The Brahma breed of chicken is called the King of Chickens. This majestic breed is of old heritage, the exact reason why its ancestors are unknown. The Brahma deserves its title because it is also an excellent dual-purpose chicken. This means that it excels in both egg and meat production.
In this article, we will discuss all the important things that you need to know about Brahmas including their history and origin, egg laying capabilities, appearance, size and color, temperament, and how you could properly take care of them.
Origin of Brahma Chicken
Back during the mid-1800s, the Brahma was called Shanghai because the chicken was the one that caused Hen Fever in the US and UK. The Shanghai is a crossbreed of the Cochin and Malay bird. These birds 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 breed was created in US. The breed was somehow refined over time.
There is a variety called the Dark Brahma developed in the UK. During the 1930s, the Brahma became the most popular chicken 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 is once again gaining its popularity primarily due to its appearance and secondarily due to its productivity.
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. The light pattern gives the Brahma an overall white color with somehow grayish undertone. The hack feathers are with black striping, but little striping in the area of the saddle.
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 the 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 Buff patterned Brahma seems to be the most favorite pattern by chicken breeders.
Apart from these three general patterns, other varieties of color are in existence. They include gold partridge, blue exchequer, and white. These patterns, however, are not officially recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA).
Size and Color
Fitting to its epithet as the King of Chickens, Brahmas are large birds in general. They stand at 30 inches tall. They have a long, wide, and deep body. when it stands tall, a V-shape can be seen from its side.
The Brahma has a pea comb and brows hanging over its eyes. It has a short beak but is strong. It has a dense plumage which is tight and thick under the feathers.
A rooster Brahma typically weighs around 10 pounds while a hen weighs around 8 pounds. Heavier weights were recorded in the 1850s – with 18 pound males and 13 pound females.
Surprisingly, there are bantam sized Brahmas. Roosters weigh about 38 oz. while hens weigh around 34 oz.
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 is considered large enough to feed a family.
It also excels in the egg laying department. A Brahma hen can lay about 3 to 4 eggs each year. They prefer laying eggs from October to May. They are lethargic egg layers in winter.
The eggs that they lay vary from medium to large in size. They are colored brown. However, before a Brahma hen can lay eggs, it could take from six to seven months before she starts laying.
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Because of their size, Brahmas may look intimidating birds, especially to children. However, Brahmas are actually gentle and non-aggressive. They are calm, docile, and friendly. They can be handled easily.
Brahmas can tolerate confinement very well. But they enjoy free ranging. They are cold hardy due to their thick feathers. One should avoid placing Brahmas 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 with them because of their size. But that intimidation is actually nonsense and useless because Brahmas will never pick on or bully other chickens.
Should I Get a Brahma?
If you want a larger sized chicken for a change, then you are highly recommended to get a Brahma. They can also give you eggs frequently. 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 large in size, Brahmas are inexpensive, so much for being the King of Chickens. Kids may become intimated of them at first because of their size. But they will soon find out that Brahmas are harmless and actually very friendly.
Overall, the Brahma 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 Brahmas – 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 for you coop or backyard. Whatever your decision may be, we wish you good luck in your chicken breeding journey!