Brahma Chickens – Breed Profile & Facts
Brahma chickens are some of the largest chicken breeds in poultry history. These chickens are almost as big as Jersey Giants. These chickens look striking, thanks to their feathered feet, cuddly bodies, and bouncy tails.
Notwithstanding the huge size, these chickens are friendly and calm, making fantastic family pets. These active birds love foraging in open and confined areas; therefore, they can be a great addition to your outdoor flock.
What is a Brahma Chicken?
It is a large chicken breed from America. Historians say this breed originates from China. It has been the main meat breed in America since the 1850s. This dual-purpose breed is popular in the US because it’s winter hardy. It’s among the few chicken breeds that lay large-sized, light-brown eggs.
Brahma Chicken Characteristics
Brahma chickens are large birds with distinct long, wide, deep bodies. The chickens are V-shaped when you look at them from the side. Although they are large, these birds have small heads. Their faces are smooth and featherless.
These chickens also have prominent eyes. Their beaks are short and strong. Brahma chickens are recognizable from their small wattles and pea combs. Brahma chickens can be light, dark, or buff.
– Size & Weight
Brahma chickens are imposing birds that stand about 30 inches tall. The height and weight can be pretty intimidating to most folks who are used to seeing standard chickens. Brahma roosters weigh approximately ten lb., while Brahma hens weigh around 8 lb.
Brahma chickens seem intimidating because of their large size. However, these chickens are pretty docile and friendly. They are great chickens to raise in confined spaces. These are some of the easiest birds to handle.
Because they aren’t flighty, it is easy to contain these chickens, and that’s why they thrive in confined spaces. Although these chickens can handle confinement, they are also excellent foragers. They are winter hardy, thanks to their thick feathers. Brahma chickens are some of the quietest breeds.
Brahma chickens have a fairly long lifespan, like most breeds. These chickens can live between 6 and 8 years. However, some Brahma chickens don’t live the average lifespan because of diseases and predators. Nonetheless, these chickens are hardy and capable of surviving in cold climates with proper care.
– Egg Production
Brahma chickens are some of the best dual-purpose chickens to keep for eggs. Brahma hens start laying between six and seven months old. Hens lay an average of 3 to 4 eggs per week. They lay around 150 eggs per year.
Besides being good layers, Brahma chickens also lay huge, light brown eggs. Very few hens can lay large eggs like these chickens; thus, they are a wonderful breed to keep for large eggs.
Nonetheless, egg production in these chickens continues to decline as they age. For instance, a Brahma hen can lie constantly for two to three years. However, the hen will lay less frequently until she fails to lay any more when she grows older.
– Meat Production
Brahma chickens are excellent meat producers, thanks to their big size. Brahma roosters produce larger amounts of high-quality white meat than roosters from other chicken breeds because of their enormous size.
Therefore, these birds are wonderful meat birds worthy of raising for meat. Brahma hens are also suitable for meat because they are equally large and heavy, though not as Brahma roosters. Many people prefer raising Brahma chickens for eggs rather than for meat production.
Brahma Chicken Care
Brahma chickens are friendly and easy to care for, especially if you have a large backyard or a spacious coop that can accommodate these large birds. Like other chickens, Brahma chickens need proper care.
This Brahma chicken care guide will help you care for your Brahma chickens, whether keeping the large dual-purpose birds in confinement or free-range mode.
– Feeding & Nutrition
Brahma chickens are terrific foragers that love chasing worms and bugs in the yard. However, you shouldn’t stop feeding your Brahma chickens even if these birds are free-ranging. After all, whatever your Brahma chickens eat out there isn’t enough to sustain the birds and meet their dietary needs.
Again, these chickens are terrific eaters because of their large size. These chickens can eat almost thrice the food the standard chicken consumes daily. Brahma baby chicks also eat larger amounts of starter feed than baby chicks from other breeds.
Brahma chickens need plenty of protein for muscle growth. These chickens won’t maintain a steady growth rate if they don’t get adequate protein. Although regular chicken feed has a moderate amount of protein, it doesn’t have sufficient protein to meet your Brahma chickens’ needs. Therefore, additional protein is crucial for meeting your birds’ protein needs.
Some excellent protein-rich foods for your Brahma chickens include mealworms, fishmeal, bugs, and cooked eggs. Some people purchase protein supplements for their Brahma chickens when they don’t have protein-rich foods to give to their birds.
Nonetheless, it’s always wise to get natural protein-rich foods for your birds because inorganic protein may contain chemicals and additives harmful to chickens. Like other breeds, it is best to ensure your Brahma chickens get at least 16% protein daily.
Brahma hens need more protein than roosters to help them consistently lay large-sized light brown eggs. Hens with a protein deficiency may stop laying or lay smaller eggs than hens that get plenty of protein.
Because of their thick feathering, Brahma chickens need protein for feather growth. Furthermore, additional protein is essential for your Brahma chickens during molting to enable the birds to recover from the molt. The more protein your Brahma chickens get, the faster they will regrow their thick feathering.
Greens and vegetables are also essential for Brahma chickens. They are rich in multiple vitamins, such as vitamins C, A, and K. Such vitamins are great for Brahma chickens because they help boost their immune systems.
Vegetables and greens also have crucial nutrients your birds require for good health. For instance, vitamin A in vegetables like chard, lettuce, and spinach can help your Brahma hens get good eye health, while vitamin C in these vegetables will boost their immunity in the long run.
Calcium is vital for Brahma chickens as it is for other breeds. Because Brahma hens, for instance, lay large eggs, they need calcium to keep their eggs strong. Otherwise, your Brahma chickens will lay soft eggs because they lack sufficient calcium.
Brahma chickens need calcium from the early years to enable the birds to grow strong bones to support their massive size. Crushed eggshells and oyster shells are great calcium sources for Brahma chickens.
Brahma chickens need a lot more water than standard breeds. They are heavy drinkers as they are heavy feeders. These birds can easily succumb to dehydration if they don’t get water, particularly during those hot summer months.
Therefore, plenty of fresh water is crucial for your birds’ health. Have enough water containers for watering your birds. Keep checking whether your birds need more water lest they become too thirsty, start panting, and eventually succumb to dehydration.
Because Brahma chickens eat and drink almost all the time, it’s good to feed them large amounts of food at least three times a day. Discard any leftover foods to ensure the birds don’t consume stale food, thus developing problems like diarrhea.
Because Brahma chickens are large fowls, they require sizable coops more than the standard chickens. Every bird should have 3 square feet of space. The pen should be tall enough to accommodate the huge size of these birds. Your Brahma chickens can develop unwanted behaviors such as fighting and pecking if you raise them in small spaces.
Because these chickens have heavy feathering even on their feet, the coop needs thorough cleaning to keep the birds clean and happy. Clear any droppings and water spillages to keep the cage clear and odorless.
Furthermore, have bedding in the coop to keep the birds warm and comfortable. Brahma chickens can use standard chicken bedding, such as dry straws, hay, pine, or cedar shavings. Provide roosts for your Brahma chickens because, like other breeds, these chickens feel secure while resting and sleeping on roosts.
Furthermore, the standard coop for Brahma chickens must have good ventilation to avoid problems such as suffocation.
– Health Problems
Brahma chickens are pretty hardy and cold-resistant compared to the average chicken breed. Brahma chickens have multiple health concerns you must address while raising these birds. Some health concerns to be wary of when raising your Brahma chickens include.
- Fowl cholera – This poultry disease occurs across the country, where people raise chickens. It’s common in turkeys, chickens, pigeons, and waterfowl. Brahma chickens can contract this disease from wild birds and contaminated food and water sources. Brahma chickens with the disease show multiple symptoms, including swollen eyes, breathing problems, greenish or yellow diarrhea, lameness, and rapid weight loss.
- The necrotic enteritis – This acute disease destroys a chicken’s intestinal lining. Brahma chickens with this bacterial illness have symptoms like loss of appetite and bloody diarrhea.
- Ulcerative Enteritis – This severe chronic disease is common in chickens, turkeys, and game birds. Bacterial rods known as Clostridium colinum cause this disease. Brahma chickens with this disease exhibit several symptoms, including ruffled feathers and watery diarrhea. Chickens with a severe form of the disease can die suddenly. Your Brahma chickens can contract this disease from other sick chickens and wild birds.
- Salmonella – Salmonella affects all chicken breeds, including Brahma chickens. The disease causes Brahma chickens to have bloody diarrhea, lose appetite and become weak. Acute cases of salmonella in Brahma chickens can cause sudden death.
- Pullorum disease – This is a chronic and infectious bacterial disease that usually affects young Brahma chickens. It typically affects chickens’ digestive and respiratory systems. Mature Brahma chickens are somewhat resistant to this bacterial disease, although there are chances of your adult Brahma chickens succumbing to the illness. The major signs of this disease include breathing problems and bloody diarrhea.
- Fowl typhoid – The infectious and contagious disease affects Brahma chickens of all sizes and ages, although younger Brahma chickens are more susceptible to fowl typhoid. Signs of the disease include lethargy, loss of appetite, yellow or green diarrhea, and paleness in the wattles and combs of Brahma chickens.
How Much Do Brahma Chickens Cost?
Brahma chickens are relatively cheaper in most places despite their massive size compared to other chickens. The Brahma baby chicks usually cost around $ 5 per chick. Brahma hens cost approximately$30 per bird, while roosters cost around $25.
However, the cost of Brahma chickens is higher or lower than the average price depending on where you are sourcing your Brahma chickens. For instance, these chickens cost less in areas where many farmers raise these birds.
Are Brahma Chickens Good for Beginners?
Yes, Brahma chickens are a nice breed for beginner chicken keepers. These dual-purpose chickens are pretty easy to handle. Furthermore, Brahma chickens are quite friendly with their owners even though their large size makes them appear intimidating.
However, Brahma chickens are nice for beginners ready to feed the birds to their satisfaction. Beginner chicken keepers should also have spacious coops for their Brahma chickens.
Are Brahma Chickens Hardy?
Yes, Brahma chickens are extremely hardy. These birds can thrive in harsh conditions, such as in cold and hot climates. They are also disease resistant compared to other breeds. Because of being hardy, Brahma chickens can tolerate confinement.
Can Brahma Chickens Fly?
No, Brahma chickens aren’t flighty. These chickens can barely fly for a couple of meters, so the birds are easy to contain.
Tips on Keeping Brahma Chickens
Keeping Brahma chickens can be rewarding, whether keeping these birds for eggs or meat. Here are some tips on how to keep Brahma chickens.
- Keep your Brahma chickens in a sizable coop to accommodate their large sizes.
- Keep your Brahma chickens healthy by giving the birds enough nutritious food.
- Protect your Brahma chickens from potential predators like raccoons, wild dogs, feral cats, and snakes
- Vaccinate your Brahma chickens regularly to boost their immune systems and help them conquer diseases
- Keep your Brahma chickens happy with delicious treats
The Brahma chicken breed is among the most reliable species to raise for meat and eggs. These chickens are large, making them outstanding meat producers. Again, these chickens produce large eggs than standard chickens and are thus worth raising for eggs. They are easygoing, friendly, and easy to raise with proper care.