Chicken Breed: All about Barred Rocks Chickens.
Barred Rock Chickens
The Barred rocks breed of chicken is casually referred to as "rocks" in breeder circles. They're a cold hardy breed that is ideal for small individual farms. They're also a favorite of small backyard flock owners since they double up as great pets too. Their name comes from the odd greyish rock pattern of their feathers. It's eerily similar to rocks with a barred white pattern. This chicken breed is sometimes also referred to as Plymouth Rock. However, it's better to not confuse these two as the name "Plymouth rock" refers to its extended family and not the barred rock variety by itself. Now let's get to know a little more about this unique breed of chicken.
Barred rocks are very hardy birds and can usually adapt to any situation. They also tend to survive cold weather much better. This makes them the bird of choice for small individual farm owners. This quality is important because poultry in flocks keep warm by sticking together but a few chickens in a coop can't survive without being resistant to cold weather. This breed of chicken has an interesting history too. It was first introduced as a breed in England in 1869 following a long process of cross breeding that involved Dominiques, Cochin, Black Javas and probably a couple of other exotic chicken breeds like the Malay and Dorkings.
The Plymouth Rock breed came from the original Barred rocks breed. All varieties of Plymouth rock were produced by crossing the Barred rock breed with other chicken breeds. The Barred Rock is the first and oldest member of the Plymouth Rock family. This chicken breed carries a combination of some of the best farm chicken qualities like docility, hardiness and broodiness. The barred rock chicken is also excellent at producing meat and eggs and is renowned for being a very docile bird that doesn't create much of a ruckus like other chicken breeds do.
By nature, Barred Rocks live quite long. Though they are prized for their egg laying abilities, they also make excellent meat. The hens usually weigh about 6.5 lbs while the cock weighs about 8-9 lbs. This is a dual purpose bird and is usually either a good layer or a great source of meat. The trademark feature of the barred rock is its bright red face and red earlobes. A single comb of average size marks their crown and their beaks are tipped bright yellow. This breed is usually known for its excellent temperament and docility. They are friendly birds that get along really well with people.
Since Barred rocks are prized for both their meat and eggs, the latter is given more importance. A hen will usually be allowed to live out much of its egg laying days before it is taken for its meat. However, barred rock hens that don't lay many eggs are often consumed as meat very early. The eggs laid by this breed are brownish pink in color and the number of eggs a barred rock hen lays is directly dependent on the strain it comes from.
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