One of my absolute favorite in my current flock is Henny Penny, my Barnevelder! She is the sweetest and quietest chicken we own and loves to be held and hand fed. They make good parents with the chicks. Even the rooster seems protective of the young. Barnevelders do enjoy their brooding which has prompted some breeders to label the Barnevelder lazy and to recommend mandatory foraging times. A mixed breed of Asiatic and Dutch stock, the Barnevelder has adopted the temperament of the Dutch breeds over the fighting spirit of the Malayan cock.
The Barnevelder lays three eggs a week, makes a good meat chicken, and has recently made a resurgence as a show fowl. Egg production in the Barnevelder has taken second seat to their meat production and attractive plumage. A large fowl, the Barnevelder rooster weighs eight pounds and the female six. The Asiatic and Dutch heritage has created a hardy breed that likes to forage in the run and still get along in the coop.
Barnevelders can have white, black, brown, blue, and blue lace feathers. However, most people associate the Barnevelder with their eye-catching partridge plumage. It has the appearance of contiguous array of black and brown adjoining circles drawn by a rogue geometry class. Breeders accurately describe the plumage as “tight.” The plumage follows the contours of the hen and gives the bird a very orderly, precise look. The rooster, less showy than his female counterpart, sports a black plumage with an iridescent green shimmer. They make a handsome couple.