large gray brahma chickens

What is the deal with Brahma Chickens?

If you like chickens you’ve probably seen the video of the giant chicken listed at the end of this post. But what are Brahma Chickens? Are they a good breed?


Early photo of Brahma chicken

The Brahma originated in America crossing large chickens imported from China. The original large birds were probably from Shanghai. Once the breed was created it was exported to Europe in the 1850s during the “Hen Fever”. In fact, in 1852 a breeder called George Burnham (then also known as “Brahma Pootra”) to Queen Victoria as a gift. The Queen quickly fell in love with these birds. As a result, Burnham saw the price of his birds raise from $12-15 the pair to up to $150! It was then when a Dark Brahma was created and exported back to the US.

The Brahma was the principal meat breed in the US from the 1850s until about 1930, when newer production breeds that could grow and put on muscle faster replaced the Brahma chicken. Some birds were quite large back then: weights of about 18 lb for cocks and 13 lb for hens were recorded.

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The Brahma is one of the largest breeds. They can weight in at around 10 lb. These chickens can grow quite big, which is why it’s one of the most googled breeds. These giants are robust and although they were initially used as a meet breed, they are actually a pretty good egg-layer breed! Brahmas also have very dense plumage that characteristically cover their shanks and toes. They’re usually friendly and docile.

They traditionally come in light, dark and buff, however the Australian Poultry Association also accepted black, blue, partridge, creel and barred varieties.

The Livestock Conservancy considers this heritage breed as “recovering” since they’re becoming more and more popular among farmers and poultry enthusiasts.

Is the King of All Poultry a good fit for your coop?

Although they may look quite intimidating the Brahma chicken is a gentle giant. They’re usually relatively quiet, easy to handle and gentle with children, which makes them great for families! Because of their thick feathering they’re usually more comfortable in colder climates. They make great mothers and get along great with other chickens.

You can get dark, light and buff Brahmas. Don’t want a large bird? They also come in a bantam version!

However their feathering can also cause problems. Their feathering on their toes gather water and mud quickly and can lead to frostbite during the winter. A foot quill might break leading to profusely bleeding. Since they have thick feathering they also have a tendency to get mites and ticks so you need to keep an eye for them. Regardless of their feathering issues, this is a very robust breed and as long as you provide them with enough space, we’re sure you’ll be glad to welcome them into your coop!

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Check out prices and providers of Brahma chickens in our shop!

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