Ayam Cemani

An Ayam Cemani cock
Photo courtesy of Jan Steverink

The Ayam Cemani is a variety of the Kedu.

text by
Jan Steverink

Little is known about this breed. Ayam is the Indonesian word for chicken; Cemani is a village near the central Javanese town of Solo. The breed is found in Central and East Java, Madura Island and in Sumatra. Many crosses and variants are found.

Ayam Cemani, especially the perfect black ones, can have a very high value in Indonesia, because it is believed that they possess mystical powers.

The breed was first described in the 1920's, by dutch colonists. The major "founder" of the breed is believed to be Mr. Tjokromihardjo from Grabag, Magelang, a town in Central Java, whose son is nowadays owner of a big commercial layer farm. But even earlier, similar birds have long been used in ceremonies by Javanese courts.

The most important characteristic of Ayam Cemani is that it is completely black: black plumage with a greenish shine, black legs and toe nails, black beak and tongue, black comb and wattles, black meat and bones and even (?) black blood and organs.

Body weight for males is 1.8 kg, for females 1-1.2 kg. They have a narrow, compact body, a single comb with 7 tips, a straight, flat tail, just touching the ground. The long legs have long sharp spurs.

Since there have not been any exhibition birds yet, it is difficult to give an exact description of the breed. A joint effort should be made to come to an international standard, and to breed a population of Cemanis and preserve some of their very unique characteristics.


Cemani Links:

Here's the Cemani homepage

Cemani at Onagadori South Feather Farm

An interesting Indonesian article on Ayam Cemani


A brief film (21MB) of a pair of "Ayam Cemani"
Film courtesy of Greenfire Farms


A pair of Ayam Cemani
Photos courtesy of Greenfire Farms

Another Cemani rooster
Photo courtesy of Nikolai Ahlbrecht

Here you can see the black skin of the Ayam Cemani
Photo courtesy of Toni-Marie Astin

A young pair of Ayam Cemani
Photos courtesy of Tony Powell

Head shots of Ayam Cemani
Photos courtesy of Greenfire Farms

A five-month-old pullet
Photo courtesy of Tony Powell

Yet another Ayam Cemani rooster
Photo courtesy of Julia Keeling

Cemani cockerel and pullet
Photos courtesy of Greenfire Farms

A cockerel at 5 months
Photos courtesy of Tony Powell

An Ayam Cemani cockerel from the UK
Photo courtesy of Rupert Stephenson

Another Cemani hen
Photo courtesy of Toni-Marie Astin


Ayam Cemani chicks
Photos courtesy of Tony Powell

A Cemani cockerel chick and his head
Photos courtesy of
Greenfire Farms

A Cemani pullet chick and her head
Photos courtesy of Greenfire Farms

Another Cemani chick
Photo courtesy of Greenfire Farms


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