Other common names: Sigun Chicken; Kampung Chicken
The Malay is an "Asian Hard Feather" breed of chicken originating in Asia, most likely in northern India. It is unknown why they were called Malay, but perhaps because of a mistake by the former East India Company, when they introduced that exotic new breed around 1570. The Malay was first shown in England in 1845, and was included in the first British Book of Standards of 1865. At the turn of the twentieth century the Malay was the first breed to be bantamized, the bantams proving to be more popular than the large fowl.
Unfortunately, the Malay Chicken is currently rare, and has been given a classification of "threatened" by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
Types: Bantam, Largefowl
Varieties (Strawberry Comb): Black, Black Breasted Red, Red Pyle, Spangled, Wheaten, White
Personality: Very tame and easily handled. Roosters are highly aggressive amongst one another, and hens are on the top of the pecking order. Great, caution should be taken, when adding these birds to a flock.
Bantam: 36 - 44 oz
Largefowl: 7 - 9 lbs
Preferred climate: Warm
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg production: Fair (2/week)
Egg color: Light Brown
Egg size: Large
What else you should know:
Malays are very rare and sadly many lines suffer from health issues. Some have tremors, and other genetic disorders. Culling for health is essential. Malays (particularly young cockerels) can develop issues walking, so putting them on a low protein diet is important. This usually occurs around 12-16 weeks of age.
Malay chickens have long legs that hold a great deal of weight. Because of this proper feeding is important. Unlike many game breeds, birds grow better on lower protein diets as it allows them to mature slower. Besides this Malays should consume plenty of fruits, veggies, and bugs.
Ayam Kampung, cock fights, Philippines, Javanese families, ‘kampung chicken
My Primary School Experience with the Malay Chicken
My first contact with the Malay chicken, or the ‘kampung chicken’ as they are termed locally, was in my primary school days, from the age of seven to twelve. Being a child living in urban Singapore, chickens were not a common sight except along supermarket aisles or “wet markets” (that are few and far between now).
I suspect that in my convent school, the nuns used them to teach us the value of responsibility as well as just to have a laugh at our expense. At some point, each class was given the duty of feeding the chickens with calcium rich chicken feed. We carried out rotational duties feeding the chickens and other animals on our school property as well as watering bushes and plants. Obviously, as with all flora and fauna in our school, they also served an educational teaching point.
This breed of chicken is common in South East Asia and is still valued for two reasons – the compatibility of the tougher, fibrous meat with the kind of foods that are cooked in South East Asia such as stews, curries and double-boiled herbal soups (often used as tonics), accompanied by lots of seasoning with spices as well as the use of the roosters in cock-fights as these roosters are pretty aggressive to put it mildly.
The hens were fun to watch from afar and thrived really well in big, clean enclosures. They also provided the eggs over the years, for our home economic classes. Luckily, at least for me, we did not use the meat of the hens, as I treated them almost like pets.
Today, while hardly anybody breeds them in Singapore, they are still quite a common sight in rural Malaysia, our neighboring country, where they are bred for food, eggs and cock-fighting as well as for participation in poultry shows.
While they are not much to look at in terms of their color and appearance which is often described as ‘beady eyed’ or cruel, and are hard-feathered, they are much more muscular than other chickens species.
Myths about their vitality and nutritional properties are still common place as there are many eateries or coffee shops in Singapore that tout using only ‘kampung chicken’ in their chicken dishes and often there are entire eateries dedicated to serving up that one dish, the ‘kampung’ or Malay chicken, where the skinned chicken carcasses are proudly hung in widow displays..
From DianeTiwana Mar 25 2014 5:38PM