Ayam Cemani chickens are the blackest birds you've ever seen, putting run-of-the mill crows and ravens to shame.
Lovers of really, REALLY dark meat will flip over the Ayam Cemani chicken, a unique breed of feathered fowl from Indonesia that's pitch black inside and out, from their inky cockscombs to their ebony bones. In fact, only their blood is red and their eggs are white – we still wouldn't recommend making omelets with them.
Ayam Cemani chickens are, to quote Nigel from Spinal Tap, “none more black”. Selective breeding and a genetic predisposition for fibromelanosis (a form of hyper-pigmentation) have resulted in a chicken with so much melanin, the dark pigment permeates their skin, bones, muscles and internal organs.
Not that the chickens themselves care – breeders like Phil Bradshaw of Greenfire Farms in Florida state the birds are friendly with a pleasant disposition. They only LOOK like they're intent on capturing your soul.
Ayam Cemani chickens are named for the village of Cemani in central Java. They're related to Silkie chickens, a breed originating in China that has black skin and bones. Ayam Cemani chickens take the Silkie's melanistic traits to the next, maybe the ultimate, level of blackness.
In their homeland, Ayam Cemani chickens are reputed to impart good fortune and prosperity to their owners. You'll need to BE prosperous and SPEND a good fortune to own one, though – a classic Chicken & Egg conundrum if there ever was! They don't call them the “Lamborghini of poultry” for nuthin! Check out this viral video (over 2 million views) to see these true “blackened” chickens in action. (images via Dolf van der Haven)