What is the Barnevelder egg supposed to look like?
I find Barnevelder eggs oddly satisfying to look at. The colour is rich and warm.
Below: Double Laced or Chestnut Barnevelder eggs.
With the renewed interest in backyard chickens and coloured egg layers like the Barnevelder are attracting attention from chicken keepers.
Sir Edward Brown, a well known British poultry expert said of them:
"The benefits of this breed are not confined to the large golden eggs alone because the birds themselves are friendly and extremely attractive, with beautiful glossy double laced feathering"
What colour eggs do Barnevelders lay?
The Barnevelder lays a large chocolate brown egg that is 65mm long and 45mm wide and at least 65 grams in weight. Hens lay the darkest eggs early in the season and the colour fades during the year.
From my experience breeding Barnevelders the Dam or hen has a greater effect on how the egg colour is passed to the next generation.
Barnevelder eggs were never really dark like the Marans and should be a golden brown.
Below: Eggs from my blue laced Barnevelders:
Barnevelder eggs are large with sturdy shells.
How many eggs do Barnevelders lay a year?
Barnevelder lay 180 to 200 eggs per year. Productivity drops by 15% after every complete yearly moult.
They are not big layers but the Barnevelder is a consistent bird and will remain productive for at least 5 years.
At what age do Barnevelders start laying?
Barnevelder hens will begin to lay at 28 weeks of age under ideal conditions. Birds raised late in the year may not start until the new season begins the following spring.
The Barnevelder is a slow developer and I never make decisions my breeding stock until the birds are a full year old.
This can be a problem as the birds do not always show their egg colour and it fades over the course of the laying season.
Below: My Silver Laced Barnevelder eggs are a few shades lighter than I would like:
The more eggs the bird lays the lighter they will be and the secret is to find the right balance between productivity and colour.
A few other important points to note regarding the eggs of the Barnevelder breed and all it's types:
- In birds selected purely for the show bench, the egg colour is often overlooked.
- Fanciers who Enter the eggs in poultry shows will select the bird for the eggs they produce rather than the overall appearance.
- Barnevelders produced from crossing with other types may well lay a cream egg with little brown at all.
- All the bantam versions I have ever seen lay a white, light brown or cream egg.
Below: Eggs from my bantam silver laced Barnevelders:
They may not be golden brown but the quality of the eggs for eating is unmatched.
Do Barnevelders lay in the winter?
The Barnevelder is well known as a winter layer and is likely to produce two or three eggs a week during the winter months. Mine really get laying at the end of February.
They were originally from northern Europe where the winter days are short and chickens needed to be productive regardless of the seasons.
My Barnevelder Bantams are good off season egg producers as well.