I’ve at last worked out, more or less, what types of brahmas I have in my eleven youngsters. First up, colossal Chickzilla. She still towers above all the others and is about the size of my other chickens, even though she’s only two months old. She’s my only splash brahma – white with a unique scattering of blue feathers. But, basically she’s a black brahma! She happens to be homozygous for a gene called Bl. Breed her with a black brahma and all offspring will be blue. Breed her with a blue brahma, and half the babies will be blue, half with be splash. Breed a splash with a splash and all the babies will be little splashes.

Denis (possible Denise!) is my sole black brahma. He or she is a little bundle of energy. We were alarmed for a while as his little bottom was featherless for rather a long while. However, Denis is nicely covered now. He’s in the photo in front of the turkeys with his head down. He wouldn’t keep still for a picture.

I have two so far nameless light brahmas, known as herminée blanche in French. These are white and black with Sussex-type markings.

I also have two buff Columbians, or herminées fauves. These have the same markings as the light brahmas, but they’re fawn where those are white. I didn’t realise they were buffs until I got to see them in daylight. Under the red lamps that were keeping them cosy in the stable they appeared to be white and black. So it was a lovely surprise to find out what they really were.

I have – or at least I thought I had – a quartet of golden partridge brahmas, and I know for sure that these are all girls as the golden partridge cockerel has very different markings. These have very interesting feathers.

They’re also very slow growing compared to the other brahmas, and include the tiniest one of all. I’m sure she must be about a tenth of Chickzilla’s size. Looking at photos for this blog, I now think this tiny one is a silver partridge brahma. Her feathers definitely have a slivery tinge. This leaves us with one that I think is a buff brahma, without the Columbian bit (i.e. the markings on neck and tail). Or maybe she’s a golden? I’m still not entirely sure, but she’s very pretty whatever she is.

I’ve used ‘she’ above a lot as I think most of them are females. There’s only one with any significant comb at present. That’s one of the clear pointers as to which are males and which females. When they get all their adult feathers then tails and necks will give more clues. Males have longer tail feathers and more pointed feathers around their necks. Males are also more likely to go towards something that has startled them, whereas a female will probably freeze, but personality has a role to play here too. I could inspect their anal vents for bumps (which indicates a male) but this is a tricky procedure which must be done carefully. So I’m quite happy to sit and wait! I don’t mind how they turn out anyway.