Barnevelder characteristics.

A show quality Barnevelder bantam at a poultry show.

How long do Barnevelder chickens live?

Barnevelders live for 7 to 11 years.They are not hugely productive producing a maximum of 200 eggs in their first year and this seems to translate into long healthy lives.

I have 2 that have made it past 11 years of age and they were both hens and none of mine have ever produced and egg after the age of 7.

Are Barnevelders cold hardy?

Barnevelders are fully cold hardy and well suited to cold climates. They were first bred in northern Europe and have relatively small combs and wattles and thick feathering.

Below: Mine are quite happy in the cold and snow.

I keep mine in the often cold and frozen North Yorkshire and they do very well. Mine have coped with temperatures as low as -20C or -5 F

Are Barnevelders friendly?

Barnevelders are friendly and easy to tame. The temperament makes it a delight to keep in the backyard. They are happy, docile birds that are easy to look after.

Below: You can see in this video how happy they are to be less than two feet away from me.

I have found the cockerels to be well behaved and I have only ever had one that was a problem.

Are Barnevelders broody?

For a heritage chicken, the Barnevelder is not as broody as some breeds. Mine normally go broody for the first time in the Spring of their second year and they go on to make good mothers.

Below: Here is two Barnevelder hens sharing a nest and rearing duty.

I can count on around 15% of my flock of Barnevelders to go broody in any year.

I have never had Barnevelder mother hens fight over chicks like I have had with Leghorns, and on a few occasions they have cooperatively raise large broods as a pair.

Are Barnevelder the right chickens for me?

If you want chickens that are big egg producers then you should consider red sex linked hybrids as Barnevelders are not big layers.

Barnies also eat more than modern hybrids do for the number of eggs they produce so they will cost you more over time.

The Barnevelder is a pretty chicken that looks really good in the backyard but that makes the expensive to buy.