Your Guide to the Barnevelder Chicken

If you’re planning on establishing a backyard coop on your property, you may have considered several chicken breeds. However, one that should not be overlooked is the Barnevelder Chicken or “barnie”. While this is a relatively new breed, the Barnevelder is a low maintenance chicken that looks great and has a fun personality. So, in this article, we’ll explore this breed in more detail to help you decide if it is the right choice for your coop.

Some Facts About the Barnevelder Chicken

Barnevelder egg color

Pet Name: The Barnevelder has a pet name of Barnies, which suits their fun personality.Bad Flyers: This breed has high wings and is very bad at flying. So, you need to consider this when setting up roosting spots.Multiple Colors: While the black arrowhead feather pattern is the most distinctive, this breed can be found in eight colors.Only Hens Have Patterning: Only the hens have the arrowhead feather patterning, as the roosters have plain feathers.

Where the Barnevelder Chicken Comes From

Although it is a relatively new breed, the exact heritage of this bird is unclear. It is safe to assume that the breed takes its name from Barneveld, which is east of Utrecht in the Netherlands. This area has a large agricultural college that specializes in poultry. For this reason, this area became well known for supplying eggs in Europe.

The original chickens in this area are likely to be older breeds such as “landrace”, but Oriental birds were introduced, so it is likely that Barnevelder is a cross breed with some imported varieties, such as Brahmas and Malays.

Barnevelder Characteristics

Barnevelder chickens have a beautiful pattern on their feathers, with double black lacing on the brown feathers, creating an arrowhead. This is a simple design, yet it creates an attractive effect, contrasted with black neck feathers that have no patterning.

The Barnevelder rooster does not have this arrowhead pattern. Male Barnevelders are a black breasted red color.

The birds have a compact rectangular body shape with high wings, which means this chicken does not fly very well. The neck is slightly arched, while the tail is at a 50 degree angle with moderate spread. The overall plumage is tight, while the comb is a 5 point single variety. The comb, earlobes and wattles are red, while the eyes are also red.

Barnevelders are a large bird, with hens weighing approximately five or six pounds, and roosters being a pound or two heavier.

The Barnevelder Temperament

Barnevelder chickens have a great temperament, with an easygoing attitude that means that they rarely squabble. Even Barnevelder roosters are quite calm. While they are quite chatty, their voices are fairly quiet and low, so you’ll be greeted with low key chatter, as they are always pleased to see their human friends.

Barnevelder chicken

They are quite active birds, so you will find the Barnevelder loves to free range. If you start at an early age, you can easily tame them to be a family pet and they are well suited to this. They are gentle and docile, so even if you have kids in your household, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Egg Laying

Barnevelder chickens are a robust bird that can tolerate a variety of climates. While they don’t particularly enjoy excessive heat and humidity, they can manage if they have plenty of water and shade. When in healthy condition, you can expect three or four eggs each week. The Barnevelder egg color is dark chocolate, but they are occasionally speckled. The eggs are large and generally a dark brown color, but some lighter colors can be produced, depending on the exact heritage of your Barnevelder.

The hens are not typically particularly broody and they will lay throughout winter, making them a good choice for those looking for consistent egg production.


If you have hatchlings or young chicks, you’ll need to raise them on protein crumbles for at least eight weeks. After this point, you can move to a 16 to 20% protein feed in a crumble or pellet format. However, if the birds are under stress, such as molting, you’ll need to stick to the higher side of this protein ratio to boost their metabolism.

It is also important to have a separate container of insoluble grit, which helps this breed to digest food. This is not as crucial if you allow your Barnevelders to free range, since they can source grit for themselves. But, if your chickens are confined, it is a good idea to offer grit routinely.

As with any other chicken breed, it is also vital that they have access to ample clean, free water.

Who is the Barnevelder Chicken Best Suited For?

Barnevelders are gentle and docile, making them a delightful breed. They are well suited for a family flock, yet they thrive when free range. While they can tolerate confinement, they excel when free ranging. Since they are very friendly, you can allow them access to your yard, where they can help you with your pest control and weeding.

Barnevelder chickens are very friendly and they will often run to greet you when you appear in the yard. They are also very child friendly, particularly if you start them very young. In this case, they can make an excellent pet that will tolerate the attention of even younger children.

It would be difficult to find a more even-tempered chicken, they have an unflappable demeanor and can tolerate a variety of conditions. So, whether you’re setting up a younger farm or simply want to set up a coop in your backyard, you’ll find the Barnevelder a great breed.

The only potential downside to this breed is that they are highly prone to Marek’s Disease. So, you will need to ensure that they are properly vaccinated at birth. Other than the typical chicken issues of mites and lice, this is a fairly problem free, healthy chicken.