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Barred Rock Chickens A Heritage Breed

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The Plymouth Rock or Barred Rock Chickens

The Plymouth Rock often called simply Rocks or Barred Rocks chickens are a breed that originated in the United States. The recognized varieties are Barred, Penciled, White Buff, Partridge, Columbian, Black, and Blue. The varieties are called by their name followed by the word rock.

Barred Rock actually means a black and white Plymouth Rock chicken. The Barred Rock and White Rock are the most common types. The other varieties are quite rare. However, the “Barred Rock” name covers the entire breed, not just the Barred variety; people use that name interchangeably with the Plymouth Rock Chicken.

• Purpose of the Barred Rock Chickens

The Plymouth Barred Rock is a good dual-purpose hen, kept for meat and eggs. They are good mothers but not necessarily broody. This is an excellent quality if you are looking for consistent egg layers. These chickens lay large eggs that vary in color from light to medium brown with a touch of pink. On average, they will lay 4 eggs per week.

They will continue laying throughout the winter but the production will decrease. They adapt to a coop and will lay in your nesting boxes if provided.

Plymouth Rocks are large chickens that weigh from seven to eight pounds. They put on weight very easily hence good for meat. They are among the most popular meat birds in America. Some, however, only serve either one of the purposes.

Barred Rock Chickens

• History of the Barred Rock Chickens

The Plymouth Rock chicken first appeared in the United States at a poultry show in 1829. It was named Plymouth after the town of its origin.

They are considered America’s favorite breed. The breed rose rapidly in popularity because of its great egg laying capabilities. In fact, in the 1950s, they were among the most common chicken breeds in America.

Gradually, they were crossed with other breeds as commercial chicken production and factory farming started booming in the country. Currently, purebred Plymouths are hard to find although there are still breeders in America and all over the world who still do.

They are working on bringing back the authentic purebred Plymouth Rock. You will find the Plymouth Rock chicken in homesteads, family farms, and backyards.

• Lifespan of the Barred Rock Chickens

Their lifespan depends on the kind of care they receive. If they experience a good quality of life, they live for about 6-8 years. Some have been known to exceed to up to 10-12 years. Their care is quite simple and it includes;

1. Diet
They have no special dietary requirements. Normal scratch outdoors and chicken feed will do. However, a calcium boost through shell-grit or some crushed eggshells in their diet from time to time is good for the egg-laying breeds.

2. Good Grooming
Here, no special treatment is required. The regular lice, worms, or parasite check will suffice. If they have a nice patch to sunbathe in, they can do their own grooming. 

3. Housing

The chicken need a safe coop they can retreat to. You can create a private nesting box room to create a conducive environment for them to lay their eggs. The perches should also be of decent sizes for them to roost comfortably and get a good night sleep.

The coop should be well ventilated for warmth during winter and coolness during the summer. Let them free range in the backyard as they love to run around; if that’s not possible, make sure their enclosure spacious for them to at least stretch their wings.

Barred Rock Chickens

Behavior of Barred Rock Chickens

As far as being docile and their temperament goes, both the roosters and hens are good and calm and will get along well with people and other pets. They also get along well with other animals. Some people have reported Rock roosters to be bullies and hens sweet, which cannot be disputed. Individual behavior in different breeds may vary. Look out for the weaker breeds as they may be prone to being bullied. They take well to confinement but are happier if left to roam freely.

Where to Get Them

They are quite common and therefore not hard to locate. You will find them at your local farmer’s market. During normal breeding times like summer and spring, you are likely to find them in farm supply stores. This is one of the best times to get them as all the animals available for sale come alongside supplies and anything else needed for their care.

Choosing to buy online is also another option. The upside is that you can be able to negotiate on price and the breed you want. The downside is that unlike in the market or stores, you cannot see the actual bird.

Another advantage of stores and markets is when you see them in person, there is a variety to choose from and someone willing to answer any questions you might have regarding the chicken.

Fun Facts
• They shouldn’t be confined by large fences as they aren’t good fliers
• It is the original breed for many popular types of chicken
• Are also quite popular in Australia and the UK

If you live somewhere with cold temperatures, have a small scale farm, or stay home, for the most part, the Plymouth Rock is a perfect fit for you. Because of its friendly nature, it is also safe to get this breed if you have small kids.

They make great pets! We think it is important to consider all features when deciding to get a chicken. You really want something that is going to produce and earn its keep.

The video below will show you just how docile these lovely chickens are. When opting for a backyard chicken that will produce and be good around your children, you can’t go wrong by adding a few of these Barred Rock Chickens!

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