Ayam Cemani Chicken: Totally Black Inside and Out

Ayami Cemani Chicken Eggs are Actually Cream-Colored (Not Black)

Promoted by Greenfire Farms

Breed of the Month: Ayam Cemani Chicken

The Indonesian Ayam Cemani chicken, with its unrelenting darkness, is one of the world’s most fascinating chicken breeds. Its feathers are black, but so is its skin, muscles, bones, and organs!

Photo by Greenfire Farms

Varieties: Black

Origin: The breed most likely originated from the Village of Kedu in the Java Islands and is sometimes referred to as the “Kedu Cemani” or “Ayam Kedu.”  The word Ayam means “chicken” in Indonesian. There is still question to where the Cemani word originated from. Some say it’s the village where the bird was originally from and some say it means “all black.” They were imported to Europe by a Dutch breeder in 1998. They made their way to Britain and to the United States at a later time.

Photo by Greenfire Farms

Standard Description: Ayam Cemani chickens are all black right down to their bones, which were believed by the Indonesians to have the power to heal. Why are Ayam Cemani all black? The blackness is caused by Fibro melanosis, a genetic condition that affects the colorization in the cells. Being one of the rarest chicken breeds in the U.S., they have yet to gain acceptance by the American Poultry Association to be shown in their own class.

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.

  • Cream-colored eggs with slight pink hue
  • Averages 60 to 100 their first year
  • Large for the size of the hen
ayami-cemani-chicken eggs
Photo via Greenfire Farms

Temperament: Friendly, intelligent

Hardiness: Hardy, low-maintenance

Photo by Greenfire Farms

From the Ayam Cemani Breeders Association: “With the boom in backyard farming, specifically, chicken farming, the more colorful and exotic birds have become more and more desirable. Ayam Cemani is one of the most beautiful chickens in the world; a chicken so spectacular and exotic that it is referred to as the ‘Lamborghini of poultry.'”  Sean Labbe – Ayam Cemani Breeders Association in April/May 2016 issue of Backyard Poultry

Coloring: Ayam Cemani is a fibro melanistic breed, meaning they are 100% black, both inside and out — muscles, skin, feathers, organs, bones, beak, tongue, comb and wattles. Their ink-black feathers that shimmer with a metallic sheen of beetle green and purple.

Weight: Hen 4 lbs, Rooster 6 lbs (average)

Popular Uses: Pets, people enjoy their striking looks

It’s Not Really an Ayam Cemani chicken if: If it’s not all black — inside and out — it’s not an Ayam Cemani chicken.

Promoted by: Greenfire Farms 


Sean Labbe – Ayam Cemani Breeders Association
Backyard Poultry magazine
Greenfire Farms

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