Ayam Cemani – Everything You Need To Know

The Ayam cemani is one work of wonder that will have your belief in the extraordinary rejuvenated. Basically, this is a chicken breed from Indonesia that comes plumaged in all black. That’s not abnormal, is it? The amazingly abnormal part is that it is black all over from head to toe to even its insides. Its internal organs contain a pitch black colour instead of the normal reddish to a white colour we are used to. The bird due to its uniqueness is mainly kept for ornamental purposes and also for its meat which is said to be so tasty but costly. It has also been used for centuries in its native Indonesia for rituals as well as being a subject or aspect in withcraft.

Ayam Cemani Chicken Profile

Breed Purpose ornamental
Egg Color White
Egg Size Medium
Egg Productivity (per year) 80
Origin Indonesia
Comb Type Single
Breed Size 2 to 3kg
Breed Color Tinted / light brown


The Ayam cemani is a Javanese bird that has been noted and appreciated for its unique and amazing black colour, which is dominant all over its body including the inner parts. The beak, tongue, feet and also the crest have a distinctively jet black appearance that is so uncommon in chicken. This colouration comes as a result of a dominant gene responsible for hyperpigmentation and in this case, it supports the black colour. This condition is known as fibromelanosis and has been reported in other fowl breeds as well.

In Indonesia, it was used for rituals and religious purposes as it was thought to be special due to its unique characteristic.

It was spotted by Dutch colonial settlers who developed a keen interest in it seeing its unusual characteristics. It’s said to have been brought to Europe courtesy of the Dutch settlers and seamen who brought it along with them from their conquests in Indonesia. Specifically, there is a breeder who imported it to Europe in the late 1990s. So far, it has spread to other parts like Germany and Sweden where it is adored as a form of natural art and also kept for ornamental purposes as well as for the table.


The most notable characteristic of this fowl is its perfect dark shade that engulfs the whole of its body including its plumage, its wattle, feet, tongue, and even its eyes. Its internal organs like the bones and flesh are also dark. Rumours have it that its blood is also black but on reality, the blood is red only a bit darker. The black shade of the blood is due to the colour of its internal organs. The plumage may have a shiny greenish hue.

Males weigh approximately 1.8 – 2 kilograms while the females range from 1.2 -1.5 kilograms on maturity. The bird is of medium stature having a compact body shape. It stands alert like a game bird. The eggs, are, however, are not black like the rest of the body. They are whitish colour to a cream shade. The bird is docile and can be described as friendly to human beings besides being hardy in adapting to various climatic variations. They are also robust and highly resilient to diseases.

Egg-Laying and Brooding

The Ayam cemani is not a good egg-layer and will lay up to 80 eggs in a year and with an average of one egg per week. They start laying eggs at approximately 5-6 months of age and once they lay from 20 to 30 eggs they go dormant again for a period of 3 months then they resume eggs production. The eggs weigh roughly 400 grams. Though they are poor brooders, they are good keepers and will rear their young ones perfectly.

Often, the Ayam cemani is colloquially referred to as the Ferrari of fowls due to the expensive price as well as its unique characteristics.

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