Brahma

History of the Brahma breed

The Brahma fowl has a history that would fill pages were it recorded. Thought to be a cross between the Malay and the Cochin, they are the fowls which caused the "hen fever" of the fifties, about which so much has been written in later years. Their early history is a matter of controversy, the best authorities differing as to their origin. Brahmas are an Asiatic breed of fowls that originated in the Brahmaputra district of India where the Malay and Cochin were crossed. The early breeder named them according to his fancy with high sounding and sensational names to sell his stock, such as Gray Chittagongs, Brahma Pootras, Gray Shanghais, and Cochin Chinas. After bring imported to Shanghai, China in the 1840s, to New York in 1846, and then to New England in 1853, they became commonly known as Brahma Pootras-later shortened to just Brahma.

When they made their way to England, Queen Victoria was presented with a quill pen made from a Brahma feather, which caused Brahmas to gain much notoriety. At that time, Brahmas were known for their excellent laying characteristics; however, subsequent breeding to develop the modern color patterns have diminished its economic qualities. Fabulous prices were paid for them when the craze for fine poultry was at its height in the early days of the last half of the 20th century. The standard of the present Brahma fowl was fixed in 1869, and no deviation from the type adopted then has been made.

Most of the Brahma Chickens development as a breed is credited to the United States between 1850 and 1890. The original parent stock was refined there into what we see today in the light and dark varieties. The Light and Dark Brahmas were first admitted to the standard in 1874. In 1924, Buff Brahmas were also admitted to the standard, which are virtually identical to the Light Brahma with the exception of a buff coloration instead of white. Like the Cochin, which is alleged to be the genetic ancestor of the Brahma, they have feathered feet and a massive appearance-well feathered and well proportioned.


Brahma Behaviour

Brahmas are calm, friendly birds that make good pets or exhibition fowl with their stately appearance. They are well admired and an owner would find it hard to go wrong with this large fowl. Males are calm and generally not aggressive towards humans. They are not skittish or easily scared, making them a popular choice for families with children. Due to their docile demeanor, Brahmas can be easily trained so that they can be handled by almost anyone. They should be hand trained when young because their large size makes them difficult to control in the early stages of training if they are full grown. Because they are slow to mature they are not usually seen as a commercial fowl. Their egg laying is about 140 per year of medium to large brown eggs.


Color Variations of Brahma

The American Standard of Perfection recognizes three Brahma varieties: light, dark, and buff.

The Dark Brahma is not so popular as the Light- the difficulty being in breeding them true to feather. Their delicately marked plumage is extremely pretty when bread to standard requirements, but if not so bred it becomes most disagreeable and unsatisfactory to the breeder. The male and female have noticeably different appearances. In the males, the saddle feathers are striped with black protruding tail feathers while females do not have striped saddle feathers. In addition to other differences, the Dark Brahma male has a black breast, whereas the female has a silvery penciled coloration. All Brahmas have a light colored head.


Ideal Poultry:
  • Light Brahmas, which lay brown eggs, originated in India. They are the most popular variety of Brahmas. They are very attractive and have a stately stature. They have a beautiful, striking black and white Columbian plumage color pattern. They have massive bodies, pea combs, and fully feathered shanks and toes. Their growth rate is relatively slow and, therefore, are a poor choice for producing broiler meat. Mature hens can be used for fowl meat when their use for laying is over.


  • Dark Brahmas, which lay brown eggs, are a very beautiful silver penciled plumage patterned bird that has a stately stature. This variety, which is beautiful, and unique, is rare and hatched by only a few hatcheries. They have massive bodies, pea combs and fully feathered shanks and toes. They are very hardy and have a quiet temperament, that makes them an excellent choice for pets. Although the adults are very large, Brahmas grow at a relatively slow rate and are not a good choice for producing broiler meat. Mature hens can be used for fowl meat when their use for laying is over.


  • Buff Brahmas are a very rare variety that are hatched by only a few hatcheries. Brahmas, which originated in India, have a unique stately appearance. They have massive bodies, pea combs and fully feathered shanks and toes. Brahmas grow at a relatively slow rate and are not a good choice for producing broiler meat. The hens which lay medium sized brown eggs, and are useful for fowl meat when their use for laying is over.

Standard weights at maturity are males-11 lbs. and hens-8 1/2 lbs.

Click on the photo link below to view our Brahma photo album.

Brahma photo album

More Information on Brahmas

American Brahma Club
Wikipedia: Brahma
Backyard Chickens.com
MyPetChicken.com
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists the Brahma on their "Watch" list.