Average User Rating:
  • Breed Purpose:
    Climate Tolerance:
    All Climates
    Egg Productivity:
    Egg Size:
    Egg Color:
    Breed Temperament:
    Aggressive,Wild / restless,Flighty
    Breed Colors/Varieties:
    Black is the only color admitted into the standard but other colors are available.
    Breed Size:
    Large Fowl
    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.
  • 6beecb74_IMG_0609.jpeg 1b56013e_sumatra-20455-347571.jpeg 5b9d7499_sumatra-20455-210106.jpeg 17e0748c_sumatra-20455-221312.jpeg 2d320e27_sumatra-20455-932241.jpeg 40c863f1_sumatra-20455-7197.jpeg 477cd50f_IMG_0616.jpeg 0e6f239f_SDC14205.jpeg 79e6b671_1353882701LL.jpeg b304996c_sumroo2.jpeg 5ac9cf52_raphsid005.jpeg 7fbb6622_11268069_10206401095759679_5531135174986150616_o.jpeg fa048764_11807265_10206400854993660_1943065814950598692_o.jpeg 4eab3f75_11231696_10206400856433696_1005532175834646803_o.jpeg 8ad4d923_11838639_10206401108119988_6762378320146148035_o.jpeg c7278a67_FullSizeRender3.jpeg 8eeea802_IMG_2579.jpeg d8d9c4d5_IMG_2613.jpeg f0548eb9_12034353_10206759537760505_3101585533361551203_o.jpeg ea169655_12000848_10206759537240492_7376506100448362333_o.jpeg b27e9622_12028633_10206759538640527_3885236316879067526_o.jpeg

  • Chicken Breed Info:
    Breed Purpose:
    Comb: Pea
    Broodiness: Average
    Climate Tolerance: All Climates

    General Egg Info:
    Egg Productivity:
    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







Recent User Reviews

  1. silkiechickens8
    "Hilarious Personalitys!"
    Pros - Friendly, Beautiful, Funny, Little Rebels
    Cons - None so far!
    I got my 3 Black Sumatra chicks a little more than a week ago and so far I love them! Their personalities can not be beat! They're little balls of energy and are hilarious to watch. Would defiantly recommend them!
  2. Alexandra33
    "Friendly, exotic birds"
    Pros - Beautiful, docile, personable, talkative, inquisitive, gentle, and good with other birds.
    Cons - Poor layers.
    Though 10 months have gone by and still no eggs, Bali is more than worth her weight in gold in spite of it. She is extremely friendly, constantly running to check up on you and have a quick 2-minute "chat " before zipping away to be with her flockmates.

    That beetle-green shine is by far the prettiest of all the black chickens in our flock, being slightly more iridescent. Perhaps my favorite quality of hers is a soothing, soft voice that certainly isn't typical, and she's constantly charming us with it.

    Despite Bali's small size, she isn't picked on in the least. From what I gather, she has enough spunk to intimidate girls much larger, while not being a bully herself.
  3. KristenR
    "Beautiful but Challenging"
    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.

User Comments

To post comments, simply sign up and become a member!
  1. Gramma Chick
    Smarter than the average chicken too
  2. FlyWheel
    Now that's a tail, wow!
  3. Alexandra33
    Thank you, guys!

  4. Ballerina Bird
    Wow, how gorgeous!
  5. TBirdsTheWord33
    I love, love, LOVE Bali! She's delightful in every way.
  6. kwhites634
    She even "looks" friendly
  7. goosiesnougs
    That is one good looking bird!
  8. KristenR
    Haha, well - I hope and think that probably not all Sumatras are like the ones I got. Would need to read the whole collection of posts to get a better sense of the breed. But I thought I would post my personal experience because even though it is limited, it does reflect some of the differences within the breed. A person's previous chicken experiences with other breeds will drastically influence the ratings as well, I am sure. I have extensive "other breed experience" but this is my so far limited experience in this particular breed. And I have had many breeds, most of which I immediately liked much better than the Sumatra. For example - I liked the standard Wyandottes and RIRs I had several years ago, too :)
  9. kaycountry1016
    Kritsen, Mercy Me! I hope I don't go nuts and get any Sumatras LOL. They sound scarey. I think I'll stick with my good GIRLS--RIR, BR, BA SLW, BO. I enjoyd reading your post. 10.13.15
  10. twisted-acres-farm
    ok I was wondering thankyou for explaining I totally get not loosing all you options. Good luck with breeding niceness into them.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by