Barred Rock chickens are a beautiful breed most recognized for their striking colors. With black and white stripes, these birds will always be an American classic. But what exactly is the Barred Rock chicken, and how will they fit into your flock? Let’s look at Barred Rock chickens: complete breed profile.
Barred Rock Chicken Temperament
Barred Rocks are most well known for their sweet and docile temperament. Owners claim that their Barred Rock chicken are some of the friendliest birds they own. They happily eat from your hands and follow you around. Hens will even start up a conversation with you.
You might think that since these birds are so large, they would use that against other hens. But these birds stay mid to lower ranges of the pecking order. Roosters even have calm and sweet temperaments, which makes them great for families.
In fact, the Barred Rock temperament makes them perfect for any situation. Whether you raise them as pets, meat, or eggs, these birds are ideal for any case.
A Barred Rock chicken lays gorgeous large light brown eggs. Your hens will lay about four eggs a week, or 280 eggs a year. You might be wondering when do Barred Rocks start laying? Like most production chickens, these hens begin around 16-20 weeks laying their first eggs. So you won’t have to wait long to have your farm fresh eggs.
But unlike other production breeds, the Barred Rock chicken continues to lay for 5-6 years. Their peak laying years tops off at 2-3 years, with a steady reduction in eggs every year after. However, your Barred might surprise you and never slow down.
How Do They Fair In Winter?
Barred Rocks come from Massachusetts. So as you can imagine, they are cold hardy. Most Barred Rock chicken varieties slow down laying in the winter, but some owners don’t even notice any slow months.
These chickens also don’t mind harsher winter conditions. As long as you take a few proper precautions, your hens will do just fine. Especially when it comes to dealing with frostbite, these hens need a little help. Adequate ventilation is one of the key elements to keeping the Barred Rock chicken cozy and frost-free in the winter.
But when it comes to anything special for survival, these chickens don’t need much. You might even find that your hens go out willingly in the snow to scratch around and play. That’s what makes the Barred Rock perfect for beginners.
Barred Rock Broodiness
Barred Rocks have a couple of varieties; some are production breeds, and others are heritage. Heritage strains are breeders and go broody often. You will know when your hens have gone broody when they start to sit in the nesting boxes more and generally less active. Some Barred Rock chickens will even protect their nesting box and growl when you come near.
These hens make great mothers. They sit on their eggs dutifully, and the roosters take part in protecting the chicks. It’s in their genetic code to keep up with the bloodlines and take care of their babies.
Production varieties don’t go broody as often, though. You might find that they are more prone to broodiness during the spring. But not all year round. If you are breeding these production Barred Rocks, we recommend keeping an incubator nearby.
Can They Be Dual-Purpose?
The Barred Rock chickens: complete breed profile wouldn’t be whole without talking about meat production birds. So can the Barred Rock chicken be a dual-purpose breed? The answer is, of course! These hens get as large as 7.5 pounds and roosters as large as 8.
If you are raising Barred Rock chickens for meat production, you will process them at 20 weeks old. Feeding them a higher protein diet will fatten them up quickly and make them worthy of the work. If you butcher them any sooner, they are too thin, but you could also wait until they have laid eggs for a few years.
What To Feed Barred Rock Chickens
Your Barred Rock chicken won’t need any special feed, but it does change depending on their age. Chicks should always eat a starter feed with high protein content. This feed helps a chick’s rapidly growing body and muscle definition.
After chicks are six weeks old, they will need to switch to a grower feed. This feed has slightly lower protein, but it’s still enough to keep their growing bodies healthy and filled out. After 20 weeks, though, if you are not processing your chickens, they will need to switch to layer feed. Layer feed has all the calcium and protein that your hens need to produce the best eggs.
But your Barred Rocks will only eat a small amount of feed. They prefer to spend their time foraging and finding seeds and bugs to eat. If your flock has access to a free-range pasture, your hens will find most of their food themselves. But if you keep them in a run, it’s not impossible. With a little landscaping, your hens could forage just as well in a run.
Do Barred Rocks Need Special Care?
Next on our Barred Rock chickens: complete breed profile is special needs. We are here to tell you that Barred Rocks are some of the easiest breeds to care for. Their sturdy bodies make them resistant to anything, and they aren’t picky.
Barred Rocks are perfect for the beginner and experienced keeper alike. Most new owners might have anxieties about caring for chickens. And if they have special needs, it can be nerve-wracking. Getting a few Barred Rocks to gain experience is a great idea.
Barred Rock Hen vs Rooster
When most people get chickens, they don’t usually consider getting roosters as well. After all, you don’t need roosters for your hens to produce eggs. But after learning about the gentle Barred Rock rooster, you might change your mind.
Are Barred Rock roosters aggressive? Barred Rock roosters are gentle and never aggressive towards people. They are one of the few rooster breeds that are safe to have around children. But don’t take their soft nature for not doing a job. Barred Rock roosters will still protect their hens and their chicks.
The only condition to keeping a Barred Rock rooster is that you don’t want them in a flock with an aggressive rooster. Even if you have plenty of hens to go around, it won’t end well. The more aggressive breed will become dominant over the Barred Rock and possibly kill it.
Overall the Barred Rock is a healthy bird. They aren’t prone to any genetic defects. And they don’t suffer from any reproductive health issues that other hens do. So if you are a beginner, these hens are perfect since you won’t have to worry about them as much.
Though you shouldn’t take this to mean they are invincible. Chickens of all breeds can develop infections, parasites, and viral diseases. But there are a few things you can do to prevent these.
The first step is always to feed a wholesome diet. If your chickens feel great on the inside, it will boost their immune system to keep them healthy. It also keeps their weight in check to prevent obesity and diseases related to that.
The next part is to do daily checks on your flock. Doing a full-body health check only takes a few minutes. It will help you catch any abnormalities and changes quickly. The faster a symptom is noticed, the sooner you can treat the illness.
And of course, keeping your hens in a clean environment prevents many diseases as well. If you do all of these things, your Barred Rock chicken could live as long as 6-8 years.
So Where Can I Get These Hens?
Now that you have the Barred Rock chickens: complete breed profile, you might want to get some. You can get chicks and pullets at almost any feed store or hatchery. Many small breeders also love to breed these chickens because of their popularity. You can even purchase fertilized eggs online and shipped to your house.
And the best part is that these chickens are cheap no matter which age you get. The average price for a Barred Rock chick is less than $2. In comparison, the Barred Rock pullets are generally less than $20.
However, this is just the price for the standard Barred Rock. Several varieties may cost a pretty penny. Currently, there are nine recognized varieties:
- Plymouth Rocks
- Blue Rocks
- Black Rock
- Black Frizzle
- Buff Rocks
- Columbian Rocks
- Partridge Rocks
- Silver Penciled
- White Barred
And let’s not forget that most Barred Rocks come in bantam sizes. All of these birds have different pricing. And not all of them are very common, so finding a breeder might only be possible through an online hatchery.
So all you need to do is prepare for your chicks and decide on a color variety. We promise you won’t regret getting these beautiful chickens. Most people call them dual-purpose, but we call them all-purpose. No matter if they are for eggs, pets, or meat, you will adore the Barred Rock breed.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!