Amrock Chicken – Breed Profile & Facts
With the high profits currently seen in poultry keeping, more people are venturing into it. It is also the go-to choice for people looking for ways to get quality fresh eggs and meat without worrying about the pesticides and other chemicals used in most foods nowadays. The first step in poultry keeping is picking the right breed for your needs.
Amrock chickens are quite popular nowadays. You might wonder why you haven’t heard of them as much as other breeds. American and British poultry standards are quite different. The birds categorized as Plymouth Rocks in the U.S are known as Amrocks in Europe. You have probably heard of Plymouth Rocks, as they are quite popular.
If you are thinking of adding an Amrock to your flock, below are some facts on this chicken breed to help you know what to expect and how best to handle it.
What Is An Amrock Chicken?
An Amrock is one of the oldest chicken breeds in America. It is a dual-purpose bird primarily kept for its meat and eggs. The bird lays a high number of eggs annually and has very good meat quality. Amrock chickens are easy to care for, making them ideal for those just starting their poultry-keeping venture.
Amrock chickens are originally from the U.S, specifically from the city of Plymouth. The bird is a crossbred from Black Cochin, Dominique, Brahma, and Black Java chickens. Amrock chickens were recognized in 1874.
Most of the birds were kept by the Germans when the Second World War ended to supplement their egg and meat demands. Following this, the birds became widespread in Europe to offset the rations occasioned by the war.
Since the American barred Plymouth Rocks sent to Germany were so different from the European barred Plymouth Rocks, the birds were standardized as Amrocks in 1958.
Amrock chickens have black and white plumages. The chickens look like they have black and white bars crossing their bodies. Though most people will not readily differentiate male and female Amrocks from their stripes, the bars are different.
Males have equal white and black bars with their feathers ending in dark tips. On the other hand, the white bars on females are slightly narrower than the black ones. This sometimes gives hens a slightly darker grayish color than cocks. Moreover, there are more white highlights and broader white bars on roosters’ heads when they age, while older hens have wider black bars.
The skin on an Amrock is yellow, and its legs are clean, with four toes on each foot. The comb, wattles, face, and ear lobes are red. The ear has a horn color while the eyes are reddish bay. Amrock roosters have 5-7 red teeth.
Amrock Chicken Characteristics
Below are a few characteristics of Amrock chickens.
– Size and Weight
An Amrock is as large and solid as a Cochin from which it is bred. The roosters weigh 9.5-10 pounds, while the hens weigh around seven pounds. Bantam varieties weigh 2.65 pounds for hens and 3.09 pounds for males. The heads of Amrocks are large, but they suit their body sizes.
The chickens have fluffy plumages with medium-sized tails. The wings are not excessively big, and they sit close to their bodies, so the chickens might not look so big. The deep full abdomens of Amrock are a pointer to their reputations as good layers.
Amrock chickens are calm, sweet, and docile. Even the roosters are peaceful, but it is prudent to wait until you are sure of a rooster’s temperament before letting a child near him. Though not so friendly to be kept as pets, they will not cause much trouble for a chicken keeper.
Amrocks will follow you around to see what you are doing and whether you have any treats for them. They are also curious birds that love checking out their environments. Therefore, Amrocks love free-ranging. However, they can still tolerate confinement well when they have enough space.
Amrocks live peacefully with other species and have powerful self-defense mechanisms. The birds will often be near the middle of your flock’s pecking order if you have diverse chicken breeds. Amrock chickens are not scared of predators like dogs, cats, and other livestock.
After establishing your relationship with the birds, they are very trusting and will thrive around your family members. Amrocks are fairly quiet, so they make a good choice if you live near neighbors or have a small backyard farm.
Amrocks are part of a genetic pool of birds that live for long periods and are resistant to most diseases. Their average lifespan is 6-8 years. In a few instances, Amrocks live for 10-15 years. The elements that determine the lifespan of your Amrock include medical care, quality food, safe housing, and the quality of your interactions with the bird.
– Egg Production
Amrock chickens are excellent layers. They will start laying at five months old and produce about 200 eggs in their first year. To support the production of quality eggs, you should start your bird on layer feeds at five months old. An Amrock’s egg production will gradually decrease by around 15% annually when the bird turns three years.
One of the highlights of an Amrock’s egg production is the quality of its eggs. The hens lay about five light brown eggs weighing approximately 24 ounces per dozen weekly.
Some poultry experts recommend keeping dwarf Amrock chickens if you want the maximum number of eggs while keeping your feed expenses as low as possible. These chickens are smaller than ordinary Amrocks. They weigh about 1.5kg and require 2-3 times less food than other Amrocks.
Their egg production is only 20% lower than ordinary Amrocks, making them quite profitable for farmers intent on selling eggs.
– Meat Production
With approximate weights of 3-4kg, Amrock chickens are heavy enough to make some of the best options for meat production.
Furthermore, the chicks attain sexual maturity quickly and will grow big within a short time without many complicated requirements. If you want the best birds for meat production, pick Amrocks with large frames, heavy weights, low egg production, and fast growth.
Amrock Chicken Care
To get the highest benefits from an Amrock chicken, its optimal care is essential. Here are guidelines on the aspects involved in the care of these chickens.
– Feeding and Nutrition
The diet of an Amrock chicken is somewhat similar to other breeds. Your bird’s diet should have an adequate combination of protein, fiber, essential vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and protein. The carbohydrates for your Amrock chicken can be supplied by wheat bran, grain, and oats, while chopped and boiled veggies like carrots and potatoes can provide fiber.
While free-ranging, the worms and insects that Amrocks come across will supply its protein. Nonetheless, giving your bird other protein supplements is prudent to guarantee they have enough.
If your flock is mixed, comprising roosters and hens, consider using an all-purpose feed since this has enough calcium and protein for both birds. You can have a separate diet for the hens with more calcium and protein since they need these to strengthen their eggshells and increase their egg production.
Fresh and clean water is essential since it supports feed intake. If your Amrocks do not get enough water, they will reduce their feed intake. Moreover, the birds need water in high temperatures to keep their bodies cool and adapt to the weather. Be careful not to give your birds saltwater because this negatively affects the quality of their eggs.
Grit is important for an Amrock’s health. Remember, the birds do not have teeth, so they will need coarse sand and fine gravel in the gizzards to digest food. While free-range chicken can easily find these, offer supplemental grit for the birds that have no access to fine gravel, pebbles, or sand. Store-bought black soldier fly larvae and mealworms are excellent treats for an Amrock.
Amrock chickens will need at least four square feet per chicken in their coops, and in the run, they will need fifteen square feet each. Your coop should have a perch for the birds to roost on at night because they are flighty birds that love roosting high.
Amrocks love running around and stretching their wings. Since they are not very alert to predators or particularly bright, keeping them in large enclosed runs is best. Your coop should be well-ventilated to keep your flock warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If possible, add a cold draft to control airflow through the coop.
– Health Problems
Thankfully, Amrocks will rarely fall ill because they are hardy breeds and are not prone to unique health issues. Like other breeds, check for mites, lice, ticks, fleas, parasites, and worms among your flock.
You can protect your flock from these by bathing them in an ash bath and vaccinating them. You can also feed them apple cider vinegar and crushed garlic once in a while to boost their immunity.
When it is hot or cold, monitor the behavior of your Amrocks. Sometimes, the birds might overheat in alarmingly high temperatures or freeze in low temperatures. When adding new birds to your flock, be cautious.
The new birds might introduce infections like coccidiosis to your existing flock. Though it is easy to manage coccidiosis, it often reduces egg production and slows the growth of chicks.
How Much Do Amrock Chickens Cost?
Amrock chicks cost less than $5. Some breeders charge higher for heritage breeds, but this should not scare you because the birds have exceptional reproduction qualities and survival rates. Most major hatcheries and farm stores stock them, but it is best to settle for one near you so that your chicks spend less time in transportation.
Are Amrock Chickens Good For Beginners?
Yes, Amrocks are good for beginners because of their gentle personalities and adaptability to different environments. The birds will live happily and thrive, provided their needs for food, water, and shelter are met. Amrocks can also be raised in households with kids and the elderly without causing conflict because they are docile.
Are Amrock Chickens Hardy?
Yes, Amrocks are hardy. They have lots of flesh and feathers that help them adapt to cold temperatures. Moreover, they have strong immune systems and do not need complicated or special caring methods to thrive. Unlike most chickens, Amrocks are not affected by extreme heat provided they have plenty of shade, enough cold fresh water, and cool dust bathing areas.
Can Amrock Chickens Fly?
Yes, though the Amrock is not as strong a flier as other birds, it can manage limited flight, especially when younger and lighter. Their heavy weights as they age make flight difficult for Amrocks.
Tips on Keeping Amrock Chickens
Here are a few tips to ease your work when raising Amrock chicken:
- Give each Amrock a roosting space of not less than ten inches because the birds are sturdy and large.
- Keep your roosts short to prevent injuries when Amrocks jump off them.
- Build a fence around your chicken run to keep out predators and keep your birds from wandering off.
- If your mature Amrocks repeatedly try to jump the fence and escape, safely clip their wings to keep them in the run.
- Add heat lamps in your chicken coop when temperatures drop below freezing to keep Amrocks warm.
If you have been looking for a chicken breed that is easy to care for and provides the highest benefits, hopefully, the above article has convinced you why the Amrock is your best answer. Its feed intake is less than most breeds, yet it gives you plenty of eggs and meat.
Moreover, Amrocks go broody and will take optimal care of their chicks and eggs. Their strong maternal instincts also make them dedicated to caring for their chicks.