Have you ever looked at a photo or video of an animal and exclaimed, “What the fluff is that?!”
Let’s just say the PEOPLE Pets editors know the feeling. And in that spirit, we’d like to introduce you to the Brahma chicken. See above, but fair warning — young children, and even impressionable adults — might be disturbed by this large and feathery monster. On the other hand (er, wing?), you may find it absolutely adorable.
Here are five fast facts about this astonishing bird.
1. According to the American Brahma Club, although the breed was developed in America around 1850-1890, it is named after the Brahmaputra River in India. The bird’s ancestry is also, in part, Chinese.
2. Before the name “Brahma” was settled upon, this breed of chicken was alternately called Chittagong, Gray Shanghai, Brahma Pootra or Brahmas.
3. The Brahma comes in three varieties: Light, Dark and Buff. A male bird can grow up to 18 pounds, according to The Livestock Conservancy. (All those feathers sure make it look even bigger, though!) The other varieties are slightly smaller in stature, reports Farm and Dairy.
4. The Brahma’s eggs are brown, and the bird itself was the main source of chicken meat in the U.S. from 1850 through the 1920s. They’ve since been passed over as commercial fowl because they take a relatively long time to mature.
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5. In 1852, “nine Gray Shanghais” were gifted to Queen Victoria of England by George Burnham of Philadelphia, according to Wikipedia. The birds were then further developed by English breeders and re-exported to the U.S.
For more photos of these incredible chickens, check out the Shpeztaria Dekorative Facebook group a.k.a. Brahma Club Kosova. You’ll be glad (or scared!) you did.