Ayam Cemani Chicken Breed: History, Origin, and Characteristics

When I first saw an Ayam Cemani chicken, I was logged in on Facebook and immediately thought… “Oh my… what a good Photoshop job”. In other words, I thought the image was fake. The very idea of ​​a black chicken from head to toe seemed a bit exaggerated. But ever since that first online encounter, I have had the pleasure of seeing that these beautiful birds exist in real life and are amazing!

ayam cemani
Ayam Cemani rooster

These birds are named after Ayam Cemani and are a rare and relatively modern breed of chicken from Indonesia. The breed has a rare genetic condition known as fibromelanosis and is totally black inside and out.

These beautiful chickens are kept primarily as ornamental birds.

Breed Characteristics

In Asia, Ayam Cemani is highly prized because its meat is believed to have mystical powers. Its meat is believed to be higher in iron, making it beneficial for women before and after childbirth. Due to Asian beliefs, many of these birds are sometimes slaughtered. special, as they are believed to bring luck.

Breed Varieties

The Ayam Cemani is a medium-sized bird that is completely black in appearance. The plumage, beak, crest, and tongue are black. Even his flesh and bones are totally black. Its black color occurs as a result of excess pigmentation of the tissues, caused by a genetic condition known as fibromelanosis. The same gene is also found in some other breeds of black chickens. The blood and its internal organs are not totally black, they are similar to that of most races but noticeably darker.

Breed Temperament

As the Ayam Cemani is a rare and relatively new breed, very little is known about its temperament. But they are believed to be a very active and hardy breed of chicken. They are highly valued in Indonesia. Because as we said before, the local people believe that these birds have mystical powers. Currently, the breed is bred for ornamental or meat production purposes.

Despite its impressive beauty, the Ayam Cemani is usually a fairly hardy bird that is low maintenance and easy to handle.

Chicken Egg Production

Ayam Cemani hens lay cream-colored eggs with a slight pink tinge, weighing an average of 45 grams each. Hens are not good incubators and will rarely have chicks. The average weight of the rooster ranges from 2 to 2.5 kg. And chickens have an average weight of 1.5-2 kg.

Ayam Cemani History

Little is known about this breed. But most likely, the breed originates from the Kedu people in the Java islands and is sometimes referred to as “Kedu Cemani” or “Ayam Kedu”. The word Ayam means “chicken” in Indonesian. There is still doubt where the word Cemani originated from. Some say that it is the town where the bird originally came from and others say that it means “totally black”. They were imported to Europe by a Dutch breeder in 1998. Sometime later they made their way to Great Britain and the United States.

The Ayam Cemani has probably been used for centuries for religious and mystical purposes on the island of Java, Indonesia. The breed was first described in the 1920s, by Dutch settlers.

Ayam Cemani Arrival in Europe

They were introduced to Europe in 1998 by a Dutch breeder, after their arrival they attracted considerable interest among poultry enthusiasts due to their appearance and genetic makeup. Ayam Cemani is one of the most expensive chickens in the world costing up to $2,500.

Asian culture

In Asian culture, it is believed that raising the Ayam Cemani breed will bring luck and happiness to its owners. It is also common for these birds to be sacrificed in ritual ceremonies when some construction projects are started, such as developing a new building or bridge. The special feature of this amazing bird is often used as a sacrifice to win elections.


The Ayam Cemani is a modern breed of chicken from Indonesia.
Ayam means chicken in Bahasa Indonesia and Cemani is the town where the breed originated.
The breed has a dominant gene that causes hyperpigmentation.
The breed was first described by Dutch colonial settlers and imported to Europe in 1998.

Frequently Asked Questions on Ayam Cemani

Are Ayam Cemani chickens rare?

The Ayam Cemani is a rare breed of chicken from Indonesia. They have a dominant gene that causes hyperpigmentation (fibromelanosis), making the chicken mostly black, including feathers, beaks, and internal organs.

Why are Ayam Cemani chickens so expensive?

At the current time, they remain a pretty rare bird and are very hard to obtain, reputable US breeders are sold out until 2019. According to “Phoenix New Times”, Black Indonesian Ayam Cemani Chickens will cost you $5,000 a pair, which makes it very expensive.

Why are Ayam Cemani so rare?

The Ayam Cemani breed standard is continually being perfected. Because of the relatively high incidence of color leakage, which is due to the black coloration gene being recessive, perfect birds are very hard to come by and are highly prized.

How much does an Ayam Cemani rooster cost?

As in livestock that can cost you anywhere from $50 a bird to thousands of dollars for a pair. But the king of the expensive fowl would have to be the Indonesian chicken breed Ayam Cemani, which will run you $2,500 a pop.

How much is an Ayam Cemani?

According to “Phoenix New Times”, Black Indonesian Ayam Cemani Chickens will cost you $5,000 a pair, which makes it very expensive. The Ayam Cemani is often associated with a group of breeds known as Kedu, from the central plains of Java.

Are Ayam Cemani chickens nice?

Cemani in general seems to be a friendly and likable bird. They are intelligent, gentle, and docile – including the roosters. Ayam Cemani breed has been described as flighty, but most people who have them or raise them to say this is not so. They are easy to handle and low maintenance fowl.

What does Ayam Cemani taste like?

What Do Ayam Cemani Taste Like? While this chicken breed’s appearance is extraordinary, the taste of its meat is, well… normal. Whether it offers any taste advantage over standard chicken is still unclear, although there is a claim that it is tastier, other reports suggest it’s ‘gamier’ due to the small carcass.

Are Ayam Cemani Bantams?

The Ayam Cemani is considered a standard-sized chicken although they are a touch on the small side. Roosters will weigh 4.5-6.5lb and hens weigh 3.5-4.5lb. There is no bantam equivalent.

Do Ayam Cemani chickens lay black eggs?

Egg Color, Size & Laying Habits: People often ask do Ayami Cemani chickens lay black eggs? No, they actually lay cream-colored eggs with a slight pink hue.

Do black eggs exist?

The fact is that there is no chicken breed that lays black eggs. So if someone online tries to sell you a black egg at great cost, or if you see an image of a fresh black egg anywhere, rest assured – it was not laid by a chicken!

How many eggs do Ayam Cemani lay a year?

Ayam Cemani chickens are not considered to be great egg layers. Hens lay only about one to two eggs a week, for a total of between 60 and 100 eggs a year. However, many Ayam Cemani keepers have also reported that their hens will stop laying eggs after a period of time.

How long do Ayam Cemani live?

Ayam Cemani can live between six and eight years depending on feed management and housing.

Are Ayam Cemani cold hardy?

Ayam Cemani chickens are cold and hot weather hardy, low maintenance, tame, and easy to handle. The hens lay a surprisingly abundant amount of eggs – and, the eggs are bright cream in color!

Are Ayam Cemani easy to hatch?

Temperature is much more critical than humidity when it comes to hatching your Ayam Cemani eggs. As long as you maintain the right conditions your eggs should hatch in about 21 days. Make sure to turn the eggs three times a day during the first 18 days and then leave them alone for the last 3 days before hatching.

Can Ayam Cemani chickens fly?

These chickens, on the contrary, are quite gentle and docile. They are smart, but they are also flighty. Since they are so lightweight and nimble, they can easily fly over any fence you have erected. It’s important that you have systems in place to keep them contained.

Are Ayam Cemani hard to raise?

Don’t rush to the hatchery website to order your birds just yet – this unusual bird can be tough to find, and even more challenging to raise. Yet the challenges are worth it. The Ayam Cemani is one of the rarest and most luxurious chicken breeds you can raise.

Do Ayam Cemani have black tongues?

Finding a black tongue is not only extremely rare, there are said to be less than one thousand Ayam Cemani in the United States with entirely black tongues. Cemani will more commonly be found with a dark grey mouth even if the bird is pure-bred.

Are Ayam Cemani good pets?

Yes. Although they come with a hefty price tag, they make good pets. They tolerate children well and some owners even report their Ayam Cemani chickens following their children around in the yard. They get along well with other animals and other chickens.

Do Ayam Cemani hens have combs?

Ayam Cemani, like many other chickens, has the dreaded single comb that can succumb to frostbite, but there are ways to prevent this from happening to your birds.

How many toes does Ayam Cemani have?

The bird should have 4 toes on each foot. Feathers are all black and are close-fitting to the body. Skin, eyes, wattles, and comb should all be black.

Are Ayam Cemani loud?

The Cemani rooster has a very loud and distinct crow which resulted in boats using these birds as foghorns, a tradition in Indonesia that continues today.

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