Barnevelder Chicken – An Underrated Egg Layer

As with most of the more-recent chicken breeds, the Barnevelder chicken was created in Europe but bred to meet the demands of those in England. While the Barnevelder chicken isn’t as popular as it was a good few years ago, it is a surprisingly popular breed for homesteaders because of its dark brown eggs.

This is due to the wonderful eggs that it lays. Although, more on that in a short while.

Barnevelder Chicken (Photo By Air55) (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Barnevelder Chickens Facts at a Glance

Eggs170 – 200 per year
Egg Color Dark Brown
UseDual Purpose
Comb TypeSingle
Weight Male Standard: 7 lb.(2.3 kg)
Male Bantam: 28 oz (795 g)
Female Standard: 5.5 lb. (2.5 kg)
Female Bantam: 24 oz (680 g)
ForagingGood
TemperamentDocile
Country of origin The Netherlands
Barnevelder Chicken Facts

Where Did the Barnevelder Chickens Come From?

This Barnevelder chicken was first bred in the 19th Century. If you have read the chicken breed profiles for the other breeds we have talked about here, then you will know that there wasn’t much in the way of record keeping back then.

This means that pretty much all we know about the Barnevelder chicken is that it was developed in the Netherlands, and it was likely developed from chickens that were imported over from China.

It wasn’t until 1921 that the chicken started to be exported to the United Kingdom. Up until then, the chicken eggs were sent over but never the chickens.

We guess that somebody had an eye for how beautiful the eggs looked, and they wanted to develop the chicken breed even further.

This is exactly what happened. While the Barnevelder chicken in the UK isn’t drastically different from the breed produced in the Netherlands, it is now the standard version of the breed worldwide.

The Appearance of the Chicken

One of the highlights of this chicken breed is the beautiful feathers that they boast. The hens have what is known as a ‘double-laced’ pattern. This means that each of the feathers on this bird has two colors on it. It creates a gorgeous pattern.

The Barnevelder roosters look pretty standard, but the hens are absolutely divine.

Barnevelder chicken comes in few color varieties, but in the USA only the double laced is recognized.

In addition to this, they have yellow legs which are completely unfeathered. The look is completed with the large single comb that sits on the top of their heads.

This chicken carries itself tall and proud, which means the chicken breasts are going to be pushed right the way out. It is a stunning breed to look at, although it is not included in that many chicken shows nowadays, sadly.

Barnevelder Chicken Meat

We couldn’t find that much evidence that the Barnevelder has ever been raised as a meat chicken breed. For the most part, this is a chicken that has pretty much always been about the eggs.

We assume that it was raised as a meat breed at some point. After all, the roosters had to go somewhere, but this was never the main priority of this chicken.

That being said, we assume it would make a stunning meat chicken. It can grow up to 8 lbs. (3 kg.) in weight, which is a huge amount for a family.

It is quick to mature too, which means that it is ready for the slaughter rather sharpish.

However, we reckon that the vast majority of the people who are looking to get their hands on this breed will be more likely to enjoy it for the eggs it produces.

Barnevelder Chicken Eggs

Barnevelder Chicken is able to pump out about 200 eggs per year, and it remains doing so throughout the winter too.

This is one of a few chicken breeds that lay dark brown eggs. The color of these eggs is a stunning brown, and people are in awe at just how crisp the color looks.

Actually, one of the darkest egg shells come from this breed.

These eggs are erring on the larger side of things too. It is really surprising that this chicken is so underrated.

Barnevelder Chicken Eggs
Barnevelder Chicken Eggs

Although, since it does have a larger comb, during the colder months, you are going to want to do something to help protect that comb. A touch of Vaseline will go down well.

Honestly, it really isn’t a surprise that the British wanted to take this breed a little bit further! A flock of Barnevelder hens would be more than good enough for any homesteader.

It helps that you can slaughter them at some point too for a decent bit of meat.

The Personality of the Chicken

Barnevelder Chicken
Barnevelder Hen (Photo by Bodlina (CC BY-SA 3.0))

It is not one of the friendliest chicken breeds in the world, but the Barnevelder chicken is going to get on fine with humans.

It loves to interact with them and can be friendly to an extent. However, do not expect this breed to be the cuddly type. They do not always love to be touched.

It is important to note that while the Barnevelder chicken does well with other breeds, it is one of those breeds that very much rules the roost.

This means that some people will notice that it bullies the other chickens. We do not really see this as a major issue when you are raising it, but you may want to keep an eye out, and you may want to cut down on the number of breeds that you are raising, which is pretty much always recommended anyway.

This is also a breed that doesn’t love to explore all that much. Yes. It needs a lot of space, but you can’t expect it to explore that space all that often.

It tends to stay firmly rooted in the same place. Every so often, you are going to see a burst of energy. But do not expect that to happen all that much.

For this reason, you are probably going to want to keep an eye on the amount of food that they are consuming. Since they are not going to be burning a whopping number of calories, they are going to get fat otherwise!

Barnevelder Chicken Care Tips

In terms of looking after the Barnevelder chicken, there isn’t a lot that you need to know. As we mentioned before; they do need to have their food controlled at times, and you need to do something that protects their comb.

However, this is a breed that has been raised to be commercially used. This means that it pretty much takes care of itself. There are no health issues, and it does a brilliant job of keeping itself clean.

If you do want a chicken breed that is a good producer, looks fantastic, and is a true joy to rear, then the Barnevelder chicken may be the perfect chicken breed for you.

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