Plymouth Rock Monthly -- old magazine for chicken aficionados

As the proud owner of five Plymouth Barred Rock chicks, I was interested in this post on Homegrown Evolution about a magazine called the Plymouth Rock Monthly, which had a circulation of 40,000 in 1920. Maybe I should re-launch it with the goal of 200 subscribers.

What magazine had 40,000 subscribers in 1920? Answer: the Plymouth Rock Monthly, a periodical devoted to our favorite chicken breed. We have two "production" Barred Plymouth Rocks in our small flock of four hens, and we've found them to be productive, friendly and, with their striped plumage, an attractive sight in our garden. While the internet is an amazing resource for the urban homesteader, there are a few holes in this electronic web of knowledge. In short, would someone out there please get around to scanning and putting online the Plymouth Rock Monthly? All I can find are images of two covers lifted off of ebay.

The February 1925 issue, at right, promises articles on, "Selecting and Packing Eggs for Hatching", a poetically titled essay, "The Things We Leave Undone", "Theory and Practice in Breeding Barred Color", "White Plymouth Rocks", "The Embargo on Poultry", and "Breeding White Rocks Satisfactorily". Incidentally, the Embargo article probably refers to a avian influenza outbreak of 1924-1925 that repeated in 1929 and 1983.

By the 1950s interest in backyard and small farm flocks vastly decreased and the Plymouth Rock Club of America, the publisher of the Plymouth Rock Monthly, collapsed down to 200 members from a peak of 2,000. Thankfully, interest in keeping chickens is now on the rise again and an informative magzine, Backyard Poultry has been revived. Plymouth Rock fans can read an article about the breed in the latest issue of Backyard Poultry.

Plymouth Rock Monthly


  1. Relaunch it. My brother in law’s Barred Rock chickens are about to start laying. We’d love to share a subcription to your updated newspaper. They built a pretty bitchin chicken run/coop henhouse de-luxe. With dogs, they had to make sure it was really sturdy… and there was some trial and error involved.

  2. We’ve got Barred Rocks (as well as araucanas, black giants, black australorps, buff orpingtons and silver-laced wyandottes) and I have to say, they’re great layers and have sweet, friendly temperaments. I started keeping chickens four years ago because I don’t like the way that commercial poultry is raised, and now I not only raise laying hens, but I’ve taught all my friends how to kill and dress chickens for eating. I look on it as a survival skill. Along with my home-canned produce and homemade soap, when it all goes to hell, my family will be doing okay for themselves.

  3. New from O’Reilly: COOP

    Seriously: I bet the republication rights would be very cheap. OCR the relevant articles, edit them, and publish them with a mix of new articles and advertising from equipment manufacturers.

  4. When I was younger, my family had a flock of Rhode Island Reds and Dominiques (pronounced ’round here as ‘Dominickers’).

    Dominiques share many characteristics with Barred Rocks, and at first and second glace are very hard to distinguish. Beautiful birds and great layers.

  5. Cool! Hubby and I are planning on getting chickens next spring and I’m sure we’ll have at least one Plymouth Rock! With the backyard/urban chicken movement picking up steam, you might find yourself a new job! :)

  6. Thanks for the tip on the Plymouth Rock Monthly. We’ve got a couple barred Plymouth Rocks in our own backyard here in the Bay Area and have been blogging about the experience of raising chickens in the city over on

    If you do resurrect the magazine, count on me as a subscriber (only 199 to go!)

  7. I love how the combination of feathers, wheat stalks and the two eggs make a stylized diagram of fallopian tubes.

    Design hilarity aside, I think I want chickens.

  8. If you feel the urge to raise chickens and sell eggs…read The Egg and I, by Betty McDonald, for some levity on the subject

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