Wake Up Call

Black Indonesian Ayam Cemani Chickens Will Cost You $5,000 a Pair

There's a whole market out there for exotic breeds of chickens. As in livestock that can cost you anywhere from $50 a bird to thousands of dollar for a pair. But the king of the expensive fowl would have to be the Indonesian chicken breed Ayam Cemani, which will run you $2,500 a pop.

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In case you couldn't tell by the price tag, these aren't your friendly neighborhood hipster chickens. These birds are extremely rare and difficult to breed, according to Paul Bradshaw of Florida's Greenfire Farms. Greenfire will be the first breeder to have these chickens in the United States., though the birds won't be available until spring 2014.

So what's so special about this breed? Well, a lot of the draw is aesthetic. The Ayam Cemani chickens are entirely black, from their combs to their muscles, bones, and internal organs.

"They're stunningly beautiful, like staring into a black hole," Bradshaw told Food + Wine Magazine.

The birds have been known to carry a high value in Indonesia, where they are believed to have mystical powers. Their beautiful, ink-colored feathers also are highly prized because of their shimmer and metallic, colorful sheen. "Ayam" is the Indonesian word for chicken, while "Cemani" means "completely black" in Javanese, the language of the people from the central and eastern part of the island of Java. The breed was imported into Europe in 1998 and is related to the Swedish Black Chicken.

For more photos of the impressive breeding stock of Ayam Cemani chickens at Greenfire Farms, visit their website.

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria