Plymouth Rock vs Barred Rock – What is the Difference?

Plymouth Rock and Barred Rock chickens are some of the popular chicken varieties in today’s poultry world. These two dual-purpose chickens are large and produce high-quality eggs and meat, making them favorite birds for most chicken raisers.

Although the Plymouth Rock and the Barred Rock chickens have similar traits, these two breeds have some apparent differences.

What are Plymouth Rock Chickens?

The Plymouth Rock chickens are huge chickens that are available in several varieties. These chickens’ first appearance was in Massachusetts during the 19th century.

These dual-purpose chickens are suitable for meat and high-quality brown eggs. They are cold resistant, excellent sitters, and easy to manage, making them some of the most widespread chickens in the Americas.

What are Barred Rock Chickens?

The Barred Rock chickens are large dual-purpose chickens developed as heritage chickens in New England in the 1800s. Barred Rock chickens are a crossbreed of the Domingues and Black Java chickens, two popular barred chicken varieties.

These chickens are heavy, making them superb meat producers. They are also good layers because Barred Rock hens can lay four large brown eggs weekly.

Plymouth Rock vs Barred Rock

Although Plymouth Rock and Barred Rock chickens are two popular barred chicken varieties, these breeds aren’t the same. They differ in size, weight, and appearance.

They also have different meat and egg production capabilities. Below is a detailed comparison of these two popular barred chicken breeds.


The Plymouth Rock chickens are heavy chickens with a triangular side profile. These chickens have long backs, with full and rounded breasts. They have single upright combs with five points. Their eyes are reddish. Plymouth Rock chickens have loose and full feathering. The feathering is particularly soft on their underbellies.

Barred Rock chickens have narrow, clean patterning on their feathering. These chickens have broad, long, and deep bodies. Baby Barred Rocks chicks are black to dark grey when hatching. Barred Rock chickens have 5-pointed single combs. Their combs, face, and wattles are red.

These chickens have sharply defined white and black barred feathers. They have full breasts and long backs, making the birds suitable for chicken raisers seeking good chickens to keep for the table.

Size & Weight

Both the Plymouth Rock and Barred Rock chickens are heavy chicken breeds. Plymouth Rock roosters weigh 7.5 lb. on average, while hens weigh around 3.0 lb. Barred Rock chickens are heavier than their Plymouth Rock counterparts. Cocks from this chicken breed weigh about 9.5 lb., while hens weigh about 7.7 lb.


Barred Rock chickens are sweet, docile, and friendly, making them the favorite chickens for many chicken keepers. These chickens can thrive on free-range or in the coop. They love foraging and ranging, although they adapt pretty well to confinement provided they have ample space.

These chickens are friendly toward their owners and among the few breeds that enjoy cuddling. They aren’t excellent flyers; thus, you don’t require a fence to keep the birds confined.

Furthermore, Barred Rock chickens aren’t noisy. Their great dispositions and mild temperaments make them great chickens for your chicken flock. The Barred Rock chickens aren’t aggressive towards other chicken breeds and are also easy to handle and maintain.

Plymouth Rock chickens have a calm and friendly temperament. Like the Barred Rock chickens, these chickens are also docile and have pleasant personalities. They thrive in confinement, although these chickens tend to be happier roaming freely in gardens and backyards.

Plymouth Rock chickens also make great bird pets, thanks to their friendly disposition. Although these chickens aren’t aggressive towards humans and other breeds, they are highly protective and always cautious of predators.

Egg Production

Both the Barred Rock and Plymouth Rock chickens are excellent layers. Rock Barred hens lay about four eggs weekly. They are outstanding for their ability to lay large brown eggs. Barred Rock hens lay about 200 eggs yearly. Hens are usually productive for the first couple of years when they start laying. Egg production, however, begins to decline when the hens are about three years old.

The Plymouth Rock chickens are also productive egg layers. Hens keep laying even throughout the winter months. Hens can lay around 210 eggs annually. These chickens also lay brown eggs. They are some of the hens that lay large brown eggs. Hens are excellent sitters and dependable babysitters.

Meat Production

The Barred Rock and Plymouth chickens are dependable meat producers because they are large chicken breeds. These breeds are good large-scale chicken keepers and homesteaders.

Plymouth Rock chickens are especially good for meat because they are long and heavy, meaning they have a huge body mass. Barred rock chickens are equally good meat producers. They also have long bodies and more tasty meat than most chicken breeds.

Care & Housing

Plymouth Rock and Barred Rock chickens have similar care and maintenance needs. For instance, these two breeds need at least 16% daily protein intake to help them maintain their meat and egg production capabilities.

They should also get calcium to help them get enough calcium to keep their bones strong and to help these chickens lay good quality eggs. Furthermore, your indoor Plymouth Rock and Barred Rock chickens need to eat grit to ensure they digest their food.

Because these two chicken breeds are large, each Plymouth Rock and Barred Rock chicken in your flock needs not less than 4 square feet. Keeping too many chickens, whether Plymouth Rock or Barred Rock chickens, in a small coop can lead to harmful activities like feather picking and bullying.

The more spacious the cage, the better because your chickens will have ample room to move freely without interrupting each other while running and roaming.

Your Plymouth Rock and Barred chickens coop should have enough nesting boxes to ensure each hen has space to lay. Most importantly, the coop should keep the chickens secure from predators. That means it shouldn’t have any holes allowing predators to enter and attack your chickens. Furthermore, the coop should have good ventilation to stabilize the birds’ temperature, especially in cold months.


Plymouth Rock and Barred Chickens are some of the favorite chickens for homesteaders and large-scale chicken keepers to raise. These dual-purpose chicken breeds are easy to maintain, and they are also hardy. While they might be different chicken varieties, these two breeds are worth rearing because the rewards of keeping the two breeds are invaluable.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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