These All-Black Chickens Called Ayam Cemani Are Creating A Buzz Online
These birds look like they were dipped in black paint.
If you saw a jet-black chicken strutting around a barnyard, you’d assume it came via the river Styx, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong. This all-black chicken is breed called Ayam Cemani, and it’s nothing short of revered in Indonesia, its country of origin. So what’s the deal with this punk chicken anyway?
Well, first of all, it’s not about the taste. In fact, this bird du jour is in super-high demand for every reason apart from the taste. Everything about this chicken (save for its eggs and blood) is jet black. Its organs, meat and even bones are all black. Animal enthusiast or not, you have to admit that’s pretty metal. Even the Ayam Cemani chicks are completely black (but they’re just as adorable as regular baby chicks).
According to an interview with Greenfire Farms owner Paul Bradshaw, the Ayam Cemani chicken is only popular because of how it looks. Bradshaw, who breeds Ayam Cemani in Florida, told Gizmodo that the blackness is all due to an excess of melanin in the chicken called fibromelanosis.
“The source of all this blackness is a gene mutation that emerged in Asia centuries ago and eventually made its way to Europe,” Bradshaw told Gizmodo in an interview. “The mutation produces about ten times as much melanin as you’ll find in a normal chicken.”
Aside from looking cool as heck, the Ayam Cemani has long been considered a spiritual creature in southeast Asia. Long ago, elite inhabitants of the Indonesian Island of Java kept the chickens or used them in rituals. But even then, they were never eaten—the bird’s color was thought to signify their “otherworldliness.”
If you want one of these goth chickens for yourself, be prepared for some sticker shock. Bradshaw says Greenfire Farms sells “unsexed eggs” at a price of $199 each. Live juvenile chickens (male or female) are priced at $400 a piece, but they’re already sold out.
So would you shell out for the Ayam Cemani?