The Barnevelder Chicken originates from Holland and was first bred just prior to the beginning of World War I. With the unique brown color of its eggs, which were also of excellent quality, the breed became popular in other countries. In 1921, the chickens began to be exported. The fact that they were outstanding layers was another attraction.
The ‘double laced’ is a very popular variety, but they also come in black, partridge, and silver. The hen’s plumage is predominantly dark brown with black double lacing.
This is frequently named a ‘double laced partridge’. Males have beautiful plumage with bursts of bronze, shimmering green, and violet. Some males have white and blue lacing.
Plumage of the female and the male has been described as ‘rich in texture and very tight’. Barnevelders have single combs, yellow skin, and red ear lobes. They look very impressive with nice upright stances and broad breasts. Their flying capabilities are somewhat lacking due to short wings.
Their fame was initially due to the unusual color of the eggs but, today, they are used for show purposes more than for their laying abilities. The color of the eggs is of little importance now because the birds’ appearance is the center of focus.
Eggs are lighter and Barnevelder layers don’t produce the vast quantities as they did in their early history.
However, they are very useful winter layers and have a quiet, friendly disposition. They are not only bred to be show birds, but also as a handy utility breed. Medium-to-heavy in weight, they make an ideal double-purpose bird that can produce an adequate supply of eggs and yield an acceptable carcass.
Barnevelders are excellent foragers and very hardy. Because they are inherently lazy, if allowed to live inactive lives, they are prone to becoming fat.
Females and males are docile in temperament and love being around humans. They make good pets, particularly for children. In a short time, they can be domesticated and won’t mind being handled, picked up, or stroked.
Young ones might need to be socialized before becoming a genuine pet. Unlike other breeds, Barnevelders will even try and nurture a new baby in the human family.
They are easygoing and relate well to adults and children. Similar to a dog, a pet chicken will follow his or her owners around. Some people have said that Barnevelders also show guarding characteristics.
The hen is a doting mother and will brood her eggs. When the chicks have hatched, she gives them care and attention. Even the rooster plays his role in parenthood.
Chicks grow their feathers slower than most other breeds. A standard hen usually reaches a weight of six pounds, while a rooster is eight pounds. All in all, a Barnevelder Chicken is a versatile utility bird that’s great for eggs, for a pet, and to eat.
An average hen can lay around 180 eggs a year and some jumbo-sized eggs weigh up to three ounces. This breed’s droppings make an excellent garden fertilizer.