The Barnevelder chicken breed is well-known for its lovely feathers and good egg-laying abilities. As a result, including some in your backyard may be beneficial.
This article will discuss the history, appearance, and care requirements of this chicken breed to assist you in deciding if these are the right chickens for you.
Overview of the Barnevelder Chicken
Before we get into the specifics of Barnevelder chickens, let’s go over some general information about the breed.
History of the Barnevelder Chicken
The Barnevelder chicken is a relatively new breed, but its origins are unknown. It is thought to have originated in the Dutch town of Barnevelder, hence the name.
Many keepers believe the Barnevelder was created by crossing a landrace bird with breeds such as the Brahma and Cochin. The exact genetic makeup of these chickens is unknown. Because the town from which these chickens came was known for producing eggs, they most likely bred this breed to improve egg production.
Barnevelder chickens’ distinctive coloring was uncommon in the early 1900s. It suggests that these chickens have some Indian Game genes in them that allow them to produce the arrowhead pattern.
Appearance of a Barnevelder Chicken
Most Barnevelder chickens have a similar appearance, which distinguishes them from other breeds. So, let’s take a look at what that looks like and how it changes throughout life.
Barnevelders lay what color eggs?
Barnevelder chickens produce chocolate brown eggs. The lighter the color of the eggs, however, the more eggs a chicken produces. As a result, your Barnevelder eggs may eventually look more like regular brown or light brown.
Appearance of Barnevelder Chick
Barnevelder chicks vary in color, but the majority are fuzzy with dark brown feathers on their backs and lighter feathers on their bellies. As they age, their feathers become darker and more consistent.
Adult Appearance of Barnevelder Chickens
The majority of adult Barnevelders have a “double laced golden” coloration. Their feathers appear to be dark with lighter arrowhead patterns on them. This pattern can be found all over their bodies, except for their necks, which are usually a solid dark brown color.
They have one red comb, as well as small red wattles and earlobes. Their beak and legs are usually dark yellow. The majority of keepers describe their bodies as rectangular with a U-shaped back.
Other colors that could be used are white, silver, and double laced blue.
Dimensions and Weight
The majority of hens weigh 5 to 6 pounds, while roosters weigh 7 to 8 pounds. As a result, they’re slightly larger than the average chicken.
Breed Specification of Barnevelder Chickens
The Poultry Club of Great Britain did not accept Barnevelder chickens until 1923. They were not recognized by the American Poultry Association until 1991.
Initially, only two colors were recognized: double laced and partridge. Now, each association has its own set of colors and features that it accepts.
Temperament of Barnevelder Chicken
The Barnevelder chicken is a friendly and easygoing breed. Even roosters rarely engage in fights with other animals. They usually enjoy human company, so they may come to greet you even if you don’t have any food.
These birds are intelligent and inquisitive. They enjoy following you around or exploring the surrounding area if something piques their interest. Because they enjoy foraging, they are excellent birds for removing pests such as bugs and weeds.
Broodiness of Barnevelder Chickens
Most Barnevelder hens aren’t known to be broody, but some may be more concerned with their eggs and chicks than the average chicken. Broodiness is unlikely to be an issue in your coop.
Levels of Noise
Barnevelders are fairly chatty, but their vocalizations are soft, so they aren’t considered “squawky.” They will, however, speak up if they detect danger nearby. As a result, they’re best for keepers who don’t have other neighbors nearby.
Do Barnevelder Chickens Get Along With Other Pets?
Yes, the majority of Barnevelder chickens get along with other animals. They’re easygoing and unlikely to pick fights, so they’ll fit in well on any farm. Fortunately, they’re also large enough that they won’t be picked on by more aggressive breeds.
Barnevelder Chicken Care Instructions
Barnevelder chickens require standard care. They will thrive just like any other bird if you provide them with plenty of food, water, and space to roam. Here are some specifics about their treatment.
Barnevelder chicken chicks should be fed a high protein diet as chicks. Protein crumbles with a protein content of 20% to 24% are ideal for the first eight weeks. The protein percentage can then be gradually reduced. Instead, by 16 weeks of age, they should be eating a 16 percent protein feed.
There are, however, some exceptions to these suggestions. Birds that are stressed or molting can consume up to 20% protein in their diets to boost their metabolisms.
Calcium, usually in the form of an oyster shell, should also be provided for hens. If hens require more calcium in their diet, they will consume it.
Insoluble grit is an essential component of a Barnevelder chicken’s diet because it aids digestion. It can be given to them in a separate container from their regular food. If you let your chickens roam free and forage on their own, they won’t have to rely on insoluble grit as much.
Foraging is an excellent way for chickens to obtain extra nutrients. Consider allowing them some free time during the day. In addition to providing them with nutritious food, make sure they have access to clean water at all times.
Setup of the Habitat for Barnevelder Chickens
Each Barnevelder chicken requires at least four square feet of coop space. Of course, if you have the space, you can always give them more. They prefer extra quiet space because they are a docile breed that rarely picks fights.
Each chicken should have 8 to 10 inches of roosting space in addition to coop space. Provide a variety of roosting perches at varying heights. The chickens will have plenty of space to spread out if necessary.
They don’t mind being so close to each other in the winter, though. They will spread out more in the summer, but they do not have personal space issues in general. They like having the space available to them, but they don’t always use it all.
When providing several nesting boxes for the birds, make sure they are approximately 12 inches by 12 inches in size. The hens will have plenty of space to nest without having to cram into the same box. When hens share nesting boxes, the eggs are more likely to break.
Should You Let Them Run Free?
These chickens are excellent free-range birds because they can aid in pest control. They’re excellent at obtaining nutrients for their diets, which usually entails picking up bugs and grubs. Allowing them to forage is therefore beneficial to both them and your plants.
They may become bored if they are kept confined. As a result, make sure to provide them with plenty of space as well as things to keep them entertained. Leaf piles, perches, dust baths, and chicken toys are excellent ways to keep hens entertained in a small space.
Even if you keep them in a pen most of the time, it’s a good idea to let them out to forage on occasion. Constant confinement may be detrimental to your chickens’ health by causing lethargy and weight gain.
Barnevelder chickens can withstand extreme temperatures. Nonetheless, they prefer cold weather to hot and humid months. During the summer, make sure your chickens have constant access to shade and clean water.
Even though these chickens are cold-tolerant, you will still need to provide them with accessible shelter. Depending on how cold the weather becomes, you may need to purchase a coop heater to keep your flock safe.
Concerns About Health
These are tough chickens with few health issues. Parasites are the most common problem that all chickens face. If chickens are not properly cared for, they are susceptible to lice, mites, and worms.
You can avoid this health risk if you clean your chicken coop on a regular basis. To prevent bacteria from growing, replace their bedding, food, and water on a regular basis. There are also some preventative measures that can be taken.
If one of your chickens becomes infected with a parasite, treat them right away to prevent the parasite from spreading.
Marek’s disease is another common illness in Barnevelder chickens. Marek’s disease is caused by a virus, but it can be avoided by immunizing your chickens.
Although uncommon, it is possible for chicks to have deformed beaks. In severe cases, this condition may prevent chickens from laying eggs.
Barnevelder Chicken Breeding Instructions
When it comes to chicken breeding, you don’t have to get too involved. All you need to do is put a rooster in the coop, and your chickens will take care of the rest. Once the hens and roosters begin to mate, you will notice fertilized eggs in your coop.
If you don’t want to take care of more chicks, don’t bring roosters into the enclosure. Not every chicken keeper raises chicks, and that’s fine if all you want to do is raise chickens for eggs to eat and sell.
However, if you want to increase the number of chickens in your coop without purchasing more chicks, breeding is an excellent option.
Advantages of Raising Balnevelder Chickens
Raising barnevelder chickens has several benefits. The first and most obvious benefit is that they are extremely productive. They lay eggs every day for over a year. Their productivity means they require less time to raise and produce more food than their larger cousins.
This means you will be able to spend less time feeding them and more time enjoying their eggs. Raising barnevelder chickens requires less space than raising larger birds.
They are also easier to care for. They do not need to be fed special diets or treated with antibiotics.
Here are 5 advantages of raising barnevelder chickens:
1. Delectable Chocolate Brown Colored Eggs
Barnevelders are known to lay some of the most exquisitely colored eggs in the world. There is no evidence that one chicken breed lays tastier eggs than another; however, barnevelders lay particularly beautiful eggs, which are distinguished by their chocolatey brown shells.
Every morning, when you see these tanned, terracotta-colored eggs resting in your nesting boxes, your mouth will water. The only disadvantage is that when the time comes to crack these magnificent eggs open, you may find it difficult to destroy something so beautiful!
The good news is that barnevelders lay around 200 eggs per year, so if you have a lot of these cute and quirky birds in your coop, you should have a fairly consistent supply of these eggstraordinary all year!
2. They have an amazingly laid-back character, making them ideal for suburban backyards.
Barnevelders are not the most active or energetic chicken breed available. In fact, these adorable little birds are a little sluggish.
But, like any lovable lazy character, such as Homer Simpson or Garfield, you’ll quickly come to appreciate their laid-back personalities.
Your flock of barnevelders will eventually teach you a thing or two about living the good life, and you’ll have no reservations about kicking back, relaxing, and putting your worries on hold.
Having said that, barnevelder chickens can gain weight, especially if you feed them the wrong kinds of treats, such as bread or pasta.
Don’t overfeed these lovely ladies because you can bet they won’t be waking up at dawn to attend aerobics, yoga, or pilates classes inside their coop.
3. Sassy Little Birds Blazing with Character
Though barnevelder chickens are a little sluggish, that doesn’t mean they’re boring! Barnevelders are known to be stylish on occasion, particularly when interacting with other chickens.
What exactly does this mean? Barnevelders may try to assert themselves as the alpha chicken by poking and pecking at other chooks on occasion.
No matter what breeds you keep, chickens will always form complex social hierarchies within their flocks. Barnevelders make no secret of their desire to be the ‘top chook’ in any flock, which sometimes means they’ll be eager to put other birds in their place.
Should you be concerned? No, not at all. Most of the time, it’s best to just sit back and let the chickens sort things out on their own. Frequent human intervention will only exacerbate tensions and lead to more poultry conflict.
In fact, if you prefer your ‘top chook’ to have a sassy, easygoing temperament, whose main priority is eating, drinking, and enjoying the pleasures of life, incorporating a barnevelder into your coop may be beneficial.
4. Feathering in Vibrant Iridescent Green
When other birds see the superb feathering on barnevelder chickens, they turn green with envy. Barnvelders have striking gloomy feathers with an iridescent green tinge that glitters brilliantly in the sun.
What’s the point of having a chicken with luminescent green feathers? So why not? These chic barnevelders will bring a touch of complexity and glitz to your outdoor space.
When you watch these amazing creatures strut up and down the chicken run as if they were the world’s sexiest chick striding down the catwalk, your legs will turn to jelly.
5. These chickens are low-maintenance.
Other chickens with outrageously beautiful feathering, such as crested polishes, silkies, and frizzles, will require extra grooming attention, which can be fun, but sometimes you just don’t have the time.
Barnevelders are amazingly beautiful but require little upkeep. Beautiful barnevelders, like other chickens, will maintain their personal hygiene by taking dust baths and preening themselves on a regular basis.
Barnevelders will be able to maintain their appearance almost all year, so you won’t have to worry about providing your flappy friends a chilly bath.
Are Barnevelder Chicken Good Egg Layers
Barnevelder chickens are excellent egg layers. They lay 3 to 4 eggs per week, for a total of 150 to 200 eggs per year. They lay brown eggs that are large in size. Although the eggs are known for their chocolate brown color, some may appear lighter.
As an added bonus, the Barnevelder chicken can lay eggs in the winter, whereas other breeds slow or stop production in the colder months. As a result, they’re more reliable for families looking for eggs to sell and eat.
Are Barnevelder Chickens a Good Choice for You?
With so many different chicken breeds available, how do you know which one is best for you? The Barnevelder chicken may be the ideal breed for beginners if you’re looking for a docile chicken.
These chickens stand out from other breeds due to their chocolate brown eggs and arrowhead-patterned feathers. Some people choose them based solely on those characteristics.
However, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t buy a chicken-based on its appearance unless you’ve thoroughly researched its care requirements first.
Overall, if you want a friendly chicken that lays a lot of eggs, this is a good breed to go with. However, there are numerous other chicken breeds to consider, so compare a few of them before making a final decision.
- P. L. Wijk, P. Ubbels (1931): The Origin of the Barnevelder and Welsummer Breeds; and Some Egg Production Figures of the Principal Dutch Utility Breeds. In: Percy A. Francis (1931). Report of Proceedings of the 4th World’s Poultry Congress at the Crystal Palace, London, England, July 22–30, 1930. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office.
- “Barnevelder nu ook in zilver-zwart dubbel gezoomd – Levende Have”. www.levendehave.nl. Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- APA recognised Breeds and Varieties: As of January 1, 2012. American Poultry Association. Archived 4 November 2017.
- Elly Vogelaar (2013). Barnevelders. Aviculture Europe 9 (1) (February 2013). Accessed April 2017.
- Hans L. Schippers (2004) Barnevelder Kippen. 144 pp. Netherlands. ISBN 90-901301-4-4 (Dutch language with English and German summaries)