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Barred Rock vs Rhode Island Red

Barred Rock vs Rhode Island Red

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Two handsome chickens are the Barred Rock and the Rhode Island Red. Not only will these chickens give you precious eggs, but they are also a joy to have around. But which one should you get? Let’s look at the Barred Rock vs Rhode Island Red to see which fits into your flock best. You might even decide that they both have a place in your heart.


One of the first things you should compare is the temperaments between these two birds. If you already have chickens, the pecking order is a very delicate thing. So you will want to add hens that will mesh well with what you already have.

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Barred Rock chickens are calm and collected chickens. The Barred Rock temperament is so relaxed that they hardly ever fight or cause issues. They make great farm birds or backyard pets. So if you want a docile flock, the Barred are best.

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Rhode Island Red chickens are hardy, robust birds that sometimes have a dominant streak in them. Overall, they are friendly and aren’t overly aggressive. But they can get a little too bossy if your flock isn’t assertive enough. It’s not uncommon to find these birds causing unrest in the coop. But if your flock has the same temperament, you won’t have any issues once they sort out the pecking order.

Noise Levels

If you live in urban areas, it’s understandable that noisy hens are not doable. But you won’t have anything to worry about with either of these birds. Both the Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red chicken are quiet. During the day, you will hear the soft chatter of your flock. And if you make your way outside, they will include you in the conversation.

However, you won’t have to worry about screaming and noise complaints from the neighbors. As long as your chickens are happy and have enough resources, your neighbors might not even notice they are there. Unless, of course, you get a rooster. Then you will have lots of crowing, but they are typically illegal to have within city limits.

Egg Production

Backyard owners keep their chickens for the delicious fresh eggs. So it only makes sense that egg production is at the top of your priorities. And when comparing Barred Rock vs Rhode Island Red chickens, there are many things to consider when it comes to eggs.

Laying Age

One slight difference between the Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red is their laying age. Barred Rock pullets are ready to start laying their eggs around 16-20 weeks, depending on their hatch date. Rhode Island Red chicken, on the other hand, starts laying slightly later at 18-24 weeks.

But both of these hens produce eggs for longer than most hens. Many Barred Rock chicken will continue to lay eggs for 5-6 years. They won’t keep laying an egg a day, but you might still get one or two a week. And Rhode Islands continue laying for 4-5 years. So if you want a long layer, Barred Rocks are slightly ahead of the Reds.

Eggs Per Year

Laying age is only half of it. How many eggs per year do these chickens lay? Rocks can lay anywhere between 200-280 eggs per year. That equals about 4-5 eggs per week, so there will be plenty to go around. Rhode Island Reds are egg-producing machines. They lay anywhere between 200-300 eggs per year, or 5-6 eggs a week.

Egg Size And Color

When comparing the Rhode Island Red eggs vs Barred Rock eggs, they are nearly identical. Both of them lay beautiful large brown eggs. So when you are comparing these birds, you won’t have to sacrifice egg quality.

Broodiness And Motherhood

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What is broodiness? A broody hen is ready to hatch some chicks, no matter if she has fertilized eggs or not. It is entirely hormonal and can happen several times a year, not just in the spring. And it’s also important to mention that broody hens don’t lay eggs. So if you don’t want interruptions in your laying schedule, you will need to get non-broody hens.

Do Barred Rocks go broody? Well, they are a heritage breed that goes broody often. And Rhode Island Red hens are purposely bred never to go broody. That’s one of the reasons why Rhode Island Reds lay more eggs a year.

Does this broodiness make them good mothers? Yes, and no. Broody mothers almost always make excellent mothers. It doesn’t matter if the eggs are hers or another’s. A Barred Rock will sit on them and raise the chicks well.

But Rhode Island Red chicken will surprise you as well. If you breed your Rhode Island Reds, they usually make good mothers. They will sit on their eggs without a problem and raise the chicks with everything they have. So breeders can feel confident in either of these chicken breeds.


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Both the Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rock chicken are winter hardy birds. They can survive the fridged temperatures and aren’t prone to frostbite. But being cold hardy doesn’t equal winter eggs.

Barred Rock chicken tends to use the winter as a rest period. Most stop laying late fall and don’t begin until the spring comes. Although, it’s not uncommon to coax Barred Rocks into laying year-round. But Rhode Island Red chicken is a super layer. They continue to lay eggs throughout winter and barely slowing down at that. So if your goal is winter eggs, the Rhode Island Red is your better choice.

Dual Purpose

Another great thing about comparing the Barred Rock vs Rhode Island Red is that they are perfect dual-purpose birds. Barred Rocks get as large as 7-8 pounds, and Rhode Island Reds anywhere from 6.5-8.5 pounds. So, once your hens finish laying eggs, they make a nice stew as well. No part of these hens will go to waste.

Foraging Abilities

With such large birds, you might fear that both of these chickens will eat you out of house and home. But both the Barred Rock chicken and Rhode Island Reds forage for most of their foods. Despite their large size, they love to go out and scavenge the yard. They will eat all kinds of weeds, grains, and yes, even bugs.

Don’t let these plump birds fool you. They are sharp as a tack and fast as lightning. Your hens will be capable of getting even the best insects in your yard. Most owners even claim that these chickens are so great at foraging that they don’t eat much layer feed at all. So you won’t be spending more money to keep either of these hens.

Health And Lifespan

When we look for the perfect chicken breed, we look for one that’s robust and hardy. And both of these chicken breeds live up to all of your expectations. As long as you get your chickens from a reputable breeder, your hens will live a long and healthy life.

Your Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds aren’t prone to any diseases or genetic defects. In fact, they even seem to resist illnesses that decimate other chicken breeds. Your Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds can live as long as eight years!

The Roosters

We have talked a lot about the hens, but what about the roosters too? Are they like the hens, or do they have quirks that might make them difficult to handle?

Barred Rock roosters are a lot like their female counterparts. They are calm and gentle creatures that live peacefully with other animals. They aren’t at all aggressive and can be trusted around children too.

Rhode Island Red roosters are another subject, though. They are a very dominant bird that can get a little aggressive. You don’t want these birds around small children or in flocks with passive chickens. But they take the job of protection seriously. Rhode Island Red roosters are even known to attack predators rather than let them attack the flock.

Amazing Crosses

After looking at the Barred Rock vs Rhode Island Red, you might feel like you are at a crossroad. There are so many excellent qualities out of both of these hens. It might be challenging to choose just one. That’s why breeders have started making a Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock cross. You can get Red Rock chickens by crossing a Barred Rock hen with a Rhode Island Red rooster.

These crosses are also referred to as Rhode Island Rock chicken or Red Plymouth Rock chicken depending on the breeder. They are a perfect black sex link hen with a docile temperament and excellent egg capabilities. With 300 eggs per year, you will love having these hens in your flock.

In A Nutshell…

Barred Rock chicken is best for people who need gentle birds that are still decent layers. But a Rhode Island Red chicken is the best choice for people who need an over-achieving layer bird. Both of them still hold a place in our hearts, and the perfect middle ground is a hybrid. Which one do you think is best for you?

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!

Barred Rock Vs Rhode Island Red

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