymouth Rock comes in various colors, including the favored Barred Rock and the White, Blue, Buff Plymouth Rocks, and others.
There are also such birds as Bantam Plymouth Rocks, which are about half the size of other Plymouth Rocks, often reaching only 3 pounds at full maturity.
For the sake of our growth rate breakdown, we will focus on the Barred Rock because it is the most common and popular variety.
The growth rate is mostly consistent across all color varieties of Plymouth Rock, though.
Barred Rocks Growth Chart
The chart below shows you the average weight in pounds of a Barred Rock pullet (female) at each age marker up to 1 year.
|52 (1 year)||6+|
As with many chicken breeds, female Barred Rocks show a huge spike at 12 weeks and grow rather steadily during their first year of life.
Cockerels grow in a similar pattern but are heavier overall. When they finish growing shortly after turning 1 year old, male Barred Rocks often weigh more than 9 pounds.
Despite their intimidating size, Plymouth Rock hens and roosters are known for being gentle and friendly.
We mentioned previously how Plymouth Rock grows slowly compared with meat birds. For clarification, broilers are often bred to grow extremely quickly.
Butchering weight is about 5-6 pounds, and most broilers are expected to reach this weight within 12 weeks.
Related Reading: The perfect time to butcher Plymouth Rock chickens
However, if you were to compare Plymouth Rock to other breeds of dual-purpose chickens, their growth rate would not stand out.
They may appear to be growing more quickly than some others in your chicken yard.
But this is primarily because they are very large birds, so they put on more total weight than your other chicks during the first year of life.
They reach full size simultaneously as many other breeds of chicken.
Growth Milestones for Pullets
Female chicks have a major milestone at around 24 weeks (or 6 months) when they lay their first egg.
Heritage breeds take even longer to begin laying, sometimes waiting until 36 weeks (9 months)!
A dual-purpose heritage breed usually lays fewer eggs, so consider those things when you buy your chicks!
Many chicken keepers eagerly look forward to their hens’ first eggs!
Your average chicken clutch will start laying at around 20 weeks, give or take a couple of weeks.
The Plymouth Rock, however, takes longer due to its body size.
A chicken who has a 7-8 pounds size naturally takes longer to begin producing eggs than a hen who will only reach 5 pounds.
This being said, Barred Rocks’ body size allows them to lay larger eggs.
Another milestone for baby chicks is when their feathers change color!
Barred Rock chicks are born with dark gray downy feathers and small patches of yellow.
Over time, the color of the nearly black feathers lightens, and the white stripes develop in their feathers.
The distinctive appearance of your Barred Rocks will set them apart from your standard chicks immediately!
Chicken enthusiasts also love to see their Plymouth Rock chicken develop her comb!
Plymouth Rock hens have a red, five-pointed single comb.
Raising Plymouth Rock Cockerels
There are not as many milestones to look out for when raising males.
However, we still have some interesting facts to share with you!
For one thing, males grow faster than females.
They finish growing at around the same time but put on total weight faster.
Their wattles also grow more quickly than their female counterparts, which is an easy way to tell them apart from the pullets before they are fully grown.
There is a color difference between male and female Barred Rocks as well!
Barred Rock roosters have much thicker white stripes than gray. Hens have equally sized stripes of each color.
Other color varieties do not give you this advantage if you want to tell a Plymouth Rock male apart from a female.
One more thing about Plymouth Rock roosters, though, is they are such sweethearts!
My mother adopted an older Barred Rock rooster when I was young.
The poor guy was afraid to go into the coop and live with all the hens!
We had to coax him in several times over the first couple weeks because he was scared and kept getting out of the coop.
Not all roosters of this breed are timid, but they are praised for being so docile and mellow.
It is extremely rare to find a Plymouth Rock of any gender who bullies other chickens or people.
If, for some reason, you come across one, check if they have enough living space, food, and water and whether they live in a clean environment.
Ample space prevents overcrowding and helps avoid conflict.
Your Barred Plymouth Rock is not likely to need your help to display a calm nature, though. It’s the breed standard!
More on Barred Rocks
The Plymouth Rock is an American poultry superstar!
Because they are used both for meat production and laying hens, the Barred Rock has been a major player in the poultry industry for years.
They lay between 200-300 eggs each year and are large enough to be well worth butchering.
Further Reading: Plymouth Rock Chickens and Brooding
This does not even take into consideration their beautiful feathers and gentle nature. Many people have Barred Rocks who have become lap chickens.
Furthermore, Barred Plymouth Rocks are hardy birds that even lay during winter.
Their body size makes it hard for them to tolerate excessive heat.
But if you make sure they have cold water and shade available, they will make do.
Cool dust bathing areas help, too, so give your birdies plenty of shade for dust bathing!
Otherwise, your Plymouth Rocks need plenty of space, large enough nesting boxes, and the usual fresh water and food.
Treat them well, and your Barred Rocks may live 10-12 years or even longer!