Dominique Vs Barred Plymouth Rock


In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 1, 2010
I have been debating between the dominique and the barred plymouth rock. From a quick glance they both look the same. So my question is which one is the better chicken? I have read reports that state that the barred rock does not do well in confinement, is this true? which one is the better layer? which one is friendlier? which one is more hardy? Any information would be great and highly appreciated on my decision to pick between the two breeds.

I could tell you what books and websites and "conventional wisdom" say -- and doubtless others will post to tell you that -- but the fact of the matter is that LINE matters a lot more than BREED in this one.

Traditionally Dominiques were good layers but that was a long time ago -- most of them these days are reported to be average to mediocre layers, although I believe there ARE still SOME good-laying lines out there. Temperament will also vary by line.

As far as Barred Rocks, again, it depends what line of birds you got. Some are friendly, some not so much; some are more bred for meat, some more for eggs, some for show, some for nothing in particular; etc.

The thing to do is figure out who/where you would get them FROM, and then research those birds IN PARTICULAR to make your decision.

Good luck, have fun,

Good advice. Both are Heritage breeds. Both are dual purpose breeds. Both were common farm flocks in years past so it really comes down to A. what lines are available to you and B. which do you prefer. Their appearance is similar but there are differences. Rocks are barred [duh] and Dominiques are Cuckoo which is kind of a skewed Barred if that makes sense. Rocks are a bit bigger and they have a single comb. Dominiques have a rose comb so they handle cold weather a bit better. Don't know where you are so don't know if thar's a factor for you.
I chose Doniniques because they re the first of the true American breeds but my interest isn't in production so that wasn't what I was basing my decision on. Mine lay fairly well & certainly as well as I need them to.
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I don't recall that Dominiques were ever a commercial breed (back when they still used them comercially) and Barred Rocks most definitely were. So in theory you should get birds that grow larger, faster, and lay more eggs with Barred Rocks than Dominiques.

In actual practice though my experience with the two of them is that Barred Rocks grow a bit larger and lay a few more eggs, but not a lot more since none of the hatcheries that I am aware of do a decent job of selecting for the characteristics that made Barred Rocks famous anymore. You might get lucky and find a small-scale breeder who is doing this. I'm not aware of any though.

I am not helpful at all BUT I have a Dominique and she is a great layer but lays small eggs compared to the others...and she is very friendly, intelligent and inquisitive. She is a little smaller also than my other girls.
I am hooked on Doms!! They were my first to lay and they lay everyday. The have been laying since December and though their eggs are still medium sized they are my only chickens that I can count on for production. They are also my nicest chickens. If temperment counts for you, my "DomDoms" as I call them are my only chickens that want to cuddle. They gather around my feet and beg to be picked up. I can walk around with them for hours if I wanted to. If I sit down, they fight to get in my lap. Did I try to raise them to do, because I was not going to have pet chickens. And I don't. But my DomDoms are truly a special breed. Got mine from Cackle Hatchery. Would definately suggest them if you are wanting chickens as a project for kids.
Decorah Hatchery Barred Rocks are supposed to be good layers.

Barred Rocks tolerate being yarded; they shouldn't be kept in wire floored cages, though. They are the classic backyard coop bird.
I totally agree with the comments about cuddly Doms. I can't speak to laying (ours are only 5 weeks) but we have several breeds, including a dominique and a barred, and the dom is always the first one on us - I swear she's asking to be taken out and cuddled sometimes, and will come up to the highest perch and ask to be taken out. The barred rock is probably the next most personable, though, along with the Golden Campine who cuddles well, once caught. Our Rhody is the least of all.
In all I can read, and one reason I have not tried Dominiques, is that they are very broody. Now some like that, but being a backyard chicken owner, I get tried of breaking hens from going broody.

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