Everything You Need to Know About Barnevelder Chickens

Posted by Daphne Cybele
Barnevelder chicken
All photos by Daphne Cybele.

The Barnevelder chicken is a calm, friendly and curious breed of chicken.

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!

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).

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Plumage has lace-like brown and black feather pattern. Each feather has rings of alternating brown and black, ending with a final black edge.


The Barnevelder chicken is a calm, friendly and curious breed of chicken.  The hens are known to be very gentle. Hens are not known for being broody, but when they do go broody, they are excellent mothers.

General Appearance

The Barnevelder is a medium-sized brown and black laced chicken with yellow feet, a single red comb, and a calm disposition. It is very cold hardy. A hen weighs between six and seven pounds.

Egg Laying

The Barnevelder lays 175-200 large brown eggs a year, and is known to lay through the winter. The egg color varies, but they generally lay dark brown eggs, with some being lighter brown eggs lightly speckled with dark brown spots.

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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