Chickens come in all shapes and sizes, but not every breed is as hardy as this one.
The Barred Rock Chicken is a classic backyard staple for homesteaders. They make such great backyard flock members that I have some of my own.
These chickens can endure long, cold winters and gruelling summer heat. Not only this but they are great egg layers and have sweet, docile personalities. Do you want to learn more about this classic breed?
Keep reading to learn more about this wonderful breed…
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Barred Rock Chicken Overview
The Barred Plymouth Rock Chicken is a heritage breed.
They are one of the most low maintenance chicken breeds around. These gentle chickens are always fun and do not bully or cause trouble amongst other flock members. They are a truly great breed that just about anyone can enjoy.
Barred Rocks are best known for the beautiful black and white barred pattern across their body.
As a Plymouth Rock owner myself, I can speak to how easy they are to care for. Their gentle personalities and love for people also make them good around children. They enjoy being around people but also thrive if you leave them alone.
Barred Rocks are also wonderful egg layers – expect 4-5 eggs each week. If you plan to hatch some chicks of your own, they will become broody as well and make good moms.
|Barred Rock Chicken
|Hen (7.5lb) and Rooster (9.5lb).
|Barred (Black and white).
|4-5 per week.
|Known For Broodiness:
|Good With Children:
|Cost of Chicken:
|$3-$5 per chick.
Why We Love This Breed
- Great with children and other poultry
- Hardy in cold weather
- Great foragers that love to eat garden pests
- Lay eggs throughout all seasons
The Barred Rock Chicken is actually a color variety of the Plymouth Rock. The Barred Rock is the original color variety and by far the most popular.
Their appearance is exactly the same as the Plymouth Rock except for the barring pattern (alternating stripes of black and white) on their feathers.
These large chickens have a triangular shape and stature. One thing I have noticed about my own Barred Rocks is how well they hold this triangular shape in their posture, even when roosting.
Barred Rocks have a full coat of feathers that will thicken during colder months. During the warmer weather, they still look full and fluffy, but their loose feathers help them to circulate air and stay cool. Their comb, earlobes and wattles, should all be red. Their beak and legs should be yellow while they should have reddish-bay eyes.
If you are interested in learning about other Plymouth Rock color varieties, you can read more here.
Size and Weight
This is a large breed.
Roosters can grow up to 9.5lbs while the average hen will likely grow to 8lbs. Due to their size they cannot fly very well at all.
Hen vs Rooster
Barred Rocks can be autosexed at birth.
Males are known to have lighter feathers and legs, a poorly defined head spot, and wider white bars on their barring pattern. They will also grow tail feathers much faster than the hens. Females have darker feathers and legs, a well defined head spot, and thin white bars on their barring pattern.
As adults the rooster will have a larger comb and waddles, sharp hackle, saddle feathers and sickle feathers. Roosters also tend to be louder than hens, so they are easy to spot in this quiet breed.
There are many different color varieties of Plymouth Rocks – two of the most popular are the barred and partridge.
Because they are the same breed, the only true difference you will find is in their feather coloring.
The Barred Rock has a barred pattern which means that their feathers have distinct black and white horizontal striping. Partridge Rocks have a pattern known as penciling. Their bodies are mainly dark brown and their necks are red. Each body feather has black penciling on it which creates a very striking pattern.
Dominique Chicken vs Barred Rock
If you have ever seen a Dominique chicken before then you will notice that they look incredibly similar to Barred Rocks. The main difference between the two is the more solid striping pattern of the Barred Rock. The Dominique also has a rose comb, while the Barred Rock has a classic five point single comb.
What Is It Like To Own A Barred Rock?
One of the main reasons people keep this chicken is because of their fantastic temperament.
Barred Rock Chickens are charismatic, docile, and love to be around people. This breed has been a great addition to my family’s coop and they are often the first to greet us when we walk up to the run.
These chickens love to free range and they are quite the scavengers. They enjoy gobbling up any bugs or plants they come across in your garden and will help to keep it pest free.
Without a doubt these are one of the gentlest breeds I have ever encountered. This means they have no issues getting along with other breeds of chicken or other poultry. One thing to be aware of is that they can get bullied by more aggressive breeds, especially during the integration stage.
Keep an eye out for any signs of bullying in your flock to make sure your Barred Rocks are adjusting well.
For the most part though, they are content with just minding their business and following someone else around. Mine spend most of their time quietly trailing behind me in the garden to see what I am up to.
Barred Plymouth Rock Chickens lay large brown eggs.
They will begin laying at approximately 6-7 months of age and will lay 4-5 large, brown eggs per week. This is around 250 eggs a year.
Just remember that this rate will decline after they reach around 3 years old.
|Eggs Per Week:
|Medium or Large.
Barred Rocks are very quiet chickens.
They are great in ubran areas and only tend to make lots of noise when they are nervous. They also do not startle as easily as other chickens, so they are often easier to keep around neighbors.
Barred Rock Chicken Care Guide
Barred Rocks are easy chickens to take care of.
These chickens enjoy treats of all kinds and will keep themselves entertained most of the time.
Mine enjoy free ranging but are just as comfortable spending a day in their run when I need to work or leave the property.
Barred Rocks are known for their hardiness.
This breed has been refined for two centuries for strong genetics. This means that these chickens do not have any breed specific health issues for you to worry about.
However, you do still need to watch out for common chicken ailments.
Lice, mites, bumblefoot, and worms should all be checked for regulary.
To avoid these problems you should keep their coop clean and make sure they have constant access to fresh water and feed.
This breed does best on a 16% protein feed.
A higher protein content helps them grow without issue and reach their full size.
Because of their size they are also very hungry! A single Barred Rock can eat as much as 1.5 lbs of feed per week. These chickens enjoy treats and food enrichment. You can read about what chickens can eat if you are interested in learning more about safe treats for them.
It is also important to make sure that your Barred Rocks have access to calcium. This helps support your chickens and keeps their egg shells strong. You can sprinkle oyster shell on the ground and they will peck at it as needed.
Coop Setup and Run
Barred Rocks are a versatile breed.
They really enjoy free ranging but can tolerate confinement very well. If they cannot free range then you should make sure they each have 10 square feet of run space. This will help keep them happy and stress-free.
For the coop they will each need 4 square feet of space.
Maintaining the proper space will reduce the likelihood of bullying amongst your flock.
As for coop roosting space, 8 inches is the minimum requirement per Barred Rock. This allows your chickens to spread out during the summer and roost closer together to maintain warmth in the winter.
The last space you will need to measure is the nesting boxes. Your Barred Rocks should have boxes that are 12×12 inches. Make sure to provide one nesting box per every 3-4 chickens.
Barred Plymouth Rocks are not at all new to the poultry world.
They were first exhibited in Boston, Massachusetts, way back in 1849! They were named after the iconic Plymouth Rock landmark in Massachusetts. Unlike the other colors of this breed, the barring color is the original.
It is unclear who actually developed the Barred Rock because lots of people have claimed to be the first to breed them. No matter who developed these beautiful chickens, they nearly vanished until another exhibition in 1869 in central Massachusetts, in Worcester.
Since this second exhibition the Barred Rock rapidly gained popularity.
In 1874 this breed was recognized by the American Poultry Association and given a proper standard of perfection.
It was during this time as well that they became a key breed within the broiler industry.
Over time the breed was replaced in the broiler industry at which point the Barred Rock breed faded to the background.
Although they have recently regained popularity in the poultry world, they have almost vanished completely several times now. Fortunately they have found refuge in backyard flocks all over the US and are listed as now recovering by the Livestock Conservancy.
As a recovering breed it is important to raise Barred Rocks and other at risk heritage breeds to keep the poultry gene pool large and healthy.
If you are anything like me, then these sweet chickens will charm their way onto your homestead too.
There is a good reason why this breed has stuck around for the last two centuries.
Barred Rock Chickens are easygoing, hardy, and consistent egg layers. This makes them great starting chickens for new flock owners! These chickens genuinely enjoy their time with people and are loyal flockmates. They love to eat and explore, but are not troublesome so long as you fence off your garden.
Raising them has been lots of fun. They are quiet enough to leave neighborhoods undisturbed, produce lots of eggs, and handle the cold much better than some of my other chickens. This breed is truly one of the easiest to care for thanks to their simple needs and patient demeanor.
If you are a beginner looking to start a flock then the Barred Rock is the breed for you.
Let us know in the comments section below…