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Black Sumatra Chickens - A Rare, Intelligent & Beautiful Chicken Breed

By Edited Jun 18, 2015 1 0

Black Sumatra Rare Chickens

Characteristics

The Black Sumatras are an extremely rare chicken breed.  They are an unsual and beautiful looking chicken with their dark plum coloured faces, tiny pea comb, slender shape, and long graceful tails.  Black Sumatrans are a long-lived breed, exceeding 15 years in some cases.

The Sumatra has been in North America over 150 years, originally imported for cock-fighting.  This is reason enough for most reasonable chicken keepers to give pause, but the breed is more reasonable than one might expect. 

The Sumatra's comb and face can become pink when inside over the winter and soon returns to deep black once out in the sun daily. The bones are black and all the feathering, and the beetle green gloss is gorgeous in bright sunshine.

The Sumatras are a light chicken (roosters 5 lbs and hens 4 lb) and are considered one of the best fliers.  They seldom fly higher than waist height over distances or for longer than 30 feet, but they are agile and can fly and jump 6 feet high at times and like to roost high up. 

Roosters often avoid injury when attacked by lightly flying up over their opponent.  The roosters have multiple sharp-pointed almost square spurs.  The breed standard is to have at least 2 spurs, but the more the better when showing.

Black Sumatra Rare Chickens

Temperament

This rare breed from the island of Sumatra are extremely intelligent.  Temperament varies widely between individual Sumatras even from one source.  The Black Sumatra are considered undomesticated and almost a wild fowl but are certainly a most intelligent breed with excellent predator avoidance instincts.  Sumatras will roost in trees on fine nights and are excellent foragers.

Friendly Black Sumatras are talkative and chatter incessantly.  Sumatras make unique clucking noises.  The right individuals make excellent pets and are often drawn to one individual and won't tolerate others.  Black Sumatras can be quite demanding of attention when they decide want it.  Some Sumatras don't become tame til laying age, 4 months old, other Sumatras come running as day old chicks, some never become tame and remain extremely flighty.

Sumatras can generally be flighty in the coop, and seem most content free-ranging, foraging and dust-bathing in the summer.  The breed are extremely cold hardy but temperament become quiet and clingy in the winter.

Hens are often high on the pecking order but neither sex is usually aggressive or antagonistic to other breeds of chicken.  Multiple Sumatra males can be aggressive to each other, hens get along wonderfully and seem to prefer the company of other Sumatras in a mixed breed flock.

Egg-Laying and broodiness of Black Sumatra Chickens

Black Sumatras readily go broody in the summer and are excellent mothers.  They seldom go broody when temperatures are cold.  Black Sumatra roosters become more amorous when the thermometer tops 30 degrees Celsius, then shortly afterwards the Sumatra hens head for their secret nests.  

They lay medium chalky white eggs maybe 3-4 a week on average, though they can easily lay 6-7 in a week in the summer when filling a nest somewhere.

Black Sumatras are Rare

And Worth Having

Researching breeds and reading about Top 10 Favourite Heritage breeds is interesting.  After reading about this enchanting Black Sumatra breed, I hope it has given you an insight to their behaviour and character, and may allay any doubts  about temperament.  Friendly, vigorous, smart and beautiful chickens are always an asset to any flock.

Friendly chickens in your flock are fun and other rare and heritage chicken breeds of note are the Canadian Partridge Chantecler and the endearing bantam Lavender d'Uccle.  Another super rare Heritage poultry breed, very new to North America, are the very, very rare and friendly Euskal Oiloak (Basque hen).

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