There are many people that will call the Sumatra chicken one of the most beautiful chicken breeds in the world. You know what? It is pretty difficult to argue with that. This really is a stunning bird, and while it is not as popular as it was in the past but if you are looking for a chicken to brighten up the place that you live, the Sumatra chicken is it.
Let’s take a look at this breed in a bit more depth, shall we?
Sumatra Chicken Facts at a Glance
|Eggs||100 +/- per year|
|Egg Shell Color||Tinted shell|
|Temperament||Flighty and Aggressive|
|Recognized Variety||Black and Blue|
|Comb Type||Small pea comb|
|Weight||Male Standard: 5 lb. (2.2 kg) |
Male Bantam: 24 oz. (68g)
Female Standard: 4 lb. (1.8kg)
Female Bantam: 22 oz. (625 g)
|Country of origin||Indonesia|
Where Do They Come From?
The Sumatra chicken is a breed that was developed in Indonesia. It was admitted to the APA in 1883.
In the early 1800s, the bird was exported to Europe and in 1847 in the United States. This is because, while in Indonesia, the bird was heavily raised for cockfighting.
Since cockfighting was just started to take off in Europe and the United States, the Sumatra chicken was one of the first brought in.
This meant that for a lot of its life, the bird has been bred to be as strong as possible.
Of course, cockfighting has now died out in most countries around the world. The Sumatra chicken remains purely as a show chicken breed.
You will see why as we go through this page.
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The Look of the Sumatra Chicken
The main highlight of this breed of chicken is the fantastic good looks that it offers.
They have stunning plumage.
This is mostly going to be a black and green combination, although there are other colors available.
This bird should not have a wattle, although there are a few with tiny wattles. This doesn’t really impact any judgment during a show.
The males always have spurs on their legs.
This was bred into them when they were cockfighting chickens. After all, the spurs would have been good for aggression and winning fights.
As a Show Bird
The main purpose of the Sumatra chicken nowadays is as a show bird.
This isn’t really surprising, to be honest. As we said before, there are not that many chicken breeds out there that look as good as this one.
Sadly, the number of chicken shows featuring the Sumatra chicken seems to be going down.
This is, in part, because this chicken doesn’t really have any use outside of shows.
There are still a few Sumatra chicken breeders out there that are trying their best to ensure that this longtail chicken breed can thrive. However, we wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up going extinct eventually.
Now, competition for the shows that do still exist will be quite tough.
This means that this bird is probably just going to be an ornamental bird for many of you. However, you may want to think about that decision long and hard.
As you will see later, this is not going to be an easy bird to raise by any stretch of the imagination.
The Sumatra Chicken for Meat
The Sumatra rooster weighs 5 lb. (2.2 kg), while the hen 4 lb. (1.8kg). This means that it can be an OK bird for meat.
However, it is slow-growing, and it is tough to raise.
This would never be somebody’s ‘go to’ chicken breed for meat. It probably does taste good, though.
While it was known as a cockfighting chicken at some point, before that it was raised for meat.
However, it was very quickly replaced by chickens that can be raised commercially.
The only time the Sumatra chicken will get eaten nowadays is if it doesn’t live up to the standards of the breeder, or if it is just too aggressive.
The Sumatra Chicken Eggs
This chicken does not lay many eggs at all. In fact, you would be lucky to get 100 of them per year.
Since most of the people that own this chicken breed are breeding it, most of these eggs will not be eaten. They will be part of the breeding program.
If you are breeding the Sumatra chicken to feast upon the eggs, then it is going to be difficult.
The Sumatra hens are broody and are especially good mothers.
Now, that is a good thing if you are breeding. It isn’t if you are raising a chicken for eggs.
If a chicken gets broody, then it will stop laying. It will protect the unfertilized eggs. Honestly, it just isn’t worth raising it if you want eggs. Look elsewhere.
Of course, if you are breeding, then the broodiness is going to help. It is an easy chicken to breed. You just need to keep the roosters to a minimum.
The broodiness of the Sumatra chicken means that you may be able to use it for raising the eggs of chickens that are less broody.
Raising the Sumatra Chicken
If you are a beginner to the world of chicken ownership, then do not go anywhere near this breed. It is just too difficult to raise.
For starters, this is a chicken that can still fly. While other chicken breeds can only fly for short periods, the Sumatra chicken has a decent amount of flight in it.
It is reported that a Sumatra chicken has flown over a 5 miles (8 km). Amazing!
This means that you will have to remember to clip the chicken wings. But even with the wing feathers clipped, they can jump up to 6 feet, so they need to be in a secured covered pen at all times, as a result.
If you don’t, then you will find yourself a few chickens short.
You also have to remember that the original purpose of this bird, at least a bit over a century ago, was to be a bird suitable for fighting.
In order to make a bird suitable for fighting, you need it to be aggressive chicken breed.
Having an aggressive temperament, the Sumatra chicken is known for commonly having very aggressive individuals.
While the Sumatra chicken certainly isn’t as aggressive as it was back then, it certainly isn’t a friendly chicken breed a lot of the time.
If you put two Sumatra roosters together, then they are going to fight against each other. In some cases, they may fight to the death.
If you have Sumatra rooster with very aggressive temperament, then it is probably the best to get rid of it before someone from your family gets injured.
If you absolutely must breed these chickens, then you will want to have just a single rooster. Anything more than that and you are opening yourself up to a world of problems.
At the end, It is still a rewarding breed to own if you are able to deal with all of these issues. However, it isn’t a breed for everybody.