If you have a thing for exotic looking chickens, you need to meet the Ayam Cemani. This Indonesian chicken is a rare breed, but you won't mistake it for any other. It's completely black, featuring feathers with a metallic sheen. Its skin is even black, they have black feathers and a black beak, and roosters have a black comb. But even more unusual? All of its internal organs and bones are black, too.
The Ayam Cemani's History
The people of Indonesia think this breed has mystical powers! Dutch colonial settlers first described the breed and they first imported to Europe. The breed was imported in 1998 by Dutch breeder Jan Steverink. It is thought that Ayam Cemani may have also been brought to Europe by Dutch seamen. Currently, these birds are kept in the Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands and Slovakia. Dutch chicken keepers are embracing their roots!
Ayam Cemani Characteristics
This rare breed is raised mainly for meat and ornamental purposes. They lay about two eggs a week so egg laying isn't what this rare breed is known for. Most chicken keepers here in the U.S. keep them for bragging rights - those tail feathers are beautiful!
Referred to as the "Lamborghini of poultry," the Ayam Cemani is a friendly chicken. They lay unusually large eggs, and are easy to handle. The black appearance is caused by fibromelanosis, which is a genetic mutation that causes the birds to contain extra melanin.
Egg color? This low maintenance chicken lays white eggs that have a pinkish hue. And this is a cold hardy breed similar to the Australorp and Orpington!
Best Breed for Backyard Chicken Keepers?
If you want an all-black Indonesian chicken for your own, be prepared to invest quite a bit. Greenfire Farms in Florida, which has managed to import the black-boned chickens to the United States and start a breeding program, lists prices between $199 and $400 per bird.
Just take a look at these stunningly beautiful chickens.
With so many beautiful chicken breeds available, it's easy to have your coop looking like a rainbow of colored feathers. Before you bring in any new chickens, you'll always want to think about the breed that you want and should consider the chickens' temperament. Unless you have a separate chicken coop setup, the last thing you want to do is bring in chickens that will fight with and beat up your current chickens.
If you love collecting rare and unusual chickens, then the Ayam Cemani from Asia might be the exotic breed that you'll just have to introduce to your farm. If you're looking for other black chicken breeds, there is also black-skinned Silkie Bantam which has the famous fluffy plumage of regular Silkies. They are known in Asian cultures to bring good luck due to their mystical powers!
What do you think of the Ayam Cemani? Tell us about it in the comments below!
All images: Bored Panda
This post was originally published on October 23, 2019.