Can You Identify This Mystery Chicken Breed?

Do you know this mystery chicken breed? With European roots (and a name to boot), this striking bird lays dark-brown eggs all year long.

by Chickens Magazine HQ
PHOTO: Елена Фаенкова/Adobe Stock

Chickens and other poultry members come in all sizes, shapes, colors and personalities. Nearly 400 recognized breeds and varieties of poultry exist, including large fowl and bantam chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowl. Using our illustration and a few selected hints, can you guess which mystery breed we have depicted here?

Find out the answer below. 


  • This striking hen lays dark-brown eggs year-round. 
  • To create them, breeders crossed Asiatic chicken breeds, including the Langshan, Cochin, Brahma and Maleier. 
  • The iridescent appearance of this breed’s plumage comes from the lacing of bronze on the greenish-black feathers of the neck, head and back and the lacing of greenish-black on the bronze feathers of the saddle and breast. 
  • The breed isn’t named after the barn but a region of the Netherlands, an area famous for its poultry. 

Read more: Consider raising these 4 critically endangered breeds of chickens.

Mystery Breed Answer

The mystery breed depicted above is the Barnevelder, which originated in the Barneveld region of the Netherlands. Breeders selected breeds that would lay well year-round, even during the long, damp Northern European winters. They were also looking to increase the production of coppery, dark brown eggs. The breed was accepted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1991.

Barnevelders have a bright-red single comb that stands straight and upright with five well-defined points. Wattles and earlobes are bright red. Males weigh 7 pounds; hens, 6. Learn more

To purchase other brown-egg layers, please visit Murray McMurray Hatchery. Murray McMurray Hatchery provides the highest quality poultry and auxiliary products to its customers, and has been a trusted, knowledgeable industry resource for more than 100 years. Whether you are an experienced or novice enthusiast, Murray McMurray is sure you will enjoy its wide selection of breeds and supplies to assist you with raising your flock!

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This mystery chicken breed feature originally appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of Chickens magazine.


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