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White Rock Chicken

Young White Rock chicken standing in the field

Named for Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts, the White Rock chicken is a popular and reliable chicken breed that thrives in cold climates and can lay an egg a day. The breed is also excellent for meat production and yields plenty of meat.

In addition to meat and egg production, the White Rock chicken is an ideal choice for foraging. These chickens will gain the majority of their protein from foraging, if available. White Rock chickens are hardy and resourceful, making them a good choice for beginner keepers.

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Quick Facts about White Rock Chicken

Breed Name: White Rock chicken
Place of Origin: Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts
Uses: Meat, eggs, pet
Rooster (Male) Size: 8 lbs
Hen (Female) Size: 7.5 lbs
Color: White
Lifespan: 8 years
Climate Tolerance: Diverse, cold hardy
Care Level: Low maintenance
Production: 200 eggs a year

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White Rock Chicken Origins

The White Rock chicken was first seen in Boston in 1849 and disappeared for about 20 years. In 1869, the breed reappeared and was crossbred with Black Java hens to produce clean-legged birds with barred plumage. The resulting birds were shown and are considered to be the ancestors of modern White Rock chickens.

Crossbreeding and selective breeding continued with the intent of creating a chicken breed with superior meat production traits and qualities. The new breed quickly gained popularity for its growth and egg-laying capabilities.

White Rock Chicken Characteristics

The White Rock chicken is notable for its striking white feathers and bright-red comb. It’s a larger chicken, especially with its fluffy winter feathers, and a docile breed. These chickens are social and prefer to live in flocks, but may be prone to bullying from more aggressive breeds.

Hens aren’t particularly broody but will defend the clutch from threats. As a production bird, the White Rock chicken is an excellent egg-layer and a dual-purpose bird for meat and eggs but is equally suited to life as a farm pet. Because of its hardiness and resourcefulness, the chicken is a good choice as a first flock for beginner hobbyists.

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Uses

The White Rock chicken is considered a standard-sized chicken, but it’s actually on the bigger side. Once matured, the chicken weighs about 8 pounds, which is enough to feed a family. The fluffy feathers make the chicken appear larger as well.

As a layer, the White Rock is a prized chicken. When properly cared for, the White Rock hen can produce over 200 eggs each year, putting it at the top of the egg-production spectrum. This breed does equally well on large-scale farms as hobby farms and isn’t sensitive to climate.

Appearance & Varieties

White Rock chickens are typically white with bright red combs and faces and yellow legs. Their feathers are thick and voluminous, helping them thrive in cold climates. Chicks have yellow combs that redden as they get older. The comb brightness correlates to the bird’s health – a vibrant red comb indicates a healthy bird. As they age, their combs begin to dull.

Other varieties of the White Rock chicken include barred, buff, silver-penciled, blue, and Columbian, though they’re not as common as the pure white variety.

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Population, Distribution & Habitat

A domestic breed since the 19th century, the White Rock chicken doesn’t have a natural distribution. At one time, the historic breed was considered threatened by the Livestock Conservatory, but captive breeding has helped it return to solid numbers.

With its adaptability to different climates, the White Rock chicken is found nearly everywhere that keeps chicken and other poultry birds. It’s particularly popular in the U.S., which is where it originated.

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Are White Rock Chickens Good for Small-Scale Farming?

While many industrial broiler farms use White Rock chickens as the primary boiler chicken, the breed thrives on small-scale farms. As a hardy and adaptable breed, the chicken can thrive in a variety of housing and feeding conditions in extreme climates.

Given the right conditions, the White Rock chicken can be a fast-growing, delicious addition to a hobby farm. These chickens are also spectacular layers and produce 200 or more eggs a year. They have excellent dispositions as pets as well.

The White Rock chicken is a docile, low-maintenance, and hardy bird that can be used for meat or egg production on both large-scale and hobby farms. Known for its striking white coloration with a bright-red comb, the bird is also popular as a pet and gets along with other farm animals. Given the right conditions, the chicken can thrive in cold climates and makes a good choice for first-time chicken owners.


Featured Image Credit: Holly Kuchera, Shutterstock

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