Chickens are cool birds to have in your compound. Apart from laying those tasty eggs and their popular white meat, I find it enjoyable watching them sand bath throwing dirt all over and singing different melodies. Among them are the black chicken which are part of my flock.
Chickens are available in many different colors. There are white ones, red, blue, black and white, spangled while some are laced with different shades.
How often do you see black chickens? Do you have any among your flock? If yes, well and if not perhaps this is the time you should consider keeping some. Let’s learn some of the black breeds of chicken you might consider.
Best Black Chicken Breeds
There are many common breeds of black chickens while some are not well known. Here are some of the black chicken breeds you should consider in your flock.
Silkie chickens are also called the Chinese chickens. Sources say they originated from there and the Southeast region in Asia.
Although the Silkie chicken breed can be found in various color varieties, the black variety is the most common of them all.
The black Silkies are small sized birds that are very calm and friendly. It’s their calm demeanor that makes these birds preferred as chicken pets.
This breed of chicken is very unique having a dark skin, dark greyish meat and even dark bones.
However, their feathers are fluffy and resemble downy fur because they lack barbicels like in normal chicken feathers.
Due to the nature of their feathers, they are unable to fly. On their feet, silkie chickens have five toes unlike other chicken breeds that have four.
Although they are kept as ornamental birds, female silkie chickens will give you 100 small eggs per year. The eggs are cream or tinted and have a single yolk. However, their laying pattern is often interrupted by their high tendency to go broody.
Silkies go broody very easily and they make good mothers as they raise young very well. In some places, people have used Silkie hens to raise young or even hatch eggs of other poultry birds and game birds.
Ayam Cemani chickens
The Ayam Cemani chicken is the most unique of all black chickens. This breed has black skin, meat, internal organs and bones. The blood is also different as it is darker than the usual chicken blood.
This breed originates from Indonesia where it is raised for meat. Indonesians say that they posses some magical powers and it is believed they can talk to the dead.
In the United States, this breed is highly priced due to rarity. There are just a few of them having set foot there in 1998.
Those who keep the Ayam Cemani regard them as a dual purpose breed. They can offer much meat and lay a good number of eggs.
A genetic condition known as fibro melanosis affects the pigmentation features of this breed making almost everything in it dark.
However, despite having many dark features, their eggs are cream colored and average sized. Ayam Cemani pullets will begin to lay when they are 5 to 6 months old.
Female Ayam Cemani chickens are not the type that you can rely on to hatch eggs. They are not very broody but when they hatch make sweet mothers.
The Australorp is another breed of black chicken. They are docile and friendly and will often come for treats like chicken scratch and dried mealworms.
Because female Autralorp chickens are good layers of large brown eggs, many love them for their shelled trophies since brown eggs are considered to be more tastier.
These chickens trace their ancestry from Australia where they were developed.
They are good with confinement and easily get along with people very well. In a good week, a bunch of five eggs is a guarantee.
Since they are large sized birds and good layers, they are considered as a dual purpose breed offering both meat and eggs.
Australorp chickens can be found in other color varieties like blue and white. Additionally, they are very savvy and will do well when allowed to range on their own collecting tasty bugs and insects.
These birds are considered to be large chickens. An average Australorp rooster weighs between 8to 10 ponds while a hen weighs 6 to 7 pounds.
From the Island of Minorca in Spain comes this chicken breed. They love human company so much but when frightened; Minorca’s will flee by flying in the air.
In a good week, 4 large white eggs are a guarantee. Female Minorca chickens are known to lay even double yolked eggs. In a year, the hens will lay a clutch of 150 to 200 eggs.
However, they are not very broody but when they hatch they make sweet mothers.
In Spain, Minorca chicken breed faces the danger of being wiped out and they are almost extinct. However, conservation efforts have been put in order to try and raise their numbers back.
Minorca chickens are large and hardy but their combs suffer from frost bite during winter months. At such times, raise them indoors confined in a heated chicken coop.
These birds are fairly large and will offer enough meat for a family when butchered. Minorca roosters weighs 9lbs while the hens weigh 7lbs.
The Black Shumen chickens originates from Bulgaria. Here, they are currently listed as an endangered species because they are almost wiped out.
Sensitization and awareness is being created by the Bulgarian government to help breed these birds and popularize them again.
They are very aggressive and flighty and do not like any responsibilities of hatching and raising young. Black Shumen’s are black in color with prominent wattles and combs, grey black shanks and white skin.
They offer very little meat, mature quickly than other breeds and lay cream colored eggs.
Langshan breed of chicken is said to originate from China and are available in different varieties. These chickens are prolific layers of dark brown eggs.
Some Langshan’s have feathers on their feet though not much of it. They are black in color, tall and are good for meat and eggs.
Additionally, they have a small rose comb which makes them handle winter weather pretty well. Face, combs and wattles are red while the earlobes are grey. The beak is black and the eye color is bay. Their legs are grey with four toes on each foot.
Jersey Giant chicken
Jersey Giant chickens are large birds with long necks and wide bodies. These chickens have bright red wattles, earlobes and combs. Jersey Giants are heavy and can weigh up to 13 pounds.
Because they are large and make good egg layers, they are classified as a a dual purpose breed of chicken offering substantive amounts of meat and enough eggs for the market.
Their large sizes comes at an extra cost as they eat a lot and this makes them forage well too. Jersey Giant chickens will also do well when raised in confinement as long as they get enough food.
In addition to that, they are very hardy and cold resistant. Their body size makes Jersey giant roosters good guardians because they are able to intimidate small chicken predators.
Sumatra chickens are easily recognizable with their long tail feathers. They are rare and are often kept as an ornamental chicken breed. They originate from Indonesia where they were raised for cock fighting.
Sumatra’s are poor egg layers and require large space as they can jump and fly easily. Although black is the only recognized color, there are other color varieties although rare.
The Ancona chickens originates from the Marches region in Italy. They are named after the capital of Marches, Ancona. This breed is popular in Britain and the US where it has been extensively bred.
They are a Mediterranean breed of chicken with black feathers mottled with white. These birds are a hardy breed which easily takes flight because they are easily scared.
Ancona chickens have yellow legs with few black spots, yellow beaks with black stripes on the upper mandibles and white earlobes.
Ancona hens are good egg layers and in a year they can lay 220 white shelled eggs. Female Ancona chickens have a little tendency to go broody while pullets are ready to lay at the age of 5 months.
Their combs are medium sized with five well marked points. They fall gracefully on one side in hens while in the roosters they are upright with well marked visible peaks.
Common questions people ask about black chicken breeds
What breed of chicken is black?
Ayam Cemani is the most pigmented breed of chicken. They have black feathers, skin, bones, meat and internal organs. Their blood is darker than that of other common breeds.
These chickens have a condition known as fibro melanosis that makes them hyper pigmented with melanin. However, there are a variety of black chickens and the list is endless.
Do black chickens lay black eggs?
Although some chickens are very dark with some parts and organs black, they don’t lay black eggs. Actually no chicken breed lays black eggs.
The black color of some breeds is as a result of genetic disorder called fibro melanosis. Egg shell color may vary with different chickens with some being white, cream, blue, speckled while some are brown.
Black eggs are associated with a duck breed called the Cayuga but not in chickens. Although Cayuga ducks can lay black eggs, the color changes to dark, light and eventually white or cream as they age.
How many breeds of black chicken are there?
There are 14 known pure breeds of black chickens. However, there are other breeds of chicken with black plumage and shades of other colors like white.
Why are black chickens so expensive?
The high price of some black chicken breeds is as a result of rarity. Some breeds are so rare that in countries of origin they are listed as an endangered species.