Completely Black Chicken? Must be kidding, right? No, I’m not. There is a breed of chicken which is completely black – from Head to Toe. Even the Meat, Bones, and Organs all are completely “Black”. Oh, there is an exception – their blood, though it is also remarkably dark.
So, this completely black chicken is called Ayam Cemani. It is an uncommon and relatively modern breed of chicken from Indonesia. The word ‘Ayam’ means ‘chicken’ in Indonesian, and ‘Cemani’ translates as ‘completely black’ in Javanese. The breed originated from the island of Java, Indonesia.
Why Ayam Cemani chickens are so black? Ayam Cemani get their black coloring from a generic trait known as ‘fibromelanosis’. The gene that causes fibromelanosis is a mutation that existed in Asia more than 800 years ago. Their meat is thought to be higher in Iron. There is also a belief that this chicken is credited with mystical powers. They are often used in medicines and is also sacrificed on other special occasions to bring good luck and fortune.
Ayam Cemani was first imported to Europe in 1998 by Dutch breeder Jan Steverink. Ayam cemani chickens lay about 50-60 medium sized cream colored (with a slight pink tint) eggs a year. They are not good sitters and they don’t roost. So, incubation is the only way to hatch eggs.