As a chicken owner, you likely want to know what size eggs to expect from your hens. Egg size is an important consideration, especially if you plan to sell excess eggs or use them for baking. The Barnevelder is a popular dual-purpose chicken breed known for laying dark brown eggs. But what size are Barnevelder eggs specifically? Keep reading to learn more about Barnevelder egg sizes.
Background on Barnevelder Chickens
The Barnevelder chicken breed originated in the town of Barneveld in the Netherlands in the early 1900s. They were bred by crossing local Dutch landrace chickens with imported breeds like the Asian Brahma. Barnevelders were first imported to the United States in the 1920s.
This chicken breed is medium-sized with an active foraging disposition. Barnevelders come in several color varieties, but the most common is double-laced, featuring black and white feathers with a double-laced pattern. The hens tend to go broody and make good mothers. The roosters have a bold but friendly personality.
In addition to their egg production, Barnevelders are valued for their meat. Their bodies are broad and deep with good muscling. The hens weigh 6-7 pounds and the roosters 8-9 pounds. The breed matures early and dresses out well.
Overall, the Barnevelder is a dual-purpose breed appreciated for its eggs, meat, and calm personality. Their egg production combined with their strong, healthy bodies make them an excellent choice for small farms and homesteads.
Egg Production in Barnevelders
Barnevelder hens are considered good layers. They produce 3-4 medium to large sized brown eggs per week. This averages out to 150-200 eggs annually. They start laying eggs around 6 months of age.
Egg production typically peaks during the first 2-3 years of lay before gradually declining. With proper care and feeding, Barnevelders may continue laying eggs for 4+ years. Some individual hens retain their productivity longer than others.
There are a few factors that influence egg size and production in Barnevelders:
- Genetics – Some bloodlines have been selectively bred for higher egg output.
- Feed – A nutritionally balanced layer feed supports egg production.
- Supplements – Feed additives like oyster shell provide extra calcium for egg shell strength.
- Age – Younger hens lay more abundantly.
- Season – Egg production declines in winter when daylight hours are shorter.
- Housing – Stress can limit egg production so adequate space is important.
By choosing productive breeding stock, feeding a quality diet, housing hens properly, and following good management practices, you can maximize egg size and output from your Barnevelder flock.
Average Barnevelder Egg Sizes
The average weight of a Barnevelder egg is 50-55 grams. For comparison, a large grade white egg in the US weighs a minimum of 57 grams while extra large is over 63 grams. So Barnevelder eggs are on the smaller end of the large egg spectrum.
However, there is variation between individual hens. Some Barnevelders lay eggs weighing 60 grams or more. The egg size tends to increase as the hen ages. A pullet’s first eggs will be quite small, while a mature hen produces the breed’s largest egg size.
Here are some typical size measurements of Barnevelder eggs:
- Length: 2.2-2.6 inches
- Width: 1.75-2 inches
There can be significant variation in egg sizes from the smallest to the largest eggs within a flock. However, most Barnevelder eggs fall in the range of medium to large.
How Egg Size Compares to Other Breeds
To put Barnevelder egg sizes into context, it helps to compare them to other popular chicken breeds:
|Average Egg Size
|Small to medium
|Rhode Island Red
|Medium to large
|Large to extra large
Smaller egg layers like Leghorns and Hamburg’s produce eggs weighing 40-50 grams normally. The larger heritage breeds like Orpingtons, Brahmas, and Cochins lay extra large eggs over 60 grams.
The Barnevelder’s egg size falls nicely between these extremes. Their eggs are smaller than the largest breeds but still on the larger side of standard. This makes them a good choice if you want generous sized brown eggs without going up to jumbo sizes.
Shell Color and Quality
Barnevelders are best known for laying rich, dark brown colored eggs. The shell pigment actually deposits as the egg travels through the oviduct, so the color intensifies the longer the egg takes to form. Older hens tend to lay eggs with the darkest shells.
The shell is smooth and strong. Having a solid shell is important for the egg’s interior quality. It prevents bacteria from entering the egg and keeps the contents protected.
You can supplement the diet with oyster shell or grit to provide extra calcium for shell strength. Offering insoluble fiber also helps produce sturdy egg shells.
The dark brown shell is attractive and desired by many egg customers. It also obscures cracks and flaws compared to white shells. Overall, the Barnevelder lays eggs with a beautiful, richly tinted shell.
Egg Contents and Quality
Inside the shell, Barnevelder eggs have all the expected contents: egg white, egg yolk, membranes, and chalazae. The yolks are typically a deep golden orange color. This indicates a diet rich in carotenoids and nutrients like vitamin A and lutein.
The egg white tends to be thick and viscous with a tight chalazae clinging the yolk in place. The high albumen quality helps the eggs achieve a tall stand and firm structure when cracked open.
For cooking properties, Barnevelder eggs perform well. The whites coagulate into a tender, cohesive mass while the yolks remain creamy and tender without an overly fragile texture.
The egg flavor is excellent too. Most people describe Barnevelder eggs as having a richer, deeper yolk flavor compared to commercial white eggs. The dark yolks are visually appealing as well.
In terms of interior quality, the Barnevelder produces abundant, fresh eggs with excellent structure, flavor, nutrition, and cooking qualities ideal for any kitchen.
Benefits of Barnevelder Eggs
Beyond their outstanding taste and appearance, Barnevelder eggs offer a few advantages:
- No hatchery orders needed – Barnevelders hatch and raise chicks well so you can reproduce your flock naturally.
- Winter egg production – While reduced, Barnevelders lay more consistently through cold weather than some breeds.
- Dual purpose uses – You can benefit from eggs and meat from the same bird.
- Foraging ability – Their active foraging reduces feed costs while providing a more natural diet.
For homesteaders who want a heritage breed suited for small farms, the Barnevelder is a great option that provides an abundant supply of large brown eggs.
Pullet versus Hen Egg Size
Egg size increases gradually as the Barnevelder hen matures. The first eggs from a young pullet will be quite small. Over the first few months of lay the eggs will rapidly gain weight.
Once the hen is fully mature and laying at her peak rate, egg weights level out. Minor fluctuations may still occur due to diet, season, and other factors. But in general, her eggs remain a similar size month to month.
While the difference in pullet and hen egg size varies individually, you can expect at least a 10 gram weight increase on average. That’s similar to going up one size grade in commercial egg terms.
So if you’re disappointed with the small eggs from your new pullets, just give them some time. The eggs will reach normal Barnevelder size as the hen matures more.
How to Increase Egg Size
If your Barnevelder eggs seem small, there are a few management tips that may help increase their size:
- Wait for hens to mature – Pullets just starting lay will produce smaller eggs.
- Select larger hens – Body weight correlates to egg weight.
- Feed a layer diet – Protein, calcium, and nutrients support egg production.
- Supplement with calcium – Add oyster shell to boost egg shells.
- Increase day length – Extra light stimulates the hen’s reproductive system.
- Control stress – Overcrowding, illness, or predators can reduce egg size.
While genetics play a big role, optimizing nutrition and management goes a long way too. Following best practices for your Barnevelder flock will help the hens lay the largest, healthiest eggs they can.
The Barnevelder is an exceptional chicken breed that provides a generous supply of dark brown eggs. Typical Barnevelder egg sizes range from medium to large, averaging 50-55 grams. Their brown shells are strong and flawless. Interior egg quality is excellent as well with dense whites, orange yolks, and great flavor.
As a heritage breed, Barnevelders have good reproductive abilities and will readily brood and hatch chicks. This allows you to maintain your own egg-laying flock without commercial hatchery orders. Their dual-purpose body type also yields a good carcass for meat.
If you’re looking for a breed that produces beautiful brown eggs in a plentiful yet manageable size, the Barnevelder will exceed expectations. Offering great temperament, free-ranging ability, fertility, and egg qualities, the Barnevelder is one of the finest choices for small farms and homesteads.