When we hear about black chicken with black skin, meat, and even bones, we normally think about Ayam Cemani – a rare and expensive chicken from Indonesia. But do you know that there are other chickens with black meat and bones? The level of blackness might differ and some of these chicken breeds might be related to each other but let’s take a look at the five chicken breeds with black skin, meat, and bones.
Chickens with black meat and bones do not necessarily have black feathers (plumage). One of them does even have white plumage. Interesting right? So here are the five chickens with black meat and their prices are not also pocket-friendly to an average Joe.
1. Ayam Cemani
Ayam Cemani is arguably the king of blackness. It is a rare and expensive breed of chicken that originated in Indonesia. Some people believe the breed is a descendant of the Ayam Bekishar.
The Ayam Bekishar originated by crossing green jungle fowl and domesticated breeds. There is evidence of this and it’s quite tricky to do because not all of the offspring created are fertile. Others believe that the breed is a landrace breed.
These black chickens were kept and used for their ‘mystical’ qualities. They are especially sought after in Asian countries and thought to have medicinal powers. In the Philippines, many Ayam Cemani breeders call it “medicinal chicken” although the reason on how the chicken becomes a medicine is not clear. The price of Ayam Cemani is something that raises everyone’s eyebrows as well. A day-old Ayam Cemani chick in the Philippines would cost around P800 to P1,200 depending on the category of blackness.
2. Chinese White Silkie, or simply “Chinese Silkie”
Silkie is another chicken with an extremely unique appearance. The Silkie (sometimes spelled Silky) is a breed of chicken named for its atypically fluffy plumage, which is said to feel like silk and satin. The breed has several other unusual qualities, such as black skin and bones, blue earlobes, and five toes on each foot, whereas most chickens only have four.
Silkies are so unusual that they have been described as the “poodles of the chicken world.” The scientific name for the Silkie is Gallus domesticus. Other names for the Silkie are Chinese Silkie chicken, Bearded Silkie, or Bantam Silkie. Silkies have other colors like buff but white is the most popular. They originated in China.
A day-old Chinese Silkie in the Philippines would cost around P350 to P800 depending on the seller. Silkies are not hard to find in the country and there are several birds being offered online through social media like Facebook.
3. Kadaknath Chicken
Kadaknath, also called Kali Masi (“fowl having black flesh”), is an Indian breed of chicken. They originated from Dhar and Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh, Bastar (Chattisgarh), and the adjoining districts of Gujarat and Rajasthan, covering about 800 square miles (2,100 km2). These birds are mostly bred by the rural poor tribals and adivasi groups. The Kadaknath is considered to be sacred; after Diwali it is sacrificed to the Goddess. There are three varieties: jet black, golden, and penciled. The breed’s meat has a fat content of 0.73–1.03% compared to the 13–25% of most other chicken breeds. The meat from this breed has a geographical indication (GI Tag) tag that was approved by the Indian government on 30 July 2018.
Although there is no clear evidence, it is believed that Kadaknath is related to Ayam Cemani of Indonesia as they are closely similar in appearance and level of blackness. We don’t have any information yet if there are pure breeds of Kadaknath in the Philippines.
4. Svarthöna, a Swedish Black Chicken
Svarthöna, Bohuslän-Dals svarthöna, or Swedish Black Rooster, Hen or Chicken is a Swedish landrace of domestic chicken that is considered to have originated from Ayam Cemani / Kadaknath breeds of chickens transported from Mozambique to Norway by sailors sometime in the 17th century. The Svarthöna has since adapted to a northerly climate but has retained the rare quality of black skin and connective tissue.
The current form of Svarthöna has been given the status of a landrace. All Swedish entries in gene banks can be traced to a group of chickens that came to Sweden around the turn of the 19th century. In 1956, this flock was bought by two brothers in Bullarebygd. The Swedish Association for Landrace Breeds has preserved the Svarthöna in a gene bank since 1991.
A rooster can weigh up to 2 kg, whilst hens do not exceed 1.5 kg. The eggs are small (38-48 g) with a large yolk. Svarthöna has some flight ability.
The black pigmentation found in skin and connective tissue has been shown to be caused by a variant of the gene EDN3, a trait shared with the Chinese Silkie, Indonesian Ayam Cemani, and Vietnamese Black H’Mong.
5. H’mong Chicken
H’mong Chicken is a rare breed belonging to the H’mong ethnic minority people who live in the north-western mountainous provinces of Son La, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, and Bac Can. Just like any other chicken, this chicken will fight among itself to build dominance. It is like Sumatra chicken, they can kill each other and only stop fighting when a flock leader is built.
H’mong Chicken has black meat and bones. When these chicken hatches, their feathers are totally black until they reach the age of about 5 months, then the color will start developing, except for the females. 75% of the females only come in solid colors such as solid black or solid blue. This chicken also has valuable medicine as well as energizing food. This is why it is often consumed as a favorite dish, and often seen on the menus of restaurants in Ha Noi, Vietnam.
6. Ulikba Chicken
Ulikba Chicken is not officially a breed of chicken. The term “ulikba” is an informal Filipino term for “black”. Ulikba chickens are believed to be descendants of Ayam Cemani or Kadaknath. Their blackness differs in level. Some are all black with black feathers but some that are crossed with native and other chickens have different colors of plumage. Ulikba chicken is a native version of Ayam Cemani.
Ulikba chickens have been around since a long time ago in the Philippines but rural farmers do not really give it higher value until recently when urban chicken farming is growing and people who value its uniqueness started to raise its price. If you want to grow a black chicken, Ulikba is the best choice and is budget-friendly.
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