Other common names: Sumatran Pheasants; Java Pheasant Game Birds
The Sumatra Chicken originated on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Believed to be closely related to the jungle fowl, the Sumatra tends to have a personality which is more similar to wild game birds than domestic chickens. In 1847, Sumatra Chickens were exported from Sumatra to the United States and Europe for cockfighting. In 1883, the Black Sumatra was first inducted into the American Standard of Perfection, the official breed standard for the poultry fancy in North America.
Unfortunately, the Sumatra Chicken is currently highly endangered, and has been given a classification of "critical" by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. The "critical" category means, "Fewer than 500 breeding birds in the United States, with five or fewer primary breeding flocks (50 birds or more), and estimated global population less than 1,000."
Types: Bantam, Largefowl
Varieties (Pea Comb): Black, Blue, Dun, Khai, Platinum
Uses: Fishing Lures, Ornamental
Bantam: 22 - 24 oz
Largefowl: 4 - 5 lbs
Personality: Wild and alert
Preferred climate: Moderate
Handles confinement: No
Egg production: Fair
Egg color: Tinted
Egg size: Medium
What else you should know:
Roosters can be highly aggressive amongst each other and are best separated. Adding birds to the flock can become tricky, and it is often easiest to allow hens to brood and raise their chicks into the flock.
Some Sumatra's are human aggressive, and the breed is not recommended for children. If taking eggs from a broody hen, thick gloves are recommended.
Health of the Sumatra chicken varies amongst bloodlines. Some breeders claim them to be fragile and unsuitable for extreme temperatures.
watchful, exhibition type, charming fellows, great foragers, gorgeous chicken
small eggs, wild personality, flighty, scream bloody murder, protective long sleeves, pecks
Prima donnas, solid black feathers, primitive undomesticated breed
Sumatras are very intelligent!
I find temperaments vary a lot with the Sumatras. I have hens that will get into my coat in the winter for a cuddle, and had others that I couldn't catch unless it was dark and they were roosting.
We have had about 40 breeds and the Sumatras are the smartest, with Andalusians, D'Uccles and Euskal Oiloa (basque) almost as smart but not quite. I loved the look of these, but wrote them off as it says they are a primitive undomesticated breed in many of the books. I got them in 'the rarest of the rare' assortment form McMurrays 3.5 years ago and loved them. I still have the friendliest three and they are great characters.
Sumatras love the heat and dust bath when others are hiding in the shade. As soon as it gets really hot, the roosters get amorous and the hens lay like crazy then often go broody. I've never let mine sit as they want to set secretly and we have too many raccoons here. We think we lost one hen that way secretly sitting on eggs.
They seem inscrutable, calculating, and cold but can be quite affectionate. Don't rule them out. They are more like a cat in that they have people they love and others they won't go near. Mine love my 3 year old niece and they are like putty in her hands, and mine, but no one elses.
From skeffling Nov 12 2011 9:07PM
Warning! Gaurd Chickens On Duty !
Why would a farmer voluntarily spend almost ten times the cost of Rhode Island Red chicks for just twenty-five super tiny, fragile, ink black, rare Sumatra chicks ?
The answer to that is simple. I do not raise these for their egg laying ability or for their meat. I raise them for their feathers and for farm security.
These birds are very small and very fragile. They do not do well in extreme heat due to their ink black feathers. They do not do well in cold. They require a lot of bedding and heat lamps, and an insulated barn, They also lay very small, white eggs, infrequently. They hens lay about three eggs per week. They are so tiny, there is not much meat. The meat is rather rubbery and only good for stew.
But, their feathers are long, silky, and a shiny dark black with a greenish glitter in them. I love to fish and tie my own flies. These feathers attract brook trout like magnets.
Also, security systems can be super expensive. You don't need one when you have a few of these chickens around. The roosters and sometimes the hens are very territorial, super aggressive, and noisy watchdogs.
The males are escape artists and do not like to be caged. Make sure if you pen them up that you have the top of the pen covered with heavy wire or they will fly over the fence. The females guard their eggs. Make sure you wear heavy gloves and protective long sleeves and eye protection. You will get pecked.
If you allow them to free range, do not allow young children near the roosters. Watch dogs and cats, as well. I've watched one of these roosters chase and spur a 180 lb German Shepard and had a few attack me..
From PeggyG Apr 17 2015 6:33AM