America’s Newfound Interest in Brahma Chickens


Despite having been raised on a farm and being a self-described “country boy”, I have to admit that the first time I saw the video of the freakishly large chicken crawling out of a tiny circular door of a green coop, my initial instinct was to say “That can’t be real.”

The three-feet tall bird looked more like the latest character to crawl out of the stormwater drainage system of Sesame Street than a real life chicken.  I swore to my wife that the video was of a person standing inside a bizarre night-fright costume — especially when the over-sized bird began flopping around the muddy pin with outstretched legs the diameter of a python.

Even if this massive thing wasn’t a hoax, I contended, the bird had to be some exotic and rare species from the Amazon rain forests and certainly wasn’t anything like this continent had ever seen.

After a little snooping around, however, I soon realized that I wasn’t nearly as smart when it came to farm animals as I had once fancied myself to be.

Turns out, this gigantically impressive bird is real and is known as a Brahma Chicken.  Even more astonishing, it’s as American as apple pie!

Turns out, the Brahma Chicken were developed by cross breeding large birds with Chittagong chickens from Bangladesh — creating a super bird that supplied incredible carcass weights for a growing world population.

The Brahma served as the principal meat breed in the US from the 1850s until about 1930. Some birds were very large: weights of about 18 lb were recorded and the chickens can grow to heights in excess of 3 ft.

Americans loved the Brahma due to its large body, as well as the birds’ laying abilities during winter time.

During the Great Depression and in the years afterward, the nation moved away from Asian-American birds, opting instead for newer and smaller birds that required less feed per pound of meat to produce.

Over the course of the last eighty years, the bird had been all but forgotten to the average person — until a YouTube video started making its rounds through Facebook and an entire new generation of Americans were introduced to the bird that served as the primary chicken for their great-grandparents.

Google searches for Brahma chickens have increased 100-fold over the past week, with searches in West Virginia, Montana and Wyoming leading the way.

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