Pros: Friendly

Cons: they don't like being confined

I was given 5 chicks and ended up with 3 roos and possibly 2 hens.   I didn't spend a lot of time with the chicks, yet they are friendly and allow petting (when contained).  I don't think they're flighty as much as they are very much jungle fowl.  They like to roam and hunt for food, yet still come running when they know I have treats.  I've really enjoyed having them.  Once I narrow down the roo I want to keep I will be re homing the others.   I hope to raise a small flock.    They are territorial and make sure that the other chickens stay in their own fenced yards, though they have yet to hurt any of the other birds.  


The feathers are very colorful in the sunlight, despite being black.  beautiful birds.


The only thing I don't care for about the birds is that they won't stay in their yard and they dig up my flower beds.  If you wish to keep them contained, you must have a covered run and give them plenty of room.


Pros: Beautiful, can fly from predators, nice when tame

Cons: VERY flighty

These birds are born fliers. If not kept in a roofed pen, they will escape. Not all roosters are mean, but mine pecks particularly hard. They are unique in that the roosters have multiple spurs, but none are super sharp. These are some of the most beautiful birds in chickendom. (along with cochins ;)) They aren't the best layers, with small eggs that come about four times a week. I would not recommend to the novice.


Pros: Plumage, temperament, lovely to look at

Cons: none

I got 5 blue Sumatra chicks this past May and they have been wonderful. Out of my 15 chickens they were always the friendliest and now at 7 months old greet me everytime I go to the coop. They are wonderful birds that love attention and I even have two roosters that will jump in my lap to be pet. I disagree with them being flighty or aggressive towards other breeds. My sumatras get along well with my salmon faverolles and GLWs and love to be around people. My roosters are gentle and love their hens, all in all if they are hand-raised they are amazing birds!!


Pros: Adaptable, Cold Tolerant, Heat Tolerant, Good Layers

Cons: Agressive, Broody

I've raised Sumatras for several years. They are some of the most unique chickens I've raised. They are a lot of fun and very energetic birds. They can sometimes be aggressive especially toward new birds. The females were originally imported from the island of Sumatra in Indonesia for the purpose of crossing to other breeds to infuse aggressiveness for fighting birds. They are extremely adaptable and have no problems with the Michigan winters or the summers. (-20 to 100). They like free-range but if caged make sure they have room to run and roost. 


Pros: beutiful,rare, sell for good money they have nice personalities over all nice bird.

Cons: feathers come out easy and cocks tail feathers can get stepped on and look ragedy.

Wonderful birds I got a pair for breeding and these birds are just wonderful. They look real nice if kept clean and the cocks have long sickle feathers. But hens in the breeding pen with the cocks can step on there sickle feathers and make them look ragedy. Also there feathers come out a little easier than most birds so dont try and grab them. Also when buying adult birds it will take some time for them to become tame for you because Sumatras are a little flighty. white O-Shamo stag.jpg


Pros: Pretty, Brave, Sweet

Cons: Bad in cold weather

 I got a Sumatra rooster a few years ago. He was the most handsomest and bravest rooster ever. Once a hawk swooped down to get his hens and he fought off the hawk talon to talon until it flew away. He never tried to chase me and he was always gentle with the girls. He chased off the other rooster sometimes, but that's normal. They didn't get in any major bloody fights or anything. He died protecting his flock from the dogs that attacked and he did save his favorite hen.


I then purchased three Sumatra chicks. I had them in with the other chicks I bought and they didn't do as well. So I'd reccomend keeping them with bantams. I did that and the remaning chick grew until she was laying age. I don't reccomend them for cold weather climates. I live in MN and even though I had the heat lamp on in the coop she got really cold and passed away sadly. She was very sweet and ever since she was a chick she would perch on your arm. She didn't mind behing held.


I highly reccomend this breed to anyone! If I didn't live in MN I would definatley raise a flock of these!


Pros: Gorgeous in color (blacks and blues)

Cons: Hard to keep when space is small, even bantams; love to fly

I actually bought some bantam Blue Sumatras because they had the best blue color I've seen in any chicken breed.  I wanted to transfer their blue lacing to my d'Anvers - I have been breeding d'Anvers for 20 years or so.  My pens are presently set up for the docile d'Anvers and I was not prepared for what I was about to take on.  The Sumatras, and their half-breed offspring LOVE to fly.  They do not fly because they are afraid or startled.  They fly for the pure joy of flying.  Meaning, when I open their coops to take care of them, sometimes they all jump and blast past my face before I can react so they can fly up to the top of the house with ease (the house is uphill from the coop - so this is quite a feat).  Then they are EXTREMELY difficult to catch and put away, even though the females are tame most of the time when in their coops.


The males are nasty, nasty nasty in the breeding season.  Now, d'Anvers males also have a reputation for being aggressive, BUT they are nowhere near as damaging as the Sumatra males.  I would call the Sumatra males unpredictable and they hit with heavy blows.  I have culled hard against aggression in my d'Anvers and rarely have an issue with it in my strain anymore, but when they are aggressive, the d'Anvers boys always do the classic head bob and wing drag before attacking and usually just go for your ankles.  Sumatras will be on the roost one minute and you can be on the other side of the pen - no head bob, no warning and next thing you know they are in your face, which they can easily reach with their adept flight muscles.  D'Anvers, by comparison, almost tickle - whereas the Sumatras are quite capable of drawing blood. The Sumatra males might look fine one minute and be raking their claws down your face the next when you are simply leaning in to check for eggs.  Also, one of the Sumatra males became abusive to the d'Anvers hens he was with.  He had been with them for about a month and then he just turned on them.  He pecked off all their comb spikes and was just flogging them, chasing them and ripping their feathers out, for no apparent reason.  I had to put him in to mate them once or twice a day and then promptly remove him to a single pen - ugh!!


   I work with ALL my birds as chicks - feeding them mealworms, etc.  The Sumatras and their mixes easily out-competed my d'Anvers when going for the worms and would run over the top of them, mostly due to the huge difference in size (bantam Sumatras are HUGE).  The Sumatras proved to be smarter faster and better fliers....perfectly happy to be close to me to get treats and extremely food motivated, but not particularly personable, even when raised with the same treatment as my d'Anvers.  Now, bear in mind I am used to d'Anvers - who will spoil anybody for personality and will often bond closely with their caretaker.  From this information, I would say if you want OUTSIDE birds that can take care of themselves, the Sumatra is for you.  If you want friendly, personable birds that withstand confinement well - do not get Sumatras.  Also, if you have kids - Sumatras may not be for you.


Good luck!  And go ahead and invest in a net and ladder ahead of time.  You might need it to catch them.


Pros: Stunning, easy to train (ex; come when called), laying a good sized egg a day

Cons: Flighty, not cuddly

My personally owned hen, Kevin, (after the bird from 'Up'), was rescued from a bad situation, so perhaps that made her more flighty, but she is very shy about being held. She will come when called, and loves to follow and stay around people. She lays one egg a day in the same place. Very easy to handle! She comes in at night and is let out to free range the entire day. Very hardy little girl. Others don't mess with her, not even our English Mastiff! Her mother was very broody, but Kevin has never gone broody yet although she's still young (under two years). Hoping she'll become broody but her personality is very independent and may not be very motherly.


I love my chickens by personality, not so much by breed, so in general for the Sumatra breed, they are stunning, but I would not get more due to the fact that they are flighty. :)


Pros: Hardy, good layer, beautiful.

Cons: Flighty.

In the beginning my Black Sumatra was very flighty and would run away at the first sight of me. She would also put up a fight whenever I needed to pick her up to move her. It took about 8 months for her to finally warm up to me. Now she loves neck rubs and will come to sit on my lap and anytime I ignore her she flies up onto my shoulder to grab my attention. Even the kids can pick her up without a problem. She is the leader of my flock but she is very gentle and fair, she is not aggressive at all with her flock mates not even the little guys. She is always first to treats and being the flock leader (and my favorite) she always gets just a little more. Anyone who comes over to visit comments on how pretty she is and she loves the extra attention.


Pros: Unique, Conserves food, Big eggs

Cons: Dislikes confinement, Hard to catch

I have a Sumatra named Raven I got from Meyer. I think they are cool birds and would defiantly get another. I did hear roosters can't be kept together though.


The Black Sumatra is a rare and beautiful Asian long tail chicken with rich lustrous beetle green plumage. It originally was inported from Sumatra for cockfighting, but is now exclusively an ornamental fowl. The Black Sumatra was admitted to the APA Standard in 1883. The Sumatra has a personality closer to that of a wild game bird than a domestic chicken. The male has a graceful carriage and lustrous greenish black feathers. The cock should have a long sweeping tail, with an abundance of long sweeping sickles and coverts, carried horizontally (females tail carriage 15 degrees above horizontal). Multiple spurs on males are desired as well as practically no wattle development. Comb and wattles are expected to be a gypsy (purplish-black) color, while their skin is yellow. Shanks should be black with the bottom of the feet being yellow. They are fair layers of medium size white or light tint egg.

Breed PurposeOrnamental
Climate ToleranceAll Climates
Egg ProductivityLow
Egg SizeMedium
Egg ColorWhite
Breed TemperamentAggressive,Wild / restless,Flighty
Breed Colors/VarietiesBlack is the only color admitted into the standard but other colors are available.
Breed SizeLarge Fowl
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Chicken Breed Info:

Breed Purpose: Ornamental
Comb: Pea
Broodiness: Average
Climate Tolerance: All Climates

General Egg Info:

Egg Productivity: Medium
Egg Size: Medium
Egg Color: White

Breed Temperament:

Aggressive,Wild / restless,Flighty

Breed Colors / Varieties:

Black and Blue are the standard colors but other colors are available.

Breed Details:


If you are interested in getting into long tail chickens I think the Sumatra is a good choice because they are relatively easy keepers. Sumatras are beautiful chickens with their flowing tails. They have a call that can be almost jungle like. They have a cantankerous personality. The more space you can give your Sumatra the happier he will be. They do not like close confinement. They prefer to roost as high as they can get.

Four week old chicks will fly 6 feet high. If you do not want to be out in the dark with flashlight and ladder getting your chickens out of a tree please do not free range your Sumatras until they have learned that home is the coop. In my experience hens do not go broody until second year but then were frequent broodies. Both hen and rooster are doting parents and fierce in protecting their young. Following is some information from the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection:

Standard Weights:

  • Cock 5 pounds
  • Cockerel 4 pounds
  • Hen 4 pounds
  • Pullet 3 ½ pounds

According to the standard colors for both males and females:

  • Comb, face, wattles and earlobes: Gypsy color
  • Beak: Black
  • Eyes: Dark Brown
  • Shanks and Toes: Black to dark willow, black preferred. Bottom of feet: yellow
  • Plumage: Very lustrous, greenish black throughout
  • Undercolor of all sections: Dull black


  • White earlobes
  • Some white in feathers (for specifics see APA standard of Perfection)
  • No spurs of any kind on males