When I first saw a chicken Ayam Cemani, I was connected on Facebook and I immediately thought … Oh, heavens … good use of photoshop!. In other words, I thought the image was fake. The sole idea of a blackbird from head to head seemed a little exaggerated. But since that first meeting online, I have had the pleasure of checking that these beautiful birds exist in real life and are incredible!
These birds bear the name of Ayam Cemani and are an unusual and relatively modern chicken breed of Indonesia. The breed has a rare genetic condition known as fibromelanosis and is totally black inside and out.
These beautiful chickens are maintained mainly as ornamental birds but their meat is the most expensive chicken meat ever. In the US, it is reported that a pair of adult Ayam Cemani can cost up to $5,000 and fertile eggs can cost $160 per dozen, with chicks ranging from $55 to $100 per head.
Characteristics of Ayam Cemani
In Asia, Ayam Cemani is very appreciated because it is believed that his flesh has mystic powers. It is believed that your meat is higher in iron, so it is beneficial for women before and after childbirth. Due to Asian beliefs, many of these birds are sometimes sacrificed. Specials, since it is believed to bring luck.
Ayam Cemani is a medium-sized bird of a completely black appearance. Its plumage, beak, comb, and tongue are black. Even its flesh and bones are totally black. Its black color occurs as a result of excess tissue pigmentation, caused by a genetic condition known as fibromelanosis. The same gene is also found in some other black chicken breeds. Its blood and its internal organs are not totally black and are similar to the majority of breeds but noticeably darker.
Ayam Cemani Temperament
As Ayam Cemani is rare and a relatively new breed, is very little known about its temperament. But it is believed that they are a very active and resistant chicken breed. They are highly valued in Indonesia. Because as we said before, local people believe that these birds have mystical powers. Currently, the breed is raised for ornamental purposes or meat production.
Despite its impressive beauty, Ayam Cemani is usually a pretty resistant, low maintenance, and easy to raise bird.
The chickens Ayam Cemani place cream-colored eggs with a light pink tint and weigh an average of 45 grams each. The chickens are not good incubators and will rarely have chicks. The medium weight of the rooster ranges between 2 to 2.5 kg. And chickens have an average weight of 1.5 to 2 kg.
Ayam Cemani History
Little is known about this breed. But most likely the breed is originally from the town of Kedu in the islands of Java and is sometimes known as “Kedu Comani” or “Ayam Kedu.” Word Ayam means “chicken” in Indonesian. There is still doubt where the word “cemani” originated. Some say that it is the town where it was originally the bird and others say it means “totally black”. They were imported into Europe by a Dutch breeder in 1998. Years later they went to Great Britain and the United States.
Ayam Cemani has probably been used for centuries for religious and mystical purposes on the island of Java, Indonesia. The race was described for the first time in the 1920s, by Dutch settlers.
Arrival in Europe
They were introduced in Europe in 1998 by a Dutch breeder, after their arrival attracted considerable interest among poultry enthusiasts, due to their aspect and genetic composition. Ayam Cemani is one of the most expensive chickens in the world reaching up to $ 2,500.
In Asian culture, it is believed that raising the Ayam Cemani race will bring luck and happiness to its owners. The sacrifice of these birds in ritual ceremonies is also common when some construction projects are initiated, such as developing new buildings or bridges. The special feature of this amazing bird is often used as a sacrifice to win the elections.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Ayam Cemani
How much is Ayam Cemani worth?
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.
Why is 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.
Do Ayam Cemani chickens lay black eggs?
People often ask if Ayami Cemani chickens lay black eggs. No, they actually lay cream-colored eggs with a slight pink hue.
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.
What does 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.
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!
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!
Is Ayam Cemani and Kadaknath same?
Kadaknath is one of only three varieties of chicken in the world to have black meat, Silkie in China and Ayam Cemani in Indonesia being the other two. These chickens get the dark staining from melanin and are high in protein and low in fats, including cholesterol. Ayam Cemani and Kadaknath are not the same.
Are Ayam Cemani hard to hatch?
Ayam Cemanis are not broody so you need an incubator to hatch fertilized eggs. 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.
Are Ayam Cemani chickens 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.
Is Ayam Cemani chicken blood black?
No. “Black blood from Ayam Cemani chickens is a myth,” Jamal says. And according to GreenFire Farms, the chicken’s “blood color is always red.
Can Ayam Cemani chickens fly?
Ayam Cemanis are not known for being overly friendly, but that’s not to say they are standoffish, either. 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.
Do black chickens taste different?
Black chickens like Ayam Cemani, Silkies, and Kadaknath taste similar to ordinary chickens.