The Barnevelder chicken is a beautiful and useful breed that can make a great addition to any backyard flock. It is known for its distinctive double-laced feathers that give it a striking appearance, and its friendly temperament and good egg-laying abilities.
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History of the Barnevelder breed
The Barnevelder is a breed of domestic chicken that originated in the town of Barneveld, in the Netherlands, in the early 20th century. The breed was created by crossbreeding local Dutch chickens with the Langshan, Plymouth Rock, and Rhode Island Red breeds.
The Barnevelder was initially bred for its dark brown eggs, which were in high demand in the Netherlands. The breed quickly became popular for its egg-laying abilities, robustness, and meat qualities. During World War II, the breed suffered a significant decline due to food shortages and other factors, but it was later reintroduced to the market and has since regained its popularity.
The personality of the Barnevelder breed
Barnevelders are known for their calm and friendly personalities, making them popular as backyard pets. Here are some common personality traits of Barnevelder chickens:
- Docile: Barnevelders are generally calm and easygoing, making them great pets for families with children or other animals.
- Intelligent: Barnevelders are known for their intelligence and can quickly learn to recognize their owners and respond to their names.
- Friendly: They are known to be friendly and sociable with their own flockmates and humans.
The appearance of Barnevelders
Barnevelders are medium-sized, dual-purpose birds with hens weighing 6-7 pounds and roosters weighing 7-8 pounds. Here are some characteristics of their appearance:
- Head: They have a small, neat comb that sits upright and evenly spaced.
- Body: They have a compact, well-muscled body with a broad, deep chest and a slightly curved back. Their legs are yellow with four toes.
- Eyes: They have large, bright, and expressive reddish-brown eyes that stand out against their dark plumage.
Barnevelder chickens have a classic, elegant look that is both beautiful and functional, making them a popular choice for backyard flocks and exhibition shows.
Feather facts about Barnevelder chickens
Barnevelders have double-laced feathers, meaning each feather has two distinct bands of color around the edge. The outer band is typically black, while the inner band can range in color from brown to reddish-brown.
The double-lacing pattern is most pronounced on the feathers of the Barnevelder's neck and tail but can also be seen on their wings and body feathers. The pattern can vary somewhat between individual birds but should be clearly defined and evenly spaced.
Egg color and production of Barnevelder chickens
Barnevelder chickens are known for their dark brown eggs, which are one of the breed's most distinguishing features. They are also known to be good egg layers, with hens producing around 180-200 eggs per year on average. However, egg production can vary depending on factors such as age, diet, and environmental conditions.
Barnevelder hens start laying eggs at around 5-6 months of age and continue laying throughout the year, with a peak in production during the spring and summer months. The eggs are medium to large in size and have a rich, brown shell color. Their dark brown eggs are especially popular with those who appreciate unique and flavorful eggs, and they are often sought after by artisanal bakers and chefs.
Care and health of Barnevelders
They are generally easy to care for and can adapt well to various living situations, including free-range or confined environments. The Barnevelder chicken breed is very hardy and can do well in both heat and cold weather. They don't have any specific health concerns and should be cared for as any other chickens in your flock are. The average lifespan of the Barnevelder breed is 6-12 years.
Today, Barnevelder chickens are found worldwide and are still prized for their egg-laying abilities, meat quality, and unique appearance. Do you have any Barnevelder chickens in your backyard flock? Share with us in the comments below.