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 …





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





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.




So. What do you think?  The Ayam Cemani.

Breathtakingly Beautiful or Shockingly Scary?



  1. 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 $$$.

  2. Nancy Blue Moon says:

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

  3. Jess says:

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

  4. Teddee Grace says:

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

  5. Wisconsingal says:

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

  6. Stacey says:

    Dang. Stunningly beautiful!!!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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 :)

  10. jeanne says:

    that is soooooo cool!

  11. 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?

  12. 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.

  13. Julie says:

    Gasp! I’m famous!


  14. Liz says:

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

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. Sandra says:


    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.

  18. 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

  19. Brenda J. Moore says:

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

  20. 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!!

  21. Jodi T. says:

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

  22. Sandi says:

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

  23. 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!

  24. wendy says:

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

  25. 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?

  26. Brandi says:

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

  27. 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.

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

  30. 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?

  31. Gretchen Sexton says:

    Stunning! And way cool.

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. 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’.)

  35. Elen Grey says:

    Heh. Bespoke chicken. Gorgeous.

  36. 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?

  37. Samantha says:

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

  38. Julia says:

    So beautiful!!!

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

  40. Maureen says:


  41. Susan says:

    You ordered some…didn’t you?

  42. 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!

  43. 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!

  44. 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!

  45. 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.

  46. 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!

  47. Jamieson says:

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

  48. Kate says:

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

  49. 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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Art of Doing Stuff