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Barred Rock rocks the Hen House

All I can say is that we have had some really sad days in the Hen House! Our sweet little Vanilla died very unexpectedly. She was always small and frail – we sometimes called her “Cardboard” because she was so lightweight! But she was the noisiest one of the lot!! Always ran out first and complained when lunch was not served on time!! We are going to miss you, little one!

This is the last photo I took of Vanilla

Much to my pleasure, Hannes came home this week with two new chickens – they are Barred Rocks!

About Barred Rocks

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.

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 3kg while the cock weighs about 3.4kg to 4.3kg. They are friendly birds that get along really well with people.


 [one_half]This is Tara and Rocky[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Tara in front, Rocky Behind[/one_half_last]

Tara is the more curious and friendly of the two. She is also the more submissive of the two – sort of the hen-pecked one. I took an immediate liking to this one and named her Tara.


This is Rocky – she is the more formal and aloof one. Hannes called her Rocky – taken from the name Barred Rock.

[one_half]They settled in quickly[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And they love the Hen House[/one_half_last]

However, they have now stepped on Skollie’s turf and she is not having any of this. She makes sure they stay lean and slim by chasing them all around the garden. I think she is getting more of a training then these two fresh young athletes. She can only really get a good swipe at them in the Hen House when it is roosting time. Oh Boy!! She gets a few pecks in – ouch!!!

By Barbara

Country living is the best! Being a true spirit of the earth, my garden is all about vegetables and fruit trees and herbs and chickens roaming free. I was keen to really start gardening when we moved to Philadelphia in 2005, but not your typical suburban-type garden – sterile and bug-free! I wanted an edible garden.

6 replies on “Barred Rock rocks the Hen House”

Sorry to hear about Vanilla. That is a beautiful photo of her. Your two new chickens are really pretty too. I like their patterning.

There is a reason the term ‘pecking order’ came about! 😉 I’m always amazed at how rough chickens can be with each other. I’m very sorry to read about Vanilla though. Goodness, you built a fabulous poultry palace, and then have definitely had a run of bad luck. It does happen in chickendom though, sadly.

I can vouch for the fact that barred rocks, and Plymouth rocks, aren’t the same, even though their share some ancestry. I’ve known some very sweet barred rocks, and owned Plymouth rocks who were the absolute most aggressive, and disagreeable birds ever to have been part of our flock. I’d never have another Plymouth rock on the farm. I think next time I’ll try the barred rock instead, besides, they’re beautiful!

Sorry about Vanilla. 🙁

I was certain that I just read that Hannes came home with the two new chickens, one under each arm — but upon reading again I realize my brain made that up completely. I like the picture of it though. 🙂

I wonder if they’ll be good swimmers?

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