barred-rock-vs-wyandotte

Barred Rock vs Wyandotte: Which Chicken is Right For You?

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When I first got into chicken keeping I was clueless about the different breeds.

I just thought they were all the same – feathered egg factories! But boy was I wrong.

Let me tell ya, after some trial and error I learned real fast that personality plays a huge role in choosing the right birds for your flock.

So I’m sharing my experiences raising barred rocks and wyandottes side by side so you can pick which type might suit your situation best. Buckle up, this is gonna be a long but fun read!

The barred rock is gentle as can be while wyandottes have more attitude.

And while both lay up a storm, you can count on barred rocks to pump out eggs day in and day out.

By the end of this post, you’ll know which breed is the best match for your needs.

To kick things off, I’ll never forget the chaos of my first coop mix up. Like the rookie I was, I threw all 20 chicks together and stood back waiting for the party to start.

Well lemme tell ya, that was no fun filled peep fest! One snotty lil wyandotte decided she was top hen from day one.

Any bird that came near her nesting box got a beat down! There was more squawkin’ than a barn full of roosters.

I had feathers flyin’ every which way.

It was pandemonium! Took me all afternoon to separate Miss Meanie and restore some peace. That’s when it really sunk in – I had a lot to learn about these bird’s personalities!

Friendliness

barred-rock-vs-wyandotte

Now barred rocks are like a bunch of happy puppies in feathers. They love nothin’ more than a good head scratch or belly rub.

Even from the day they’re hatchlings they’re calm and want to cuddle. You can just pluck one right up with no fight.

I’ve found myself sitting for hours just petting my barred rocks – they’re that darn affectionate! Meanwhile the wyandottes are a mixed bag. S

ome like Penny will cozy right up for scritches. But Rosie over there still loses her cool if I make sudden moves. You really gotta gain each wyandotte’s trust one by one.

To get my barred rocks super tame, I started handling them daily as chicks. I’d gently stroke their wings and legs while giving treats.

Now they come running at the sound of a snack bag rustling! I even had one, Beatrice, who would perch on my shoulder like a parrot.

Try pulling that with a sassy wyandotte and you’re likely to end up with bloody knuckles! Friendliness is a 10/10 for barred rocks while wyandottes range from 7-3 depending on the individual.

Temperament

barred-rock-vs-wyandotte

Here’s where the main personality differences shine through. By nature, barred rocks are as laid back as they come. Nothing seems to ruffle their feathers – not loud noises, strange animals or kids running up for cuddles.

They just go with the flow. But oh man, some wyandottes sure do live up to their name as “wyandottes with an attitude”! Like I said, Rosie acts like she has a permanent chip on her shoulder. If another hen looks at her sideways she’s ready to throw down!

Then you’ve got Piper the hothead who seemingly wakes up in a bad mood daily. She’ll chase the other girls around the yard hurling insults till they cry “uncle”.

Even me – if I have to duck under the coop she’ll take a swing! Obviously these fiesty fowl aren’t for the faint of heart. It’s really an individual trait so you gotta observe each bird’s tendencies up close before deciding if they mesh well with your own energy level and flock standards.

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Egg Production

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On the egg front, barred rocks are consistent champs. In ideal conditions, the girls will pump out 3 eggs per week like clockwork totaling over 250 per year.

And these aren’t itsy bitsy eggs neither – they’re whoppers averaging 1.5 ounces each! Meanwhile the wyandottes vary more but still crank out a solid crop ranging 200-150 eggs depending. That translates to 2-2.5 eggs weekly or a dozen every couple months. Not too shabby right?

The key is making sure both breeds get top notch care. I feed mine a 16% layer mash, oyster shells for calcium and unlimited clean water daily.

They free range during daylight to forage bugs and grass. With TLC like that, they’ll definitely fill your basket. If egg output is crucial, barred rocks are the sure bet. But wyandottes can match them if conditions are on point too.

Appearance

barred-rock-vs-wyandotte

When it comes to looks, barred rocks really stand out in a flock with their striking black and white barred feathers.

From any distance their harlequin pattern jumps off the landscape like an eye catching optical illusion. And boy are they photogenic too! I’ve seen barred rocks become social media stars just because their markings are so striking.

Meanwhile wyandottes come in a rainbow of hues from pale blue laced varieties to ruddy reddish browns. The feathered feet complete their old-timey vibe. Personally I love the blue ones – they remind me of robin’s egg shells.

Wyandottes photographs well too but you gotta get up close to really appreciate their detailing. From 50 feet away they just blend in as “brown chickens”. So if show stopping plumage is your goal, barred rocks take the wardrobe win hands down.

Size

When fully grown, you can expect barred rock hens to settle in around the 6-7 pound mark. They have broad chests and sturdy legs to power those big ol’ egg factories. Meanwhile wyandottes average a trimmer 5-6 pounds with more petite builds. So if space is tight, the small yet mighty wyandottes may suit you best.

However, those extra barred rock pounds can also mean more assertiveness at the feed trough if other breeds are around.

I’ve definitely had to separate out the little bantams on mealtimes so my big barred rocks didn’t wolf down their shares!

It’s really a trade off – do you want a more dominant yet larger layer or a laid back little egg machine that won’t out muscle the flock? Both work well in small or large setups depending on how you house and feed ’em.

Broodiness

Boy howdy, both these breeds can get a case of the sittin’ blues but barred rocks seem less prone to it in my experience. Nothing throws a wrench in your egg plans quicker than a hen that decides she wants to raise a whole flock of chicklings!

I’ve found about one in three of my wyandottes gets real broody each spring and knocks herself right out of the laying cycle. They’ll puff up, stop laying and sit on any nest of eggs for weeks on end making helpless peeps.

Removing the eggs doesn’t even break the trance! Then they get snippy defending their make-believe clutch. It takes some tough love to break ’em of it like isolating with no nesting area for 10 days.

Meanwhile maybe one barred rock gal per year hits the brooding bug. Must be all those mellow genes keeping them focused on the job at hand.

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I just give in and let nature take its course with a few artificial eggs now and then to keep ’em occupied. Within a month they snap out of it and the eggs start flowing again lickety split.

So if you’re relying on steady fresh eggs all season long without disruption, the barred rocks will serve you well in that department thanks to fewer bouts of false incubation. Just be prepared for more wyandotte sit outs now and again that bench them until they come to their senses!

Foraging Ability

These breeds have similar skills scavenging snacks from the grass but barred rocks just seem more motivated snackers on average. My girls turn over every leaf and blade like bloodhounds on a scent while wyandottes graze more lazily in patches.

Any bug or worm in my yard doesn’t stand a chance – those rocks will find and gobble it up quicksmart. I swear they can smell underground grubs from 50 feet! They’ve even been known to snag baby toads and snakes, much to my shock. Those beaks are lightning fast.

Plants like dandelions, plantains and clover disappear within hours of sprouting thanks to the daily buffet patrols. Some girls have gotten so pudgy on harvests I’ve had to cut back on supplementary scratch grains!

Wyandottes forage fine but don’t commit wholeheartedly like barred rocks. They may pick at one patch for ages versus flipping the whole lawn. So if maximizing natural snacks is your goal, Mr. and Mrs. Rock out-peck the competition hooves down.

Health & Disease Resistance

Overall these breeds hold their own quite well on the health front in my experience. With proper hygiene, vaccinations and closed/quarantined flocks, you’ll have few issues from either.

Comparing the two head to head though, I’d say barred rocks seem slightly hardier against common sicknesses. They usually sail through mite/louse treatments with nary an itch while some wyandottes get listless for a few days after dousing.

Perhaps their sturdier size lends to hardiness, but I’ve lost zero barred rocks to mareks or respiratory foes versus the occasional wyandotte casualty. Barring any disasters or poor coop setups they endure pretty good!

Deworming and bacterial therapies also phase rocks little despite their policing snacks from the yard vermin. Meanwhile some skinnier-framed wyandottes act off-kilter a few suns after dosing like the meds hit tougher.

Overall both remain fairly sturdy backyard pals with some TLC. But if you want the most resilient layers that’ll likely sail past average issues, barred rocks carry a small prophylactic advantage in my book!

Cost & Availability

On the economic front, both breeds offer fair value for the money in initial costs and long-term yields. Baby chicks of each typically ring up around $3-5 apiece from local ag stores or mail orders in spring.

Wyandottes seem to edge out slightly in availability sometimes at certain rural feed shops versus the more popular barred rocks. But both species order up easily online without delays if local stocks run low.

Feed and housing essentials naturally mount up some no matter the flock selected. But their reliable egg harvests sure earn keep in my book! At three eggs daily from 20 hens, you recoup costs in no time while stocking the fridge fresh too.

Factor in several productive years per bird and the profit truly lies in those beautiful brown yokes versus any purchase prices upfront. Wyandottes and barred rocks both prove thrifty fowl if stewardship is provided right!

Learning Curve

When first starting out, barred rocks or wyandottes both have a short and sweet learning curve for new chick keepers if homework is done right.

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A few essential books read cover to cover or online videos watched extensively lays the foundation for smooth success. Key topics include diet, housing needs and care routines like health checks, handling and cleaning.

Beyond that basic introduction, in my view barred rocks prove the gentlest gateway species to cut teeth on. Their friendly natures make tasks less stressful as confidence develops versus anxious wyandottes possibly.

But honestly both breeds adapt fast to predictable schedules and TLC routines put in place. Within a month you’ll be a pro at checks, collecting eggs and general wellness evaluations.

So in summary – all newbies should spend a week prepping through guides. Then just dive in! Any attentive novice will thrive raising either barred rocks or wyandottes simply through routine hands-on experiences. The happiness starts there!

Expense vs Reward

Chickens absolutely fit the “low investment, high yield” model that makes livestock charming! While initial chick, feed and housing costs hit the wallet upfront, the joys and payouts severely outweigh dollars long run.

For under $200 total, even city dwellers can set up modest coops yielding weekly garden fresh groceries. With care, these birds live 5+ productive years providing organic sustenance. How many hobbies recoup costs so speedily?

Consider too the value beyond eggs – entertainment watching personalities, teaching kids responsibility plus relaxation from their calming clucks. Some mornings I just sit with coffee letting their antics cheer my soul. Priceless mental health perks there!

Whether the steadier layers or more expressive breeds, both options deliver exponential returns far surpassing inputs. The true wealth lies in strengthened family bonds and community through shared flocks. Money just can’t buy that!

So if you crave a low-budget pastime that really pays you back, consider barred rocks or wyandottes roaming your yard soon. I assure their gifts will far overshadow any outlay within their first season bringing your household joy.

Barred Rock vs Wyandotte Comparison Table

Barred Rock Wyandotte
Friendliness Very friendly and affectionate Temperaments vary but some can be more hesitant with handling
Temperament Calm and docile nature More variable – some breeds prone to being sassy
Egg Production Consistent 150-250 eggs per year 140-200 eggs per year on average
Appearance Signature black and white barred feathers Come in variety of colors like blue, buff, etc.
Size Larger at 6-7 lbs Smaller at 5-6 lbs
Broodiness Less prone – about 1 hen/year More prone – about 1 in 3 hens/year
Foraging ability Very motivated natural foragers Graze more casually in patches
Mothering ability Very reliable broodies and mothers Also good moms but may be skittish
Health and disease resistance Slightly hardier overall Generally sturdy but some breeds prone
Availability Easily found Sometimes harder to source locally
Cost per chick $3-5 each typically $3-5 each typically
Learning curve for owners Very gentle first breed May be more stressful with touchier birds
Yields beyond eggs Entertainment, relaxation, etc. Entertainment, relaxation, etc.
Overall best for… Beginners, steady egg layers Experienced owners, variety seekers
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