All photos by Daphne Cybele.

Everything You Need to Know About Barnevelder Chickens

Looking for a social, kind, unusual chicken breed to add to your backyard chicken coop? The Barnevelder chicken is a calm, friendly and curious breed of chicken that can be the perfect addition to your flock.

The dark brown lace-patterned feathers of these hardy birds are stunning. The Barnevelder might be a little hard to track down, but it's worth finding a source for this dual-purpose, dark-brown-egg layer to add to your chicken coops!

Physical Characteristics

The beautiful and hardy Barnevelder chicken has a lovely lace-like brown and black feather pattern that cannot be missed. This feather patterning is the most distinguishing characteristic of the breed. Each feather has rings of alternating brown and black, ending with a final black edge. This lacing forms a pretty "lace-like" pattern.

Dutch breeders developed the double-laced Barnevelder chicken in the early 20th century in the Netherlands, crossing with the Langshan chicken. Breeders started first with single-laced feathers, and then developed the double lacing the breed is known for today.

Double-laced Barnevelders are now the only recognized variety by the American Poultry Association, but other colors are formally recognized in Europe. In America, a blue double-laced variety is available, but is not recognized as standard.

Take care in mixing these beautiful birds with other breeds: This breed is gentle and may get picked on if you also have more aggressive breeds (such as the Rhode Island Red).

Barnevelder Egg Layers 

This breed is also known for its good egg laying habits. According to Poultry Keeper, hens are good layers and produce between 180 and 230 eggs. Their egg color is a beautiful, rich brown. These large brown eggs have sturdy shells, and reports that the dark egg shell color gradually lightens over the course of the season.

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Where to Find the Breed

The beautiful Barnevelder chicken breed is a rare breed.  Although not widely available, you can find hatching eggs and chicks for sale if you search. If you are looking for Barnevelder chickens for sale in the United States, try locating a breeder through the Barnevelder Club of North America (there is another club in Holland if you are not in the states).

I have some experience with the breed: The Barnevelder hen in my flock is the queen of our coop, as shown in the picture below. All of my other birds (Anconas and barred Plymouth Rocks) respect her, despite her gentle disposition. She has, in the past, also been an excellent broody hen. I would not hesitate to add more Barnevelders to my flock.

Do you think the Barnevelder would make a good addition to your flock? Let us know in the comments below!

All images via Daphne Cybele

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