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The Plymouth Barred Rock Chicken
What is Your Favorite Chicken Breed?
The History of the Plymouth Barred Rock Chicken
The Plymouth Barred Rock chicken was developed over 150 years ago and is a breed that was created in the New England region of the United States. The breed is similar in appearance to the Dominique and sometimes Barred Rocks are misidentified as members of the Dominique breed. This is partially because the Dominique is one of the breeds that were used to develop the Plymouth Barred Rock and they do have similarities in appearance that can be hard to separate without a closer look.
One of the interesting things that sets this breed apart from other chicken breeds is their feather coloring. When you first look at a Barred Rock chicken, you see a black and white chicken. If you look at them closer, you will notice that each feather on these chickens is actually striped horizontally from top to bottom and alternates the black and white coloring throughout the feather. It creates an interesting and beautiful look when combined with the dark red combs, orange eyes and yellow beaks and legs.
This particular chicken breed is considered dual purpose, meaning that they are raised for both meat and eggs. The cockerels of this breed are also suited for use as Capons because of their large size and personality. The Barred Rock is an all around useful chicken breed.
The Physical Characteristics of the Plymouth Barred Rock Chicken
- The Roosters weigh between 7 1/2 to 9 1/2 pounds.
- Hens weigh between 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 pounds.
- The Barred Rock chicken is distinguished by their black and white striped feathers.
- Hens and roosters have single, dark red combs.
- Beak color comes in shades of yellow
- Leg color is yellow
- Their eyes are orange
The Barred Rock Chicken's Tolerance to Cold Climates
These chickens do very well in any climate. As long as plenty of food and water are available to them in the summer time, they are very heat tolerant. All chickens will require more water than usual in the heat and as long as the Barred Rocks receive adequate water, they will survive.
In the extremely cold winter months, it is important to provide them with plenty of hay or straw to help keep them warm inside their coop. As long as their feet are able to be completely covered when they are roosting, there should be no danger of anything happening to their feet and legs as a result of extreme cold.
For any chicken breeds that are kept in extreme cold, it is important to check them for frostbite. Their combs and waddles are especially susceptible if the humidity is too high in the coop. With good coop ventilation, frostbite should not be a problem but checking the entire flock frequently is a must in extreme cold so any issues with the feet, legs, combs or waddles can be taken care of immediately.
Plymouth Barred Rock Pullets
Plymouth Barred Rock Rooster
The Plymouth Barred Rock hen is an extremely good egg layer. She will lay an egg for you at least 5 times per week in the warmer months. The hens will slow down egg production in the shorter days of winter but that is common in any chicken breed.
You can expect large sized eggs in shades of brown and sometimes they will even have a pink hue to them. Barred Rock hens do go broody more often than other breeds so you can expect the hens to occasionally want to try and hatch a clutch of eggs. They are a successful breed at egg hatching and make very good mothers to their chicks.
Personality and Behavior
This chicken breed definitely has personality! The hens are generally friendly when they aren't broody or in mothering stage. They tolerate being handled quite well, even by strangers. They are especially pleasant to caretakers or people that they are familiar with and will walk right up to you.
The Barred Rock rooster is definitely a character. My personal experience with our rooster, Zeus is that he reminds me more of a dog than a rooster. He has been a joy as the keeper of our girls and does his job extremely well.
They can actually recognize their name when you call them and will come to you. The Barred Rock rooster is pleasant to people that they know but can be challenging to strangers. They will on occasion try and challenge their caretaker so it is important to set them straight as to who is at the top of the pecking order between the two of you. A flogging from a rooster is not a pleasant experience but once the order is known, the Barred Rock rooster will respect it.
These roosters are very protective of their hens and will not tolerate anything that they see as a threat. They do like to crow, a lot, and it can be very loud at times.
All in all the Plymouth Barred Rock chicken breed is an excellent choice for backyard chicken flocks. The egg production is fantastic, they have great personalities, they are visually stunning and are an all around great dual purpose chicken.