The Barnevelder


The Barnevelder is a large, soft feathered, docile and very good natured chicken. They are very tame and do not fly well. They are a very pretty bird with interesting markings and a beautiful iridescent beetle sheen on the feathers. Barnevelder chickens are a rare dual purpose breed producing about 180/200 large brown speckled eggs per year. A Barnevelder hen averages between 6.5 and 8.5 lb and the cockerels about 10/14 lb.

I keep  both bantam and large fowl barnevelders and over the years we have kept a wide variety of other breeds of all shapes and sizes. This is a list of the birds we have kept with pictures and variety as well as any oddeties or breed characteristics we have noted. The barnevelder comes in a variety of plumage types, from solid colours like the white, black and brown to the single laced types like the original silver laced.

Double-laced (large fowl) . Bred in Barneveld, Netherlands in the late 19th / early 20th century. 

Double-laced (Bantam) Recognized in 1931 in Germany. Bred from a 'petite' double-laced hen and a Bantam Rhode Island Red cock, followed by crossings with Bantam Golden-laced Wyandottes, Bantam German Langshan, and Bantam Indian Game (Cornish).

Double-laced Blue (large fowl) 

Double-laced Blue (Bantam) Originally bred in the Netherlands. Bred again in Germany from a Bantam double-laced Barnevelder cock and a Bantam blue-laced Wyandotte hen; recognized in 1987.

Blue (large fowl) Recognized in Germany in 1997. Bred from Black Barnevelder and Blue Niederrheiner. Not recognized in the Netherlands.

Silver (large fowl) Appears to be a recognised variety in the British & Australian Poultry Standards. Single-laced.

Silver-black double-laced (Bantam) Developed in the first years of the new millennium by Dutch breeder Bert Beugelsdijk from crosses of double-laced Barnevelder bantams and Silver-pencilled Wyandotte bantams. Recognised in 2009.

Silver-black double-laced (large fowl) Developed by the Dutch breeders Gerrit Simmelink and Cor Tensen from crosses of a large Silver-pencilled Wyandotte rooster and large double-laced Barnevelder hens. Recognised in 2013. Also recognized in New Zealand Poultry Standards 2013.

Silver Blue barnevelder. Cross of the Silver and blue double laced.

Black (large fowl) 1920s. Black came as a sport from the partridge. Black Plymouth Rock and Black Wyandottes were crossed in to achieve pure black.

Black (Bantam) Recognized in 1954 in Germany. Bred from Black Barnevelders and Bantam Black Wyandottes in Germany.

White (large fowl) 1934. Occasionally occurring recessive white birds were crossed with white Plymouth Rocks and White Leghorn to produce White Barnevelders.

White (Bantam) Recognized in 1960 in Germany. Bred from Black Barnevelders and Bantam White Wyandottes in Germany.

Autosexing barred (large fowl). 

Autosexing barred (Bantam) Recognized in Germany in 1988. Bred in Germany with the aid of autosexing Bantam Bielefelder. Bantam Niederrheiner and Bantam Italiener (German-type Leghorn) were also crossed in.

Dark brown (large fowl) Recognized in 1982 in Germany. Bred from Black Barnevelders, Rhode Island Reds and New Hampshires in Germany.

Dark brown (Bantam) Recognized in 1987 in Germany. Bred from Bantam Black Barnevelders, Bantam Rhode Island Reds and Bantam New Hampshires in Germany.

Partridge (large fowl) Partridge Barnevelders were still kept in Britain in the 1990s, possibly still derived from early imports. Available in silver and gold.

Chamois(Large fowl & Bantam) Double laced feather pattern of gold-mahogany and white, recognized in New Zealand Poultry Standards 2013.

Barnevelders are good with children and make excellent backyard chickens. If handled when young they can be very tame. They adapt well to both free range and urban environments. Barnevelders are excellent foragers and feed themselves well if allowed to roam.

The Double Laced Barnevelder is a wonderful bird that has a good reputation as a winter layer. To my knowledge this breed produces the most consistent supply of eggs year round without any artificial light. I chose them specifically because they are hardy birds with small combs that tolerate the cold.