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Breed: Brahma chicken
Origin: Often described as “The King of Chickens,” the Brahma chicken breed was developed in America from very large fowl imported from China. According to the Livestock Conservancy, Chittigong fowl from Bangladesh were used to a very small degree, and stamped head and comb characteristics onto the breed, differentiating it from the Shanghai breed (now known as the Cochin). Because of these complex genetics, the Brahma was called 12 different things at the same time before they were all just shortened to the current name. The credit goes to T.B. Miner, the publisher of The Northern Farmer, who died around 1853 and shortened it to save space on the printed page.
Varieties: Light Brahma chicken, Dark Brahma chicken, Buff Brahma chicken
Egg Color: Light to dark brown
Egg Size: Large
Laying Habits: 150 eggs per year
Skin Color: Yellow
Weight: Rooster, 12 pounds; Hen, 9.5 pounds; Cockerel, 10 pounds; Pullet, 8 pounds
Standard Description: An Asiatic breed of fowls, called Chittagongs, Gray Shanghais and Brahma Pootras, later shorted to Brahma, thought to have been a cross of the Malay and Cochin in India. Imported from Shanghai, China, in the early 1840s, when Chinese ports were opened to world shipping. It was long after Brahma chickens landed in New England that American poultry fanciers made over and refined the original parent stock into the large, stately and useful Light and Dark Brahma varieties, which were admitted to the first American Standard of Excellence in 1874. Buff Brahma chickens, of more recent origin, became Standard variety in 1924.
Comb: Male: Pea, small, firm and even on head, lower and narrower in front and rear than at center; each row evenly serrated, points in front and rear smaller than those at center. Female: Pea, small, low, firm and even on head; well serrated, the middle row higher and more distinctly serrated than the other two.
Popular Use: Eggs and meat
It really isn’t a Brahma chicken if it has: Dark markings around the cape of either sex; it has vulture hocks; it has shanks not feathered down the outer sides, and it has outer toes not feathered to the last joint.
Brahma Chicken Owner Quotes:
Susan Nicolas, Brahma owner, in a 2008 story published in Backyard Poultry: “… the Brahma is a large, stately, and extremely docile bird making them a favorite in the showroom and easy to handle. They are trusting birds and easy to tame. They also make a fantastic pet for the small flock owner and children because of their easygoing and calm dispositions.”
“All you need to do is look around our chicken yard to see that the Brahma chicken is one of my favorite chicken breeds. I have kept up to three of the color options at a time and multiples of each! I love the large breed, dual-purpose chickens, and the Brahma weighing approximately 10 to 12 pounds definitely classifies as large breed. A brown egg layer with the feathered feet, fluffy full feathering, and a sweet disposition, all make this breed a special one. Since the Brahma chickens are so heavily feathered, they need to be watched for heat stress in the summer months. In the cold weather the Brahmas are champs at winter egg laying because they are so hardy. The Brahmas are a good chicken to start with because they are ok with being held, are not aggressive to other chickens and can be good broody hens.” — Janet Garman of Timber Creek Farm.