An Introduction to Brahma Chickens
Where To Purchase Brahma Chickens
Like any other chicken breed, you can purchase Brahma chickens or chicks either through an online marketplace, a local chicken breeder or you can even produce them yourself by using an incubator. If you purchase the chickens online, make sure you are purchasing them from a honest farmer, and not anyone who is abusing or selling chickens unethically. I usually check out their website or I even email them asking about their set up. For your local farm in your area, that is a little easier. You can usually walk on the farm's property and see their chickens for yourself. If you do not know a local farmer, you can locate one either through Craigslist or Facebook.
If you prefer to produce your own Brahma chickens, all you will need is a fertilized Brahma chicken egg. Make sure the hen and the rooster are both Brahmas because if there is only one Brahma, the chicken will become a yellow or mixed chick. To incubate, I would recommend the Manna Pro Harris Farms Nurture Right Incubator. We use this at our farm and we always have a great turnout rate and the chicks are able to hatch and dry off in the incubator. If you go for a cheaper incubator, you do not have that ease of hatch like you would with an expensive incubator. Here is the link if your interested in purchasing.
When you receive your chicks or you incubate your chicks, you will need to have a safe location for them to stay. This location would be a breeder box (any sturdy container you own), which would need to follow these parameters: high enough for the chicks to not jump over, enough room for the water and feed, enough room to walk around, a heat lamp and bedding such as pine shavings or hay. We recommend for the bedding to be a few inches thick from the base and for the bedding to always be clean and maintainable. Once the bedding gets dirty enough, we recommend removing the chicks from the box and placing them in another warm area and then switching the bedding out.
For the heat, we recommend using a heat lamp and a thermometer. The chicks will need the temperature to be 95F for the first week and then the heat can drop weekly. We recommend watching the chicks and seeing how they act based on the heat. If they are huddled together, that means they are too cold and if they are by the base of the box, that means they are too hot.
For the water and the feed, we recommend going to your local farm store, such as Blain's Farm and Fleet, and picking up: a mason jar water feeder, a mason jar food feeder and a bag of crumble feed and then a starter feed. We never used a supplementer for our chicks, but I know many farmers who do.
Once the chicks are about 6 weeks, you can start putting them in the chicken coop. If these are your first batch, you can introduce them right away. Please note, make sure the chicks you have are all hens, because if there are two roosters in the mix, they can start attacking each other. Roosters will do this when hens are present. If hens are not present, they do not attack at all.
If you are introducing new chickens to a present chicken coop, make sure the chicks are big enough and there are no roosters present if there is a rooster already. We recommend slowly introducing the chicks to the other chickens everyday and then slowly allowing them to sleep in the coop for a night. If you are seeing issues such as feathers missing or obvious damage, we recommend waiting a little longer for the chicken to get bigger so they are not considered the weak link. Your chicks will start laying eggs at around 5 months of age or 18 weeks.
For your chicks, they do not need as much maintenance as a dog. You will let the chick out every morning, check their feed, bedding and water and then at night, let them in and collect their eggs. I recommend always doing a check everyday of their feet and feathering to make sure there are no parasites or injuries.
What To Use Your Eggs For
This is my favorite part of owning chickens. Brahma chickens usually lay one egg a day and they can accumulate quite fast. The eggs you receive you can use for breakfast meals, baking, dog food, omelets and so much more. For the left over eggs, you can crush the egg shells and mix them in with their food. The egg shells help with calcium intake. I hope you enjoy your egg dishes and meals!