Shamo vs Malay Chicken – What is the Difference?

Are you shopping around for the right type of chicken to raise in your backyard? Or you’re probably a farmer or an admirer of chickens. If you are, chances are you’ve probably heard about the Shamo and Malay chickens. These two breeds are quite similar but also possess unique differences that set them apart.

shamo vs malay chicken

Whether you’re looking to add either breed of chicken to your coop or just curious as to why they look so much alike yet different at the same time, this post dives into what sets the Shamo and Malay chickens apart.

What are Shamo Chickens?

shamo chicken

Shamo chickens are an ancient Japanese breed of chicken originating in the Satsuma province. These birds are renowned for their striking physical appearance, hardiness, and impressive fighting prowess. Originally bred as fighting birds over 400 years ago, Shamo chickens now enjoy a more peaceful life as ornamental birds or egg producers.

They are muscular and powerful with a bright and alert expression, a single comb, and deep mahogany feathers. While not used for fighting in modern times, they are still prized for their showy appearance and excellent egg production.

They are active birds that prefer to free-range rather than being cooped up in cages, making them an ideal choice for those looking to raise chickens.

What are Malay Chickens?

malay chicken

Malay chickens, also known as game chickens are an ancient breed of chicken originating in the Malay Peninsula. They are the tallest chickens with over 90cm in height.

These birds have a large physique, with long, flowing feathers and an upright stance. They were originally bred for blood sport and cockfighting, but today they make excellent show birds or egg-layers.

Malay chickens are well known for their hardiness and resistance to disease, as well as their impressive egg-laying capabilities. They are lively and active birds that do best when allowed to free-range rather than being kept in cages. Malay chickens make an ideal choice for those looking for a hardy and attractive chicken with good egg production.

Shamo Vs Malay Chicken

Shamo and Malay chickens are both popular options, but what sets them apart from one another? Let’s dive in and compare the two so you can determine which will work best for your situation.

– Appearance

Shamo chickens have a standard body size and shape, with a pea-shaped red comb on top of their head. They are muscular and powerful birds, with plumage that is usually mahogany or reddish brown. Their feathers do not cover the whole body and possess a small curving tail. They also have small bright red earlobes with pearl-colored eyes.

Malay chickens, on the other hand, are larger than Shamo birds, with an upright stance and long, flowing feathers. They also have a thicker and larger strawberry comb combined with a long neck. The Malay chicken has a short, broad, and hooked beak and its feathers are firm, narrow and so close to the body to give it a lustrous sheen.

– Size and Weight

Shamo chickens are typically about 7-8 pounds in weight and the roosters can reach up to 9-10 pounds. Malay chickens, on the other hand, can grow much larger and heavier, with both males and females reaching weights of up to 12 or 13 pounds.

In terms of size, Shamo birds tend to be shorter than Malay chickens, with the roosters standing at around 24-25 inches high compared to 28-30 inches for Malay birds. All in all, both breeds are quite large and robust birds that require plenty of space to roam and free-range.

– Temperament

Shamo chickens are generally docile and friendly birds, while Malay chickens tend to be more aggressive. Shamo chickens make excellent family pets, as they are quite gentle and easy to handle. However, they can be a bit shy around strangers and may require some socialization training to become accustomed to humans.

Malay chickens, on the other hand, tend to be more excitable, quarrelsome, and sometimes unpredictable. They typically require a strong hand when handling and may not make the best choice for novice chicken owners. They’re also prone to plucking each other’s feathers.

Both breeds are active birds that prefer free-range living, but Malay chickens have slightly higher energy levels and will require more space to roam.

– Egg Production

Shamo chickens are excellent egg layers, with hens laying up to 250 large brown or light brown eggs per year. Malay chickens, on the other hand, lay slightly more eggs than Shamo birds, with a maximum of around 300 large white or tinted medium-sized eggs annually.

However, both breeds are capable of producing good-quality eggs that can be used for eating or hatching.

– Meat Production

Shamo chickens are generally bred for their egg-laying capabilities and not for meat production. Malay chickens, on the other hand, can be used as dual-purpose birds for both eggs and meat.

The males tend to reach larger sizes than Shamo birds and have more developed muscles, making them a suitable choice for those looking to raise chickens for meat.

– Care and Housing

The Shamo and Malay chickens differ in their care and housing needs. Shamo chickens are a hardy breed of chicken that can survive with minimal human intervention, so they require less attention and resources than most other breeds.

They do not need a large or expensive coop or run and are usually kept free-ranged. Since they are naturally active birds, they will often roost in trees at night rather than stay inside the coop.

Malay chickens, on the other hand, require more attention and resources to thrive. Their natural environment is more humid than other breeds, so they need access to plenty of shade during hot weather. Additionally, Malay chickens need a larger coop with suitable ventilation as well as an appropriate run for their size.

They also require a larger feeder and water carrier, as well as special supplements to ensure they get the right nutrition. Finally, since Malay chickens are not as active as Shamo chickens, they should be provided with some form of enrichment in their coop or run to encourage physical activity.

In terms of care, both breeds are fairly easy to manage but the Malay chickens may require more time and effort when it comes to their care and housing.

However, both the Shamo and Malay chickens require a clean, secure housing environment with plenty of space to roam and forage. Both breeds need to be kept in a well-ventilated coop that is free from drafts and predators.


Although the Shamo and Malay chickens have several differences, both breeds have charms that make them stand out from other chickens. The next time you see either of these birds, take note of their size, appearance, and weight to mention a few. If you’re ever in doubt, use this information to make an informed choice about which bird is right for your needs.

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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