The dark Brahma is a large fowl, like all other Brahma varieties. They exhibit a solid black breast, leg, and tail. The back and shoulders are pure white, leading to a white and black striped neck and saddle hackles.
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What is Dark Brahma Chicken?
The dark Brahma is one of the oldest varieties of the Brahma chicken breed. While the Americans focused on developing the Light Brahma, the Britons focused on the dark Brahma. At some point, all Dark Brahmas in the US were imported from Britain.
Like other chickens, Dark Brahmas have a fairly long life expectancy. They can live up to 10 years depending on the living conditions and the reason for raising them.
Described as the ‘King of All Poultry,’ Dark Brahmas qualify as a perfect addition to your backyard flock. It is a favorite breed among breeders as a show bird and among backyard poultry keepers for its practicality on the backyard and homestead.
Living Conditions for Dark Brahma Chickens
Dark Brahma chickens can live with other breeds, being exceptionally laid back. They need spacious coops due to their huge size.
The breed thrives best under cool and moist climates, on well-drained, dry soils. If the area is muddy, you will experience challenges with the Brahma Chickens.
This is because Dark Brahmas have feathers covering their entire bodies, including their feet. Mud may therefore cling to the feet of your chicken and this makes them susceptible to frostbites.
In essence, the best environment for Dark Brahmas is in the temperate regions where the weather ranges between extremely hot and brutally cold.
That is why they are referred to as hardy chickens. You don’t have to worry about less egg production in case of very harsh weather conditions, especially in cold winter seasons.
Noise level is at a minimum when you compare Dark Brahmas to other chicken breeds. This makes them your breed of choice for an urban setting, as long as they can roam in a yard.
Characteristics of Dark Brahma Chickens
The Dark Brahma chicken is known for its great strength, size, and vigor. They are docile and quiet and can be trained to take comfort in associating with other chickens.
They are a favorite among breeders for their serene and friendly nature. You only need to feed them, and great rewards will crawl to you.
In addition, they are known to be very heavy birds. A Dark Brahma hen can weigh up to 13lbs while a rooster weighs up to 18lbs. Later varieties of this chicken weigh a lot less than the original breed as a result of inter-breeding.
Dark Brahmas are known for their sharpness and clarity in penciling. The dark Brahma roosters has saddle feathers with black penciling, silver hackles, solid silver shoulders, a black tail, breast, and base. A hen, on the other hand, has a slight penciling of black and grey hackles, laced with white while the wings, breasts are penciled with the wings exhibiting a shade of grey.
This breed of chicken has a unique head shape that is larger than other breeds. Also, they exhibit overhanging brows and a pea comb with a short and powerful beak which gives it a beautiful appearance.
Dark Brahmas are quite tall and have large heads in comparison to other chickens. They usually grow to a height of 35 inches high. This can be intimidating to your children. Dark Brahma chicken has a lot of plumage that makes them fluffy.
Egg and Meat Yields of Dark Brahma Chickens
You can rear the Dark Brahma breed for both meat and eggs. Raising them for meat is typically a major purpose of this beautiful chicken. The Dark Brahma was considered the leading chicken breed for meat production from the dawn of 20TH century through about the mid-1950s.
Dark Brahma chicken lays beautiful brown eggs that are big in comparison to other types. Their yolks, particularly, are huge and excellent for baking.
You should expect your hens to start laying when they are approximately 6 to 12 months old. They will require a proper diet plan so that they can maintain a sequential laying schedule.
They can lay up to 4 to 6 medium-sized eggs weekly, especially during cold seasons, amounting to about 300 eggs annually. Egg production increases between the months of October and May, thus making them superior winter layers.
If you want to maximize egg production, you need to supply your flock with secure houses and nesting compartments with a quality layer feed proportion, that is, lots of calcium and about 20 percent protein formulation. Supplemental light can be added to ensure that the chickens lay throughout the year.
The Dark Brahma is remarkably rewarding as a meat bird. The quality of broiler meat deteriorates after 10 weeks, but dark Brahma meat keeps its quality throughout. However, it is advisable to butcher Brahma roasters at 8 to 12 months of age.
Dark Brahmas are incapable of flying due to their huge body weight. Their powerful set of wings is not sufficient to carry their huge heavy bodies.
Raising Dark Brahma Chicks
Dark Brahma hens usually go broody in early summer. They need similar living conditions as other young chicken breeds. However, if you intend to use an incubator for hatching dark Brahma eggs, you should note that they might take longer because of their size.
Raising dark Brahma chicks is the same as raising other chicks.
You will require a brooder box, at least 20 inches with chicken starter feed and plenty of freshwater. Your chicks should have enough space so that you don’t have to move the little birds as they grow.
A sufficient supply of heat light set slightly around 90 degrees for the first few days is necessary. You need to lower the temperature level by about 10 degrees every week until they are mature enough to go outside. Ensure the boxes are covered to eliminate any possibility of harm from the surrounding.
One significant advantage of raising Dark Brahmas as they can survive in various environments as long as it is moist and cool. Note that they consume a lot of food, so you need to set aside a sufficient budget for their feed.
If you are considering a chicken breed for your farm, a breed that will beautify your home, or reward you with plenty of eggs and large chicken capons, you should consider Dark Brahma chickens.
Main photo used with permission from D&S Poultry Pics