Ayam Cemani Chicks

About a month ago, my partner shared with me his interest in a chicken breed that has recently been brought to the US from Indonesia. He said these birds were unique in that their coloration was all black. I pointed out that my black australorp was all black, but Bernard said, “not like these birds”. We then did an image search, and this is what came up:


These are not photo shopped. The birds are all black, from beak to toe. Now here’s where it gets really cool, the meat is black too!


So, we ordered some, and here they are! These 6 babes are about three weeks old now, and well on their way to becoming Leafhopper Farm’s first breeding chicken. This means we are using a pure genetic stock for production. Why Ayams? Well, it’s unique to this area, and a visual oddity, which catches the eye. They are also layers, producing a cream colored egg. (the only thing not black about these birds). I’m also very excited for the opportunity to observe and learn about this breed, as there is little to no info available for their temperament. I’m making a concerted effort to spend more time handling and taming these birds, as they are from Indonesia, though these were bred in California. Their genetics are still on the wilder side, and so far, they have shown extra sensitivity, being more aware than their more domestic cousins. Notice the one bird in this picture who is looking right at the camera.


In the photo below, there are two birds showing the difference in sizes and, most likely, sex. The larger bird has a very erect tail, and in my “chick sexing test” he showed typical male behavior. This test is easy, you take the chick and gently turn it over onto its back in your hand. If it kicks a lot and tries to turn back over, it’s a rooster. If it relaxes into your hand at rest, it’s a hen. This larger male struggled, while the smaller female rested without a fight. We’ll see if the test holds true as the birds mature.


Ayam Cemani chickens are rare in the US. Leafhopper Farm will capitalize on the exotic look of these chickens, as well as their dual purpose nature, as great foragers and egg layers. The eggs are a cream color, the only thing not black about these birds. Their coloring comes from a genetic mutation, which only affects the color. Everything else about this bird is typical chicken, even the flavor of the meat.

Because we’ll be breeding these birds, they will be kept separate from the other chickens for now. I’ll have to make a better portable coop. I’ve picked out an A-frame design and hope to have it ready by April to get the birds out on the land. They are showing a great interest in scratching, which means they are going to be great foragers. Not all domestic chickens are good at this, so I’m excited to see such a drive in this breed. These black beauties will be a rare treat to see at the farm.


10 thoughts on “Ayam Cemani Chicks”

  1. very cool Liz! I’ll have to look into this breed when we get to that stage. I wonder if there is any nutritional differences in the meat? I wonder also, if there more wild nature will decrease their predation level.


  2. I just found out about this breed today.
    Once I get a bigger more apt chicken setup i will be looking for these.
    I am glad to find that you are semi local as I hate the idea of shipping birds 🙂


  3. Have you been able to determine if it was actually a cockerel yet? I am going to buy 3 chicks next week straight run. I will be able to pick them so need pointers if possible. Thanks.


    1. Hey Phoenix, the chicks are all looking like hens as of right now, but seeing no information about them or their development, I am keeping my fingers crossed, who knows, they might all be roosters!


      1. Sorry Nicolaas, I did drop the ball on that post follow up. Since starting our breeding focus, there have been an average of 3 out of 10 chicks being decent Cemani genetics, with 2 out of three being hens. Getting “perfect” breeding stock is a challenge- we have only one breeding male right now, and about 3 hens that are all black (no specs on toes). I’ve learned to look at nails on the chicks- even when the plumage looks great (all black with green sheen), and the combs remain black (no red coloration at all), the feet sat a lot. Commonly, it’s a white nail on the toe that shows the hybrid breeding. We plan to acquire more pure stock in the next few years, but are currently breeding enough “pure” birds to keep up our initial intensive.


  4. Hopefully no more than half are roos at the most. I am going to buy 4 and hope the same. I live in Indianapolis and have to drive 300 miles roundtrip to make my picks.


  5. I live in Montana and have done extensive research on these birds. I have raised many breeds and these caught my attention a while back. I do know that if you have any birds that show red on the lobes and such or white on the nails or any color other than black in the mouth or on feathers or the skin they need to be culled. They may turn out better as the mature but it will come back through breeding in generations and will not be considered true. It is very dificult to find good lines in the U.S. Best to import from other countries and hatch yoursef by incubation. I am going to be breeding and I am constantly in search of the perfect line. It is extremely difficult to find it also. Good luck to everyone in your venture. Just wanted to offer what I have learned about this majestic breed!


  6. We recently shared an order with a friend obviously we r hoping that each of us gets a roo and 2 hens we each have 3
    Split on 6 chicks 40 bucks a bird
    Heafty but worth every cent we r hoping to have healthy chicks come summer or at least an egg


  7. I hatched out 3 of these beauties! They are3 weeks old and pretty sure we have 2 hens and a rooster. My observations have been the same and seem to hold true. The 1 Cockerel has a Bigger, faster developing comb, much larger body size although you can have Cockerels that are smaller, he’s on watch a lot and he tends to be at the top of the pecking order already. I too will be breeding as long as the quality traits are there. If not, they will just be egg layers and pets.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s