Otis is a carefree cow who prefers playing with his friends rather than accept responsibility. His adoptive father Ben is the leader of the barnyard. After Otis interrupts a barnyard meeting with his wild antics, Ben has a talk with his son, warning him that he will never be happy if he spends his life partying without acting more maturely. Otis ignores his advice and leaves to have fun with his friends Pip the Mouse, Pig the Pig, Freddy the Ferret, and Peck the Rooster. That same day, Otis meets a pregnant cow named Daisy, who is accompanied by another cow, Bessy.
That night, the animals throw a party in the barn. All the animals at the barnyard are there except Ben, who guards the fence line. Otis is assigned a shift along with Ben, but Otis talks himself out of work. Before Otis leaves, Ben tells him that the night he found him as a baby calf stumbling alone in the meadow, he swore he saw the stars dance, thus giving him reason to know his place was at the farm. Later, Ben takes on a pack of coyotes led by Dag, who is a serial killer turned coyote plundering the chicken coop. He manages to fight off the pack until he is bitten on the leg by the red coyote, making him fall. The Coyotes pile on Ben, but he manages to grab Dag and escapes the pile. He threatens to punch Dag but lets him go, scaring away him and the coyotes. Ben falls on the ground, exhausted. A hen named Etta runs into the barn and tells Otis and he runs outside to his father. Ben dies and is buried on his favorite hill by the old farmer Jenkins, and the other animals mourn Ben after the farmer leaves.
After Ben's death, all the animals elect Otis as the new leader of the barnyard. Otis shirks his duties by leaving Freddy and Peck in charge of the coop, then helps the trouble-making Jersey Cows Eddy, Igg, and Bud teach a lesson to a mean fat youngster called Snotty Boy, eluding the police along the way. Later that night, when Otis is holding Daisy's hoof under the starlight, he overhears the coyotes chasing a rabbit and leaves Daisy to pursue the coyotes and avenge his father. Otis tries to attack Dag and his pack, but he is outsmarted by them. Since Otis is weaker, Dag orders a deal that he and his pack will take various barnyard animals at random times and that, if Otis tries to stand up for all of them, they will slaughter everyone at the barnyard. Otis decides to leave the barnyard, realizing that his chances of victory are small.
The next morning, before leaving, Otis is informed that the Coyotes took some hens and Maddy, a little chick who is one of Otis' best friends and looks up to him. Otis realizes that he has been fooled by Dag, as he was not expecting him and the coyotes until tonight, and sets off to rescue the chickens. Otis confronts the pack but is easily defeated after Dag bites him in the leg; however, Pip, Pig, Freddy, Peck, Miles and the Jersey Cows arrive to help Otis. Wild Mike, and even some gophers join in the fight as well. Dag tries to attack Otis from behind, but Otis is alerted when Peck successfully manages to grow a warning. Otis catches Dag and threatens to punch him the same way his father did, but he cannot bring himself to do it. Instead, he warns Dag to never return to the barnyard. Otis then swings Dag out of the junkyard with a golf club, finally rescuing the chickens and avenging his father's death.
That night, the animals hijack some motorcycles from the diner and return to the barnyard, where the others reveal to Otis that Daisy went into labor after he left to face the Coyotes. She gives birth to a calf, whom he names Ben after Otis's father. Duke, the farmer's sheepdog, asks Otis if he wants to stay and be their leader. Otis agrees, and everyone cheers as he walks outside to find the stars dancing, forever grateful for what his father taught him.
Meanwhile, Nora is getting ready for bed, only to find Wild Mike on the top of her head.Kevin James as Otis, a cow
Courteney Cox as Daisy, a pregnant yellow cow
Sam Elliott as Ben, a brown bull
Danny Glover as Miles, an elderly mule
Wanda Sykes as Bessy, a sassy brown cow
Andie MacDowell as Etta, a mother hen
David Koechner as Dag, an evil red coyote, and the leader of his pack.
Jeff Garcia as Pip, a wisecracking mouse
Tino Insana as Pig
Dom Irrera as Duke, a sheepdog
Cam Clarke as Freddy, a panicky and neurotic ferret
S. Scott Bullock, John DiMaggio and Maurice LaMarche as Eddy, Igg and Bud, the Jersey Cows
Fred Tatasciore as the Farmer
Lloyd Sherr as Everett, an elderly bloodhound
Rob Paulsen as Peck, a rooster
Madeline Lovejoy as Maddy, a chick who looks up to Otis
Nathaniel Stroman as Root, a handsome rooster
Steve Oedekerk as Snotty Boy, Randall Beady, and Pizza Twin #2
Maria Bamford as Nora Beady, the farmer's neighbor
Jamal Woolard as Biggie E Cheese, Rapper
Barnyard was released on August 4, 2006, and opened to 3,311 theaters. This film opened at #2 at the box office on its opening weekend behind Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, earning $16 million at the domestic box office. It closed on November 2, 2006 and has grossed $73 million in its domestic theatrical release. It has made $116 million in its worldwide theatrical release. Barnyard was released on widescreen DVD on December 12, 2006, and includes the alternate opening.
The film has an approval rating of 22% at Rotten Tomatoes based on 97 reviews and an average rating of 4.4/10. The site's consensus says, "Unimaginative and unfunny, this tale of barnyard mischief borders on 'udder' creepiness and adds little to this summer's repertoire of animated films." On Metacritic, it has a score of 42 out of 100, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Moore of Orlando Sentinel gave the film 2 stars out of 5, saying that, "with Barnyard, another quick-and-dirty 'all-star cast' mess churned out by the digital start-ups hired to steal some of Pixar's cash, the year that computer-generated animation 'jumps the shark' becomes official. Politically correct, anatomically incorrect and ugly to look at, the only thing that saves Barnyard is a writer (and director) Steve Oedekerk's gift for gags and almost-edgy humor." Kyle Smith of New York Post gave the film a score of 1.5/4, saying that "if you want to punish your kids, send them to bed without dinner. If you want to disturb, frighten and depress them while making sure they fail biology, take them to the animated feature Barnyard." Gregory Kirschling of Entertainment Weekly criticized the film's plot, giving it a C+ score and said that "it feels like Barnyard swipes too much of its plot from The Lion King."
On the positive side, J. R. Jones of Chicago Reader enjoyed Barnyard, saying that "it's way funnier than many of the R-rated comedies I've seen lately, though Oedekerk seems to have ignored the writer's edict to know your subject—most of his cows are male. The CGI is excellent, with characters whose depth and solidity suggest Nick Park's clay animations. The laughs subside near the end as the requisite moral kicks in, but this is still that rare kids' movie I'd recommend to parents and non-parents alike." Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film a score of 2.5/4, calling it "a sweet and mildly funny movie that will entertain young audiences, but one aspect is utterly mystifying: The two main characters, father and son bovine creatures, have large, distracting udders."
The soundtrack was released on August 22, 2006 by Bulletproof Records. It includes an original song by indie pop band the Starlight Mints and "You Gotta Move" by Aerosmith.
Other songs featured in the film:"The Barnyard Dance" - Lewis Arquette and Family
"Do Your Thing" - Basement Jaxx
"You Gotta Move" - Aerosmith
"Sister Rosetta" - Alabama 3
"Slow Ride" - Paul Calder
"Truck Song" - Paul Calder
A video game based on the film was produced by THQ and Blue Tongue Entertainment. It is an adventure game in which the player names their own male or female cow and walk around the barnyard and play mini-games, pull pranks on humans, and ride bikes, plus party hard. The game was released for PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Wii, PC and Game Boy Advance.
On September 29, 2007, a CG animated television series based on the film and titled Back at the Barnyard premiered on Nickelodeon. Chris Hardwick replaced Kevin James in the role of Otis, and Leigh-Allyn Baker voiced new character Abby, who replaced Daisy. The series ran for two seasons, and ended on November 12, 2011.