Barnevelder Chicken – Breed Profile & Facts

Barnevelder chicken is one of the excellent breeds for backyard poultry farms. Also affectionately known as Barnies, Barnevelder chickens lay many eggs even during wintertime. They also yield a reasonable amount of meat.

These chickens are hardy and great foragers. Many poultry farmers keep them for their dark, chocolate-brown eggs. These beautiful birds are quiet, and they handle confinement pretty well.

What is a Barnevelder Chicken?

The Barnevelder chicken is a relatively new Dutch chicken breed. The breed results from crossbreeding Shanghai breeds from Asia and Europe with local Dutch chickens. The Barnevelder chicken derives its name from the Barnevelder municipality in Gelderland, central Netherlands.

Barnevelder Chicken Characteristics

Barnevelder is a physically appealing breed. Hens have dark brown plumage with double lacings of black, also known as double-laced partridge. Barnevelder roosters have black breasts and tails. Roosters also boast a radiant plumage with iridescent green splashes. Some Barnevelder varieties have blue and white lacing.

Barnevelder chickens have red ear lobes and single combs. These birds have distinct upright stances, short wings, and broad breasts. The chickens also have yellow skins. Barnevelder have small earlobes and wattles. Roosters have black plumage with brown or red feathers. Both hens and roosters have yellow legs.

– Size & Weight

Barnevelder chickens are medium-sized birds. Hens are approximately between 5.5 and 6 pounds. Barnevelder roosters weigh between 6.6 and 7.7 pounds. They are also bantam versions of these chickens. These bantams weigh between 2.2 and 2.64 pounds.

– Temperament

The Barnevelder chicken is a friendly and docile breed. It’s an excellent breed for children since its friendly personality makes it a wonderful pet and companion. Unlike most chicken breeds, Barnevelder roosters are friendly chickens and even nurture new peeps. Hens are commendable and wonderful mothers.

They like brooding their eggs and giving special care to their baby chicks. Poultry experts describe these chickens as having a quirky and lively personality. The birds are pretty gentle with other chickens and each other.

Barnevelder roosters also get along with other roosters. There are barely any incidents of coop fights between roosters, even during the breeding season. They rarely squabble with other chickens; if they do, it is apparent they didn’t start a war. Overall, Barnevelder chickens are self-assured and calm birds that are easy to handle.

These birds will follow you around, especially if they notice you are doing an interesting activity or if you have treats for them. These birds love free-ranging and are excellent at finding several diet additions. They are amazing pest control workers and will do a commendable job of ridding your yard of those nasty grubs and bugs.

– Lifespan

Barnevelder chickens usually live between 4 and 7 years. Their lifespan is shorter than the typical breeds because of their more continuous egg production. Despite having a shorter lifespan than most breeds, these chickens are terrific layers. Some Barnevelder varieties can lay throughout the wintertime.

The more Barnevelder hens continue to lay, the more vulnerable they are to an earlier death. Nonetheless, Barnevelder chickens can survive for a long time if given attentive care by their owners.

– Egg Production

Barnevelder chickens are traditionally exceptional winter layers. Pullets can lay between 170 and 200 eggs annually. Pure Barnevelder varieties lay dark brown to almost chocolate eggs. They are among a few chicken breeds that can lay throughout the wintertime. Your Barnevelder hens can lay between 3 and four eggs weekly.

– Meat Production

Like other dual-purpose chicken breeds, Barnevelders aren’t specifically meat producers. The average bird won’t produce a jumbo-sized carcass. However, it will make a decent quantity of meat. Barnevelder chickens have tasty meat you can include in many recipes.

Barnevelder Chicken Care

The Barnevelder chickens are easy birds to raise, especially in your backyard. The birds don’t have special requirements, and they are also hardy. Nonetheless, this breed requires good care like other breeds.

This detailed care guide here will help you care for your Barnevelder chickens, whether keeping them on free-range or in confinement.

– Feeding & Nutrition

Hatchlings and young Barnevelder chicks can thrive on protein crumbles with around 20 to 24% protein. They should eat the protein crumbles for at least eight weeks after hatching. Continue feeding your young chickens with a protein feed with about 20% protein until they grow to the egg-laying stage.

Continue lowering the protein content for your chickens when they are about sixteen weeks old—transition to a layer feed with about 16% protein. The layer feed at this point can either be a pellet or crumble.

Barnevelder chickens experiencing stressful situations, such as molting, should eat a protein feed with around 20% protein. Such an amount of protein content can help boost your chickens’ metabolism.

Although chicken feed contains a substantive amount of protein, more than the protein in most chicken feeds is needed to sustain your Barnevelder chickens. Overall, most chicken feeds contain around 15% protein.

Because protein is among the most expensive chicken feed ingredients, most chicken feed manufacturers will include very little protein in their feeds. Consider giving your Barnevelder chickens a variety of protein-rich foods to increase their protein intake.

Dried mealworms are particularly rich in protein because they contain 53% protein. A handful of dried mealworms will perfectly complement the little amount of protein in chicken feed. Dried fly larvae are also a great natural source of protein for Barnevelder chickens and other breeds.

Insects are great for Barnevelder chickens because they are also full of protein. Your free-range Barnevelder chickens will get enough insects outdoors, but some young chickens may need to be more avid at catching insects.

Thus, you can catch some live insects and give them to your birds to ensure they get enough protein. Seeds are also a rich source of protein for all chicken breeds, including Barnevelders.

Other favorite seeds for these chickens include flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds because these seeds are high in protein. They also have a high content of healthy fats and can be nutritious for your Barnevelder chickens. Bean sprouts are rich in protein. They are easy to grow in your yard.

Try sprouting some lentils, soybeans, or beans. However, ensure you are sprouting untreated seeds because treated seeds can be toxic to your Barnevelder chickens. Worms are another protein-rich treat for Barnevelder chickens. Your free-range Barnevelder chickens will usually pick worms outside.

Barnevelder chickens also love vegetables because they are a rich source of minerals and supplemental vitamins. Turnip greens, kale, chard, and lettuce are excellent vegetable options for your Barnies. Chopped pumpkins, broccoli, and carrots are great veggies for your Barnies.

Hens will appreciate a calcium boost because it will enhance their laying capabilities. Alternatively, you can purchase calcium supplements and mix them with regular chicken feed.

Give your Barnevelder chickens some additional calcium, including crushed eggshells or oyster shells. Insoluble grit is important for Barnevelder chickens because it helps them digest. Your free-range Barnevelder chickens don’t need insoluble grit because they will pick some small pebbles to help them digest the tough food they eat outdoors.

Most importantly, Barnevelder chickens require fresh water, whether in the summer or wintertime. These chickens need clean water, particularly in the summer, because going for a few hours without water can dehydrate the birds. As much as your Barnies are getting plenty of food, they will only survive if they get enough water.

– Housing

Barnevelder chickens are standard-sized chickens, so they don’t need much coop space. These chickens only need 4 square feet of living space. Because these chickens rarely squabble or fuse, they don’t need plenty of coop space, provided the coop can house each bird comfortably.

A good coop for your Barnies should have roosting bars about 8 to 10 inches wide. Like other breeds, Barnevelder chickens like roosting on bars because they feel more secure at a high position than roosting on the ground.

The summertime heat can torment your Barnevelder chickens, so ensure there is good ventilation to help your Barnies withstand the heat. Your coop can have some windows that will allow fresh air to enter the cage and ensure the stale air goes out to keep the coop fresh. Good bedding of haw, wood shavings, or sawdust will help keep your Barnies comfortable.

Have ample nesting boxes in the coop because Barnevelder hens are great layers. They feel secure laying in comfortable and quiet places, and nesting boxes will provide your hens with a comfortable and safe place for laying. The ideal nest box for your Barnevelder hens should be 12x 12 inches. Such a nesting box is big enough for your hens.

Like other breeds, Barnevelder chickens are also easy targets for predators like possums, rodents, cats, and dogs. Your coop needs to be secure for your Barnies to deter predators from getting close to your birds.

For instance, ensure you use a study chicken wire and not the thin and weak wire because some predators can break through the wire and attack your Barnies. Large or medium-sized holes in the coop can also grant predators easy entry to the cage. So ensure you block every hole to keep off predators from the cage.

– Health Problems

The Barnevelder is a hardy breed that hardly suffers from many health problems. It’s one of the best breeds to keep in winter because they are winter-hardy. However, this breed also experiences some health problems, as with most species.

One of the health concerns you may deal with while raising your Barnevelder chickens is parasites like worms, lice, and mites. It would help if you treated your chickens as soon as you discovered such parasites, either on their feathers or in the coop. Such parasites can be distressing to Barnevelder chickens. They can also cause anemia because they usually suck the chickens’ blood.

The other health concern for poultry raisers keeping Barnies is Marek’s disease. The diseases cause deformities in hatchlings and young Barnevelder chickens. So you should vaccinate your Barnevelder chickens against this disease at an early age, especially if you notice there could be an outbreak of Marek’s disease in your area.

Although poultry raisers think Barnevelder chickens are extremely hardy compared to other chickens, these birds are also susceptible to Salmonella, a leading poultry killer. The bacteria infection usually thrives in dirty coops and contaminated feed. Ensure you give fresh food to your Barnevelder chickens and clean their cage regularly to rid them of Salmonella.

Fowl Cholera is also a serious concern for Barnevelder chickens. This disease is easy to diagnose early if you observe its symptoms in your chickens. For instance, signs like diarrhea, weakness, lethargy, and loss of appetite indicate that your Barnies may have Fowl cholera.

How Much Do Barnevelder Chickens Cost?

Barnevelder chickens aren’t expensive. Hatchlings cost between $ 4 and $7, while young Barnevelder chickens can cost below $ 20 per bird. Hens usually cost approximately $30, while Barnevelder roosters can cost below $25.

Are Barnevelder Chickens Good for Beginners?

Yes, Barnevelder chickens are some of the best chicken breeds for starter chicken keepers. Barnies are easy to handle, friendly, docile, and calm. They are also winter-hardy, making the birds awesome for chicken keepers in cold areas. Moreover, Barnevelder chickens have few health problems compared to other chickens.

Are Barnevelder Chickens Hardy?

Yes, Barnevelder chickens are extremely hardy. They can survive in almost any condition, provided they get the proper care. These chickens are also disease-resistant compared to standard breeds. They barely fall ill or experience real health problems.

Can Barnevelder Chickens Fly?

No, Barnevelder chickens can’t fly. They have very short wings that discourage them from flying. These chickens can barely fly a meter from the ground. Therefore it’s easy to keep them in confined spaces. Your Barnies won’t fly even while free-ranging.

Tips on Keeping Barnevelder Chickens

These tips will help you keep Barnevelder chickens if you have been contemplating keeping these birds for both eggs and meat.

  • Give your Barnies a feed with great formulation to give them a nutritional boost.
  • Protect your Barnevelder chickens from predators
  • Keep your birds clean and happy
  • Vaccinate your Barnevelder chickens against common poultry diseases
  • Don’t keep Barnies with aggressive breeds


Barnevelder chickens are excellent chickens to keep, especially for eggs. These wonderful birds are more than layers because they are quite friendly and make great pets. Moreover, Barnevelder chickens are easy to maintain because they have no special requirements.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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