Barred rocks as a meat bird?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 6, 2010
Montrose MI
I just got done with some cornish rocks for the freezer. Next batch is gonna be Freedom rangers. But I just got some chicks from my daughters classroom. They are about 3 weeks old. A couple look like barred rocks & one is a rooster. I think. One is a RIR I think? Im new, but have been looking at alot of pictures from the What breed is this thread. Now my question. Im very interested in hatching some eggs & raising them as meat birds. How long for a barred rock to get to butcher weight. I know they wont grow as fast as cornish rocks or Freedom rangers. But I would like to try a self renewing flock of dual purpose birds . I know I would have to do a couple small batches of Freedom rangers every year, Also Do I need to keep the Barred Rock rooster away from my Isa brown laying hens.? I stiil have to do some reading on the incubating & hatching aspects, but Ive got time.

I have the space for 25 or so birds, So how many could I put in the freezer a year by hatching my own?
Last edited:
50 years ago the Plymouth Barred Rocks were a popular dual purpose or meat bird and Rhode Island Reds and their cousin breed the New Hampshires were also . It will be difficult to find PBRs [ or others ] that are the size and quality for feeding out , even the best will not compare to a CX carcass in appearance or breast quantity , but some people prefer the taste of the old heritage breeds over the modern quick growing hybrids . If memory serves , those three old heritage strains bred for meat took around 18 weeks and produced a smaller carcass than a 7 week CX ; you may have to feed a hatchery strain longer . I'm sure there are others that have much more recent experience than me .
Not sure why you ask about keeping the roo away from the ISA hens , but personally I would keep roos confined and as tender as possible .
ETA: With 25 fertile hens and an incubator you can hatch more chicks than you would ever be able to use .
Last edited:
I raised hatchery (Meyer) barred rocks for meat last year. I fed them on 24% gamebird and free-ranged them. The roos were 4+ lbs dressed in 14-16 weeks; the hens were much smaller (I sold the hens as started pullets). This spring I hatched out a non-hatchery-quality barred rock roo from a mixed batch of eggs and at 16 weeks he was almost a half pound heavier dressed than the hatchery stock. In all cases, though, the rocks have narrow breasts and large leg quarters. They taste terrific. Here's a pic of a roaster:

love my rocks but of course they are not cornish cross. They are much slower to grow, they eat more feed and they have a narrower shape. If you're OK with that they breed just fine all on their own. If you want a more meat-like chicken you'd do better to start with a meat chicken and cross-breed, as some people here are doing with cornish X mixes and freedom ranger mixes.
Very interesting read. I would be very interested in a 12-14 week bird that could gain to 4lb dressed averages.

This is my theory.. on 20% mix (standard store bought chick starter) I would estimate weights for roos in the 3lb range dressed weight for 14 week birds. 24%, we see from the prior post a 4lb bird average... and my theory/question (for any who have actually done it) is to go with a 30% protein mix. My feed mill takes a 36% chicken nutrient mix and combines with fillers to get the protein ration/percentages that I request. I have been going to 20% for cornish and feel a bit on the shy side for growth in comparison to what others have posted for weight gains.

The 36% chicken nutrient base is $16 per 50lb bag....and will probably be a $13 bag for a 30% mix-down.

Your thoughts?
Thanks for the input guys. I could deal with a 4 lb bird for the table. Not exactly cost effective in regards to feed. But thats not real important to me. since its only gonna be a small percentage of my meat birds. So if I was to save a Freedom ranger roo & a couple hens till breeding age??? would they produce freedom rangers. or are they terminal after 12 weeks or so.. Once again thanks for the input.
I could be wrong, but I think the Freedom Rangers will live a long, healthy life (at least relative to the Cornish X). I believe they breed true as well - that's supposed to be one of their big draws - sustainability.
The freedom rangers are not terminal, they breed just fine. They ARE a hybrid and they will not breed true, but from what I have heard from people who have actually bred them is that the second generation is still a meat bird, but that there is a lot more variability in the grow-out rate. In other words you'll lots more small chickens and slow chickens, as opposed to a solid 10 weeks to 5 lbs from the first generation.

As to the protein question, There's not really a linear relationship between the amount of protein you feed a chicken and the weight you get. (if that was true, we'd all be feeding chickens 100% protein and getting 10 lb chickens in a week.
) The genetics matter more for a fast-growing bird than the feed does -- I've also raised buckeyes and marans and they take much longer to get up to weight even on the same feed. Also the higher protein feed is going to cost you a lot more. So there's a balancing act between how much protein to feed the bird and how much money to spend. I suspect that 24% is probably on the high side, but 20% might be low. I'm raising my current freedom rangers on 20% because that's all I can get in organic. We'll see how that works out.
Well, not that I disagree with you Petrelline, and I know there is truth in your comment about protein, however I do know that the main reason you do not feed 100% protein is because it will cause protein poisoning. The main-reason you do not feed cornish X 24% or higher is due to heart and growth rate vs frame building. My theory though was simply that a bird such as Barred Rock, may be able to accept the higher protein as method to build a quicker meat bird.

I guarantee there have been many chicken farmers who have tried it (a 30% protein feed) and found that yes, it will build a bigger bird more quickly- but the feed conversion ratio just not favorable due to cost as you have mentioned. Agreed, probably not on smooth curve as one would hope.

The 36% package that the feed mill sells goes for $16 (not organic) for 50lb. In reality, that is not too much if you are comparing the feed conversion ratio of a Cornish (2/1) but if we are looking at a conversion ratio for the barred in the 4/1 ratio and 4-weeks longer.. OUCH - that may be the culprit.

My hope is for data/studies. This indeed is intriguing.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom