The Brahma is a very old breed supposedly from India and early pictures show that it was very similar to the Cochin from China. The name Brahma is taken from the River Brahmaputra in India. However, it is now generally agreed that the Brahma was created in America from Shanghais or Cochins imported from China in the 1800s and crossed with Grey Chittagongs (Malay type birds from India). The breed was introduced to Britain when a crate of nine Brahmas was sent to Queen Victoria in 1852 from the American breeder George Burnham.
Brahmas have distinctive feathered legs and feet and pea combs. They come in a variety of types and colours including dark, buff, light, birchen and buff Columbian. They are a heavy, soft-feathered breed and lay tinted eggs. Brahmas are very large they can weigh between 5kg and 6kg. They have a sort of majestic massiveness and have been variously described as ‘noble and commanding’, ‘intelligent looking’, ‘with a neck well proportioned and finely curved as in a spirited horse’.
Buff Columbian Brahmas are now one of the more popular colours. There are new colours, which are not standardised, such as Lemon Pyle and the Isabella Brahmas which are a combination of light shades of grey. Large Brahmas do need space but, because they don’t fly, are easy to keep in a run. Brahma bantams are also available and are tame and friendly. Brahmas have been used in the creation of many new breeds and in developing new colours in existing ones.