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The Sumatra chicken breed is known for its striking black plumage and elegant appearance. This breed originated from the Indonesian island of Sumatra and is popular for its beauty and unique characteristics.

Sumatras are medium-sized birds with a compact body and a distinctive upright posture. Despite their stunning appearance, Sumatra chickens are primarily bred for exhibition purposes rather than for meat or egg production. They are known for their active and agile nature and make excellent foragers.

With their glossy black feathers, Sumatras are certainly eye-catching and a wonderful addition to any flock.


Lush green forests, extensive rice fields, and stunning beaches form the scenic beauty of Sumatra, an Indonesian island. Amidst this captivating landscape, an exceptional breed of chickens known as Sumatra chickens thrive. With their striking appearance and intriguing history, Sumatra chickens have become a favored breed among poultry enthusiasts.

In this section, we will delve into the history of Sumatra chickens, exploring their origins, characteristics, and prominence in the world of poultry farming.

Origins Of Sumatra Chickens

  • Heritage from Southeast Asia: Sumatra chickens trace their lineage back to the island from which they derive their name – Sumatra. However, their exact origins remain unclear, with some theories suggesting they were brought to the island by Chinese traders.
  • Bred for Cockfighting: Initially, Sumatra chickens were bred specifically for cockfighting purposes due to their formidable fighting abilities. Their sleek and stately appearance made them a sought-after breed for these competitive events.

Prominence In Poultry Farming

  • Ornamental Appeal: Despite cockfighting becoming less prevalent nowadays, Sumatra chickens have found a new purpose as ornamental birds. Their remarkable beauty and graceful demeanor make them a popular choice for hobbyists and backyard enthusiasts.
  • Genetic Preservation: With an impressive genetic lineage, Sumatra chickens play a crucial role in preserving the diversity of poultry breeds. The Sumatra breed is recognized internationally, and breeders across the globe work to maintain the breed’s integrity and distinctive characteristics.
  • Egg-Laying Abilities: While Sumatra chickens may not be the most prolific egg layers, they do produce a modest number of large, dark-brown eggs. This quality, combined with their stunning appearance, makes them a prized addition to the backyard flock.

Sumatra chickens have a rich history woven with both tradition and ornamental appeal. Their striking appearance, distinct characteristics, and prominent role in poultry farming make them a captivating and sought-after breed. Whether admired for their exquisite plumage, admired for their historical significance, or cherished for their genetic preservation, these chickens continue to fascinate and inspire poultry enthusiasts worldwide.

So let’s embark on this journey to discover more about Sumatra chickens!

Blauwe Sumatra
Wanny, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

General Characteristics

The Sumatra chicken breed is known for its distinct general characteristics that set it apart from other poultry. With its sleek, glossy black feathers, upright posture, and strong muscular build, the Sumatra chicken is both aesthetically pleasing and agile. This breed is a popular choice for those seeking a unique addition to their flock.


  • Sleek and slender body shape.
  • Distinctive upright stance.
  • Graceful and agile movements.
  • Glossy, jet-black feathers that shimmer in sunlight.
  • Beautiful iridescent green sheen on feathers.

Egg Production

  • Relatively small-sized eggs.
  • Creamy or tinted color eggs.
  • Moderately good layers, producing around 100-120 eggs per year.
  • Slower to mature and start laying compared to other breeds.

Lifespan And Durability

  • Long-lived breed, with an average lifespan of 7 to 9 years.
  • Hardy and adaptable to various climates.
  • Tolerant of heat and cold conditions.
  • Resistant to many diseases.

Exhibition Qualities

  • Sumatra chickens are often showcased in poultry shows for their unique appearance.
  • Highly valued for exhibition purposes due to their stylish presentation.
  • Prized for their upright posture and elegant carriage.

Breeding And Genetics

  • Purebred Sumatra chickens are relatively rare.
  • Breeding requires careful selection to maintain desired traits.
  • Breeders often focus on improving plumage color and stance.
  • Crossbreeding may result in offspring with diluted black coloration.

Conservation Status

  • Considered a rare breed by the American Poultry Association (APA).
  • Conservation efforts are in place to preserve and increase the breed’s numbers.
  • Dedicated breeders and enthusiasts strive to promote Sumatra chickens to prevent them from becoming extinct.

As you can see, Sumatra chickens possess a range of unique characteristics that set them apart from other chicken breeds. From their striking appearance to their hardiness and exhibition qualities, these birds are truly captivating. Whether you’re looking to raise them for exhibition or simply enjoy their company, Sumatra chickens are sure to bring a touch of elegance and charm to your flock.


The Temperament of the Sumatra chicken breed is known for being active, independent, and full of energy. These chickens have a strong and adventurous personality, making them a great choice for free-range environments. Their curious nature and ability to adapt to different climates make them a popular breed among chicken enthusiasts.

The Sumatra chicken breed is well-known for its unique and distinct temperament. Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced poultry keeper, understanding the temperament of these chickens is essential for a successful flock. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Active and Energetic: Sumatra chickens are filled with energy and are always on the move. They love to explore their surroundings and are a delight to watch as they dart around the yard.
  • Independent: These chickens have a strong sense of independence. They enjoy free-ranging and are quite capable of taking care of themselves.
  • Flighty and Skittish: Sumatras can be quite skittish at times, easily alarmed by sudden movements or loud noises. Their natural instinct is to flee rather than fight.
  • Curious: With their active minds, Sumatras are inquisitive by nature. They enjoy investigating new objects and surroundings, making them excellent foragers.
  • Non-Aggressive: Despite their flighty nature, Sumatras are generally peaceful and non-aggressive towards humans and other chickens. They’re a great addition to a mixed flock.

Now that you have a better understanding of the Sumatra chicken breed’s temperament, you can create an environment that caters to their needs and allows them to thrive.

Comb Types

The Sumatra chicken breed is known for its elegant appearance and distinct comb types, which include the single comb and the walnut comb. These comb variations add visual interest to the breed and make them stand out among other chicken breeds.

Single Comb

  • The most common comb type found in Sumatra chickens is the single comb.
  • This comb type is characterized by a single row of evenly spaced, upright points.
  • The single comb is known for its moderate size and gentle slope towards the bird’s neck.
  • Despite its simplicity, the single comb on Sumatra chickens adds an elegant touch to their overall appearance.

Walnut Comb

  • Another interesting comb type seen in some Sumatra chickens is the walnut comb.
  • The walnut comb is unique in shape, resembling a small, rounded leaf or a walnut.
  • This comb type is compact and tightly packed, covering the bird’s head without protruding significantly.
  • The walnut comb is known for its attractive appearance and suitability for cold climates.

V-Shaped Comb

  • While not as common as the single and walnut combs, some Sumatra chickens may exhibit a V-shaped comb.
  • This comb type resembles the letter “V” and is characterized by two distinct upright points that meet at a central ridge.
  • The V-shaped comb is considered visually appealing and adds a touch of flair to the overall look of Sumatra chickens.

Pea Comb

  • The pea comb, although rare, can occasionally be found in Sumatra chickens.
  • This comb type is low profile and broad, with multiple small, rounded points resembling a cluster of peas.
  • Sumatra chickens with a pea comb are known for their resilience in extreme temperatures.
  • The unique appearance of the pea comb adds to the charm of these already captivating birds.

Rose Comb

  • In some rare instances, Sumatra chickens may exhibit a rose comb.
  • The rose comb is characterized by a low profile, flat shape with a smooth surface.
  • This comb type is wide at the base and tapers towards the bird’s beak.
  • While not commonly seen in Sumatra chickens, the rose comb is visually intriguing and adds to the breed’s overall diversity.

Sumatra chickens possess a variety of comb types, each contributing to their unique appearance and charm. Whether it’s the elegant single comb, the compact walnut comb, the distinct V-shape, the low-profile pea comb, or the intriguing rose comb, these comb variations make Sumatra chickens even more interesting to enthusiasts.

Explore the different comb types if you’re seeking a poultry breed with striking looks and captivating features.


The Sumatra chicken breed is a fascinating and unique breed that offers both beauty and practicality for poultry enthusiasts. With its striking black plumage, long flowing tail feathers, and upright stance, the Sumatra chicken is a true showstopper in any flock.

Not only are they visually stunning, but they are also excellent foragers and have a calm and docile temperament, making them a joy to raise. These chickens have a rich history that dates back centuries and have become increasingly popular among backyard chicken keepers in recent years.

Their hardy nature allows them to adapt well to different climates and environments, making them a versatile choice for chicken owners around the world. Whether you’re looking to add a touch of elegance to your flock or want a reliable breed for egg production, the Sumatra chicken delivers on both fronts.

From their impressive appearance to their practicality, it’s no wonder why this breed has gained a loyal following. So, add some allure to your flock with the gorgeous Sumatra chicken breed and enjoy its unique beauty and practical benefits. Happy chicken keeping!

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