Barnevelder Chicken

Overall satisfaction


Acquired: Breeder

Gender: Female





Hen brooding behavior


Foraging ability


Tolerance for heat


Tolerance for cold


Meat quantity


Egg quantity


Large eggs


Colorful eggs


Calm, quiet, beautiful chickens


United States

Posted Sep 07, 2014

Barnevelders are a bit of an unusual chicken. They have a slightly different look to them with a more compact beak than most. Their feathers are gorgeous, a dark iridescent with rusty lace patterning.

They can vary greatly from strain to strain in size and lace pattern. Some lay a small quantity of very dark brown eggs while others lay higher quantities of lighter eggs.

My gal is a smaller bird that lays a decent amount of lighter brown eggs, which are still darker than many of the other breeds I keep. These birds are fine layers and fine meat birds, but aren’t the best breed for either. The real reason to keep Barnevelders is their appearance and unique personality.

These are calm birds that are quiet and slow paced. I’ve heard some folks describe them as shy and I suppose they could be viewed that way in that they do tend to hang back. However, it’s not that Louisa is nervous around people or other birds. It’s just that she prefers to watch rather than interact directly.

She keeps to herself far more than any other full-sized chicken I’ve ever kept. Frequently in the afternoon when many of the other birds are laying together, she’ll pick a high outdoor roost and settle down by herself to keep an eye on things.

I’m not sure if maybe she’d be more interactive grouped with other Barnevelders that shared her same sensibilities. She just seems to like doing her own thing. Barnevelders still blend well into flocks with other peaceful birds, but imagine they could be prone to being bullied if kept with more aggressive birds.

They aren’t the cuddliest chickens and mine more or less ignores me. If you’re looking for a companion chicken that will be delighted to see you, this breed wouldn’t be my first recommendation. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a lovely bird that’s relaxing to watch then a Barnevelder would be an excellent selection.

This breed could work well for small backyard flocks in suburban areas where you’d need a quiet, laid back bird that didn’t mind small enclosures. They also make for stunning addition to a standard flock and, despite not being the most productive, are well worth keeping on account of their beauty.

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