The Ayam Cemani is a chicken like no other.
The most striking thing about this rare breed of chicken is its monochromaticity. Inside and out, it is all black; it has black feathers, black skin, black beak, black comb, black tongue, black muscles, black bones, and black internal organs. The bird's striking coloration is the result of hyperpigmentation (a condition called fibromelanosis) due to the expression of a dominant gene. There is a common myth that the blood of the bird is also black, but it is just that: a myth.
The Ayam Cemani originated in Indonesia on the island of Java. In Asia, it is prized for its supposed mystical powers and believed to bring luck and good fortune. Some even believe that eating its meat can have curative powers for those stricken with disease.
Here's a close-up look at this luxury chicken:
The worldwide population of this black chicken breed is relatively small. Consequently, outside their native Indonesia, they are somewhat difficult to come by. Those seeking to add one of these bewitching birds to the flock might find themselves on a breeder's waiting list. Initially, the birds fetched quite a hefty price. Several years ago, in the United States, one could expect to pay as much as $2,500 for a single, adult bird or $5,000 for a pair. However, today, thanks to the growing popularity (and therefore, greater numbers of these chickens), the price tag is significantly lower.
Temperament-wise, the Ayam Cemani is generally docile and integrates well with a flock. The hens tend to be good mothers and they lay cream-colored eggs.
Finally, for those of you wondering about the name, "Ayam" is the Indonesian word for "chicken." "Cemani" is Javanese for "completely black."
Dying for an Ayam Cemani of your own to add to your backyard chicken coop? Greenfire Farms in Florida can help.
What do you think of this otherworldly bird? Let us know in the comments section!
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