The Brahma Chicken: Everything You Need to Know About This Breed

 The Brahma chicken is a very large breed of Asian origin but was actually created in the United States. It was produced by crossing the Cochin and the Malay breeds. It is among the select group of the best egg-laying hens, with an annual production of around 120 to 170 eggs.

The Brahma Chicken: Everything You Need to Know About This Breed
The Brahma Chicken: Everything You Need to Know About This Breed

 Therefore, in addition to its unusual appearance, the Brahma is a hen that will provide you with delicious eggs all year round. The Brahma looks like no other chicken, with its heavily feathered legs and giant stature. This article is for you if you're interesting about this chicken and want to learn more about it. Here is a focus on a truly unique breed of chicken.

History of the Breed

 The majestic Brahma is an ancient breed with roots dating back in time. As with many centuries-old breeds, the exact origins of this chicken are unknown.

 The first written records of this noble bird date back to the 1800s. Historians have been able to reconstruct its probable origins from clues left in books and newspapers.

 It was first mentioned under the name "Shanghai." This strain of the breed fueled the "Poultry Craze" in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1850s.

 The "Shanghai" was presented as a cross between a Malay (fighting) rooster and a Cochin hen. So, Brahma, with its name at the time derived from the fact that sailors who brought it to the United States by ship had visited the Chinese city of Shanghai, the name stuck for a while. It wasn't until 1853 that it arrived in England, then in France. The white Brahma with black-striped neck was the favorite chicken across the Atlantic until the arrival of new production breeds in the 1930s.

 The black Brahma, on the other hand, was developed in the United Kingdom from light Brahma stocks imported from the United States.

 The bantam version of the Brahma is much more recent (about 50 years), born from selections in Germany and England.

Physical Characteristics

The Brahma has a large head with a slightly overhanging forehead.

 Its plumage is made up of feathers that are very close together, making them dense but also very soft and voluminous. The feathers extend along the legs and cover the two outer toes.

 There have been a few variations in plumage over the years (such as black or blue laced, black or blue partridge, or solid colors), but they have not been officially accepted.

 Bantam Brahmas have black, light, buff, or black and white plumage. The black and white colors are considered rare.

  • Egg size: 50/55g (Bantam 35g), with yellow, red, or brown shells.
  • Plumage: Partridge (golden, silver, or blue), laced (black with golden or blue with golden), or black with white lacing on the neck.
  • Eyes: orangish-red, set deeply in their sockets, giving them a discontented look.
  • Beak: short and strong, horn-colored with a dark tip.
  • Comb: short, with three points, bright red in color, tending to fall over the eyes.
  • Breast: broad, deep, and developed.
  • Earlobes: small and fine, red, like the wattles.
  • Legs: rather long and fine, yellow in color. Four toes.

Behavior and Character

 Despite its size, the Brahma is a very gentle, docile, and affectionate chicken. It is a true pet that loves to be cuddled and is well-suited for beginners or families. If you have children, it is the ideal chicken.

 They are not good foragers, so they do not explore the ground much. But when they are hungry, they can intimidate their coop mates. Due to their imposing size, they are usually quite high in the pecking order, and smaller breeds are less likely to bother them.


 The Brahma is a very greedy chicken. Additionally, it will have a hard time feeding itself without you. It is not one of the expert foraging poultry that searches for insects in the ground. It mainly pecks the food that is given to it.

 Trying to ration a Brahma can be difficult, which is why it is best to feed them often to keep them happy. Their tendency to peck other members of the coop is also an argument for this. We recommend continuous feeding with layer pellets. They will also need a bit more protein when they start to molt. The feeding bill may quickly become high. The best solution is to let them roam free, as this will occupy their time and reduce the volume of necessary food.


 The Brahma is rather late to become fertile. It may take 7 months before it starts laying eggs. But it remains capable of laying for a long time and will produce 3 to 4 eggs per week. A good broody hen, the Brahma needs no help hatching and protecting her beautiful little chicks.

 Another nice thing about these hens is that they prefer to lay during the cooler months. The laying period lasts all winter and slows down as spring arrives. This is perfect timing if other breeds of chickens occupy your coop because most start to lay in the early days of the season.


 Brahma chickens are strong, healthy birds in general. The most common Brahma hens only require attention to parasites such as lice, mites, and worms. As their legs are covered in feathers, mites responsible for scaly legs can also be a problem, so keep an eye on those shanks.

 Another common issue with feather-legged chickens is the buildup of mud or dirt on their toes. In winter, clumps of wet dirt can cause frostbite and, in severe cases, toe loss. So, try to keep the Brahma away from mud and ensure that the enclosures are as clean as possible. If you notice that your chicken has frozen dirt on its toes, soak its feet in warm water.

Living environment

 The Brahma is a large chicken that can feel cramped faster than regular chickens. It is better to have a run with a grassy area at its disposal, but it is especially in the coop that the Brahma likes to be comfortable. It is recommended to provide 1.5 to 2 square meters per chicken in the coop. Do not go below this, as a reduced space leads to aggressive behavior such as pecking and feather pulling. Also, make sure to have a sturdy and low perch.

 For the enclosure, there is no need for high fences, despite its powerful wings, the Brahma cannot lift its weight and therefore cannot fly. Their abundant plumage can make their life complicated in case of extreme heat. So, during the summer months, make sure to provide shade and water.


What is the origin of the Brahma chicken?

 The Brahma chicken is American, created in the United States in the 1840s from chickens imported from the port of Shanghai. Its head shape and spotted comb suggest a crossbreeding with a Malay breed imported from Bengal at that time. Originally named "Brahmapootra" in 1852, it was appreciated for its meat and feathers, which were used to fill pillows and comforters.

What kind of housing is suitable for a Brahma chicken?

 Offer it a comfortable and spacious chicken coop, allowing 1 square meter per chicken. If it is too crowded, it can become aggressive with its peers. Perches and nesting boxes should be placed relatively low and securely fixed to withstand their weight. Provide shade in the summer as it is not afraid of the cold, but is sensitive to heat. Since it does not fly and does not tend to escape, the fence surrounding the enclosure can be limited to 1 meter in height. Its feathered legs are sensitive to moisture, so make sure to keep the ground dry. Let it roam freely in the garden, as it loves it!

What does a Brahma chicken eat?

 It appreciates being abundantly fed. A typical diet suits it: crushed cereals, oilseeds, vegetable and fruit leftovers, as well as animal proteins (meat, seafood, fish), to compensate for its laziness in searching for worms and insects in its environment.

What is the character of this chicken breed?

 It is gentle, quiet (except for the daily crowing of the rooster), easy to tame and pet. In the chicken coop, it is brave and respected, but despite its impressive size, it is not aggressive and is rather placid... as long as it is not hungry, otherwise it can pick fights with the more timid ones.

Is it a good brooding hen?

 The Brahma is a very good brooding hen and also an excellent mother. With it, there are no problems in hatching chicks. It's a real mother hen!

What is its laying period?

 It mainly lays when it is cool: in autumn and winter, taking over from other chickens that then stop laying.

How many eggs does it lay at the most?

It is a rather good layer with 150 to 170 eggs per year.

At what age does the Brahma chicken start laying eggs?

Around 7 months.

Can its eggs be eaten?

 Despite its size, it does not lay large eggs. Yellow to reddish-brown in color and medium-sized (50/55 g, 35 g for the dwarf), they are delicious and nutritious, especially if it has access to a grassy area.

Which chicken breeds can it be mixed with?

 It gets along with all breeds (if it is sufficiently fed) and coexists perfectly with other poultry in the barnyard.

Where and at what price can a Brahma chicken be purchased?

 Expect to pay around $35 to $49 for a Brahma chicken. The price depends on where you buy it (garden center, breeder, shows...).

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Islam Khennoucha

Islam Khennoucha is an Australian author and chicken farmer who has dedicated his life to the study and care of these fascinating creatures. He was born and raised in Algeria, where he developed a love for nature and animals, especially chickens. After moving to Australia, Islam purchased a farm where he could fulfill his passion for raising chickens.
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