Ayam Cemani Chicken
Country of Origin: Indonesia
Bird Size: 3-6.5
Comb Type: Single Comb
Primary Use: Dual Purpose
Egg Production: Good
Egg Size: Medium
Egg Color: Tan
Hardiness: All Temps
Temperament: Friendly, Indifferent, Assertive
Environment Type: Free Range, Small Range
Livestock Conservation Status: N/a
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Who is the rarest and most sought-after chicken breed on the planet? Ayam Cemani Chickens of course! They originate in Indonesia and have most everything black; feathers, skin, comb to wattles, flesh, organs, black bones and all…wow! This makes this chicken breed one of the most beautiful chickens on the planet, hailing them as “The Lamborghini of Poultry.” We like to think of them as a gothic and cool/hip chicken breed that are also beneficial!
In Indonesia, they are known for their mystical healing powers due to their black hyper-pigmentation. Ayam Cemani is a melanistic breed, which means an overdevelopment of melanin. Their ink-black feathers shimmer with a metallic sheen of beetle green and purple in the sun. The Ayam Cemani are generally friendly birds but will assert themselves with other flock members. Hens lay about 60 to 80 tan to cream-colored eggs their first year, after that it can increase to 60-120. Egg sizes vary with this breed and shades of tan hues. A typical laying cycle lasts for about 20 to 30 eggs, then the hen will stop laying for three to six months, they are not continuous layers. They are a real eye candy here on the farm, and definitely are higher up in the flock hierarchy. They are an intelligent breed, ours coming up to us begging for attention, treats, or just company. They are typically easy going and some of our hens have been excellent mothers to their or other offspring, going broody sitting on eggs often. We would say they do well in all temperatures, thriving more in hotter climates. If you are in a colder climate, protection of the combs and wattles is strongly recommended and if you choose supplemental heat in the winter. Since our stock is acclimated to the Vermont climate they do well in all temperatures.
Feed Recommendations: we recommend starting baby chicks out with Sugar Feather Farm chick starter for the first 3 weeks, then switch to our Chicken Grower. Use the Grower Feed until they hit maturation (which is when they start to lay) then switch to Sugar Feather Farm Adult Feed.
We highly recommend using the Oil of Oregano in their water daily as a supplement to aid with digestion and overall health.
Breeding Information for Ayam Cemani Chicken
In addition, our stock is the result of many years of selective breeding and occasional introduction of quality Ayam Cemani from breeders across the country, one is Daylily Acres a local Vermont breeder we work with. Our goal is to produce birds with straight combs, high fibro showing, and a gamier appearance. Our breeding program strives to produce birds that meet the proposed standard of perfection as described by the Ayam Cemani Breeders Association. Having said that, there may be birds that grow out with imperfections, this is very typical with Ayam Cemani, unfortunately many breeders in the past used other types of chickens to maintain vigor and as a result there can be imperfections. As we raise the Ayam Cemani, we “cull” for any imperfections we feel are not meeting the proposed standards but many times the imperfections show up years later or when adults, way after the time they have been sold from our farm. This does NOT mean the Ayam Cemani IS NOT PURE! Ayam Cemani are thought to be derived from Ayam Kedu which are not black skinned in original form. ALL OUR Ayam Cemani are PURE as we know it. It could be pure Ayam Cemani with some undesirable traits due to the past Kedu ancestry, if breeding this is encouraged not to breed with those that have this imperfection. Just want some beautiful birds? No worries you enjoy the bird for who he/she is! They are beautiful.
We can’t guarantee a perfect bird ever! If a breeder says they, can it is false we are sorry to say. Ayam Cemani don’t lay black eggs this is a gimmick.
For example, it is important to understand that not all Ayam Cemani offspring grow up to be solid black, even with solid black parents. We cannot guarantee the distribution of black pigment in some the offspring you receive as each chick could have “flaws”. We want to be as transparent and honest as we can with this breed since there are so many people who misunderstand the breed, have been taken advantage of or have been sold birds that are not Ayam Cemani.
Our breeding program is always in process, so we are perfecting our flock and aiming towards the working Standard. We are part of the Ayam Cemani Breeders AHistssociation and do our best to follow the guidelines as described above. This takes time and lots of dedicated hard work, Ayam Cemani are not easy to breed, many people give up. A few babies could have, like we said above, possible white nails and toes (this can go away as they get older). If receiving hatching eggs remember we have not gone through the “culling” process for each bird so this will be up to you to do your homework. Ayam Cemani eggs can be a little tricky to hatch so do your research on hatching eggs properly and pay close attention to temperatures and humidity.
The Ayam Cemani is a rare chicken breed from Java in Indonesia. The word Ayam means chicken in Indonesian, while Cemani has two possible translations: it either means entirely black, or it comes from a place called Cemani in Java.
The history of the Ayam Cemani is very unclear, and there are several versions on how they came to be. Some versions are a little scientific and some are hereditary stories, and each who believes in it has his own belief in the truth. One version from Kalikuto Village, Grabag Subdistrict, Magelang Regency, named Tjokromihardjo. Figure Tjokromihardjo, devotes a lot of his attention in the field of livestock in addition to serving as the village head. It was reported by Sunday Morning magazine that Mr. Tjokro’s knowledge in the field of animal husbandry was obtained from a course held by Dr. Douwes Dekker in 1919, in Bandung, and his correspondence with a Peruvian from Colorado, Mr. Schelter. Based on information from Mr. Tjokro’s son, Mr. Bambang Irawan it is said that chicken kedu was obtained through the perseverance of Mr. Tjokro in crossing and making selection continuously. It is alleged that in 1835, black chickens were exported to the United States. The chicken was then developed with a good breeding program, it was able to show superior production and be used as a standard breed known as The Black Java Breed. We have seen several dates on when the Ayam Cemani came to the United States, so we really are not sure what is accurate.
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Pre-ordered adults and hatchlings may be picked up by appointment. To safeguard our birds from exposure to disease brought in by visitors, in accordance with the provisions of the National Poultry Improvement Plan, areas where birds are kept are off limits. However you are welcome to look at all the breeds and interactions, it is a site to see.