Brahma Chicken Characteristics

Brahma Chicken Complete Breed Profile – Care, Size, Eggs, Weight

The Brahma originally named Brahmaputra (Brahmapootra) after a river in India, is an American Chicken Breed, developed from birds that had been imported from the Chinese port of Shanghai. 

In the chickens giant hall of fame, the Brahma chickens sit up there, together with other giant breeds like the Jersy Giant,  with Brahma cockerels weighing up to 12 pounds and hens weighing 10 pounds. 

Developed to be a meat chicken, Brahma chickens yield large capons that are ideal for roasting. 

Historial records show that some Brahma chickens have weighed up to 18 pounds for cockerels and 14 pounds for hens. 

History of the Brahma Chicken Breed

The origins of the Brahma chickens are not very clear, but it appears to have been developed in the United States of America, using chickens imported from the port of Shangai, China.  This led them to be originally named “Shanghai” Birds or “Shanghaes”. 

The Brahma gets its head shape from the grey Chittagong chickens of the Malay type. There existed many strains, with multiple names for the Brahma and there was a need for standardization. In 1852, poultry judges decided to name the bird Brahmapootra, which was later shortened to Brahma. In the same year, Geroge Burhan gifted Queen Victoria with 9 Brahmas (Known as Gray Shanghaes) at the time. This gift led to the debut of the Brahma in England. English Breeder developed dark Brahma and exported it back to the United States. 

In 1865, the Poultry Club of Great Britain included the light Brahma and dark Brahma in the British Poultry Standard. The same birds were included in the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1874, with the buff variety being added in 1924. 

Brahma Chickens Breed Profile

Conservation Status:Recovering
Origin:The United States of America
Climate:Hardy. Lays throughout Winter. Brahmas can withstand both hot and cold climates, making it an ideal chicken for northern climates.

Varieties of Brahma Chicken Breeds

The American Poultry Association recognizes both the Large Fowl (Standard Size) Brahma chickens and Bantam Brahma Chickens. The standard size Brahma chickens are classified as Asiatic, while the bantam Brahma chickens are classified as feather legs.

The recognized varieties of the Brahma Chickens are:

  • Buff Brahma
  • Dark Brahma
  • Light Brahma
  • White Brahma
  • Blue-light Brahma
  • Gold Partridge Brahma
  • Buff Columbian Brahma
  • Blue Partridge Brahma

The buff, dark, and light Brahma chickens are the only varieties recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA). The British Poultry Standards add the white, blue-light, gold partridge, buff Columbian, and blue partridge Brahma chickens to their list of recognized varieties.

Bantam Brahma chickens are recognized by both the American Poultry Association (APA) and in the British Poultry Standards as miniature sizes of the standard size breeds. These include:-

  • Bantam Buff Brahma
  • Bantam Dark Brahma
  • Bantam Light Brahma
  • Bantam White Brahma
  • Bantam Blue-light Brahma
  • Bantam Gold Partridge Brahma
  • Bantam Buff Columbian Brahma
  • Bantam Blue Partridge Brahma

Dark Brahma

From a distance, the dark Brahma looks gray, but a closer look reveals the intricate mosaic of black and silver-white feathers. 

The head of the Dark Brahma has silver-colored feathers. This silver color flows to the neck and saddle, but with black color at the center of each feather. 

The breast, thighs, and underbody are covered with black feathers. The back has silver-colored feathers, and the shoulder black feathers are laced with white. 

The tail feathers are black in color while the hackle feathers have an alternating pattern of white and black feathers. 

The legs are covered with black feathers but sometimes have a mixture of black and white feathers. 

With its large size and color, the dark Brahma is a warm bird to behold and of course, to hold.   

Bantam dark Brahmas share the same color patterns as the standard size dark Brahma. 

Buff Brahma

The buff color variety of the Brahma chicken is characterized by golden buff feathers. The golden buff feather pattern is broken by black feathers on the hackle and tail, creating a beautiful pattern of black and golden buff feathers. 

If you would like to add a large chicken with striking colors to your flock, then the buff Brahma will suit you well.  

Bantam buff Brahmas share the same color patterns as the standard size buff Brahma. 

Light Brahma

The Light Brahma’s body is covered with white feathers, with a pattern of black and white feathers at the hackle and tail, just like the buff Brahma. This simple black and white combination makes the light Brahma a beautiful bird to behold and have in your backyard. 

Photo of a Light Brahma Chicken

Bantam light Brahmas share the same color patterns as the standard size light Brahma. 

White Brahma

The white Brahma is covered with pure white feathers throughout its entire body. 

Blue-light Brahma

The blue light Brahma has the same feather patterns as the light Brahma but differs in the color of the hackle and tail feathers. The body of the blue light Brahma is covered with white feathers, with blue-pigeon and white feathers at the hackle and tail feathers. 

The temperament of Brahma Chickens.

Brahma chickens are gentle giants. While their large body frames might be of concern around children, Brahma chickens are one of the most friendly and docile breeds. Extremely likable and gentle, they mind their own business and never attack people or other chickens. 

Due to their docile nature, Brahma chickens can be kept in confinement. However, they thrive well in open conditions where they are free to forage, enjoying the delicacies from the garden while exercising their huge muscles. 

Brahma chickens as pets.

Brahma chickens make great pets as they are friendly and gentle. They are easy to be with and will object to being picked up and carried. In fact, they welcome it. 

Brahma chickens love treats and will readily eat the treats right off your hand without pecking you. Be prepared to cuddle them as they seem to enjoy it. 

The lifespans of Brahma chickens are 5 to 8 years. This gives you enough years to develop a perfect bond with this gentle giant.

Feeding Brahma chickens. 

Brahma chickens will eat the same feed as other chickens. However, due to their large body sizes, they will require more feed than other smaller chicken breeds. 

Clean drinking water in appropriate drinkers is very important for Brahma chickens. Since they will consume a lot of food, their bodies will require water to adequately process the feed. Water is also a major need in hot seasons. This is because the bodies of Brahma chickens are heavily covered with feathers. They need to drink water as a means of cooling their bodies.

Housing Brahma Chickens. 

While most chickens will be comfortable in a space measuring 2 square feet, Brahma chickens will need 4 square feet per chicken. This is due to their large size. The coop for Brahma chickens should have a pop door that is 6 inches off the ground. If the door is too high, they will have issues flying in and out of the coop. 

While Brahma Chickens spend most of their time on the ground, you can provide lowly place roosts for the ones that might need to roost. The roost bars need to be strong enough to bear their weight. 

In summer, the coop for Brahma chickens should be well ventilated, allowing air to move through freely. This will assist Brahma chickens in colling their massive bodies. 

The coop should be always dry. This can be achieved by the use of suitable liter materials that easily absorb moisture. Brahma chickens have feathers on their feet, and wet conditions will keep moisture on their feet. This can lead to infections and other health issues. 

The nesting boxes for Brahma chickens also need to be larger than the standard-sized laying boxes. This will allow the Brahma chicken to fit in their while laying or sitting on eggs. Due to their weight, Brahma chickens will break some eggs as they move in or out of the nesting box. A rolling nest box can be used to prevent this. 

Brahma Chickens and Noise.

Brahma Chickens are as quiet as they are gentle. They are not noisy, apart from the usual clucking as they forage for feed. This makes them an ideal breed for keeping in cities and in areas where there are noise restrictions.

Brahma Roosters are just like other roosters when it comes to noise. They will crow after every few hours. Though Brahma roosters do not crow as loud as other chicken breeds, keeping them in places where there are noise restrictions is not recommended.  Unless you have neighbors who understand that a rooster gonna do what a rooster gonna do – Crow. 

Brahma Chickens and Broodiness.

Brahma chickens do go broody. They make good setters, where they will sit on the eggs until they hatch. 

They make good mothers and take good care of their hatchlings. However, care should be taken to ensure the chicks are not trampled on by their mothers during the first few days, as she is getting used to having young ones. 

Under incubation, Brahma eggs will take the standard 21 days to hatch. Bantam Brahma eggs might take 19 to 20 days. 

Brahma Chickens need strong roosts to support their weights. The roosts are not be placed too high as Brahma chickens do not fly high.

Cost of Brahma Chickens.

The hen fever in the mid 19th century was a period in time where people in the US and UK were crazy about owning fine chicken breeds. One of these fine chicken breeds was the Brahma. With roosters weighing up to 18 pounds and hens up to 14 pounds, a pair of Brahma chickens was retailing at $150. 

Brahma chicks are sold at $3 for unsexed chicks, $4.15 for female chicks, and $2.70 for male chicks. Fully grown Brahma chickens retail at between $12 to $15 per chicken. Brahma chickens will cost more if they have been raised as show birds.

Brahma Chicken Size.

In the 1800s, Brahma chickens used to weigh 18 pounds and 14 pounds for roosters and hens respectively. Over time and with continual breeding, the sizes average at 10 pounds for roosters and 8 pounds for hens.

According to the American Poultry Association’s Standards of Perfection, Brahma roosters should be 2.5 feet tall. This height, its weight, and its fully feathered body can be terrifying at first sight.

Brahma Chicken Video

Video of a light Brahma chicken.

Brahma Chicken Eggs. 

At about 6 to 7 months of age, Brahma hens will start laying eggs. Brahma hens lay medium to large-sized brown eggs.  Expect your Brahma chickens to lay an average of 150 eggs per year. This makes about 3-4 eggs per week. 

Brahma chickens are consisted layers, that will lay through all seasons, including winter. Expect a drop in egg production during molting season. Not to worry, Brahma chickens will get back to laying normally once they are done molting.  

Brahma Chickens Meat.

Though they are dual-purpose birds, Brahma chickens were bred for meat. They enjoyed a good run as meat birds from the 1850s to the 1930s, when cornish cross replaced them as the meat birds of choice. 

Brahma chickens develop good meat, with large breasts of high-quality meat that tastes great when roasted.

Brahma Chicken Health Issues.

Brahma chickens, being fully feathers can be a target for lice and mites. Inspect Brahma chicken feet for any health issues once in a while as feathered feet as they will drag around the mud, chicken droppings, and snow. 

The feet of Brahma Chickens are covered with feathers. Extra attention is needed to make sure that they do not get infested by parasites such as the scaly leg mites.

Are Brahma Chickens Right for You.

If you are looking for a gentle, cuddly, warm chickens breed that will act as a statement to your family and visitors, then the Brahma chicken is the chicken breed to go for. 

Your children will love spending time around your Brahma chickens while your family enjoys the Brahma chickens eggs for breakfast. 

Brahma Chicken Breed Profile

  • Brahma Chickens Egg Shell Color: Brown
  • Egg size: Large
  • Egg Productivity: 150 eggs per year
  • Skin Color: Yellow
  • Brahma Chicken Breed Standard Weight.
    • Rooster: 12 lbs
    • Hen: 9.5 lbs
    • Cockerel: 10  lbs
    • Pullet: 8  lbs
  • Purpose: Meat
  • Temperament: Calm and Friendly 
  • Size: Large
  • Broodiness: gets broody and is a good sitter
  • Comb: Single 
  • Climatic Tolerance:  Hardy. Lays throughout Winter.
  • Varieties: Light, Dark, Buff
  • Color Description: Different colors depending on the variety. 
  • Conservation Status: Recovering
  • Country of Origin: The United States of America

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About James Polystead

I grew up on a small farm. My parents used to grow food and keep animals for our sustenance. They would sell the surplus to make an extra coin to supplement the income from their jobs. I am taking the same path. I have over 40 chickens for eggs and meat. I also grow vegetables in my backyard. follow me on Twitter

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