Brahmas are some of the biggest chickens around. Their heavy size means they will not be flying over many fences. They have some of the calmest, most easygoing personalities of any backyard chicken. This is probably one reason they have developed a devoted following of loyal fans around the world.
Brahma hens lay eggs at an average clip, but are not even close to being egg laying champions. The reason I have included them on this list, aside from their other outstanding attributes, is that Brahmas lay most of their eggs between October and May. In the coldest part of the year, when other laying hens are slowing down, Brahmas can be counted on to provide a steady source of winter protein. These cold hardy birds are a great choice for Northern climates, but not as good for the South.
In 1846, a shipment of chickens arrived in New York from Shanghai, China. These chickens may have originated in southern China, India, or somewhere in between. The birds arriving in this shipment may have been the Chinese breed now called Cochins, which were bred later with some birds from India to produce Brahmas, or else they may have been Brahmas when they arrived.
Whether they were developed in the United States or before they arrived here, Brahmaputras (later shortened to Brahmas) became a very popular chicken breed in the 19 Century. This popularity was due partly to the gift of a small flock to Queen Victoria, which solidly put Brahmas on the map (and netted the breeder who made the gift a much higher price for his birds). Today, there are Brahma chicken clubs in many locations, though the breed is less common than most others on this list. The American Poultry Association recognizes Brahmas. Dark, Light, and Buff are the three standard types, while more extreme red, black, brown, and other color types exist also.
Here is a picture of a light (nearly white) Brahma hen. There is a chick in the background also, which may be harder to see.
Brahma Hen Facts
Very large, hens 10-14 pounds.
Dark type: Mottled white on black.
Light type: Mostly white with black-striped collar.
Buff type: Tan with black-striped neck and mottled overlay.
Other types include: predominantly red, black, brown, and other colors. Roosters and hens of this breed can look very different.
Hens lay at an average rate, usually producing 3 or more eggs per week. Eggs are brown and average in size.
Tend to be quiet, gentle, and easily habituate to confinement.
Brahmas have small combs and feathered legs. They are ideal for colder climates, but not warm ones. Because of their feathered legs, they may not be a good choice in muddy locations.
Here is a picture of a Brahma rooster. Unless you have an older monochrome Kindle (like mine), then you can see how much the coloring varies within this breed. This rooster looks much different from the hen in the previous picture. Both are beautiful birds and have those distinctive feathered legs.