It’s the end of the day here at EEC, and the evening light catches across the landscape, splashing pastel pinks and violet evening tones through field and forest all around. While putting the chickens away, I caught my rooster, Chanticleer, strutting around in all his regal glory. Appreciating the light, and the photogenic moment, I took some good shots of his majestic color. I’ll point out the red comb and acknowledge this rooster is not pure Ayam Cemani, but he’s a legitimate offspring from our pure-bred stock, and is currently breeding to keep these wonderful colors in the flock.
The younger up and coming rooster we’ve selected for next generation is darker in overall coloration, but a little smaller in stature. It may be hard to tell based on the picture below, but the younger male in foreground is still growing, but lacks some of the blue of his father. Green is easiest to get in the sheen of this bird, but blue and purple are preferred, so we’re playing with that in the back seat of genetic traits to breed towards. Leafhopper Farm Cemanis have come a long way from jungle fowl, to a larger, more egg producing cross with dual purpose breeds like brahma and orphington. The farm was recently gifted some Blue Copper Marans, which will be an interesting mix into the flock.
The bird below is a typical Ayam Cemani in Java. They are small, upright, game bird structure. This rooster has a lot of good purple and blue, though some might say the comb and wattle could be darker. Hens lay one egg a week and go into complete non-production every 8-10 months for 2-3 months to recoup. Our hens are laying every 3 days or so on average, even more in summer, and still lay through winter, though scarcely, and we are ok with that, as the hens need a brake to live and produce longer. Quality of life does pay off for farm profit and bird comfort. We do like eggs, and sell them, so having a more productive genetic string in our birds is a goal. Dual purpose is also important at Leafhopper Farm. We eat what we raise, and would like a bird with more than stock pot potential. Cemani’s are not stocky birds, but our flock is getting there fast.
Genetic inputs show up quickly in the birds. In less than 5 years we’ve almost doubles the weight of our birds and increased peak laying from 1-3 a week to 2-5 on average. It’s a blessing to have great breeds to work with in adding what we want into our Ayam Cemanis. To also retain much of the unique pigment is also fun, and we’ll keep at it, with no expectation beyond healthy, happy birds.