In the early part of the 20th Century, the Brahma was probably the most wildly farmed chicken in the United States. If you had chicken meat from 1850 through to 1930, chances are that it came from the Brahma chicken.
While the chicken is not farmed as heavily nowadays, mostly because there are other breeds that are a lot more productive, it is still a breed that exists. So, what is the Brahma all about? Let’s take a look.
Brahma Chicken Facts at a Glance
|Eggs||140+/- per year|
|Use||Meat + Eggs|
|Weight||Male Standard: 12 lb|
Female Standard: 9.5 lb
|Country of origin||United States|
The Origins of the Brahma Chicken
Unlike most other chicken breeds, we do not actually have a firm idea about the origins of this breed. We do know that it was a chicken breed that originated in the United States.
However, we do not know how it came to be beyond the fact that it probably came from the Shanghai chicken (not an actual breed, but the name comes from the location the chicken came from), but we are unsure how that came to be and what breeds went into making this Shanghai chicken.
What we do know, however, is that the purpose of breeding the Brahma chicken was to create a bird that was able to produce a lot of meat, while at the same time requiring very little in the way of maintenance.
The Look of the Chicken
As we said before; the whole purpose of this breed was to create a chicken that could produce a lot of meat. As a result, this is one of the largest chicken breeds around. Although, the size of the Brahma that we have around now is actually considerably lighter than the chickens we had in the 18th Century.
A few lbs has been shaved off of their weight. We assume that this is because most of the breeding of the Brahma chicken nowadays is not for meat, but to create a ‘show chicken’, and size was no longer as important.
They have very thick feathers.
Brahma Chicken Buff, Dark and Light
Brahma chickens can come in three different colors; buff, dark and light. Each of these three colors will be two-tone, with a darker color often appearing somewhere on the plumage of the bird.
For many backyard chicken owners, Brahma will often be raised for their meat. However, as you are about to discover, they can also lay a considerable number of eggs each year.
This is why many people will opt for the Brahma chicken. It has a dual purpose. Once the chicken’s egg-laying days are behind it, then the chicken can easily be slaughtered and turned into meat.
Brahma Chicken Eggs and Egg Laying
Brahma are not going to lay the most amount of eggs of the chicken breeds. In fact, you will be lucky to get 4 eggs a week from them. However, they absolutely should not be dismissed as an egg chicken. In fact, there is an important reason why you may want to keep at least a couple of them in your flock.
As we said before; the feathers of the Brahma chicken are going to be quite thick. As a result, the majority of their egg-laying tends to take place during the colder months of the year. This means that these chickens are, more often than not, going to be producing more eggs than other birds during the summer months.
This means that if you really love your eggs, the Brahma will be great when the colder months start to roll in.
Brahma Chicken Temperament
Brahmas are one of the most friendly chicken breeds that you can own. They are a true joy. Obviously, every chicken is different. However, generally speaking, the Brahma is going to be quite a docile animal.
However, you may find that the larger size of the chicken can be quite intimidating to other chickens that you may have in the coop.
The Brahma will probably not bully these chickens, but it is clear who is going to rule the roost.
Taking Care of the Bird
Honestly, you do not need to do anything special to look after your Brahma. Yes. Their larger size means that they will probably be chowing down on a lot more food than your typical bird, but the extra cost of this will negligible.
The one thing that you will need to keep an eye out for with your chickens is if they get wet. Their thicker feathers mean that they dry off slower, which can cause certain health issues. This means that you may want to dry them off yourself if they are out in the rain at all.
They are best to be kept on a well-drained soils; perches should be kept 12 or less off the ground due to accommodate their large body size.
Read more: How to take care of back yard chickens.