Wednesday, February 28Food Security Matters

Brahma Chicken Breed Origin, Characteristics, and Behavior

Brahma chicken is one of the most popular and expensive chicken breeds in the Philippines. They are hard to find and cost a lot of money to get. A day-old chick would cost around P800 to 1200 and breeders cost around P13 a pair. In this article, we are going to discuss why Brahma is such of high value.

History of Brahma Chicken

There has been controversy and confusion over the origin of Brahma. It appears to have developed in the United States from large birds, with heavily feathered legs, imported in the 1840s from the Chinese port of Shanghai, and thus known as “Shanghai” birds. The distinctive head shape and pea comb of the Brahma probably result from cross-breeding with Grey Chittagong birds of Malay type, imported from Chittagong in eastern Bengal (now Bangladesh); these characteristics distinguish the Brahma from the Cochin, which also derives from “Shanghai” birds.

At first, there were many different strains and at least a dozen different names for the breed. At a meeting of poultry judges in Boston in 1852, an agreement was reached to name it “Brahmapootra”; this later became “Brahma”.

Brahma Chicken
Buff Brahma Hen and Rooster

Brahmas were first exported to England in December 1852, when George Burnham sent nine “Gray Shanghaes” to Queen Victoria as a gift. The Dark Brahma variety was developed by English breeders from this stock, and later re-exported to the United States. Both the light and the dark (penciled) Brahma were included in the first British Poultry Standard, published by the original Poultry Club of Great Britain in 1865.

Both the light and the dark were included in the first Standard of Perfection of the American Poultry Association in 1874 the buff variant was added in 1924 or 1929.

The Brahma was the principal meat breed in the US from the 1850s until about 1930. Some birds were very large: weights of about 8 kg (18 lb) for cocks and 6 kg (13 lb) for hens were recorded.

Characteristics of Brahma Chicken

Three color varieties are recognized by the American Standard of Perfection: light, dark, and buff. The light Brahma has a base color of white, with black hackles edged in white and a black tail; the saddle feathers of the cock are striped with black. The dark Brahma has the most notable difference between cock and hen: the hen has a dark gray and black penciled coloration with the same hackle as the light, whereas the cock has black and white hackles and saddle feathers, and a black base and tail; the wings are white-shouldered, and the primary feathers are edged with white. The Buff Brahma has the same pattern of black as the light but with a golden buff base color instead of white

The Australian Poultry Association has accepted black, blue, partridge, and barred varieties of Brahma in addition to the standard light, dark, and buff.

Weight averages about 5.5 kg (12 lb) for cocks and 4.5 kg (9.9 lb) for hens. Eggs are brown and medium to large.

Why Brahma is so expensive here in the Philippines

One of the main reasons why Brahma fetches such massive cost is their massive body and unique looks. The bird is raised as a pet and is valued 10 times more than livestock intended for slaughter. The Brahma is a massive chicken and is only rivaled by the Jersey Giant. Despite their size and intimidating appearance, they are gentle giants.

The heavily feathered shanks of Brahma add beauty to its already elegant and massive body. Big chickens are usually expensive like Jersey Giants but Brahma’s uniqueness is on another level.

Where to buy Brahma

Several people are selling Brahma online, especially on Facebook but it will take some time to get one unless you spend a lot of time searching for these people. There is someone with a farm here in Tanauan, Batangas who sells day-old chicks for P800 but timing is always a problem. Like many other chicken breeds, looking for purebred heritage chicken is a bit of a challenge but with more effort, you can find one. You may check out the chicken farms directory.

Questions Related to Brahma Chickens

What is special about Brahma chicken?

First and foremost Brahmas are found to be extremely hardy chickens. They are also good egg layers for their size, producing up to 200 large, medium-brown eggs per year. Considered a superior winter layer, they produce the bulk of their eggs from October to May.

Is the Brahma chicken the largest?

The Brahma chicken usually weighs around 12 pounds and originated in America. A Brahma chicken holds the record as being the heaviest chicken known, but on average the breed is slightly smaller than the Jersey giant which is the heaviest and largest chicken breed.

Can you eat Brahma chicken?

If you’re looking for a breed of chickens that lay eggs as well as produce meat, you’ll be happy to know that you can indeed eat Brahmas. The meat is quite tasty, although you’ll have to wait for them to mature.

Are Brahma chickens rare?

The Brahma chicken is a rare breed that originated in China and is named after the Brahmaputra River that flows through China, Bangladesh, and India. In the Philippines though, it is easy to find Brahma for sale by joining groups on Facebook about chickens.

How often do Brahma chickens lay eggs?

The Brahma chicken lays a decent number of eggs, averaging around 130 to 150 eggs a year. Therefore, you can typically expect a hen to lay three brown eggs per week. These eggs will range from medium to large, but the color tends to remain a consistent shade of light brown.

Are Brahma chickens noisy?

Although there are always exceptions, Brahma chickens, overall, tend to be a quieter breed on average. “Despite their bulk, Brahmas are moderate. Even when crowing they know how to behave: They make relatively little noise and are not fanatic crowers.”

Are Brahma chickens friendly?

Brahmas are known for being very friendly and approachable chickens. They are calm and gentle. This makes them very easy to handle. They make great backyard pets including for those with children.

What age do Brahma chickens start laying?

Brahmas can take up to 7 months until they come into lay – however, the wait is worth it. They will reward you with 3-4 medium brown eggs each week. The Brahma prefers to lay in cooler weather so when the other girls are winding down for the year, the Brahma will be laying from October through March.

Do Brahma chickens grow slower?

Do keep in mind that while the Brahma is large, it is a slow-growing and slow-maturing breed. Some keepers report that they needed to wait more than a year for their pullets to start laying. However, the size of these chickens makes them poor fits for a hot climate.

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