Some chicken breeds have history. Others have unique traits. Then there is the Bielefelder chicken breed, which seems to have a little bit of everything you are looking for. The Bielefelder is a stunning looking bird that offers plenty of benefits. This complete guide to the Bielefelder will tell you everything you need to know, so you can decide if you would like to add this breed to your flock. Let’s get started.
- History of Bielefelder Chickens
- Bielefelder Appearance and Breed Standard
- Temperament and Personality
- Egg Production
- Bielefelder Broodiness
- Are Bielefelder Chickens Good For Meat?
- Common Health Issues
- Advantages and Disadvantages of the Bielefelder Chicken Breed
- Tips For Raising Bielefelder Chickens
- Final Thoughts
History of Bielefelder Chickens
The Bielefelder Kennhuhn, pronounced BEE-LAY-FELDER, is a testament to the masterful engineering of the German people. Not only did they make BMW, but they bred one of the most popular and resilient chicken breeds known to the world. The Bielefelder chicken breed was the result of Gerd Roth, a chicken breeder from Bielefeld, Germany, in the 1970s. In order to create a dual purpose chicken, Roth blended together a variety of breeds like the Amrock, Wyandotte, New Hampshire, and Cuckoo Malines.
In 2011, the Bielefelder breed arrived in the US. Then in 2013 and 2017, unrelated bloodlines from the original Bielefelder chickens were imported.
There is a reason for this: the Bielefelder breed saw rapid adoption by chicken keepers. The Bielefelder Kennhuhn is everything you need, including auto-sexing, high meat yield, large brown eyes produced in the hundreds, and a gentle disposition. Furthermore, this breed is resistant to the cold and does not have any motivation to take to wing. They are foragers, too.
It’s certainly fascinating how beloved the Bielefelder has become in such a short amount of time in the US. They are new, but they have already trumped some of the older, more well-known breeds, including the Dorking, which has been around since the Roman era.
Bielefelder Appearance and Breed Standard
Want a winsome bird with plenty of colors? The Bielefelder is a relatively large chicken (weighing in at 10-12 lbs) with a single red comb, red earlobes, and wattles. They have orange-red eyes. Many chicken owners like Bielefelders for their auto-sexing abilities, which means that the chicks are born in two different colors.
A male chick has a white spot on their head and light brown stripes down their back. On the other hand, the females don’t have the little white cap, and their stripes look more like a chipmunk’s. Females are also darker than the males.
As the chickens reach maturity, they don a lovely plumage that is both complex and scintillating. Furthermore, the spotted pattern on their feathers helps these chickens blend into their environment, hiding them from any predators that come skulking around. The Bielefelder also has a pink tinge to its brown feathers, which separates it from other similar breeds. Other colors on the chicken include white, black, gray, and orange. These happen in patches around the body, particularly on the roosters.
Fun fact: The complex pattern on the adults is called “Kennfarbig” in German. In English, that translates to “cuckoo red partridge.”
This short video shows you exactly what Bielefelder chickens look and sound like. Check it out:
Temperament and Personality
Some chickens want nothing to do with you. Well, that is not Bielefelders. These chickens will go out of their way to provide you with companionship. They are also some of the most friendly chickens you could meet. Quiet yet curious, they make excellent pets. Moreover, these chickens have a tendency to be on high alert, even when they are in the middle of foraging around the yard.
Because of their quick ability to react, they make excellent free-rangers who will keep your yard free of insects.
You might be wondering, “Are Bielefelder chickens good for eggs?” They sure are! This breed was created with egg-laying in mind. Not only do the young females start laying eggs very early, but they also produce up to 230 eggs per year. Bielefelder eggs are large and colored brown with a pinkish undertone, much like their plumage.
There are Bielefelder bantams available who lay around 160 eggs per year. Those eggs are a little smaller than a standard Bielefelder egg.
Depending on what you want the eggs for, having a broody or not broody hen could make a huge difference in your day. Bielefelder hens are not the broody type. Once they start laying eggs, they keep laying without much regard for the eggs already in their basket. Fortunately, while the hens do not get broody, they do have great mothering capabilities once their eggs have hatched.
You don’t have to worry about little chicks going unattended with Bielefelders running about.
Are Bielefelder Chickens Good For Meat?
The Bielefelder breed is dual purpose, meaning that you can use them for eggs and their meat. Their meat is delicious and juicy. Due to their larger frames, they also supply you with more meat per chicken than many other breeds. In short, you get your money’s worth with these chickens. Although they are expensive to obtain, they can give you a lot of enjoyment (and great tasting eggs and poultry).
Why does their meat taste so good, though? It’s their lifestyle. Bielefelders are compelled to be active and spend a lot of time foraging. Since their diet is varied, it adds flavor to their meat.
Common Health Issues
There are very few ailments that could slow the Bielefelder chicken down. Being that this breed is more resistant to the cold, the chance of them getting ill during the cooler months is reduced. That doesn’t mean they are invincible — it just means they won’t get sick often. That said, these birds are robust. You can expect few, if any, trips to the bird veterinarian.
In order to keep your Bielefelder chickens as healthy as possible, make sure you are providing them with plenty of exercise and a nutritious diet. As with all chickens, having some space to roam and forage and receive the occasional snack goes a long way.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Bielefelder Chicken Breed
Now that you know some of the characteristics of the Bielefelder chicken breed, let’s talk about the pros and cons. This will tell you if Bielefelder chickens are right for you.
- Bielefelder chickens are extremely friendly and gentle, including the roosters. Although Bielefelders are larger chickens, they are calm and like to spend time with their people. You don’t have to worry about getting injured or pecked by roosters or broody hens. Pick up those eggs with ease.
- Delicious meat. Bielefelder chickens are dual purpose, and they provide plenty of meat that is highly nutritious.
- Superior egg production. On average, Bielefelder hens produce around 230 eggs per year, and they don’t decrease their egg-laying during the winter.
- Easy to raise. Bielefelder chickens can forage throughout the day and require very little else. The simple life is the best life for these chickens.
- Adaptable to harsh environments. This breed is hardy and they do well throughout the year, regardless of the weather. That said, you do need to provide them with an insulated coop for safety and warmth — as with all chicken breeds.
- Expensive to feed. Bielefelder chickens do have a large appetite, so they can take a lot of feed if they are not foraging.
- Expensive to obtain. Since this breed is not as well known as some and most of the breeders are located in Germany, it may be difficult and pricey to get your hands on some chicks.
Tips For Raising Bielefelder Chickens
Want to be the very best there ever was at raising Bielefelder chickens? Here are some tips:
Give Your Chickens a Comfortable Place
Yes, the Bielefelder breed is incredibly hardy, but that doesn’t mean they can live without creature comforts. Bielefelder chickens still need to be protected from inclement weather and sudden temperature changes. During the extremely hot days, they are going to need plenty of shade to stay cool. Similarly, during the coldest of evenings, they should be in a safely enclosed chicken coop and away from wind and rain. Make sure the coop has plenty of ventilation, too.
Feed Your Bielefelders Outside
Yes, Bielefelder chickens absolutely adore snacking. Use that to your advantage. These chickens have a good survival instinct, so you can let them walk around without much worry. Besides, letting your Bielefelder chickens free-range and eat their snacks and feed outside truly helps cut down on the cost of their meals. You don’t have to worry about giving them high-quality feed all the time. With Bielefelders, the more varied their diet, the happier they will be.
Provide Plenty of Walking Space
As mentioned previously, this dual purpose breed of chicken loves to wander around. They will not tolerate being placed in a tiny enclosure. Therefore, make sure you have a spacious area for them to roam. Gardens, backyards, and fields are the perfect places to let your Bielefelder chickens walk around and forage.
Clean The Coop
Don’t let your Bielefelder chickens snooze in a dirty coop. These birds love to roam, but they also need a safe place to settle down in the evening. As with all chicken breeds, a dirty coop runs the risk of making your chickens ill. Be sure to keep the coop as clean as possible. Clear away fecal matter frequently. Ensure the nesting boxes have curtains on them. Keep the roosting areas free of obstacles. Doing so will also get you more eggs!
Feed Your Chicken’s Appropriately
While free ranging and snacks are great, you also need to provide your Bielefelder chickens with plenty of protein. Due to their size, Bielefelder chickens need 20% of their daily diet to be protein. Provide fresh vegetables, fruits, cereal grains, and premium chicken feed to ensure your Bielefelders in the flock stay happy and healthy.
Do you think Bielefelder chickens are right for you? Whether you consider yourself a beginning chicken keeper or have plenty of experience, the Bielefelder chicken breed is one of the best. Since Bielefelder chickens were bred to be dual purpose and eliminate otherwise unwanted traits from other breeds, there are a whole lot of benefits. While there are some disadvantages, including the price of obtaining and raising these chickens, the benefits outweigh the negatives.
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.