The most serious defects in the
exhibition White Rock males today are the shallow breasts and lack of depth in the body these defects are serious because
they affect the practical market value of the breed. Lack of fullness of breast can be overcome by selecting birds for breeding
with good strong keels that extend well forward, with bodies carried nearly horizontal and never with the shoulder point carried
higher than the back. To avoid an angle at the base of the tail select a male with a tail carriage of about 35 to 40 degrees:
with the saddle feathers running right up the tail. Width of saddle and tail can be improved by selecting only breeders that
have good width in these sections, with the tail nicely rounded or arched, avoiding those with an A shaped tails ridging up
like the roof of a house.
Brassiness is a very serious color
defect, but has almost entirely been bred out: a bird showing any brass should discarded: creaminess can be overcome by selecting
breeders with good white quills that show pink pin feathers when coming in. Ticking sometimes crop out on the otherwise whitest
specimen and is not very serious if it does not show in the wings and tail. I would discard a bird showing much ticking in
these sections. By carefully selecting a few of the best females and procuring the best male attainable strong in the sections
the females were weakest, the best pullets from this mating could be bred to the father and the best cockerel to the mothers.
By a careful system of line breeding for a few years a stain would be established. I would start with the best trio I could
afford to buy I would expect more of a uniformity in the chicks, by trap nesting. Would know the dam and sire of every chick
and would have the father to breed to the daughter and the son to the mother. By using one blood line only, would be able
to establish a strain much sooner and get control of the breeding of the flock. Cockerel and hens: the hens being fully matured
lay a larger egg that hatches a larger and stronger chick. The cockerels being active and vigorous are likely to fertilize
better than a cock bird. Inbreeding can be carried on almost indefinitely in White Plymouth rock large fowl, if very close
inbreeding is avoided and only strong vigorous birds used in the breeding pens. To create and maintain size, vigor and stamina
select for breeding only the strongest most vigorous bird that have never been sick and have been raised under natural conditions.
In mating we first select the male. He must be white, good shape in all sections, particularly in breast, saddle and tail
and with good head. As they all fall short of perfections, we note carefully his weakest sections. In selecting the females,
they must be good in all sections and particularly good in the section the male is weakest in. If the females are all sisters,
so much the better, as would get more uniformity in the chicks. We usually mate females with a cock to a cockerel. We find this about the right number for best results. Editor’s
note: This is an article written by Frank H. Davey one of the greatest white Plymouth Rock large fowl breeders and managers
back in the early part of the last century for Plymouth Rock Monthly of Waverley, Iowa. Mr. Davey latter became the Plymouth Rock manager at Owens Farms in Massac cutes back in the 1920s working for then
Barry Owen the owner and Maurice DeLano the over all care taker or manager. They breed
and raised up to 3,000 white rocks a year on this farm and where very hard to beat at the shows at Madison
Square Garden and the BostonGarden.
I hope the old statements from Mr. Davey will help you today as they did back then. Nothing has changed in the ultimate goal
of breeding an outstanding White Plymouth Rock Strain of large fowl.Try these
principles this year and see if your over all success in the years to come pays off.