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    Barred Rock

    Chicken Breed

    Barred Rock chickens make for great dual-purpose birds, averaging about 200 large brown eggs a year.


    Authored by Sam Peterson

    Breed type


    Egg color


    Pen or free-range?

    Works well in both



    Barred Rock quick facts

    Lifespan: 10 to 12 years

    Weight: Females (Hens) - 7.5 lbs.; Males (Roosters) - 9.5 lbs.

    Appearance: Dark gray with black and white barred feathers

    Egg Production: Approximately 200 eggs/year

    Good for Beginners: Yes


    The Barred Rock chicken has a unique history as a distinctly American bird, a barred-feather variety of the Plymouth Rock breed, the two names are often considered interchangeable. These chickens first appeared in the United States as early as 1849 but disappeared for a number of years afterwards. Many people have laid claim to the later reappearance of the Barred Rock variety, which quickly became one of the most recognizable breeds in American poultry.

    Barred Rocks make for great dual-purpose birds and have strong egg production, averaging about 200 large brown eggs a year. They have a long history as an important breed within the American broiler industry. In the early 1900s, breeders developed a ‘production strain’ of the Barred Rock, whose meat and eggs kept Americans fed and supplied throughout the 30s and 40s. This strain of bird differs slightly in egg laying ability from the original ‘heritage strain’, which suffered in numbers but has made a comeback in recent years. Both strains have the history, popularity, and production that make them well-suited to those looking for a reliable bird producing both high-quality meat and eggs.

    Barred Rock temperment and good-to-knows

    The Barred Rock is recognized for its calm, friendly temperament, making it a suitable breed for beginners, backyard keepers, and those with small children. If socialized from a young age, they make great family birds, and their beautiful, barred feathers look great in the backyard to boot. Their adaptability and strong foraging instinct make them great for both confinement and free-range, though they should be sheltered from predators during the night. If confined, they should have plenty of space to move about 10 square feet per bird should be enough to avoid fighting, but more space doesn’t hurt. 

    Since the history of this breed dates back to the 1800s, the Barred Rock breed can be prone to broodiness, being a product of a time before modern incubators. Even if a hen is not naturally broody, they can be convinced through the creation of a proper environment. These hens are well-regarded as mothers and should have no issues raising their chicks. Some aggressiveness shown by a broody Barred Rock hen is typical if not given the space they need. They can live in both coops or a free-range environment.

    Visual characteristics

    This breed has striking black-and-white barred feathers which give origin to their name. This distinctive plumage contrasts beautifully with their bright red combs and bare feet. Though they may not have as many special traits as more exotic breeds, Barred Rock chickens impress through their sturdy builds and attractive barred feathers. This breed has classic features that are sure to be appealing to anyone.

    Health and care of Barred Rock chickens

    This breed is both heat and cold hardy, but owners should be careful of extremes. Barred Rock combs can be prone to frostbite. Outside of this concern, the breed is considered low maintenance with no major health issues to speak of. As with all chickens, keeping them and their coops clean and clear of parasites should be a priority. As fast growers, Barred Rock chicks should be fed high-protein feed in order to keep up their naturally quick growth and to avoid deficiencies. Both the heritage and production strains of the Barred Rock come from strong genetic stock and, if raised well, they will grow to be healthy, productive birds with lifespans of 10 to 12 years.

    Barred Rock Chicken frequently asked questions

    How long does it take for a Barred Rock chicken to mature?

    Barred Rock chickens typically take about 16-20 weeks to reach maturity, at which point they will start laying eggs.

    Are Plymouth Rock and Barred Rock the same chicken breed?

    Plymouth Rock and Barred Rock chickens are two different breeds, although they can look similar at first glance. The main difference between the two is that Plymouth Rock chickens are a dual-purpose breed, meaning they are raised for both meat and eggs, while Barred Rock chickens are primarily an egg-laying breed.    

    Are Barred Rock chickens good for eggs?

    These chickens are known for being both good layers and can produce around four to five brown eggs per week, on average. They are also known for being consistent layers throughout the year, although their egg production may decrease slightly during the winter months. 

    What color eggs do Barred Rocks lay?

    Barred Rock chickens lay brown eggs; the egg color can range from light to medium brown. They are generally a uniform color without speckles or spots.

    How big do Barred Rock chickens get?

    Barred Plymouth Rock chickens are considered a medium-sized breed of chicken. Roosters can weigh 7-8.5 pounds (3.2-3.9 kg) and hens typically weight between 5.5-6.5 pounds (2.5-3 kg). They have a sturdy build and a broad, deep body, giving them a plump appearance. Despite their size, they are known for being active, alert and friendly birds who are easy to handle.

    Are Barred Rock good meat chickens?

    Barred Rocks are a dual-purpose breed, meaning they are commonly used for both meat and eggs. While they are primarily known for their egg-laying capabilities, they can also make good meat chickens.


    Everything your flock needs

    Chicken Care Guide

    Find all the information you need about raising chickens. Get an overview, then find helpful links to more in-depth education.

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    Coops, Pens and Nesting Boxes

    Browse coops for the perfect roosting spot and space for laying all those eggs. Don't forget nesting boxes, bedding, fencing materials to bring it together.

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    Poultry Feed and Treats

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    Poultry Care

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