The Parks’ Poultry Farm was located in Altoona, Pennsylvania and made its reputation breeding Barred Plymouth Rock. The farm was owned and managed by the three generation of the Parks family: the founder Joe R. Parks, his son Joe W. Parks and his Robert (Bob) Parks. It began as the Wopsy Poultry Yards, taking the name from the Wopsononick Mountain in the Allegheny Range behind the farm.
The Parks established their reputation breeding Barred Plymouth Rock (BPR) and obtained their line from the original breeder of the BPR D.A. Upham. The BPR was the first breed of chickens originating in the country. D.A Upham bred them from the Dominique which originated in the Island of Dominica. He introduced them to the poultry world at a show in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1869. A poultry judge of the time, A.F. Hunter secured some of the original Upham birds and improved them over 20 years. Joe R. Parks obtained some of these BPR and in 1900 Joe W. took them over and shocked exhibition breeders by attempting to put high egg production into the bird which by that time was the most popular in the leading poultry shows. Bob Parks then took over breeding operations in 1931 and turned them into the best production BPR in the world.
The Parks’ Trade Mark showing Miss America which produced 357 eggs in one year
The Parks BPR strain spread around the world from the Altoona base, unlike many other breeders a franchise system was never established, both Joe W. And Bob Parks travelled the globe with the stock and earned a reputation and BPR strain which was lost when Bob Parks retired in the late
1980’s. Joe W. collected rocks on his travels and incorporated them into a fireplace in his granite block home on the farm.
The Parks homestead and fireplace with each rock numbered and location of origin identified year
Bob Parks diversified from the BPR and successfully competed with other breeders in Leghorns, the Keystone brand, and autosexing commercial layers, the Black Beauties (RIRxBPR), the Redi-Links(RIR with sex linkage), Sil-Go-Links (gold and silver sex linked as in most brown egg commercial layers) and Gold Links and White Sex Linked Rocks. He also bred a line of broilers named the Meat Makers.
He was the first breeder to perfect sex-linked feathering in Leghorns (1950) and set up a unique system of sex linkage in three separate breeding schemes whereby using one RIR male line and three female lines the commercial chicks were feather sexable and colour sexable on alternate generations. This system of sex linkage is shown in the companion poultry genetics publications.