Brahma chickens are some of the largest and most peaceful bird breeds out there. In fact, they’re so peaceful and loveable you almost want to pamper them – and if you want to, you’ll find more info here. The sweet-natured “King of Chickens” will bring lots of benefits on your farm if you treat it right. Let’s explore what you should know.
The gentle giant’s history
The Brahma chicken’s origins lie in mystery, but most people think they originated in China. They were later imported in the United States likely in the 1840s, where they were bread the way we know them today. They were most probably bread with Malaysian birds known as Grey Chittagong, which gave them their distinct head shape and pea comb.
From the 1850s all the way to the 1930s, the Brahma chicken was the USA’s primary breed for chicken meat production. Roosters would weigh up to 18 pounds, making them the perfect choice for providing meat without sacrificing a ridiculous number of chickens daily.
The Standard of Perfection for the American Poultry Association recognized the earliest breeds of Brahma chicken in 1874, with the Buff variant soon to be added to that same standard in the 1920s. Today, the American Poultry Association considers this chicken a heritage breed. They are also currently experiencing a rise in popularity with backyard chicken keepers.
As such, the Livestock Conservancy considers them to be recovering after a long period of dropping in popularity. The current resurgence in this breed testifies just how much of an impact they’ve had on American culture.
Things to know about keeping Brahma chickens
Brahma chickens have one thing in common with each other: they’re quite peaceful. Even roosters generally mind their own business. Hens are usually not broody but they do tend to copy one another. If one hen goes broody, it’s possible that the entire flock will soon follow in its footsteps.
Speaking of broodiness, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. If one of your hens lays eggs, you should let her try to hatch them.
You can check on the eggs from time to time to make sure that the embryos are developing naturally. You should also be around when it is most likely that the eggs will hatch. They often squash their baby chicks accidentally because of their weight.
Brahma chickens are so friendly that they’ll come right up for a cuddle if you offer them treats. And offering them treats is recommended because they need nutrients to grow properly. They’re quiet and docile, meaning you won’t have any problems with your neighbors. They’re the best chicken breed to grow if you live in the suburbs, for example.
Both the hens and the roosters stand tall and are quite elegant when they walk. Even though roosters are generally taller, both hens and roosters have strong feet. In the highly unlikely case that a fight breaks out between them and other farm animals, they have strong chances of standing tall after the incident.
Health, wellness, and interactions with other breeds
If you put Brahma hens as part of a larger, mixed-flock, other roosters will tend to prefer them. Yes, even if there are hens of the same breed as the rooster. No one knows exactly why this happens, so we can’t explain it. If roosters start attacking the hens, it is best to separate them. Otherwise, you can feed the hens more protein so that their strength grows and they fight back.
It is not generally recommended to mix Brahma chickens with those of other breeds, as the results are usually not great. Remember that due to their strength, Brahma hens often crush their eggs or baby chicks by accident. And all of this in the context that chickens from the Brahma breed are physically stronger. Weakening them makes no sense.
Also, make sure to inspect their feet regularly. Both Brahma hens and roosters have excessive foot feathering. As such, mud and feces can quickly get stuck onto their feet and fingers. If left there for long, they can develop infections. The respective infections can get so bad that their fingernails or even toes can easily fall off afterward. So be sure to check them regularly.
Brahma chickens and food production
This breed of chickens was originally raised for meat only. However, nowadays it is also raised for egg production. The reason is that people realized they’re so docile that it’s actually quite easy to give them the optimal conditions for laying eggs.
Since Brahma chickens are so large, their eggs are also bigger than the ones of other breeds. Their shell is brown and the egg yolk is big and delicious, perfect for cooking and baking. If raised in proper conditions, the hens can give you up to 300 eggs on a yearly basis. At times, they can even lay up to six eggs per week, almost an outstanding one egg a day.
Quality layer feed, a secure home, and good nesting boxes all contribute to the hen’s ability to lay eggs. Their feed must have at least 16% protein and lots of calcium, as these are the main nutrients in their diet. Brahmas also lay an impressive amount of eggs between October and May. They don’t care about sunlight. Unlike most chickens, they are not affected by this factor.
They’re very resistant to cold and they start laying eggs even as soon as they reach six months of age, as long as you respect their strict protein and calcium diet. As for meat, Brahma chickens are an impeccable choice. Because of their size, a single chicken can feed a person up to two weeks. Of course, this can vary depending on said person’s eating habits.
It is most recommended to slaughter and eat them at around eight months of age. You can slaughter them earlier as well. Some have slaughtered them even at eight or ten weeks of age and still had a lot of meat to feed off from. Others have claimed to butcher them at one year of age and they still retained their flavor. This is impressive considering that most chickens’ flavor fades around then.
Downsides of raising Brahma chickens
Of course, everything has its downsides, Brahma chickens included. The thing you should know from the start is that the positives far outweigh the negatives. Nevertheless, we will also explore the cons of raising Brahma chickens.
Compared to other breeds, they only start laying eggs at around six months of age. While it’s not an exceptionally long wait time, you have other options. They mature slowly, and this is one of the biggest factors why they are often overlooked as a viable backyard chicken.
The roosters are peaceful, and this can come with a set of problems in certain cases. While it may seem like an ideal trait, it is detrimental if you have to deal with predators. The roosters won’t fight back in case of dogs, foxes, hawks or any other animal that can endanger the entire flock. So you’ll have to keep them in safely confined spaces or even guard them.
As mentioned earlier in the article, their feather density makes them susceptible to infections if they’re on a muddy territory. It is best to keep them on grass or some artificial ground cover.
Also, being this big means that they eat much. Unless you grow their food yourself, you’ll find that feeding them can be quite an expensive ordeal. It’s up to you if, in the end, raising Brahma chickens is profitable and advantageous or not.
Brahma chickens have an overwhelming number of advantages. If raised right, they will provide food for a long time. Their peaceful mannerisms make them ideal for people who want to raise chickens in the suburbs, as they will not bother your neighbors. Their flesh is tasty and their egg yolks are large, making them perfect for cooking and baking.
As long as you keep them away from predators and make sure they don’t get into conflicts with other breeds in the flock, your life with them should be easy-peasy. Also don’t forget to feed them according to their diet: high protein and calcium. We hope the information you’ve found in this article is useful and that it will help you make the decision.