Looking into some critical time periods of the Barnevelder's History

There is much to read about the origin of the Barnevelder, but we should not make it more difficult than it is. 

The Barnevelder has its name from the fact that in and around Barneveld there became increasing interest in brown eggs. 

In 1890, it is said, that people would speak about the "brown Barnevelder egg". 

Farmers noticed that there was much benefit to the commercial brown eggs. The price for these eggs was much higher, so the market kept growing. Nowadays, we would say it was "booming". From 1890, the poultry business was becoming increasingly important, but there was not much knowledge about genetics. However, everyone did have these same (commercial) goals in mind.

 -The eggs must be nice deep brown. 

 -The hen should have a very high laying capabilities.

 -To achieve this they must be very good winter layers. -The hens should be broody as little as possible With exception of the last requirement, all of these traits can be found in the Langshan (from that time period). 

This is one of the oldest breeds that we know off. The Langshan has also contributed in Asia, to the creation of Cochins and Brahmas. These varieties were also introduced into Holland in the 19th century and will have undoubtedly been crossed here and there with local fowl. But for the "making" of the Barnevelder, the Langshan has been in no doubt, crossed with the local fowl. In order to highlight this, we can still show that the type of our current Barnevelders has a lot of resemblance to the Langhans from that time period.


The Langshan hen to the right drawing dates from 1897. Those of the birds in the collage with Barnevelders date from 1927 (all from the archives of W. Voskamp) The Barnevelders as such were drawn by Gink in 1923. You can see that there are many similarities and confirms that the Langshan is the main ancestor of our current Barnevelder 


But where and when was the color developed you will still be wondering. The answer can be read in “the Barneveld newspaper" of 1982. There is an interview recorded with the 80 -year-old Mees Klomp.


He witnessed the time of when the Barnevelder went from a production bird to become a chicken that had to meet a standard and an ideal color. He recounts how it all happened during that period. Below is a part of his story:

​" What you saw when walking around the farms that can be best described as" a mixed bag” of chickens, dark almost black in color, colorful chickens with feathers on the legs , it was all mixed together. You could not say that there was a certain consistent or worthy line. The breeding of a true line started actually only around 1905, when it was mainly bred for a black chicken: The Langshan roosters were used to improve the breed. 


Mees said that several farmers in the area were using Langshan roosters. Breeding Barnevelders as we know it today, actually started just after the First World War. The plumage of the hens was initially described as just laced, but soon came change. Mees Klomp : " I remember it like it was yesterday.  It must have been in 1922 that the first Barnevelder appeared with a double lace. "That was it, what a sight to behold!" That, you can understand. The breeder was W. Middelman. This double lace was one kind of a fluke, but we all went and bred for it. And indeed it turned out to be pretty easy too. First, we have experimented with the dark chickens, which we already had. They had a small triangle at the end of the primaries, or a gold shaft, wherein they were only single laced then. That was actually the very beginning. But when that double lace appeared in the feather, that was a whole different ball game. 

We crossed that dark chicken to somewhat brownish roosters and in no time it appeared to be working with the double lace. The magazine Avicultura (Newspaper) of 1921 was only highlighting the Barnevelder . In this paper, the color description of back then is fully consistent with what Mees Klomp says. In 1921, the hens preferably had a brown speckled feather field with light shafts and a wide black outer lace. They were barely single laced animals then. In 1922, here crawled the first double laced animals (by luck) out off the eggs. In the Avicultura “special" on "The Barnevelder " of 1921 there are more interesting things to read. Here, it goes especially about the first few decades of the 20th century. 

 A few things from there: -In addition to large breeding farms in the vicinity of Amersfoort and Barneveld, there were breeding centers deployed around the country for Barnevelders (eg prov. Groningen, Prov.Friesland, Overijssel Prov, Vlaardingen) -About the breeding center in Groningen was written negatively, because they payed a lot less attention on the color of the animals, but only on the egg color. The animals in Groningen were just black and had mostly still leg feathering. In all other breeding centers they had all the animals with golden webs and black lace as the "standard color"  -There were a lot of egg laying competitions held at that time. It appeared that the Barnevelder lays between 175 and 215 eggs per year. The weight of an egg is of course also different, but nevertheless young hens lay eggs of more than 57 grams. Old hens lay eggs that weigh 80 grams In 1921 in The Hague, the World Poultry Congress was held and the brown egg from Barneveld was promoted. Here, it was confirmed that the number of eggs annually was not of importance, but rather the total weight of the eggs lay in a year. The Barnevelders scored herein very well. The result drew a huge interest from abroad, with England leading. 

At the time, very many Barnevelders (and eggs ) were sold for a lot of money across the borders. The breed received his international recognition. In addition, the double laced animals, there are also black and white Barnevelders . The “battle" wether the color black is now older than Double laced, should, in my opinion end in a draw. 

From the mixture of which the laced Barnevelder arose, came also the black Barnevelder forth.

In the twenties, the breeders of laced Barnevelders had nothing to do with the black color variety. They considered this color as a threat to the breed. By crossing with black color varieties of other breeds (Plymouth Rocks , Orpingtons and Australorp ) the brown egg might be at risk. Black was also technically impossible to combine with beautiful yellow legs, the competitors said. A white Barnevelder was first spotted in 1926 in Elspeet . (This was a hen) One year later, a white rooster was born in Barneveld , in both cases the white animals that crawled from eggs were of strains of double laced Barnevelders. Both Elspeet hen as well as the cock in Barneveld were crossed to double lace animals. The offspring were all of the correct type and laid Barnevelder deep brown eggs, thus proving that it was bred pure. Then in the following years, however, “handyman’s (dealers) “seen a business in the spreading out of as many " white Barnevelders". These "whites" proceeded from White Leghorn and White Wyandottes crossed to double laced Barnevelders. The true breeder recognized the good chicks at the down color. The real white Barnevelder chicks of that time were not born yellow or white, but had a nasty down color. This ranged from brownish to gray. The fakes had a yellow or white down color. The club was also warned about this. There were several layer farms in those years with exclusively white Barnevelders . The bantam variety of this breed was originally created in England, but these animals disappeared. Germany has the honor that they created not the first, but the current Barnevelder bantam. This was done by crossing Rhode Island Red Bantams, gold - laced Wyandotte bantams and black Langshan bantams to poor typed Barnevelders. In 1927 these bantams were first showed in Germany. In the early thirties, they are recognized in Germany. How and when in the Netherlands, the recognition followed is not known to me , but this will have happened not much later. (In 1936, Peeters from Breda (Netherlands) also created a Barnevelder bantam without using the German birds) . 

Already in the twenties several special clubs for Barnevelder arose. In 1921 be “The Barnevelder " and " Poultry breeders circle Best Barnevelder " were founded. In 1924, the “Dutch Barnevelder Club" and in 1930 the “Dutch white and black Barnevelder association" were created. However, these were all associations which had the primary goal of maintaining the utility aspects of the Barnevelder .The current Barnevelder Club was only founded on January 15, 1950 and consisted primarily of competition breeders of both large Barnevelders and Barnevelder bantams. In the early years after the founding of the club, the bantam numbers were not very big. Partly caused by the special club, the situation changed. Already in the sixties, the number of bantams shown was often greater than the number of large Barnevelders