Barnevelder Chicken Breed

Barnevelders are famed lor their excellent qualities as layers and notably for the color of their eggs, which are dark brown. This is a Utility breed, developed in the area of Barneveld a place with a reputation to keep up worldwide when it is a question of chickens. In this is about the only chicken breed that people who are not interested in poultry know about. They often erroneously call any brown egg hybrid a Barnevelder, which has however nothing to do with reality. This well-known and popular breed. It was imported into the UK in about 1921 and attracted immediate interest due to the fact that it was both a good winter layer and a producer of brown eggs.

The breed arose from local layers that were mated up with large Asiatic breeds, such as Brahma, Cochin and Langshan were used in its makeup, but despite all these feather-legged ancestors, the Barnevelder has clean legs that are yellow in colour.

Being a very robust breed, the Barnevelder should pose no obvious problems for the novice keeper. it would prove an excellent choice, combining an attractive feather pattern with good utility features. The most popular Barnevelder is the very pretty Double laced, which has two rings of glossy greenish black lacing on a nut-brown background. A Blue-laced version has since been developed and it is also standardised in Black, Partridge and Silver, although these latter colours are rarely encountered.

The Barnevelder is a very solid, reliable and dependable breed. The males are usually good natured, but as in all breeds exceptions can be found during the breeding season. Excess males make good table birds. Barnevelders lay a good-sized brown egg. It is possible to find strains that lay pale-coloured eggs; avoid these if possible, as one of the key factors of the Barnevelder breed is the brown egg. Avoid breeding from birds that produce a pale egg colour. The Bantam form is very well established, both as utility Bantams and as show birds, but the egg colour can be paler than that found in the Large Fowl, although again some strains are better than others.


The Barnevelder is an averagely heavy chicken. Its back is of medium length and hollow, ending with a continuous concave sweep in the tail. The breast is well rounded and broad. Its head is adorned by a single medium-sized comb, preferably having four to five broad points, though in practice this is often unattainable. The ear-lobes are red and the color of the eye is a reddish bay. The wings are well tucked and closely folded. The tail section is carried semi-high and not entirely spread. The cock's main and lesser sickles must be broad and should almost entirely cover the main tail foothers. In the cock, the color of the leg is dark yellow. In the hen, the scales on the front their yellow legs are tinged with a reddish hue.

The Barnevelder is a robust breed that will feel at home almost anywhere. You can either let them go about freely or keep them in a run. Barnevelders are poor flyers. A garden fence of medium height is usually effective in keeping them on your premises.

A disadvantage of this breed is that it is susceptible to Marek's disease. A serious breeder will take this into account and have his day-old chicks vaccinated against this. When purchasing chicks, always inquire whether they are vaccinated, so that you won't be disappointed.

Barnevelders are famed lor their excellent qualities as layers and notably for the color of their eggs, which are dark brown. When it comes to the color of the eggs, Barnevelders have little competition. The Maranses are in fact the only breed laying an egg of a similar dark brown. Still, this color is not consistent. At the beginning of her laying period, a Barnevelder hen that is a good layer will produce nice dark brown eggs, but after a couple of weeks their color will get lighter. The double laced variety turns the Barnevelder into something special. A white or a black Barnevelder is less outstanding. The white Barnevelder closely resembles the white New Hampshire. Double lacing is at its most beautiful when the ground color is a warm golden brown, in which a black lacing spectacularly flashes a green luster.

Country Of OriginNetherlands
Eggs180 - 200 each year
Egg ColourDark Brown
WeightHen 2.7-3.2 kg ; Cock 3.2-3.6 kg
Colour VariationDouble-Laced form is the most popular
TemperamentGood natured, alert and friendly, good mother, lazy 

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