Ayam Cemani Chicken – Breed Profile & Facts

The Ayam Cemani chicken is a chicken breed with all-black feathers and a stunning appearance.  Ayam Cemani chickens are friendly, likable, and social birds.  These chickens are also gentle, docile, and intelligent.  These medium-sized chickens like foraging and thrive in free-range.

What Is an Ayam Cemani Chicken?

The Ayam Cemani chicken is a unique chicken breed from Indonesia.  This breed has a dominant gene that gives it hyperpigmentation, making it black, including its feathers, internal organs, and beak.  Ayam Cemani chickens are popular gamecocks for cockfighting in Indonesia, thanks to their muscular legs.

As one of Indonesia’s national birds, these chickens have existed since the 12th century.  The breed first came to Europe in the late 1990s.  Many people from Belgium, Slovakia, Italy, and Sweden have been raising Ayam Cemani chickens.

Ayam Cemani Chicken Characteristics

Ayam Cemani chickens have black wattles, beaks, and combs.  Their bones, organs, and meat are all black or gray.  These chickens are black because of excessive pigmentation of their tissues due to a genetic condition called fibromatosis.

This condition is also present in some colored birds.  Ayam Cemani chickens are small to medium-sized birds with entirely black appearances.  Hens lay cream-colored eggs with a pink tint.  However, these chickens’ blood isn’t black like their meat, bones, and organs.

– Size & Weight

Ayam Cemani chickens are small to medium-sized chickens.  Roosters weigh between 4.4 and 5.5 lb.  Hens weigh between 3.3 and 4.4 lb.  There are bantam Ayami chickens that weigh slightly over 1 lb.

– Temperament

The Ayam Cemani is a relatively new chicken breed, so little is unknown about this bird.  However, those raising this breed note that it’s an active and highly hardy breed.  Ayam Cemani chickens have friendly and gentle personalities.

They are, however, very alert and active.  These chickens enjoy foraging in large spaces.  Because they are nervous chickens, they don’t make extraordinary lap chickens.  Ayam Cemani hens aren’t broody, and they only go broody twice or once annually.  However, hens from this breed make fabulous mothers.

These birds are quite intelligent and pretty easy to maintain and handle.  Even Ayam Cemani roosters are friendly and don’t pick fights with other breeds.  Nonetheless, roosters are good at defending their flocks from other chickens and intruders.

– Lifespan

Ayam Cemani chickens are hardy, and most live for between six and eight years.  The lifespan of these birds can be longer when they live under proper living conditions.  Nonetheless, diseases, predators, and poor living conditions can shorten their lifespan.

– Egg Production

Although people keep the Ayam Cemani chicken breed for meat and eggs, this breed is a relatively poor egg layer.  Hens usually lay about 80 eggs annually, averaging about an egg weekly.  They don’t lay for an extended time.  Hens usually lay between 20 and 30 eggs and then cease laying.

Hens can stop laying for about six months and resume again.  Although hens are poor layers compared to other prolific laying breeds, they lay large, cream-colored eggs.  Their eggs have a pink tint, but they aren’t black.

– Meat Production

Ayam Cemani chickens may be relatively poor egg layers, but they are lovely meat birds.  Ayam Cemani chickens, especially roosters, are great meat producers.  Their meat tastes like regular chicken meat, although it is more savory than regular chicken meat.

Furthermore, the meat has a softer texture when cooked, and it’s easier to cut the meat.  Although the meat retains its black color after cooking, the rich black pigmentation on the meat makes it delicious and savory.

Although Ayam Cemani chickens don’t produce large quantities of meat like other terrific meat birds, their meat is tasty, tender, and easy to infuse with multiple recipes.

Ayam Cemani Chicken Care

Ayam Cemani chickens are rewarding birds to raise, especially in backyards.  They thrive in colder climates and are pretty hardy, unlike most breeds.  Nonetheless, these chickens need great care to thrive.  The Ayam Cemani chicken care guide below will guide you on how to take good care of your Ayam Cemani chickens.

– Feeding & Nutrition

Ayam Cemani baby chicks usually eat pellets or crumbles, unlike adult Ayam Cemani chickens that eat multiple food items.  Ideally, your Ayam Cemani baby chicks should consume a feed not containing less than 20 % protein.

Baby chickens require more protein than adult chickens because they need to grow feathers within weeks.  The more protein your Ayam Cemani chicks will eat, the faster your chicks will grow feathers.

Continue feeding your Ayam Cemani chickens a quality starter feed until they are at least seven weeks old.  Switch to regular chicken feed after seven weeks, although you must ensure the feed has enough protein and other crucial nutrients.

Pullets and young hens also need a moderate amount of protein.  Hens need at least 15% protein in their diet because protein is crucial for egg formation in Ayam Cemani hens.  Devoid of enough protein, your hens will lay low-quality eggs, although they may cease laying altogether.

Ayam Cemani hens also need calcium like other hens.  Your hens will lay low-quality eggs if they lack sufficient calcium in their diet.  Considering that Ayam Cemani chickens lay large–sized eggs, these hens need more calcium than the average breed to help them produce quality eggs.

Adult Ayam Cemani chickens need many nutrients, including vitamins and other minerals.  For instance, your Ayam Cemani chickens will need vitamin D to help them maintain bone health and to avoid instances of your chickens suffering from rickets and bone deformities.

Although your chickens will get vitamin D from sunlight, they may need more of it during winter when daylight hours are remarkably low.  Therefore, giving your chickens vitamin D-rich foods will help them meet their vitamin D requirements.  Vitamin D is vital for a chicken’s normal growth, egg production, and shell quality.

Greens, fruits, and other leafy vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins C, K, and A for your Ayam Cemani chickens.  For instance, fruits are rich in vitamin C, boosting your chickens’ immunity.  Vitamin K will help your chickens develop a robust vision because vitamin K deficiency can lead to vision problems in chickens, including Ayam Cemani chickens.

Some excellent vegetables that will give your Ayam Cemani chickens multiple vitamins include broccoli, cabbage, chard, spinach, kale, and lettuce.  You can either toss whole vegetables into the coop or cut them into pieces to make it easier for the birds to consume the vegetables.

For the fruits, you can provide your Ayam Cemani chickens with a wide array of fruits, including melons, tomatoes, mangoes, and berries.  Your chicken will love pecking the fruits, particularly in summer when your birds need to overcome heat stress and stay cool.

Ayam Cemani chickens also love treats like other birds.  Fortunately, there are many excellent treats for Ayam Cemani chickens.  For instance, you can try healthy treats like mealworms, wheat, seeds, and fishmeal.

Some farmers usually give their Ayam Cemani chickens kitchen scraps, although they may be unhealthy for the birds, especially if they have spices.  That’s why you must ensure that all the treats you give your chickens are nutritious and healthy.

Apart from food, Ayam Cemani chickens also need water.  First, water will help the birds digest the foods they consume.  Secondly, water keeps your chicken hydrated and less likely to succumb to dehydration.

Most importantly, fresh water will help your Ayam Cemani chickens overcome heat stress, specifically during summer.  Although water is vital for Ayam Cemani chickens, dirty water can make your chickens sick, so you must keep changing the water to ensure the chickens drink clean water.

– Housing

Ayam Cemani chickens don’t need ample living space like larger breeds because these chickens are small to medium-sized birds.  These chickens love free-ranging and won’t remain in the coop for long.  However, your Ayam Cemani chickens will need sufficient living space.

After all, your chickens won’t spend the night out in the cold and where they are susceptible to predators.  Consequently, a coop is a necessity when raising Ayam Cemani chickens.  Every chicken requires at least 4×4 inches of space.

Consequently, the cage should be spacious and comfortable for the chickens.  Keeping too many Ayam Cemani chickens in a smaller cage can be problematic since the chickens frequently fight over space.  Furthermore, a small coop can encourage inappropriate behaviors in your Ayam Cemani chickens, such as cannibalism and pecking.

The coop should also have a secure door to deter predators like possums and raccoons from opening the coop and attacking your Ayam Cemani chickens.  The coop’s wire should be strong enough because some sneaky predators can get into the cage through the wire.  The best chicken wire should have very tiny holes and be sturdy.

Like other breeds, Ayam Cemani chickens enjoy sleeping on roosts because that is where they are comfortable.  Have enough roosts in the cage for your Ayam Cemani chickens.  Otherwise, the chickens will roost on the floor, where they will get dirty.

The ideal coop for Ayam Cemani chickens should also have clean and comfortable bedding.  Straw, hay, sand, and sawdust can make excellent bedding for your Ayam Cemani chickens.

Cleanliness is also vital for Ayam Cemani chickens.  These chickens thrive well in clean coops because staying in dirty pens can be risky for chickens due to the prevalence of harmful bacteria and pests that thrive in filthy conditions.  Thus, clean your cage weekly to remove droppings, feed leftovers, and spillages that make a coop dirty over time.

– Health Problems

Ayam Cemani chickens are hardy and don’t experience many health problems like most breeds.  These chickens can live for many years without special health care.  Nonetheless, Ayam Cemani chickens are equally vulnerable to some health conditions.

For instance, these chickens’ most significant health concern is Avian influenza, also called bird flu.  This respiratory chicken disease usually affects young Ayam Cemani chickens, although adult chickens can also catch the disease.  The primary symptoms of this health condition include difficulty breathing, lethargy, and panting.  Ayam chickens usually get Avian Influenza from wild birds.

Baby Ayam Cemani chickens are susceptible to Omphalitis, which causes inflammation of their navels.  The condition usually attacks newly hatched chickens and is transmissible from one bird to another.  Chicks with this disease appear droopy or tired.  They also appear weak and lethargic.

Botulism is another health concern among Ayam Cemani chickens.  Chickens get this condition from ingesting toxic bacteria.  All wild birds and domestic fowl are vulnerable to botulism.  The most evident signs of botulism in Ayam Cemani chickens include lameness, weakness, and lethargy.

Although Ayam Cemani chickens aren’t as vulnerable to Fowl Typhoid as other birds, these chickens may sometimes contract this disease.  Chickens with Fowl Typhoid usually show many signs, including loss of appetite, pasting, weakness, and increased thirst.

While any Ayam Cemani chicken can get Fowl Typhoid, the conditions usually occur in younger Ayam Cemani chickens.

How Much do Ayam Cemani Chickens Cost?

Because Ayam Cemani chickens are rare, they are more expensive than other breeds.  An Ayam Cemani baby chicken can cost around $20 per chick.  Roosters can cost below $50, while hens cost less than $70.

Are Ayam Cemani Chickens Good for Beginners?

Yes, Ayam Cemani chickens are great for beginners.  These chickens are easy to maintain and raise.  They are also extremely hardy and can survive in cold climates.  Because Ayam Cemani chickens are medium-sized to small birds, they only require a little space.  Therefore, you can raise many Ayam Cemani chickens in a standard coop.

Are Ayam Cemani Chickens Hardy?

Yes, Ayam Cemani chickens are hardy.  These birds can withstand cold, and they rarely fall sick.  These chickens have a low mortality rate thanks to them being hardy.

Can Ayam Cemani Chicken Fly?

Yes, Ayam Cemani Chickens are flighty.  These chickens will occasionally fly, especially when threatened.  However, they don’t fly too far, and they always opt to remain around their homes.

Tips on Keeping Ayam Cemani Chickens

  • Start raising Ayam Cemani chickens when they are chicks and care for the chicks until adulthood.
  • Keep your Ayam Cemani chickens away from predators
  • Give a nutritious diet to your Ayam Cemani chickens
  • Monitor your chickens’ health progress and seek treatment as soon as the birds show signs of illness
  • Keep your chickens in good and clean conditions


Ayam Cemani chickens might be rare compared to other breeds, but these birds make extraordinary chickens to raise for either meat or eggs.  Ayam Cemani chickens are pretty easy to maintain.  These birds are friendly, intelligent, calm, and docile.  They are particularly great for inexperienced chicken keepers.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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