If you’ve ever wanted a chicken that offers the best of both worlds in the form of a stellar egg layer with an outstanding personality, then the White Rock chicken is the breed for you.
These beautiful snow-white chickens are a dual purpose breed with all the hardy qualities needed for both first-time chicken keepers and seasoned homesteaders.
To learn more about White Rock chicken varieties and whether this breed is the right choice for your chicken coop, we explore their personalities, egg production, and much more…
The History of White Rock Chickens
White Rock chickens were developed in the late nineteenth century in White Rock Massachusetts, hence their name.
Their purpose was commercial egg production and meat for farms and families. To keep up with the demand this dual purpose chicken was bred for specific traits including their hardiness, friendliness, and tolerance of cold weather.
Because the White Rock was refined for laying eggs and high quality meat, they remain a firm favorite in the commercial poultry industry and among homesteaders. They are considered a heritage breed that can adapt to different environments whether in confinement or free ranging birds.
What Do White Rock Chickens Look Like?
The White Plymouth Rock chicken has pure white feathers from head to tail and is described as a medium-sized bird with a large full breast. They have light yellow legs and come in other color varieties such as the Buff and the Barred Plymouth Rock.
What is the Breed Used for Today?
White Rock chickens continue to prove their weight in gold by supplying tender meat and farm fresh eggs in abundance.
While originally from the States, they have become so popular that you can find this dual purpose chicken across the world. They are used in both commercial egg production, meat supply, and have become a favorable choice as a backyard chicken.
To better understand this breed, we move on to learn about their appearance, their breed standard, and why they make such a great all-around chicken!
White Plymouth Rock chickens belong to the Barred Rock chicken breed but unlike the barred pattern of their cousins, this white variety must have white plumage without any dark spots or streaks of another color in their feathers.
They have yellow beaks with a red bay eye color while their single comb, wattles, and ear lobes are bright red. A vibrant red combs indicates a healthy bird. Their legs are yellow and featherless; however, the White Rock chicken is densely feathered owing to their North American heritage and the ability to tolerate cold weather.
NOTEWhite Rock chicks hatch with yellow combs that only become red as they mature.
Once the combs and wattles of hens begin to change to a deep red color, you can expect your first egg in only a few short days or weeks.
A White Rock hen reaches between 7-8 lbs compared to roosters weighing just over 8lbs. Although they are described as medium-sized birds they are slightly larger and fuller than standard sized chicken breeds.
As they have been developed for egg laying and high-quality meat, they have a full body to accommodate their eggs while continuing to provide excellent table fare.
There are no color varieties of the White Rock chicken; however, this white variety comes from the Plymouth Rock chicken that you can find in Buff, Barred, Silver-Penciled, Columbian, and Partridge.
To date, there are six varieties of Plymouth Rocks, but the White Rock was accepted by the American Standard in 1888.
Is the White Rock a Good Egg Layer and Meat Bird?
The White Rock chicken is one of the top egg laying chicken breeds not only for the commercial poultry industry but also for your backyard flock. They are gentle and don’t mind being handled by their keepers making it easier to tend to your egg-laying birds.
How Many Eggs Does a White Rock Chicken Lay?
This egg laying breed can produce up to 280 eggs per year so don’t be surprised if you find one egg in the nest almost every day! When properly cared for, these birds can lay 4 to 5 eggs per week but you will notice a decrease in their production during winter.
It’s a great idea to have an egg washer if you have several white rock hens, as you can save time scrubbing and cleaning every egg. And if you’re looking for the best egg washer, check out this review.
FACTWhite Rock hens do not require a heat lamp to lay eggs in winter. While their egg production will slow down, they don’t need any coop modifications to produce great eggs.
What Egg Color Does a White Rock Chicken Lay?
The White Rock hen will lay large brown eggs with a golden yolk and a tough shell. Provide them with a protein-based feed and a calcium grit to encourage prolific egg laying.
When Do White Rock Hens Start Laying Eggs?
The White Rock hen will start to lay eggs at 20 weeks or around 5 months old. You can prepare for your first brown egg when your hen’s wattles and comb turn from yellow to bright red.
NOTEMost Plymouth and White Rock chickens will stop laying by 3-4 years of age but some poultry keepers have reported hens laying as late as 10 years old!
There is no doubt that the White Rock chicken is an excellent egg layer, and laying up to 4 years is a feat compared to other short-lived laying breeds.
As white rock hens grow older, provide them with a healthy environment and balanced diet so they can continue with their beautiful brown egg production into their golden years. If you keep your white rock hens happy, you can expect one egg a day!
Do White Rocks Get Broody?
If you are looking for a broody chicken to hatch eggs, although it can be a good mother, the White Rock chicken breed may not be the best choice. Other breeds such as the Orpington and Wyandotte could help brood eggs throughout the year far better than White Rock hens.
NOTEDespite their lack of broodiness, they do make great mothers and will defend their chicks against all odds.
How Long Does it Take for a White Rock Chicken to be Butchered?
Your White Rock chickens will be ready for butchering at around 20 weeks but some chicken keepers will slaughter as late as 6-7 months. By 6 months the meat is tender but waiting any longer could compromise the quality of the meat.
The Personality of White Rocks
There are many dual purpose breeds that are independent and enjoy foraging on their own, but the White Rock chicken is a docile breed, sure to follow you around the garden. You will also enjoy how easy they are to handle and most friendly hens will allow you to carry them around without much fuss.
To raise a well-socialized and healthy bird, it is important to add them to your coop while they are young. Interact with them daily to gain their trust and they’ll be a delight to have in your flock as mature birds.
NOTEWhite Rock chickens are intelligent birds and you can train them to come when called.
White rock birds are very responsive towards their keepers and with a little bit of food or their preferred treats, you’ll have a wonderful pet chicken that will produce many brown eggs. The White Rock chicken breed is also ideal for the backyard because they are not considered noisy chickens.
Do White Rocks Get Along with Other Chickens?
This chicken is gentle and friendly and will get along with most types of chickens of a similar temperament, like the Delaware chicken breed. You will have to monitor more aggressive or dominant flockmates that tend to bully them.
If you are going to introduce young birds to older chickens, do not rush the process.
Mature hens are very particular about their pecking order and if they don’t have a calm and gentle temperament, they will start to henpeck. Hen pecking can become so severe that it causes physical injury and stress to newcomers.
You can safely bring new chickens into the coop by installing a mesh wire fence between your current flock and the new bird.
New chickens should be quarantined for a few days to a week before adding them to your flock so you can monitor them for any respiratory illness or disease.
NOTEIf you don’t buy chicks from a trustworthy source, you could find yourself treating an entire flock instead of one chicken.
Are White Rocks Cold Hardy?
These birds have dense fluffy feathers and have been developed to withstand cold temperatures. They do well in both hot and cold climates but should always have a shady coop that is properly ventilated against mid-summer heat.
White Rock chickens love to free range and will excel in their personalities and their egg laying when allowed to forage.
Keep them on a schedule when spending some free time outdoors and you can prevent high-pitched squawks if they’ve been confined to their coop for too long. You can encourage foraging in a secure run to protect your flock from predators.
Is the White Rock a Healthy Breed?
While the breed was developed with an abundance of snug fluffy feathers to withstand the cold, their single comb can suffer from frostbite. You can protect the soft fleshy parts of their face in winter by covering these areas in petroleum jelly.
To help your hens with beautiful brown egg production, provide a laying feed with a minimum of 18% protein.
You can also supplement their diet with vegetables but in moderation to avoid crop impaction. Leafy and long-stemmed plant material can become lodged in the crop causing an impacted crop.
If you allow your birds to free range, always check the quality of their eggs. When they eat too much grass and too little feed, they can lay thin-shelled eggs.
TIPIf you notice paper-thin shells, get them back onto their proper feed and manage time spent outdoors. You can also add calcium or shell grit as a free choice to help them improve their egg quality.
Another important part of hen health is the size of their nesting boxes. As they are a little bigger than a standard sized chicken, their nesting boxes should be at least 12 x 12 inches wide and deep to allow the chicken to comfortably move around. Nesting boxes should also be located in a private, quiet, and well-ventilated area.
Their lifespan is between 8-10 years which is considered well-lived for an egg and meat bird; however, some keepers have reported chickens that lived past 10-years of age.
Why Choose the White Rock Chicken
The White Rock chicken is more than a standard chicken. They are your typical homesteader breed depicted in centuries-old traditions and portraits of plump egg and meat chickens.
Owing to their size, their impressive stance, and the fact that they’re an incredible provider, the White Rock chicken continues to win the hearts of many keepers.
This breed is also ideal if you’re new to chicken keeping. They are hardy and generally healthy which means that you don’t have to be concerned about any major or costly problems down the line.
These birds are perfect for removing bugs and weeds from your garden and their feed to cost ratio is quite low, so you won’t be spending too much on feed either.
Here’s a short video explaining why White Rock chickens are popular.
The White Rock Chicken is considered a heritage breed and was first recognized by the American Poultry Standard in the 1880s. They are hardy birds bred for independence and free-ranging but at one stage they were listed as “threatened” by the Livestock Conservancy.
Best Choice For Beginners
They are considered oddly curious and the brave heart of chickens because they remain loyal to their keepers but will defend their chicks and flock with all their might. The White Rock chicken is friendly, docile, and one of the best choices for first-time chicken keepers.
High Quality Meat and Eggs
The White Plymouth really excels in high quality meat and laying large eggs every week. They are not an exotic-looking bird but rather one of tradition with snow-white plumage, a single comb, and fluffiness to keep them insulated in cold climates.
So, if you want an egg layer that is hardy and healthy, the White Rock breed will bring many years of happiness.
Feel Free To Share!
Whether for a first-time chicken keeper or a seasoned homesteader, we encourage you to share this guide on keeping the White Rock chicken.
Share your thoughts including your experience and love for the breed because we know with so much to offer, the White Rock chicken is a valuable, rewarding, and appealing choice.
(1) “Backlit Bo” by Dimmerswitch is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
(2) “white plymouth rock rooster” by janinetreetops is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
(3) “Plymouth Rock Chicken” by Just chaos is marked with CC BY 2.0
(4) “BoIsAProblemsolver” by Dimmerswitch is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0