Brahma Chicken

The Brahma Chicken breed is called the King of Chickens breeds. This majestic broody hen breed is of old heritage, the exact reason why its ancestors are unknown. The Brahma chicken deserves its title among poultry judges because it is also an excellent dual-purpose chicken. This means that it excels in both egg and meat production-when compared to other breeds.

In this article, we will discuss all the important things that you need to know about dark Brahmas and light Brahma rooster. This includes their history and origin, egg laying capabilities, appearance, size and color, temperament, and how you could properly take care of the light and dark brahma variety. We will also shed light on the facts that positively differentiate them from other birds.


Brahma Chicken Profile

Primary use
Egg, Meat
Egg production (annual): 
Egg size:  Large
Temperament:  Calm
Recognized variety:  Buff, Dark, Light
Egg color Brown

Origin of Brahma Chicken Breeds

Back during the mid-1800s, the Brahma Chicken was called Shanghai because the dark Brahma and light Brahma chicken breeds were the ones that caused Hen Fever in the US and UK. The Shanghai is a crossbreed of the Cochin and Malay bird. These birds with feathered legs were only brought by sailors from Shanghai city in China.

At one point, the Shanghai bird was crossbred with the Grey Chittagong from India. This occurred in the USA. Eventually, the Brahma chicken breed was created in the US. Few other chicken breeds were refined over time and, the Brahma chick was one of those few breeds.

There is a variety called the Dark Brahma chicken developed in the UK. During the 1930s, Brahma became the most popular chicken breed for the table. However, with the development of more productive breeds, the popularity of Brahmas started to fall. Thanks to dedicated chicken breeders and families with backyard coops, the Brahma chicken is once again gaining its popularity primarily due to its appearance and secondarily due to its productivity.

*Do you know?

Brahma chickens were first exported to England in December 1852, by George Burnham as a gift to Queen Victoria. The breed was also known as the Gray Shanghaes because it was originally developed from a cross between a gray broiler and a white-feathered hen. The Dark Brahma variety was developed by English breeders from this stock, who then re-exported them to the United States.

The appearance of the Dark Brahma & Light Brahma

In general, there are three recognized patterns in the feathers of Brahmas – light, dark, and buff. These patterns can be easily distinguished from each other in the livestock conservancy. The light pattern gives the Brahma chicken an overall white color with very large fowls somehow grayish undertone. The hack feathers are with black striping, but little striping in the area of the saddle of these backyard chickens.

The Dark pattern has silver hackles and a saddle with black stripes. The shoulder area of the bird has a solid silver color. Its body, breast, and tail are all colored black. Its hackles have slight grey pencil patterns. These are laced with white. The wings, back, breast, and body have medium gray colors with black penciling.

The Buff pattern is basically just the same as the light pattern. But this time, all white colors are replaced with buff. In fact, the light Brahma chicken seems to be the most favorite pattern by chicken breeders. They are also titled as “Beetle Brow” for having large and thick eyebrows. This is one of the main characteristics that differentiate a Brahma chicken from the Shanghai breed that is popularly known as the Cochin today.

Apart from these three general patterns, other varieties of colored big birds are in existence. They include gold partridge, blue exchequer, and white. These patterns, however, are not officially recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA).

Brahma Chicken Size and Color

Fitting to its epithet as the King of Chickens, light Brahma chickens are big birds in general. They stand 30 inches tall. These Brahma hens with feathered feet have long, wide, and deep bodies. When it stands tall, a V-shape can be seen from its side.

Have you ever seen a beetle-brow Brahma chicken? The light Brahmas chicken breeds have a pea comb and brows hanging over their eyes. These hens have short yellow beaks with yellow shanks (but are strong enough when compared to other chicken breeds). It has a dense plumage that is tight and thick under the feathers.

A rooster Brahma chicken with saddle feathers typically weighs around 10 pounds while hens weigh around 8 pounds. Heavier weights were recorded by poultry associations in the 1850s – with 18-pound males and 13-pound females in a moderate-sized family.

Surprisingly, there are bantam-sized buff Brahmas. Giant chicken roosters weigh about 38 oz. while hens weigh around 34 oz.

Breeding Brahmas Chicken Egg Laying

Both the light and dark Brahmas were initially raised to provide substantial chicken meat on the table. Their large size made them popular during the 19th century. Even today, the Brahma chicken birds imported are considered large enough to feed a family.

These large birds also excel in the egg-laying department. How many eggs do these industrial birds lay? As per the local chicken keepers, heritage breeds of the light Brahma hens can lay about 3 to 4 eggs each year. These buff Brahmas prefer egg production from October to May. They are lethargic egg layers in cold climates.

The eggs that buff Brahma hens lay vary from medium to large in size. The egg color is usually brown. However, before a Brahma hen can lay eggs, it could take from six to seven months before she starts laying her own eggs.

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Brahma Chickens Temperament

Because of their size, buff Brahma chickens may look intimidating to birds, especially to children. However, Brahmas are actually gentle giants and non-aggressive. They are calm, docile, and friendly. Despite all those feathers with a gray undertone, this so-called backyard chicken breed of jersey giant can be handled easily.

Brahmas can tolerate confinement very well. But they enjoy free ranging. They are cold and hardy due to their thick feathers. One should avoid placing Brahma chickens in places that are wet, muddy, or swampy because they might experience foot problems due to constantly being wet.

Brahmas are good brooders. Hens are excellent mothers to their chicks. When it comes to the pecking order, they come on top because of their size. Smaller-sized chickens seem to be intimidated by them because of their size. But that intimidation is actually nonsense and useless because Brahma chickens will never pick on or bully other chickens.

Brahma Chicken Feeding Tips

First and foremost, ensure that you feed a moderate-sized chicken feed to light Brahmas and dark light Brahmas. The right water portion is crucial in ensuring that your hens become good egg layers. As well as prevent scaly leg mites. If they don’t eat enough greens, they may not be able to lay eggs per week as often as they need to.

The next thing you need to do is get the right mix of calcium and protein for your chickens’ diet. Calcium and protein feed help improve egg-laying schedules, which means more eggs per week for you! They’re also excellent foragers, which means less time spent gathering food from outside sources and more time spent laying eggs inside your chicken coop or run.

Brahma chickens are ingenious animals that can feed themselves as well – for example when the soil develops small mud balls! The beaks of these pea comb birds can grow long if not managed properly, so make sure yours are cut short after some time has passed so that food wastage does not occur too often (which could lead to a loss in profits).

Buff Brahma Chicken with Pea Comb: Worth Buying?

If you want a larger-sized chicken for a change, then you are highly recommended to get a dark light Brahma chicken with white feathers. They can also give you eggs more frequently than other chickens or Mediterranean breeds. They can also provide you with quality large chicken meat. They are calm and can make for a great addition to your family and flock.

Though a big bird with feathered feet, Brahma chickens are inexpensive, so much for being the King of Chickens. Kids may become intimated about this large bird at first because of how big they are to an average chicken. But they will soon find out that a Brahma chicken is a harmless large bird and actually very friendly to other breeds in their chicken coop.

Partridge Brahma chickens

Partridge Brahma chickens are a popular choice for many chicken enthusiasts. These beautiful birds are known for their partridge-like plumage and their docile nature. Brahmas are also excellent layers, producing large brown eggs. While they are not the best choice for meat production, their eggs are prized by many people. If you are looking for a chicken that is both beautiful and productive, the partridge Brahma is a great choice.


Overall, the Brahma chicken is an outstanding chicken breed, which is why it is considered to be one of the top 20 chicken breeds. You have been given the most important things that you need to know about Brahma chicks – including how the breed originated, its appearance, temperament, size and color, and egg-laying capabilities. The choice is up to you now to decide whether to get one Brahma chicken as a chicken coop or as a backyard chicken among other hens. Whatever your decision may be, we wish you good luck in your chicken breeding journey!

Gokce Karin

Gokce's love and passion for farm animals stem from growing up on a farm in Mexico. After receiving Bachelor's degree in Equine Sciences & Livestock Farming, she started working at her own farm. Today, while managing her farm animals, she also contributes to - where she shares her experiences as well as helps people deal with their animals the best way.