Barnevelder Chicken Breed: A Comprehensive Guide

Barnevelder Chicken

  • Country of origin: Barnevelder, the Netherlands
  • Primary uses: egg and meat purposes
  • Lifespan: 4 – 7 years
  • Eggs
    • Egg production: 180 – 230 eggs/ year
    • Size: Medium to large
    • Color: Light brown, Mid-brown speckled, Dark chocolate, and cream color.
  • Weight
    • Cock: 3.2 – 3.6 kg
    • Hen: 2.7 -3.2 kg
  • Bantam
    • Cock: 910 g
    • Hen: 740 g
  • Colors: Black, Silver Blue, Double Laced Silver, Double Laced Blue, Chamois, White, and Patridge (extinct)
  • Useful to know
  • Photo
Barnevelder hen
Barnevelder hen
Barnevelder rooster
Barnevelder rooster


If you just begin to raise chickens and are not sure what type of chicken breeds you should take, Barnevelder chicken breeds can be a wonderful choice that you should take into account. To figure out the reasons, let’s read the information below.

Origin and History of the Barnevelder Chicken Breed

Barnevelder Breed was created at Barneveld town by Dutch people. Barneveld is known as a big agricultural area that specializes in poultry and became the center of the poultry industry at the beginning of the 20th century.

Barnevelder chickens are supposed to be crossbred by several breeds of chicken. In there, apart from Langshan chicken breed with high brown egg productivity was definitely used, there are two remaining chicken breeds including Cochin and Brahma.

In 1923, the Barnevelder chicken breed was officially standardized by the British Poultry Standards and then The American Standard of Perfection admitted Double Laced Barnevelder chickens in 1991.


Barnevelder chickens have a variety of colors consisting of Black, Silver Blue, Double Laced Silver, Double Laced Blue, Chamois, White, and Patridge.

Patridge and Double Laced were two original colors, however, Partridge Barnevelder is thought of as extinct now. Double laced is the most common color.

Barnevelder hens have beautiful feathers with arrowhead patterning. Though those feathers are not colorful and quite simple, they make Barnevelder hens more luxurious and stunning. Barnevelder hens’ necks are black and do not have patterning.

On the contrary, Barnevelder roosters do not have the same plumage as hens, their breasts are black with a red-brown tint on their backs and wings. In addition, there is a green glow on their black plumage. Barnevelder chickens have full and strong bodies.

Their bodies look like the shape of a U with quite arched necks. Barnevelder chickens have single and serrated combs. Even though all of the combs, wattles, and earlobes of those are red, roosters have larger combs, wattles, and earlobes in comparison with hens.

Their eyes are a red bay tint with horn beaks. Barnevelders have short wings which are highly located on their bodies, therefore, they make them difficult to fly.

Barnevelder’s tails raise at an angle of 50 degrees and have a moderate spread. Barvenelder chickens’ legs have medium length and yellow color.

The personality

Barnevelder chickens are docile and friendly, even Barnevelder roosters are also considered calm and much less aggressive than other chicken breeds. That is why Barnevelders are preferable to be raised by children.

With their open and bright personality, it is usual to see them greet people with a pleasing attitude when they see humans.

In addition, Barvenelder chickens are very easy and can adapt to both free-range areas and confinement well, so they are wonderful starting points for beginners.


Barnevelder hens can go broody but not often, and they are good mothers.

To be more specific, once they decide to go broody, they will definitely pay attention and take good care of their eggs. Even Barnevelder roosters are known for giving a hand to look after their baby chicks.


Are Barnevelder chickens good at egg production?

Though Barnevelder hens are not prolific layers, they are good at producing eggs. Their egg numbers are fewer than other layer breeds but still a considerable quantity of eggs.

Barnevelder hens start laying later than normal chicken breeds. Most dual-purpose chicken breeds can begin to lay eggs after 6 months, but Barnevelder hens take from 8 to 10 months to start laying.

Barnevelder hens can lay about 180 – 230 eggs each year and they are also able to lay in winter greatly. This is mainly because Barnevelder chickens were created to produce eggs in cold weather. This feature is still maintained and found out by several current Barnevelder strains.

Their eggs have medium to large sizes with various colors comprising light brown, mid-brown speckled, dark chocolate, and even cream color.

Most people expect and are interested in Balnevelder dark chocolate eggs, however, there are just a few Balnevelder hens laying those very dark eggs. Furthermore, they will produce lighter eggs by the time.

This feature is true for all chicken breeds in spite of any egg color. And this is necessary and important to know with people who pay the most attention to dark chocolate eggs of Barnevelder hens.

Are Barnevelder chickens good at meat production?

Actually, Barnevelder chickens do not specialize in producing meat since they give less meat than other chicken breeds. However, you still can utilize fully developed Barnevelder chickens for meat purposes with their decent quantity of meat and tasty flavor if you want.

Common health problems

Barnevelder chickens have strong resistance to health problems apart from Marek’s disease.

Marek is a disease caused by Herpes virus which comes from birds’ infected dander. This virus can be transmitted through dirty farmers’ clothes, wild birds, etc, and can survive up to 17 months in coops and many years inland.

Marek’s disease can spread quickly in a narrow living environment and young chickens are more susceptible to it.

When chickens are infected, they will show some signs such as wings or legs progressive paralysis, twisting of their head to a side or backwards, labored breathing, etc.

Therefore, you need to take up some caution, have preventative methods, keep an eye on them to recognize those signs, and treat them appropriately. Here are some solutions to deal with this disease:

  • Firstly, vaccination. Vaccination does not guarantee that chickens never get Marek’s disease, however, it helps to boost the immunity systems of chickens and reduce the disease spread.
  • Secondly, make sure to check additional hens thoroughly before adding them to your flock. This helps to prevent potential disease sources and keep existing flocks safe.
  • Thirdly, as we said that Marek’ disease can spread in tight living environments, it is essential to keep chickens’ living areas clean, well ventilated, and fresh. This method not only can control the disease range, but also can impede the virus’ appearance.
  • Last but not least, using Oxine. Oxine can be used to kill Herpes virus to prevent chickens from Mareks’ disease. Also, it does not have heavily negative impacts on the environment, so there is no worry to use Oxine.

Living environment needs

Barnevelder chickens can adapt with both free-range areas and confinement well, therefore, it would be fine if you provide them with enough large living environments.

Balnevelder chickens’ coop spaces should be about four square feet sufficiently equipped with furniture such as nesting boxes, roosting rails, etc.

Since Balnevelder chickens do not bear hot weather well, you should design and build a coop with a good ventilation system for them. Also, their coops should be kept clean, fresh, and dry. In addition, a free-draft coop would be a good idea for Barnevelder chickens in winter.

Barnevelder chickens are not good at flying, therefore you do not need to cover their coops completely. A moderately covered coop is needed in order to protect Balnevelder chickens from predators and keep them safe.

Benefits and Challenges when Raising Barnevelder Chickens

Benefits when Raising the Barnevelder

  • Barnevelder chickens are good layers in winter. Apart from their decent amount of eggs, Barnevelder chickens also can lay well during winter months and this is a big advantage of them.

A lot of other layer chicken breeds cannot tolerate cold weather and even stop laying eggs in winter. This can give chicken keepers a headache since it has negative influences on their profits.

However, Barnevelder chickens can overcome cold months with unchanged quantities of eggs and relieve chicken keepers’ concern.

  • Barnevelder chickens can be suitable for both children keepers and beginners. They are very docile, easygoing, and friendly, so they will not cause any serious troubles for beginners or children keepers when raising them.
  • They can resistant to health problems quite greatly. Apart from Marek’ disease, Barnevelder chickens are not known for any dangerous health issues and this is good news for chicken raisers.
  • They are great forages. Barnevelder chickens are good at looking for their natural food and save a considerable amount of money for their owners.

Challenges or Disadvantages when Raising the Barnevelder Chicken

  • Barnevelder chickens are prone to be frostbitten. Barnevelder roosters have quite large combs and they can be easily frostbitten in severely cold weather.

Therefore, it would be necessary and better if you equip their coops with heater systems to prevent them from frostbite.

  • They can be attacked by other chickens in mixed flocks.

As we mentioned, Barnevelder chickens are too docile, mild, and friendly so they can be bullied by other chicken breeds. Make sure to keep an eye on them to interfere with the fight and protect Balnevelder chickens from damage.

  • Barnevelder chickens can destroy the lawn. Though good Balnevelder forages can bring benefits, they also cause problems for you. To be more specific, Balnevelder chickens have to tear up the lawn to seek their food and can demolish it certainly.

How to Raise the Barnevelder Chicken?

You may also like: Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Chickens

Dietary feed

Barnevelder chickens also consume the same diet as other chicken breeds. Their diets consist of grains, protein content, vegetables, vitamins, etc.

In summer, you can feed Barnevelder chickens with iced cubed fruits or vegetables to keep them cool. During summer time, Barnevelder chickens can seek their natural protein sources like bugs, insects, worms by themselves.

However, it can make them difficult to look for those foods in winter and you need to give them protein supplements.

Barnevelder chickens lay a considerable quantity of eggs, therefore they need to consume extra calcium to enhance their productivity and ensure eggshell sturdiness.

With baby chicks under eight weeks, Chick Starter is the best feed for them

Further reading: 21 Best Chicken Keeping eBooks

Final Thoughts

The Barnevelder is docile, easygoing, and friendly chicken breed. They can be easy to raise and do not cause any serious problems for chicken keepers, even children, and beginners.

Barnevelder chicken can lay a good amount of eggs without any special dietary requirements. More importantly, they are also great layers in winter.

Besides, with excellent foraging ability, Barnevelder chickens can save your feed budgets.

Though Balvenelder chickens do not require a lot of complicated caring methods, they still can resistant to health issues and can adapt to a variety of weather well.

However, apart from the advantages, there are a couple of troubles that you still may encounter when raising Barnevelder chickens.

To start with, Barnevelder chickens are susceptible to a disease called Marek’s disease and can suffer dangerous results if being infected.

Therefore, it is extremely vital and essential to have preventative methods and solutions to keep them healthy.

In addition, They can be easily bullied because of their mild, calm, and non-aggressive personality.

Finally, make sure to watch Balnevelder carefully if you allow them to be free-range in your lawn since they can destroy your lawn in order to look for their food.

So, is The Barnevelder chicken what you are looking for?

Link to useful resources:

  1. Neil Armitage, “The Barnevelder breed profile”, February 6, 2021.
  2. “Barnevelder Chicken: What You Need To Know Before Buying”, July 19, 2018.
  3. “Considering Barnevelder chickens? The 19 things you must know first”.
  4. Kim Irvine, “Barnevelder Chicken Breed – Everything You Need to Know”, November 15, 2018.
  5. Aamir Iqbal, “Barnevelders Chicken Breed Information”.