Barnevelders are great dual-purpose birds that have gained popularity as backyard chickens. Their beautiful appearance, ability to produce golden-speckled brown eggs year-round and calm nature make them a great addition to family life.
Good egg production
Moderate-good meat production
Extremely family friendly
Cold climate hardy: Yes
Rare breed: No
Colour: Brown with gold speckles
Quantity: 3-4 eggs/hen/week
Barneveld, a town in the Netherlands, was the birthplace of the Barnevelder breed in the late 1800s. Barnevelders are a good all-round dual-purpose bird that has recently been bred with the show in mind. Many different varieties of the breed may be recognised depending on the region. While a full list of colours is available below, some of these different colours may not be available in your region as they are very rare only bred by dedicated breeders.
Silver blue, Chamois, Double-laced, Black, White, Autosexing barred, Dark brown, Partridge, Double-laced Blue, Blue, Silver, Silver-black double-laced.
The double-laced bird is the most popular and original variety of the breed, making it very common and the easiest to source. One of the many features that have made the Barnevelder an alluring backyard breed is their beautiful feathers that glisten and glow with a green iridescent tinge when exposed to sunlight.
Barnevelds are are well suited to a variety of different backyards, being available in both standard and bantam varieties, weighing 2-4kg (hens ~ 2.6kg, roosters ~ 3.5kg) and 0.7-1.0kg respectively. While originally Barnevelder eggs were noted to be a chocolate brown colour, the colour of their eggs has softened to be brown to light brown likely as a result of selective breeding for show. This may make their eggs may seem less impressive; however, this isn’t necessarily the case. What they lack in chocolatey brown colour they make up for with golden speckles, making them a sight to behold. It is typical for Barnevelders to lay about 200 eggs and year and continue laying throughout the winter months at a slightly slower rate. While they reside more on the egg production end of the dual-purpose spectrum, they are also decent table birds. One slight disadvantage of having Barnevelders as table birds is that they are relatively slow growers, taking approximately 6 months before they are table ready.
As a backyard breed, Barnevelders have a placid nature and calm demeanour. They aren’t overly energetic birds or great fliers, making them a relatively low maintenance breed in terms of housing. They can do quite well in confinement but are great foragers that love pecking around in open spaces. It is beneficial to let them roam freely as if left confined, they tend to become quite inactive and are prone to gaining weight. The final characteristics of Barnevelders that make them a fantastic backyard breed is that they are cold weather hardy, they are great mothers that can go broody relatively regularly and they are very receptive to human interaction. Altogether, Barnevelders are a great breed for families looking for a companion in the backyard that also provides eggs all year round.