The Ayam Cemani Chicken.
Black feathers & skin.

I get a lot of people linking to things on The Art of Doing Stuff Facebook page. Stuff they want me to see.

Most often it’s either about potato chips, chickens, or pizza.

On rare occasions it’s about something that doesn’t have to do with food. I don’t like those rare occasions. They make me itch.

Pizza can make you itch too but only if you eat it while sitting in a patch of poison ivy. Which would be worth it for even the worst piece of pizza.

So when Julie put up a chicken link on my Facebook page the other day I thought … Huh … a chicken link! Actually I said …. Huh! A chicken link! outloud and sprayed potato chips all over my computer.

What I opened up when I clicked on that link was a whole new world.

Allow me to introduce to you via Julie, via Geekologie …

 

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This photo is not Photoshopped. This is what the actual chicken looks like. Every single bit of it is black.

Everything.

 

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This chicken’s skin, bones and organs … are black.

You might think it’s ugly. Horrifying even. A freak of nature. I love it.

The Ayam Cemani is a breed of chicken from Indonesia.  And I want one.

Which is a shame because you can only buy them in pairs.  And they’re $5,000 per pair.  Unless you do some REAL digging on the Internet in which case you can pick up a pair from Green Fire Farms for the low, low price of $1,999.

On the other hand a black Sharpie only costs a couple of bucks.

 

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So. What do you think?  The Ayam Cemani.

Breathtakingly Beautiful or Shockingly Scary?

 

 

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144 Comments

  1. Teresa J says:

    Yikes! A can of black spray paint would be easier!!

  2. Nancy says:

    Breathtakingly beautiful and shockingly scary that someone would pay 2,000 bucks for a black chicken and then cook it for dinner.

  3. Cathy says:

    Very iridescent.

  4. Karen P says:

    It looks like fine art!

  5. Kailee H. says:

    What color eggs do they lay?

  6. becky says:

    I have seen these before. I am firmly in the shockingly scary camp.

    Besides, most people throw out meat when it looks like that!!

  7. Lauren from Winnipeg says:

    Super cool! Goth chicken!

  8. Ella says:

    Breathtakingly Beautiful!!!

  9. Auntiepatch says:

    NO! That’s just wrong!

  10. Sandra Mattina says:

    Wow! He’s so gorgeous! In the second pic…I see beautiful iridescent colours ….greens and purples…..I’d just want a few (or 1000)of those gorgeous feathers for my collection….does it lay black eggs Karen??!!….that would be damn cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Patrick says:

    Beautiful! I want one! If only I could have chickens in Toronto.. And had 2 grand laying around..

  12. Cred says:

    Beautiful! What an amazing breed.

  13. kate-v says:

    He is beautiful! All I know is the local market wants quite a bit for those black chicken carcasses – but I thought they were silkie chickens. I never bought them because of the price – they are more expensive – but are supposed to be very healthy.

  14. Lin says:

    Absolutely beautiful!..a sharpie would make a dull black, go for the pearlized black paint. lol

  15. Grammy says:

    A stunningly beautiful bird. My first thought was ‘what do the eggs look like?’ Do you know? What a breathtaking sight that is. Speaking of which, when will we get to know how your own little dark ones are doing?

  16. Lora says:

    Takes me breath away Beautiful…

  17. Gab says:

    Hi Karen, when we were kids in Indonesia we have nursery rhymes that goes something like “black chicken, white eggs” so although I never saw the eggs myself I imagine the eggs are white. Ah and also “ayam” means “chicken” in Indonesian. And the high price tag is because Ayam cemani is also a crucial part of many black magic practice… Goes back to the Majapahit Kingdom in Java many centuries ago. Or so I have been told…

  18. Holly says:

    OMG – they are stunningly beautiful! But, I do know for a fact I couldn’t eat them. Gross. Can’t get past it. They almost look like wrought iron! Amazing.

  19. SeaDee says:

    Yes! Do it!

  20. Anne says:

    I think he is gorgeous! You are into unusual things, maybe if you save up your pennies you could have a pair? If you only got the rooster, maybe your hens would help him produce hybrids. Naw, you need a matching pair.

  21. Denise says:

    Beautiful!!! Like a raven crossed with a chicken. Stunning!

  22. Carla says:

    Alive they are beautiful. Dead they do indeed look like something we would throw out as past it’s prime.

  23. Barbie says:

    Breathtakingly EXPENSIVE! You gotta really love you some chickens to pay that kind of money for two!
    HOWEVER….I do think they are beautiful yes……that being said……TO MUCH $$$$$$ me thinks anyway.

  24. Meg says:

    obviously what you need to do, is get on the black chicken bandwagon and breed them.

    step 1: buy two chickens, step 2: let ’em do their thing, step 3: profit.

  25. Amber says:

    wait, what?? black magic chicken??
    that’s not food, is it?
    And here I spent all day teaching my friend how to weld a chicken sculpture. Is something gonna come after me? evil Chicken-from-beyond-vengence-thingy?
    Seriously?

  26. Kristin Ferguson says:

    Frickin’ awesome in every way except the price. Are they good layers?

  27. Ramona says:

    Stunningly beautiful!!!

  28. peg says:

    oh my, I do love black. crazy beautiful.

  29. Suzy Ross says:

    I am gaga about Fresian horses who are black EVERYWHERE, so I can totally dig a black chick! I used to have two Austrailian black hens who would follow me around while I cleaned the horse stalls. They were named Amy and Ida and they always reminded me of Catholic nuns gathering up the skirts of their habits as they ran hither and yon. They were very involved in my day and left me an odd greenish colored egg when they had a mind to. Amy was the most gregarious of the two and followed me from stall to stall helping with cleanup. After all, I, with the rake, had “the worlds biggest chicken claw” Amy had ever seen. And she followed me everywhere. I adored them! I would never consider them for the broiler though. The roosters maybe, because they coukd be such heathens, but not the hens.

  30. Violet says:

    Stunningly gorgeous! But the photo of the dead chickens, scary as hell. Even putting aside the fact that I’m a vegetarian and could never eat anything I want to shnoogle, I have to wonder what sort of maniac would want to kill a $2,500 chicken? And what sort of other maniac would be willing to shell out that sort of money to eat one? People with more money than sense, I guess. If I had one of those chickens, I’d take it to the movies and let it share my birthday cake and it would sleep in a little wrought-iron bed. Hopefully one of them will see this and hitchhike to my house.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Violet, lol. I think the point is to buy the pair for $2,500 as breeders. And then keep them to continue hatching and breeding the black chickens, which you then sell. 🙂 ~ karen!

  31. Mandy says:

    Beautiful but $2000!
    We need to set up a profitable export/import partnership Karen!
    Have just googled and here in the UK hatching eggs £10 each, unsexed chicks £30, fully grown £50!

  32. Edith says:

    I have found a better offer in Switzerland: 3 CHF for a hatching egg, 20 CHF for a one-day-old chick, 44 CHF for a 12-weeks-old hen and 48 CHF for a 14-weeks-old rooster. So yes, you should establish a profitable export/import business between Europe and Canada!!! I have no idea how to take them overseas alive and kicking, but maybe some black magic could help ….

  33. Kim C. says:

    Wow! Very majestic looking.

  34. Karen says:

    I bet they still taste like…chicken!

  35. Stephanie says:

    Gorgeous!

  36. Robin says:

    This is new for me. I’ve never wanted a chicken. Now I want a black chicken.

  37. Tigersmom says:

    Both! But as the idea settles in more to the beautiful. The iridescence is pretty spectacular.

    Not that I would eat it, but does anyone know what color the meat is and what it turns when cooked? I keep imagining it is black, too, and becomes a charcoal grey color. Not a pretty charcoal grey, more of a sickly version of a color I normally love. A sickly and very unappetizing version.

    Do they sell the feathers for a small fortune, too?

  38. jainegayer says:

    Beautiful!! I think you should go into business selling black chickens. No wait… it might be a success and you won’t have time for us anymore.

  39. Linda J Howes says:

    Statuesque! It is nice to know they exist but I could live without one.

  40. Jules says:

    I think I have a feather duster and some lampshades in those black feathers… but thinking of what I paid at Hobby Lobby, maybe they’re just dyed. Hey Clairol, does she, or doesn’t she? Only her hen-dresser knows! DEFINITELY get 2 of those beauties, they are just gorgeous! So majestic looking. I’d get two if my neighborhood would allow them, they totally match my decor!

  41. Tori says:

    There’s a blackened chicken joke in here somewhere…

    • Heather says:

      Tori, I was thinking the same thing. This gives new meaning to blackened chicken.

      I don’t think I could bring myself to eat that black meat.

  42. DanniJ says:

    Very beautiful and would make a handsome fellow for cuddles 🙂

  43. Chris says:

    Funny, I just saw these for sale at the local market the other day for the first time. I thought they had dyed the skin for whatever reason. Didn’t see what they were charging in comparison to the regular chickens, mainly because they looked scary to me and not something I could see eating. The live ones, however, are quite beautiful.

  44. Isabel says:

    In Brazil we have african brazilian religions with rituals called macumba. Or magic, if you will. Well, most of the recipes call for a black chicken. So if the macumbeiros from my country find these, they will flip!!!!!

  45. Su says:

    Yes beautiful alive… unappetizing dead…. color of the eggs??

  46. Karol says:

    Ew, ew! Total turn off on the black chicken meat.

  47. Jenny says:

    WOW! Black chickens and chocolate eggs. You are the goddess of chickendom!

  48. Beckie says:

    I think it is stunning. Nature is amazing. It makes me wonder *why* they have turned completely, totally black.

  49. maggie van sickle says:

    Beautiful creature and I can see why you would want one. I am not sure if I could eat one and I am curious about the colour of the eggs.

  50. Kate says:

    Beautiful! Think eating it wouldn’t work for me. As living art to visually enjoy, breathtaking! I am hoping for black eggs too!

  51. Kate says:

    Just went to black chicken farm source, cream colored eggs. Tres disappointed!

  52. Jamieson says:

    They are stunners, and more importantly they complement your black henhouse. I cannot see how this acquisition can possibly be avoided.

  53. Amy in StL says:

    I think they’re weird looking, but my mom is afraid of birds – especially chickens – and I’m sure if I showed her this picture it would be terrifying to her. Kind of like when people on Facebook posted pictures of giant spiders from Iraq. Terrifying!

  54. Joanne says:

    I think they are absolutely gorgeous… but I can see where some scary horror movie facial makeup motivations might have been gleaned from looking at these chickens face on!

    Not thrilled about the black meat, but I supposed one could “stew” it and it wouldn’t really matter… Like a lot of others, I wonder about the egg color, and was hoping for a “dark chocolate” from these hens.

  55. Judy says:

    Karen – in case you need some inspirationg, I wanted to let you know that your man Idris Elba is on the cover of the September issue of Details magazine. I too find him VERY inspiring!

  56. Ev Wilcox says:

    What a beautiful bird! Though I prefer them alive, I do love me some chicken dinners! After contemplating my recipe file, I would coat the individual pieces in mayo, then bread crumbs, then bake till done! Maybe I’d tint the crumbs red with some smoked paprika and cinnamon. But seriously, the bird is very pretty and I wish they weren’t so $$ so you could get a pair. Thanks for the picture!

  57. Cheryl says:

    Like so many others, I was hoping for black eggs. Not that I’d ever eat a black egg, but they would certainly work in Halloween Baskets!

  58. Susan says:

    You ordered some…didn’t you?

  59. Maureen says:

    Kickstarter?

  60. gogothrift@etsy.com says:

    Very interesting that the skin, bones and organs are black also but the egg is not….

  61. Julia says:

    So beautiful!!!

  62. Samantha says:

    Wholly mackerel that’s cool! How much are they to eat tho??? Geeze!

  63. mia pratt says:

    They’re absolutely breathtakingly beautiful – black is beautiful! Wow, breeding those would earn a ridiculous income…yikes! So much easier than growing pot, or smuggling ancient artifacts?

  64. Elen Grey says:

    Heh. Bespoke chicken. Gorgeous.

  65. polly says:

    The guy in the pic looks mighty like a rooster to me. So. If you could get a pair that’s one male and one female, you could start a black chicken business, and amortize the cost pretty darn quick. (I could be wrong about his gender; not a fowl expert… But, just sayin’.)

  66. Sherri says:

    Gorgeous…looks like a bronze statue of a chicken. You’d pay a few thousand for a bronze statue so I think you should spring for the real McCoy!

  67. ralph says:

    What do I think?…
    My first thought was one of April 1st, but then,if we can have white rhinos why not black chickens?

    Be well.

  68. Gretchen Sexton says:

    Stunning! And way cool.

  69. Rondina says:

    I can’t see eating black chicken meat.

    I wonder how other chickens feel about them. Are they put off? Do they think they’re freaks of nature? Are they shunned and bullied or embraced for their black beauty?

  70. Mary Werner says:

    Gorgeous! Get a pair, I know you will! But of course you will need another coup so that the rooster doesn’t have his way with the other girls. Then you will need a bigger run and lots of other equipment so that the babies can be kept “pure” and you don’t get chicks mixed from your other hens. Kind of like your kitchen remodel. You’ve been there before. It would make a great extra income until the market is satisfied with the number of black chickens and then what would you do with all the winter heating devices, extra bedding, etc. Just saying. I would certainly love to know about the taste and fat content of meat.

  71. Marion says:

    It is breathtakingly beautiful! Those feathers are amazing, I imagine they strut about all day without a care in the world. I know I would if I looked that good. The price of them, however, is scary. If it were to pay that much for an animal there’s no way I would eat them!

  72. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    I saw them used in a cooking show…what I learned is they don’t taste like a normal chicken. You have to marinate the meat before cooking. No thanks.

  73. Brandi says:

    Think of what you could do with black eggs for Halloween!!!!

  74. LazySusan says:

    He’s gorgeous! That said, in order to have a pair, you’d first have to sell your house and move out into the country where you could have a rooster. We know what happened the last time you had a rooster! By the way, what ever happened with the chicken ordinance that you testified for?

  75. wendy says:

    I think they are beautiful . . . and scary. Beautiful-scary. Kind of like ugly-sexy, right?

  76. Tricia says:

    Oh what purty feathers, kinda looks with an oil slick but purty nonetheless. I can’t get imagine putting a black skinned chicken on my table though…creepy!

  77. Sandi says:

    A first for me. Thanks, Julie and Karen. A beautimous creation!!

  78. Jodi T. says:

    GORGEOUS!!! I am not a bit surprised that you love this.

  79. leslie says:

    As many chickens as I have lost (to egg binding, predators-even my own dogs once, disease, escape, etc.) I would just never pay that kind of money for a chicken. Even on principle (my family is Scottish)!
    They are quite beautiful and intimidating!!

  80. Brenda J. Moore says:

    Still a chicken right… unless it can do something really outstanding?? Save your money.

  81. Dagmar says:

    Wow, these breeds really do look like weather vaines! I had to take a second look, to see if there a punch line coming on your end Karen- but none was delivered. So, I looked directly at “Whitey” (I felt that he/she needed a name) and realized chickens have some great eyes.
    …Oh and BTW I have seen these on the TopChefCanada show, the contestants mentioned something about they having less fat

  82. Sandra says:

    Beautiful.

    I bought a silky chicken once (at the store). Won’t get another one (I was grossed out to find, when I opened the bag, that it still had its head on – ugh). But, thought it was cool that the bones were black. I still have the wishbone to show people.

  83. Liz says:

    so pretty… it looks like the evolution of an oil stain.
    or maybe there was an oil spill in Indonesia, and the chickens got coated, and mother nature just had a lot of fun with it.

  84. Ruth Vallejos says:

    I believe in the whole chicken – dinosaur link. And of course there were black dragons, right? So this chicken was a little black dragon. Once upon a time.

    Love that chicken!

  85. Liz says:

    k wait, organs and bones are black… is the meat black? or the regular dark and white meat??

  86. Julie says:

    Gasp! I’m famous!

    🙂

  87. Nancy says:

    Beautiful. Just think how much you could sell an Indian headdress with those iridescent feathers? And you could do a feature on making one. And show pics of the poop. Is it iridescent, too? Fodder, Karen.

  88. Sally says:

    It is a beautiful bird, but is it a natural species or some kind of frankenchicken that has been genetically engineered to be black?

  89. jeanne says:

    that is soooooo cool!

  90. Jeannie says:

    Black is one of my favorite colors and when I saw this chicken I was immediately in love! He is a striking fellow and I am bummed he costs so much. I am not in the market for a chicken at the moment but, in a few years, I hope to have a small farm in MT. Maybe the pirce will have gone down some by then, one can hope 🙂

  91. Did you see that Greenfire has Swedish Black Hens too? They look basically the same as the Ayam Cemanis. They’re a wee bit cheaper too… still not affordable though.

  92. Lynn (really spelled w/ an "e", but somebody else already has that spelling on here) says:

    Yes, what Lauren said: Goth! And, what I say: Beautiful! Also weird and strange, but nevertheless, gorgeous! I could never eat them, I would just want to parade around with them and show everyone that such a fine looking critter exists. Maybe take majestic photos of them and sell the prints. I think a black and white pic would be interesting too. Just imagine the depth you would see in a B/W photo.
    I would love to get my hands on a couple of those smaller black iridescent feathers. I could make some way-cool dangling earrings!

  93. Stacey says:

    Dang. Stunningly beautiful!!!

  94. Wisconsingal says:

    Gorgeous feathers, freaky meat. Maybe you wouldn’t notice if you charred it all to bits – and who wants to eat that?

  95. Teddee Grace says:

    It’s gorgeous. Too bad they have to be eaten…not a vegan just leaning that way.

  96. Jess says:

    Hahaha!!!! Wow! Both beautiful and scary!!! I’m blown away 😀 With cream colored eggs you say, that would be one expensive omelet. Gorgeuse black color too ♥

  97. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Beautiful and amazing Karen & Julie..I thought it was a statue..I just want some feathers..

  98. Too cool and hauntingly beautiful! The perfect Halloween chicken!

    • Christy Cramer says:

      Oh dear lord those chickens are so beautiful. They are so black they’re blue. I’d keep a pair in a minute if I had the $$$.

  99. Tracey says:

    Wow, just stunning!! I have never heard of or seen a black chicken. I love that every part of him is black. What an amazing creature.

  100. Really beautiful! I love all that beautiful black mix with the textures. They do make Sharpies now extra wide.

  101. Robyn says:

    They are beautiful!!!! Not quite sure why anyone would want to kill them and eat them. That’s the scary part for me.

  102. Just like my mom used to say “how does a brown cow eat green grass and give white milk?” Hmmmmmmm

  103. Shauna says:

    Beautiful, gorgeous, the purple running through the feathers is amazing. It’s a perfect chicken for an ex-goth kid:) Was that a chicken or a rooster? The tail feathers are so rooster-like.

  104. Michelle Whibley says:

    Someone told me last week about a chicken they saw on a farm that looked like a phoenix — all gold and shimmery! Do you know what that one might be?! As soon as I saw this stunning beauty it reminded me of the conversation…

  105. Jean says:

    What color is its poop? You only have yourself to blame for my interest in chicken poop, you know. I think the chicken is a fabulous color. Not so sure about the meat, though. How would you know if you burned it?

  106. Mindy says:

    When I saw the thumbnail photo in my reader, I literally said, what the fuck is that!? It looked like a black chicken carcass, but I knew that couldn’t be right. Clearly I was wrong. I’m undecided.

  107. Stephbo says:

    That chicken is way too beautiful to eat.

  108. Debbie says:

    I am not into keeping chickens (though I love that you are and that you write about it) and I had to catch my breath. This chicken is stunningly beautiful. I prefer the live version to the dead. Thank you for sharing this. I am going to google it just to see more of them.

  109. Ruth says:

    Beautiful…. as long as he keeps his feathers on and his organs to himself.

    Otherwise… ugh!

  110. Shelley says:

    I think you need to put up a donation button on the website so we can all chip in a buy you a pair of Ayam Cemani Chickens. All we ask for in return is the live chicken cam and periodic detailed updates.

  111. Annie Kip says:

    Awesome – I thought I had seen all the options, but an all-black chicken!?!? Wow – beautiful!

  112. Karen Duke says:

    Silkie chickens also have black skin and meat, but more importantly to me, they’re the most lovable little chickens of all. Those feathers make them feel like a rabbit and most of mine are more affectionate than our cat is, wanting to sit with you and be carried around. A pair of black silkie chicks would probably set you back about $20, tops. (The only color on my all-black silkies is their blue ear lobes). But be forewarned, you’ll want them to live INSIDE your house because you’ll want to spend every spare minute cuddling them. Silkie eggs aren’t black, but they are small and somewhere between white and cream colored.

  113. Laurinda says:

    Gorgeous! The iridescent sheen on those feathers is just STUNNING!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Allestra – I actually own chickens that lay blue eggs! 🙂 If you search my site a bit you’ll find picture of the eggs. Sometimes they’re blue and other times they’re more green. That’s the colour of egg that Cuddles lays actually. ~ karen!

      • Allestra says:

        Ah Well colour me corrected! haha I have seen cuddles eggs and I do pay attention teacher! i swear!*cringes away from the ruler wack to the knuckles* ( haha felt like I was being chastised for being a bad student just then, lol) My monitor must be not translate the blue to well then, cuddles eggs haven’t appeared blue or green to me before. Ah well. I followed a link through while i was looking at the Ayam Cemani’s eggs. P.S Really happy Cuddles is doing better.

  114. Breathtaking…and I bet they taste just like chicken!

  115. Angela says:

    Wow, this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I looks like a statue in these pics!

  116. Freddie says:

    Wow,it’s so amazing..I have never seen this kind of chicken.Please help me know this,can this type of chicken grow in Africa specially in Tanzania?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Freddie! I’m not sure if the Ayam Cemani’s are adaptable to the Tanzanian climate. I expect it would depend on where you are in Tanzania, if you’re in the higher cooler areas, or lower hotter. Most chickens aren’t agreeable to anything over 30 celsius. The trouble you might have is finding them! They’re still fairly rare. ~ karen!

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