Barnevelder Chickens Breed Guide: History, Care, and Characteristics

Welcome to your comprehensive guide on Barnevelder chickens. Here’s everything you need to know about raising, caring for, and understanding these unique birds. 

From their history, characteristics, color, size, egg production, and temperament, we will delve into the world of Barnevelder chickens.

Barnevelder chickens are known for their beautiful plumage, friendly nature, and excellent egg-laying abilities. 

As you embark on your journey to raise and care for these captivating birds, remember that each chicken is an individual with its personality and quirks. 

With proper care and attention, your Barnevelder flock will get ahead and provide you with many years of enjoyment for your flock.

Also read: Best Egg-laying Chicken Breed

History and Origin of the Barnevelder Chicken Breed

The Barnevelder chicken breed has its roots in the Netherlands, specifically in the town of Barneveld. This breed was created in the early 20th century to meet the demand for high-quality brown eggs. 

Barnevelders are believed to be a cross between several breeds, including the Langshan, Brahma, and Cochin

Because of their striking appearance and good egg production, they became very popular in Europe and eventually worldwide.

The first Barnevelder chickens were imported to the United States in the 1920s, and they have since become a favorite among backyard chicken enthusiasts. 

Today, Barnevelder chickens are recognized by the American Poultry Association and can be found in various countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Barnevelder Chickens Lifespan

Barnevelder Chickens Lifespan, holding in hands
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Barnevelder chickens can live for up to 8–10 years with proper care. However, their egg production may decline after the first few years of laying. 

It’s essential to provide your chickens with a healthy diet, clean living conditions, and protection from predators and harsh weather to ensure they live a long, happy life.

Individual chickens may have different lifespans based on genetics, diet, and overall health. Regular health checks and prompt attention to health issues can help extend your Barnevelder chickens’ lifespan and improve their quality of life.

Recognized Variety of Barnevelder Chickens

The American Poultry Association (APA) only officially recognizes the Double-Laced Barnevelder variety. It is a large fowl and classifies as Continental. 

The Double-Laced Barnevelder has a dark brown or black base color with double lacing, which creates a striking pattern with a black or dark brown outer edge and a narrow band of lighter reddish-brown color. 

The most common and well-known variety is the double-laced, featuring black feathers with contrasting golden-brown lacing. Other recognized color varieties include blue-laced, silver-black, and silver-blue double-laced.

The APA does not currently recognize the Single-Laced variety. Non-recognized color varieties include white, black, blue, and splash. 

While these non-recognized varieties may not meet breed standards for showing purposes, they still possess the same friendly temperament and excellent egg-laying abilities as their recognized counterparts.

Barnevelder Chicken Characteristics

Barnevelder Chicken Appearance

The Barnevelder chicken is available in various color varieties, including white, black, silver-laced, blue double-laced, blue splash, golden-laced, brown-laced, and silver-black double-laced. 

But the most recognized and widely known variety is the Double-Laced Barnevelder. Here is an overview of the Barnevelder chicken’s appearance, considering the Double-Laced variety:

Color Variety: The Double-Laced Barnevelder has a dark brown or black base color with distinctive double lacing. The feathers have a black or dark brown outer edge, followed by a narrow band of lighter color, typically reddish-brown. The dark base color and the lighter lacing create a striking contrast.

Body Shape: Barnevelders have a medium-sized body shape with a well-rounded and compact build. They possess a medium length and breadth, contributing to their balanced appearance.

Skin Color: The skin color of Barnevelders is typically yellow.

Feathers: The feathers of Barnevelders are relatively tight and smooth. They often have a glossy appearance, particularly in the double-laced variety. The primary feather color is usually black or very dark brown.

Comb Type and Color: Barnevelders have a single comb that is medium in size and stands upright on their heads. The comb color is typically bright red, contrasting nicely with the feather colors.

Wattles: Barnevelders have medium-sized, pendulous wattles that are typically bright red, complementing the comb color.

Legs: Barnevelders have clean and shapely legs with yellow coloration. While most Barnevelders have yellow legs, it’s worth noting that some birds may exhibit darker or blackish hues on their legs.

Barnevelder Chicken Temperament and Behavior

Barnevelder Chicken Temperament and Behavior, head Picture
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Barnevelder chickens are known for their calm and friendly temperament, which makes them a popular choice among backyard chicken keepers. 

Barnevelders are generally known for being docile and easy to handle. They tend to be friendly towards their owners and are often comfortable with human interaction.

They are not typically aggressive or confrontational and have a gentle disposition, which makes them suitable for families or situations where children are present.

Barnevelders are curious birds that enjoy exploring their surroundings. They are active and like to forage, scratch the ground, and search for insects or other treats.

These chickens have a foraging instinct and are known for finding food sources independently. They can help reduce pest populations in the garden or yard.

While Barnevelders enjoy free-ranging and having space to roam, they can adapt to confinement if necessary. They mostly tolerate being kept in a coop or enclosed area.

Barnevelders are considered moderate egg layers, producing brown eggs. The breed is noted for its consistent and reliable egg production, but its laying frequency may be lower than other high-production breeds.

The hens of this breed tend to go broody, meaning they may develop a solid desire to incubate eggs and raise chicks. This broodiness can be advantageous if you want to hatch eggs naturally, but it may reduce their egg-laying productivity during that time.

Also read: Best incubator for hatching eggs

Barnevelder Chicken Egg Production

Barnevelder chickens typically start laying eggs at around 5 to 6 months. However, this can vary slightly among individual birds. 

Barnevelders are considered moderate egg layers. A healthy Barnevelder hen can lay approximately 180 to 200 eggs per year. However, individual hens may vary in their egg-laying performance.

They are known for laying beautiful dark brown eggs. The egg color can range from deep mahogany brown to a lighter shade, but most eggs will have a rich brown color.

Regarding egg size, Barnevelder eggs are usually medium to large, with variations depending on the specific hen. The average egg weight can range from around 55 to 65 grams.

The Barnevelder hens have a relatively steady laying frequency, providing a consistent supply of eggs throughout the year. They are not known for exceptionally high production like some commercial breeds but are reliable layers.

The hens of this breed tend to go broody, meaning they may develop a strong desire to incubate eggs and raise chicks. When a hen becomes broody, she may stop laying eggs. 

This behavior can be advantageous if you want to hatch eggs naturally, as Barnevelders are known to be good mothers. However, broodiness can temporarily reduce their laying frequency if egg production is a priority.

Also read: The Best Brown Egg-Laying Chickens

Barnevelder Chicken Size

A barnevelder hen standing
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Barnevelder roosters generally have a medium-sized build. They have a well-rounded body shape and an upright posture.

Adult Barnevelder roosters average between 6.5 to 8 lbs (2.9 to 3.6 kilograms). However, individual roosters may fall outside this range.

Barnevelder hens are like roosters, with a medium-sized build and well-rounded body shape.

Adult Barnevelder hens typically weigh between 5 to 6.5 lbs (2.3 to 3 kilograms). Again, there may be slight variations in weight among individual hens.

Day-old Barnevelder chicks are small and delicate, with fluffy down feathers. Baby Barnevelder chicks usually weigh around 35 to 50 grams (1.2 to 1.8 ounces) at hatch.

Barnevelder Rooster Vs. Hen

Barnevelder roosters are slightly larger and heavier than Barnevelder hens. Roosters typically have a more prominent and robust appearance, with a medium-sized build and weighing around 6.5 to 8 lbs. Hens, however, are slightly smaller, weighing around 5 to 6.5 lbs.

Both Barnevelder and hens have glossy feathers, but the roosters often exhibit more striking feather patterns. The double-laced variety, most common in Barnevelders, showcases a dark base color with distinctive double lacing. 

The roosters’ feathers may have a more pronounced contrast between the dark base color and lighter lacing. Barnevelder roosters and hens both have a single comb of medium size. The comb is usually red, standing upright on the head. 

Similarly, both genders have medium-sized, pendulous wattles, typically red. The comb and wattles serve various purposes, including temperature regulation and visual displays during courtship and dominance.

Barnevelder roosters can be protective of their flock and exhibit dominant behaviors, especially when it comes to defending their territory or hens. They may display more assertive behavior and occasionally challenge other roosters. 

The hens, on the other hand, are generally docile, calm, and friendly. They tend to be gentle, making them suitable for family or backyard settings.

Barnevelder Chickens Vs. Welsummer: A Difference Chart

Here’s a comparison chart highlighting the differences between Barnevelder chickens and Welsummer chickens:

CharacteristicBarnevelder ChickenWelsummer Chicken
OriginThe NetherlandsNetherlands
PurposeDual-purpose (meat and eggs)Dual-purpose (meat and eggs)
SizeMedium-sizedMedium to large-sized
Weight (Rooster)Around 6.5 to 8 lbs Around 6.5 to 9 lbs
Weight (Hen)Around 5 to 6.5 lbsAround 5 to 6.5 lbs
Feather AppearanceDouble-laced, glossy feathersPartridge patterns with rich, reddish-brown coloration
Comb TypeSingle comb of medium size, usually redSingle comb of medium size, usually red
Egg ProductionAround 180-200 eggs/year)Around 160-200 eggs/year
Egg ColorDark brownDark brown with speckles
BroodinessCan go broodyRarely goes broody
Temperament and BehaviorDocile, calm, and friendly
Active, independent, and alert

Raising Barnevelder Chickens: Tips and Considerations

Barnevelder hen foraging
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Raising Barnevelder chickens can be a rewarding experience. These chickens are known for their attractive plumage, docile temperament, and ability to lay beautiful dark brown eggs. 

The following are some suggestions and considerations for raising Barnevelder chickens.

Selecting Barnevelder Chicks

When purchasing Barnevelder chicks, choose a reputable breeder or hatchery to ensure you get healthy and genetically sound birds.

Look for chicks that are active, alert, and have clean eyes, beaks, and feathers. Ideally, purchase chicks a day or two old to maximize their survival rate.

Housing and Space

Provide a secure and well-ventilated coop for your Barnevelders to protect them from predators and extreme weather conditions.

Allocate at least 4 square feet of coop space per bird, and ensure they have enough space to move around comfortably. Create nesting boxes where hens can lay eggs in a quiet and secluded area.

Also read: Best chicken coop fan

Feeding and Nutrition

Offer a balanced diet to your Barnevelder chickens, consisting of commercial chicken feed and supplementary treats.

Select a high-quality layer feed that meets the nutritional needs of laying hens. Barnevelders require a protein-rich diet with around 16-18% protein content.

Supplement their diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, and kitchen scraps to provide additional nutrients and keep them entertained.

Water and Hydration

Ensure a constant supply of clean and fresh water for your Barnevelders. Chickens require water throughout the day to stay hydrated and maintain good health.

Use sturdy waterers that are difficult to tip over or contaminate with dirt and droppings.

During freezing temperatures, prevent the water from freezing using heated waterers or regularly replacing the water.

Health Care and Maintenance

Regularly inspect your Barnevelder chickens for signs of illness or injury. Common health issues include mites, respiratory infections, and parasites.

Provide a clean and dry environment to prevent the buildup of bacteria and parasites.

Vaccinate your chickens against common diseases, following the guidelines recommended by a veterinarian.

Social Interaction and Handling

Barnevelder chickens have a docile and friendly nature, so handling them gently from a young age can help develop a trusting relationship.

Spend time with your chickens, allowing them to get used to human presence and become more comfortable around you.

Socializing your Barnevelders will make them easier to handle and reduce stress when performing routine care tasks such as health checks and egg collection.

Egg Collection and Care

Barnevelder hens are known for their dark brown eggs, which typically lay in the morning. Provide them with comfortable and clean nesting boxes to encourage egg laying.

To prevent eggs from becoming dirty or damaged, collect them regularly. The prompt collection also reduces the likelihood of broodiness. Ideally, eggs should be stored in a cool, dry place with a consistent temperature and humidity.

Common Problems and Health Issues in Barnevelder Chickens

barnevelder rooster standing in green land
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Barnevelder chickens are generally hardy birds, but like any other breed, they can be susceptible to specific health issues. 

Here are some common problems and health issues that Barnevelder chickens may experience, along with explanations:

External Parasites

Barnevelders can get mites, lice, and fleas, like other chicken breeds. These parasites can cause discomfort, feather loss, skin irritation, anemia, and even transmit diseases.

Regularly inspect your chickens for signs of infestation, such as feather-pecking, restlessness, and visible parasites.

Treat infestations with appropriate poultry-approved treatments and ensure a clean and well-maintained coop environment.

Also read: Best chicken wormer for mites, lice, fleas

Respiratory Infections

Barnevelders can be prone to respiratory infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

Symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, labored breathing, decreased appetite, and reduced egg production.

Respiratory infections can spread quickly within the flock, so early detection and quarantine of affected birds are crucial.

Provide proper ventilation in the coop, maintain cleanliness, and consult a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment options.

Egg-Laying Issues

Barnevelder hens may experience egg-laying problems, including egg binding and prolapse.

Egg binding occurs when an egg becomes stuck in the hen’s reproductive tract, leading to discomfort, distress, and potentially life-threatening situations.

Prolapse refers to the protrusion of the oviduct or cloaca, which can be triggered by egg-laying difficulties or straining.

Ensure a well-balanced diet, proper calcium supplementation, and adequate nesting boxes to minimize the risk of these issues. Seek veterinary assistance if a hen shows signs of egg binding or prolapse.


Coccidiosis is a common intestinal parasitic disease affecting chickens, including Barnevelders. It is caused by protozoan parasites and is spread through contaminated feces and coop bedding.

Symptoms may include diarrhea, weight loss, decreased appetite, and weakness. Preventive measures include maintaining cleanliness, regularly removing droppings, and providing clean water sources.

Treatment usually involves the use of appropriate coccidiostats prescribed by a veterinarian.

Marek’s Disease

Marks disease is a viral disease that primarily affects young chickens. It can cause paralysis, tumors, weight loss, decreased egg production, and increased mortality rates.

Vaccination of chicks is the most effective preventive measure against Marek’s disease. It is prudent to quarantine new birds before their introduction into the existing flock to prevent disease transmission.

Other FAQs

How much do Barnevelder chickens cost?

The cost of Barnevelder chickens can vary depending on the birds’ source, age, and quality. You can generally expect to pay between $20 and $50 per bird. Chick’s price ranges from $4-5.

The price can be influenced by the reputation of the breeder, the birds’ lineage, and any additional features such as show quality or specific color variations.

Where to Buy Barnevelder Chickens and Chicks:

Barnevelder chickens and chicks can be obtained from various sources, such as hatcheries, breeders, and local classifieds. 

When purchasing Barnevelders, it is essential to choose a reputable breeder or hatchery known for providing healthy and well-cared-for birds. 

Look for breeders with good reviews and a focus on breed standards to ensure you are getting quality Barnevelder chickens.

The few best Barnevelder chicks sellers in the USA are Cackle Hatchery, Hoovers Hatchery, and My Pet Chicken.

When do Barnevelders start laying?

Barnevelder hens typically begin laying eggs at around 20–24 weeks. However, this can vary slightly depending on genetics, nutrition, and environmental conditions. 

Providing the hens with a proper diet, adequate lighting, and a comfortable nesting area is vital to encourage consistent egg laying.

Also read: Best nesting pads for chickens

What does a Barnevelder chicken look like?

Barnevelder chickens have distinct and attractive appearance. They have a sturdy body shape with a medium to large size. 

Their feathers are predominantly black and possess a unique double-laced pattern, where each feather is outlined by a lighter shade of brown or tan. 

This lacing gives them a beautiful and striking appearance. Barnevelders have a single comb with five points, bright red wattles, and short, strong legs.

Are Barnevelder chickens cold-hardy?

Barnevelder chickens are mainly considered cold-hardy birds. They can tolerate cold temperatures well if they have access to a dry and draft-free shelter to seek warmth and protection from the elements. 

But it’s important to note that their combs and wattles are more likely to get frostbite in cold temperatures. Providing adequate shelter and taking precautions during severe weather conditions will help ensure their well-being.

Are Barnevelder chickens friendly?

Barnevelder chickens are known for their friendly and docile nature. They are mostly calm and easy to handle, making them suitable for backyard flocks and families. 

However, it’s essential to remember that each chicken has its personality, and individual variations may occur.

In some cases, Barnevelders, like other breeds, can become aggressive towards other chickens if they feel threatened or stressed. Proper socialization and providing adequate space can help prevent aggression.

What color eggs do Barnevelder chickens lay?

Barnevelder hens lay large, brown eggs with a glossy appearance. The eggs are known for their rich and dark brown color, which adds aesthetic appeal to the egg basket. 

The intensity of the brown color can vary among individual hens, but they generally produce eggs in shades of brown.

Are Barnevelder roosters aggressive?

Barnevelder roosters are typically not aggressive toward humans if they are correctly handled and socialized from a young age. 

However, roosters may display aggression towards other roosters, especially during mating or establishing dominance within the flock. It’s essential to provide adequate space and monitor the behavior of the roosters to prevent any potential conflicts or injuries.

Conclusion: Is the Barnevelder Chicken Breed Right for You?

Barnevelder chickens are a unique and fascinating breed that can provide years of enjoyment for backyard chicken keepers. 

Their striking appearance, friendly temperament, and excellent egg-laying abilities make Barnevelder chickens famous for beginners and experienced chicken keepers.

However, it’s essential to consider the factors involved in raising and caring for Barnevelder chickens, including proper housing, nutrition, and health care. 

With the proper care and attention, your Barnevelder flock can thrive and provide you many years of companionship and delicious eggs.

The Barnevelder chicken breed is an excellent addition to your backyard flock if you want a new addition.

Bijaya Kumar
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