If you want a gorgeous, laid back, productive chicken for your backyard flock, the Barnevelder may be just what you need.
Barnevelder chickens are some of the most beautiful birds one can get. Their unique lacing and chocolate colored eggs make them stand out from many other breeds.
If you are thinking of adding a few to your flock you wont be disappointed. Here is some more information about them.
Everything About Barnevelder Chickens
Perhaps youve heard of Barnevelders. Perhaps you have not. At any rate, here is everything you need to know to become familiar with them.
Origin And History
Barnevelder chickens originated in the central Netherlands town of Barneveld. They are a Dutch breed believed to have first appeared in the 1850s.
Initially, they were a product of local European hens crossing with chickens from Asia, referred to as "Shanghai" chickens. Along the way, they were crossed with other breeds, most notably the Croad Langshan.
It is believed it was the Croad Langshan breeding that most contributed to the Barnevelder's winter hardiness, as well as their egg production and deep brown color.
The Barneveld has gone through many changes over the years in it's appearance.
Color & Feathering
These chickens come in many different colors and patterns. Often times, the hens will show some form of lacing on top of a brown or red base. The roosters are, as per usual with roosters, much more vibrant.
Roosters also exhibit a beautiful lacing pattern. As seen below, they can also have an exquisite iridescent green across most of their body. The tips of their wings can be a darker red or brown for contrast.
Both the hens and roosters are very impressive looking. Much more so than, say, a more plain breed with no markings like a Rhode Island Red.
Both hens and roosters have single red combs, the roosters also have an impressive set of wattles. They each also have bright yellow feet with four toes each.
The Dutch Poultry Club initially accepted the breed as an official entry in 1919, but there was still a wide variety in colors and patterns. It took another two years until a breeder's associate was formed to develop breed standards. It then took another two years, in 1923, for the breed to be accepted.
The variety of colors and patterns are:
- Double Laced
- Double Laced Blue
- Silver Double Laced (only accepted in Bantam)
- Silver Black Double Laced (not accepted yet)
- Partridge (believed to be extinct)
These chickens are, for the most part, considered to be a large breed of chicken, however, they do also come in Bantam sizes, as well.
The standard chicken has a good size to it. The hens are typically in the 5 to 6 lb range while the roosters weigh in at a whopping 7 to 8 lbs!
Need some help keeping your chickens health and care taken care of? Check out the Organized Chicken Keeper for an easy to follow system.
What Are They Like?
Barnevelder chickens are some of the best candidates for any flock. If you live in a neighborhood or suburban area, they may be the perfect chicken for you.
Both hens and roosters in this breed are very low maintenance and easy to care for. They keep to themselves for the most part. They are very cold hardy. So much so that their egg production does not waiver during the winter.
They do not particularly enjoy the heat but can do very well if they are provided with the right amount of food, water, and shelter.
If you want docile chickens, you're in the right place. Some would even call these chickens lazy. They love nothing more than to laze about all day and not really kick up too much trouble.
They can, on occasion, try to assert their dominance on other chickens in the flock. This rarely amounts to more than typical chicken behavior establishing their pecking order.
What Is Their Purpose?
Barnevelders can be considered a dual purpose chicken. For our standards, they are actually a tri-purpose chicken.
We call this breed a tri-purpose breed because it can be used for three distinct purposes. Although, we do not advocate that you eat your pets.
Since Barnevelders are so laid back and docile, they make great backyard chicken pets. Very few chickens like to be picked up and carried, but these guys and gals will enjoy flocking around you, especially if you have some feed.
These chickens, especially the roosters, can grow to be quite large. A good 7 to 8 lb rooster is more than enough for a family to eat for dinner. Plus, the hens grow around 5 to 6 lbs. Once they no longer lay, they can be good stewing chickens.
Eggs are far and above the most common reason anyone keeps a backyard flock.
Barnevelders keep up with a good production schedule. Like any breed, how long chickens lay eggs really depends on their quality of life. Most chickens will lay at their high production rate for the first two years of laying. After that, they will slowly decline until they have no more eggs left to lay.
These hens, in particular, are good layers. You can expect to get anywhere between 175 and 200 eggs per year from them. That will amount to around 3 or 4 a week per chicken. That means 3 or 4 chickens is about the equivalent of a dozen plus eggs a week. Plenty for a family!
One unique feature of this breed is their egg color. While many breeds will lay brown eggs, Barnevelders are part of a small group, along with the Black Copper Marans, that lay deep chocolate colored eggs.
Here are some of the more common questions we came across while researching this topic.
Are Barnevelders Good Layers?
Barnevelders are pretty good layers. Most hens will lay around 3 to 4 eggs a week. Depending on the size of your family, you may want anywhere from 3 to 8 hens to replace eggs from the store.
Are They Rare?
They aren't necessarily rare but they aren't super common at the moment. However, they are starting to see a rise in their popularity. This is likely because they are hardy and good production chickens.
Are Barnevelder Roosters Aggressive?
Pretty much all roosters can be aggressive. Some breeds are more so than others. Barnevelder roosters fall on the more laid back, less aggressive end of the scale. But, as we said, all roosters can exhibit aggression given the right circumstances.
How Long Do They Live?
Don't be surprised if your chickens live for a while. This breed will typically live between 4 and 7 years. Although, if they are cared for, and live a relatively low stress and predator free life, it is not unheard of for a chicken lifespan to reach 10 years old or more.
Now you know everything there is to know about Barnevelder chickens. They really are an almost perfect breed.
You can raise them just about anywhere. They lay a good amount of eggs on a very reliable schedule. It's common for them to grow very large and be great meat birds.
If you want a sweet chicken pal, they can also fit that bill...or beak, as the case may be. All in all, you will not be disappointed if you add a few of these to your own personal flock.
If you need more help with taking care of your chickens, check out The Organized Chicken Keeper for a complete system for managing their health through keeping their supplies stocked and coop clean.