barred rock chickens

10 Amazing Reasons to Raise Barred Rock Chickens

When it comes to backyard chickens, the Barred Rock Chicken is one of the hardest workers. She is an attractive, placid, and useful addition to any flock.

For over a century, this American original has delighted thousands of poultry breeders, hobbyists, and backyard keepers around the world.

In addition to producing high-quality eggs, the Barred Rock chicken is prized for its striking appearance. As a variant of the common Plymouth Rock breed, you may come across these fowl identified as Barred Plymouth Rocks.

To that end, how do you go about taking care of and nurturing Barred Plymouth Rocks? So, let’s take a look at their character, history, and care requirements.

Comparison of Barred Rock and Plymouth Rock Chicken

barred rock chickens

These stunning chickens are a Plymouth Rock chicken color mutation. Actually, black and white barred feathers are the most typical. The breed is easily identified by its distinctive feathers.

Plymouth Rock chickens can also be found in a variety of other colors, such as buff, blue, white, and partridge.

Similar to these birds, Plymouth Rocks share the same characteristics and care requirements. If you’re unable to have a Barred Rock, Plymouth Rock Chicken is a good alternative.


The Barred Rock Chicken is a historic chicken breed. In the middle of the 1800s, Barred Rocks first emerged on the map. The Boston, Massachusetts, poultry show in 1849 featured this variant of the breed, but for some time afterward, the breed was soon neglected.

In the subsequent decades, barred chickens gained in popularity. The stunning barred feather patterns of Dominiques and Barred Rocks quickly made them popular.

During World War II, Plymouth Rocks rose to prominence in the broiler industry. American households relied on them heavily for their supply of meat and eggs.

They continue to be widely sought after for both their meat and their eggs. Because of their mild demeanor, they are kept by farmers of all skill levels in backyard flocks.

The Appearance of Barred Rock Chickens

barred rock chickens

It’s no surprise that the Barred Rock fad has caught on; these birds are stunning. Listed below are images representing each of their developmental stages.

Barred Rock Chickens Feather Colors and Patterns

The varied plumage of a Barred Rock bird.

The plumage of Barred Rock chickens is characterized by regular, parallel bars of varying shades of dark and light. The dark bars are rarely completely black, and the light ones are rarely completely white.

A gene that suppresses pigmentation in colored feathers produces this distinctive barring pattern. Therefore, the dark feathers we see today have blank bars where no pigment exists (which appears as white).

The roosters of the Barred Rock breed have two copies of the barring gene, while the hens have only one. This is why Barred Rock males look lighter than Barred Rock females.

When compared to other chicken breeds, Barred Rocks stand out for their exceptionally thick and fluffy feathers.

The dense and fluffy feathering on my Barred Rock hens gives the appearance that they are much heavier than my Rhode Island Red hens. There isn’t much of a size difference between the two.

Their butts are extra fluffy and adorable.

The combs of Barred Rock chickens are single and stand proudly. The perfect combs will have five serrated points that are evenly spaced apart, with the middle point being longer than the ends.

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Many chickens, however, won’t be up to par. That’s good news for me because it means I can tell my hens apart in part by their combs.

Medium to large wattles, dark reddish bay eyes, red earlobes, and yellow beaks, shanks, and feet are all characteristics of the Barred Plymouth Rock breed.

Black is the predominant color of Barred Plymouth Rock hens. They have a few yellow spots, mostly on their bellies, and a tiny one on top of their heads that can be either yellow or white.

Egg Color of Barred Rock Chickens

Their eggs range in size from medium to large and are a light brown to pinkish brown color.

Chick Appearance

Just like any other young chicken, Barred Rock chicks have soft, fluffy feathers, but theirs are nearly all black, with only a few yellow patches. Their dark black feathers gradually lighten and white patterns appear as they mature.

Appearance of an Adult Barred Rock Chicken

The beautiful black and white striped feathers of an adult Barred Rock are a sight to behold. They have triangular bodies and are quite large for chickens. The average weight of a hen is around 7.5 pounds, while a rooster is slightly heavier at 9 pounds.

Their combs and faces of barred Plymouth Rocks are a bright red color. Their eyes are a light brown color and very bright.  Their eyes are a light brown color and very bright.

As far as birds go, Barred Rocks have a stellar reputation for being calm and sociable. They are friendly to people of all ages and backgrounds, and their adaptability has earned them a reputation for tolerance.

Some people even keep them as pets because they enjoy getting treats and being handled.

Broodiness of Barred Rock Chicken Hens

These hens are capable of going broody. They were bred to sit on eggs and incubate them before modern incubators were invented. Even though not all Barred Rock hens are broody by nature, it is possible to train them to care for eggs and chicks.

The hens’ tendency to become aggressive increases when they become broody. To prevent this, give them plenty of room to roam away from the other chickens in the coop.

Are Barred Rock Chickens Noisy?

These chickens are among the quietest available, so they may be a good choice if you’re looking for a peaceful chicken flock. Their low noise levels make them ideal for owners who share their homes with others.

The only time a rooster is likely to make any kind of noise is when it spots a predator. The hens’ reputation for quietness makes them well-suited to many different settings.

Barred Rock Chicken Roosters

Contrary to popular belief, barred roosters are generally quiet. Roosters require special attention, such as nail clipping. Just get yourself a good pair of clippers and you’ll be all set. Care must be taken to avoid cutting into the leg, which could result in injury.

Since they don’t need extra calcium for egg-laying, they have a lot more dietary freedom. Give them whatever food you normally give to the hens, and they’ll be fine.

Do Barred Rocks Get Along With Other Pets

barred rock chickens

When it comes to interacting with other pets, Barred Rocks are generally peaceful. Still, it’s crucial to provide them with plenty of room to move around.

Each bird in the coop needs at least 10 square feet of space, and there should be no more than one rooster for every ten hens. Giving your chickens more room to roam reduces the likelihood of fights breaking out.

Some suitable chicken breeds for their company are listed below.

Speckled Sussex
Buff Orpington">Orpington

Caring for Barred Rock Chickens

If you think these exotic fowl would be good additions to your household, research their needs carefully before making the purchase. What to feed them and where to keep them is discussed below.

Barred Rock chicks require a feed with 18% protein when first being fed. In order to keep up with their rapid rate of development, chicks require a substantial amount of protein.

Adult health is at risk if they don’t get enough protein as children. Feed them dried shrimp and mealworms to increase their protein intake.

Chicks can be switched to an adult diet with less protein as they reach maturity. The ideal adult layer feed consists of 16% protein.

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By supplementing their diet with oyster shells or another calcium source, you can encourage them to lay more nutritious eggs. Unlike hens, roosters do not benefit from supplemental calcium.

The nutritional needs of a Barred Rock can usually be met by any commercially available feed. They can produce healthy eggs with minimal mating.

However, allowing them more time to forage on their own can improve their chances of finding sufficient food.

They may supplement their diets by munching on weeds and bugs, which has the added benefit of keeping your land free of such nuisances.

It’s best to limit the amount of time the feed sits out each day. Chicken feed left out all the time could attract unwanted pests.

Housing for Barred Rock Chickens

Having plenty of space to roam is essential for the well-being of Barred Rock chickens, which are quite large. At the very least, each bird needs 10 square feet of coop space.

To keep them from getting bored, you can let them out during the day, but make sure to lock them up safely at night.

Since these hens produce so many eggs, you should also give them a place to nest. Nesting boxes for these birds are typically 12 inches in width, height, and depth.

That way, a single chicken can take a nap inside without having to worry about any of the other chickens getting too close. Broken eggs are a real possibility in overcrowded nesting boxes.

A roosting perch is a must-have for any chicken kept in a home. In case they get crowded, your chickens should have plenty of room to spread out on the available perches.

The chickens will be less likely to fly away in search of a higher perch if you place the perches at varying heights.

One of the best chicken breeds for cold climates is the Temperature Barred Rock. They do well in the colder months and may even lay eggs then. However, they should still have access to sufficient, suitable housing throughout the year.

Although these birds can survive in warmer climates, they actually thrive in the chilly conditions that winter brings. So, make sure they have access to plenty of cool shade and refreshing water this summer.

The hens won’t be able to stay comfortable if the coop is too stuffy.

How Much Space Do Barred Rock Chickens Need?

The Barred Rock chicken breed is known for its placid temperament and adaptability. This indicates that they do, in fact, cope well with confinement.

However, because Barred Rock Chickens are naturally curious and exploratory birds, it’s important to provide your flock with enrichment in their coop. They will be overjoyed if you give them a run large enough for foraging.

If, however, your run is devoid of grass, you’ll need to give your pets something else to do. You should provide several perches, rocks, and tunnels for them to use as shelter.

Always give them a lot of room to spread out in the shade and do their business in the dust. That’s true for all chicken breeds, of course.

While the Barred Rocks can adapt to a small tank, they will still appreciate as much room as you can provide. These chickens were designed to roam the barnyard in search of food.

Health Issues of Barred Rock Chickens

barred rock chickens

This is, generally speaking, a healthy breed. They outlive most chicken breeds by a good few years, living between 10 and 12 years.

Few health issues are universally experienced by them. Parasites like lice, mites, and worms are the most common problem you’ll face.

To keep parasites at bay, make sure your chicken coop is always neat and tidy. Be sure to give them clean bedding and water on a consistent basis.

Most parasites can spread rapidly, so if a chicken in your flock gets them in your enclosure, you should get them to a vet as soon as possible. It’s possible that you’ll need to quarantine an infected chicken to protect the rest of the flock.

Adding herbs like oregano and lemon balm to your chickens’ diet can help strengthen their immune systems and improve their overall health.

Common diseases like fowl pox and coccidiosis are less likely to infect your chicken if you keep their coop clean and they have a healthy immune system.

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Life Expectancy of Barred Rock Chickens

The Barred Rock is an exceptionally hardy breed of chicken. The average lifespan of a chicken is 5–8 years, so you can expect about the same from yours.

In the spring, my Barred Rocks always seem to have a problem with droppings stuck to their fluffy tail feathers. I believe that until their digestive systems adjust to the new forage, they experience diarrhea.

Some barred rock chicken hens’ bottoms always get dirty, and I end up having to give them a bath.

Breeding barred rock chickens

As long as a rooster is kept with the hens, this breed of chicken can reproduce on its own. Adding a rooster to your flock will help you hatch and raise more chickens.

Barred Rock chicken breeding may seem harsh and intense, but it’s actually a very natural way to increase the number of these wonderful birds in the world.

The presence of a rooster is unnecessary if your only goal in keeping chickens is to harvest eggs for human consumption.

Chickens never stop laying eggs that you can eat or sell because they are sterile. For this reason, only keep roosters with your hens if you intend to hatch a clutch of eggs.

Are Barred Rock Chicken Hens Good Egg Layers?


About four eggs per week are the average for a rock hen. Annually, they can produce between 200 and 280 eggs. A great trait of these chickens is that they continue laying eggs even in the colder months when other chicken breeds stop.

That’s why you won’t typically see these hens used for anything other than eggs.

From the time they are about a year old, these hens produce eggs steadily. It’s possible that after that, they’ll gradually stop laying eggs.

The average lifespan of a chicken is only about seven years, but these birds can continue laying eggs for another decade or so.

Frequently Asked Questions

You might have some questions if you’re thinking about keeping this particular type of chicken. And now, a bit more data on these magnificent birds.

When do barred rock chicken hens begin to produce eggs?

Barred Rock hens typically begin laying eggs between the ages of 16 and 20 weeks. As soon as a hen begins laying, she will typically lay an egg every 25 hours.

Nonetheless, there is still a chance that these hens will continue to lay eggs even if the weather turns chilly.

Do Barred Rock Chickens Easily Petted?

While it’s not always a positive experience, holding is something that Barred Plymouth Rocks can enjoy. Around people they already know, they tend to be more sociable and tolerant.

When you get to know one of these chickens, it may become tame enough to sit on your lap or be carried around.

To what extent do Barred Rock Roosters exhibit aggressive behavior?

As a rule, these roosters won’t start fights with anyone. Like hens, they are typically tame and approachable.

It’s common knowledge that roosters of most chicken breeds are more likely to be aggressive and territorial than hens. This means that you should limit the number of roosters in your flock to a minimum.

Are Barred Rock Chickens Right for You?

Barred Rock chickens are versatile birds that can be used for chickens, pets, and even show purposes. Among other uses, this versatility makes them one of the most adaptable chickens in the world.

Barred Rocks are not only gorgeous and functional, but they won’t break the bank, too. For less than $3 each, you can get them as chicks. They are a great source of supplemental income due to their constant egg production.

Although there are many excellent choices, Barred Rocks deserve special recognition for its adaptability. You can find a wide variety of other productive hens for egg-laying, so you shouldn’t feel limited to just one type.


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