This breed of chicken has been raised on the island of Java since the 12th century. Cemani have a dominant gene that causes hyperpigmentation, making most of their body black: from feathers, eyes, beaks, crests, paws, claws to internal organs.
International media called Cemani the most expensive chicken in the world, which can be up to 5,000 USD/pair (about 114 million VND).
Tarmudi, owner of a chicken farm in Java and also president of the Cemani Breeders Association in Indonesia, said the chicken was raised in Kedu village, Temanggung Regency of Central Java province.
He said: “I never noticed how many chickens I sold per month, but at least about 30. For chicks from 2-3 months old, each pair we sell for 100 USD. (nearly 3 million VND) for a child with a black tongue and $27 (over VND 600,000) for a child with a gray tongue.
According to Tarmudi, the price of a pair of adult Cemani chickens about 8-12 months old is about 400-500 USD (ranging from 9-11 million VND).
The owner of this chicken farm explains that the natural black color is the main factor that makes the Cemani the most expensive chicken in the world. However, the high mortality rate makes it difficult to mass-produce the Cemani breed. Tarmudi said his farm has sent Cemani eggs to many countries around the world because sending chickens is difficult and expensive.
With the interest of foreign collectors in Cemani, Mr. Tarmudi and friends hope that the government will make it easier to export them abroad.
Rare chickens are highly regarded in Indonesia as many people believe that they have magical powers and are seen as a symbol of good luck. Due to its jet-black color, the chicken looks mystical and is often used for rituals, according to Mr. Tarmudi.
Cemani lays about 80 eggs per year, while normal free-range chickens can lay more than 100 eggs, and industrial chickens can lay more than 300 eggs per year.
In particular, the Cemani chicks hatched without feathers. So temperatures that are too cold or too hot can cause them to paralyze and die.