To be perfectly honest, the Barred Rock chicken is one of my favorite breeds. My first exposure to the Barred Rock was back in the late 1980s. My first wife and I got some chicks around 1988 0r 1989, raised them for around a year or so, then butchered them.
The Barred Rocks my new wife and I got in February 2012 are very much like the ones I had back in the 1980s.
Some of my favorite points about the Barred Rock:
Friendly – one of my rocks will walk right up to me, let me pick it up and pet it. The other rock stays at arms length, but does not act scared.
Foraging – Barred Rocks seem to be excellent foragers. They are always wanting to get out of the coop to explore. When I open the coop to let the chickens free range, the Rhode Island Reds and Rocks are the fist ones out the door.
Good layers – My rocks lay just about every day. If they do not lay everyday, they lay about every other day.
Good meat chicken – Its been a few years since I have butchered a Barred Rock, from what I remember these chickens have a good thick breast and plenty of meat on them.
Cold Hardy – The Plymouth Rock (aka Barred Rock) was developed in the New England part of the United States. With the Rock being cold hardy, they are supposed to keep laying through the winter, but with decreased production.
Quiet – The hens do not make a lot of noise.
Raising chickens for SHTF
In another article we talked about some of the best chickens for survivalist, of which we discussed the Barred Rock.
If there was some kind of long term SHTF situation, the Barred Rock would be at the top of my list, right next to the Rhode Island Red and Australorp.
The BR has some of the main characteristics that I would look for in a chicken – friendly, good forager, good layer and good meat chicken. What more could you want form a homestead?
The light on dark colors provides the BR with natural camouflage to help avoid predators. The Roman author Columella noted that white chickens should be avoided as they are not very fertile and are easily caught by eagles or goshawks.
Have you raised Barred Rocks? If so, how was your experience?
Do you think the BR would make a good breed of chicken for a Homestead or a for a long term survival situation?