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The Barred Rock Chicken: Resilient and Productive


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Understanding the Barred Rock Breed

Barred Rock chickens, also known as Plymouth Rocks, are a popular breed in the United States. Renowned for their distinctive black and white barred plumage, these chickens offer both aesthetic appeal and practical benefits.


Physical Characteristics

Appearance: The Barred Rock chicken is known for its black and white feathers with horizontal stripes, creating a unique barred pattern. They have a single five-pointed comb, with vivid red color on their face and comb. These large birds have a triangular-shaped body, bright and alert eyes, and long backs​​.

Size and Weight: Barred Rock roosters typically weigh between 7.5 to 9.5 pounds, while hens are slightly lighter at 6.6 to 7.5 pounds. There is also a bantam variety, with roosters weighing nearly 3 lbs and hens around 2.5 lbs​​.

Behavior and Temperament

Social Behavior: Barred Rocks are known for their calm and friendly temperament, making them suitable for families and first-time chicken owners. They are not aggressive and adapt well to being handled, even by children​​.

Noise Levels: They are relatively quiet, which makes them a good choice for urban settings​​.


Egg Production

Laying Capacity: Barred Plymouth Rock Chickens lay large brown eggs, with an average production of 4-5 eggs per week, amounting to around 250 eggs a year​​.

Age of Maturity: They generally begin laying at about 6-7 months of age​​.


Care and Maintenance

Feeding

Dietary Needs: Initially, Barred Rock chicks should be fed a high-protein diet (18% protein), transitioning to a 16% layer feed for adults. They benefit from treats like dried shrimp and mealworms, and hens require calcium supplements for egg production​​.

Feeding Management: Regular access to feed and fresh water is crucial, and care should be taken to balance their diet to prevent issues like Fatty Liver Disease​​.


Housing

Space Requirements: Each bird should have a minimum of 10 square feet of coop space. Nesting boxes should be provided for egg laying, and roosting perches are essential for their comfort​​.

Temperature Tolerance: Barred Rocks thrive in colder climates but can also tolerate warm weather with adequate shade and ventilation​​.


Health and Wellness

General Health: This breed is known for its hardiness and resilience, with minimal breed-specific health issues. Regular monitoring for common ailments like lice, mites, and bumblefoot is advised​​.

Lifespan: Barred Rocks have an above-average lifespan of 6 to 8 years in optimal conditions, and even longer in well-maintained backyard settings​​.


Breeding Considerations

Barred Rocks are effective breeders with high fertility rates. They exhibit strong mothering instincts and are generally successful at incubating and hatching eggs. For optimal breeding results, comfortable nesting boxes and a proper rooster-to-hen ratio (ideally one rooster for every ten hens) are recommended​​.




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