Barnevelder chickens, or “Barnies” as they are affectionately called, are fairly new to the chicken world.
But that hasn’t stopped them. They have a strong fan base, and for good reason. They are easy to take care of and have a fun personality.
Once the star of the Dutch egg business, the Barnevelder chicken is now a favorite of many small flock owners because it can do more than one thing.
In this article, we’ll talk about the different kinds of Barnevelders, how they act, and, of course, how beautiful their chocolate-colored eggs are.
You may also want to read about the best chicken feed.
History of the Barnevelder chicken
Even though this beautiful bird is a relatively new member of the chicken family, not much is known about its exact genetic make-up.
East of Utrecht, in the town of Barneveld, there is a large agricultural college that focuses on birds. Because of this, the area became the center of the chicken business at the start of the 20th century.
The area was famous for sending eggs to Europe, and the market for eggs was very big. At that time, people in England wanted eggs with brown shells, so farmers had to make a bird that laid dark brown eggs to keep up with demand.
Landrace and other older breeds of birds that had lived in the area for a long time were probably the first birds there. When birds from Asia came to the area, the local poultry farmers started breeding their hens with the new birds.
Langshans, Malays, and Brahmas were all used in the mix. In 1898, Gold Laced Wyandottes were added to the mix, but the different Barnevelder chicken lines still had a lot of differences.
Note that different people have different ideas about the genetic mix; there is no real agreement on the lineage.
So, people tried to make things more uniform, and the Barneveld Breeders Association was made. This helped solve the problem a lot, and by 1923, the breed was finally standardized.
The feathers of Barnevelder chicken hens have a beautiful pattern: a brown feather with double black lacing that looks like an arrowhead.
I think it has a simple but beautiful look. The feathers on the neck are all black and have no patterns.
It takes a lot of complicated genes to make this happen, and the rooster doesn’t have this pattern.
The male is a melanistic black-breasted red color, and double lacing on the rooster’s chest has never happened, even though many people have tried.
The Barnevelder chicken has a small, U-shaped back and a body that looks like a square. Their wings are high on their bodies, which makes it hard for them to fly.
Their necks are slightly arched, and their tails are held at an alert 50 degrees with a moderate spread of feathers. People say that the plumage is “tight.”
Their single comb has five points, and their comb, wattles, and earlobes are all red. The eye is the color of a red bay, and the beak is the color of horn. It has yellow skin and legs, and each foot has four toes.
The Barnevelder is a big bird. Hens weigh between 5 and 6 pounds, and roosters weigh between 7 and 8 pounds.
Temperament and eggs
Every week, the Barnevelder will give you three to four large brown eggs. People say that the eggs are dark chocolate and sometimes have spots on them.
I’ve never seen “chocolate” eggs from my chickens, but their eggs are usually dark brown with small spots.
They lay eggs all through the winter, which is why some people like them a lot.
The hens don’t have a reputation for being very maternal. The egg’s color has gotten worse as it has grown over the years.
Even though the feathers have been worked on for a long time, the color of the eggs has changed from chocolate to dark or even light brown.
As with other breeds, those bred to lay more eggs, like the Marans, lay eggs that are lighter in color.
Barneys are great birds because they always say hello and make you feel loved. They are a great addition to any flock, but more aggressive breeds can pick on them.
They are good for more than one thing, aren’t mean, and usually get along with everyone.
But some sources say they are “rare.” I would say that the double-laced birds are not rare, but they are uncommon.
In fact, the double-laced Barnevelder is becoming popular again right now.