The King of Poultry is a dual-purpose chicken and ranks among the largest chickens known. Brahma's are very slow to mature and this has caused the poultry industry to pass them over for faster meat producers. Brahma's are primarily bred for show more than meat or eggs. Their heavy plumage makes them extremely durable in the northern states where they are great winter layers and produce most of their eggs from October to May.
Friendly, calm, and easily handled, Brahmas make ideal pets or show fowl. Their docile personality facilitates training at the hands of their humans. The hens take good care of their chicks, but these large hens can accidentally harm hatch-lings by stepping on them. Although Brahmas show little aggression toward humans, their sheer size can intimidate smaller children. Brahmas do well in confinement as long as the coop allows them ample room to accommodate their size.
Brahmas have three basic plumages: Buff, Light and Dark with feathers covering their legs and feet. Brahmas have close fitting feathers with a dense layer of underlying down which adds to their larger-than-life appearance.
Brahmas tolerate confinement well and need little foraging room in the run. However, they need extra room in the coop. Keep their environments dry. Mud builds up around the toes of the Brahmas’ fully feathered feet leading to frostbite in the winter and fungus in the summer. Check them often. Brahmas have a sweet, gentle spirit. However, owners of this large breed should acclimate fowl to human handling when young.
Although named after a region in India, the breed developed primarily in America. American breeders singled out the giant fourteen pound chicken known as Gray Chittagong and crossed it with another Asian fowl called the Malay to create the Brahma. Most Brahmas met the roasting pan at ten weeks, but owners found the thirteen month fowl still tender. Their popularity swelled on both sides of the Atlantic after George Burnham presented a small flock to Queen Victoria. The Light and Dark Brahmas gained early acceptance into the American Poultry’s Association in 1874. The Buff Brahma had to wait until 1924.