- 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 Sumatra breed is a native of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. They were originally imported from Sumatra in 1847 to the U.S. and Europe for the purpose of cockfighting, but today the breed is primarily kept for exhibition. Sumatras are primarily an ornamental breed kept for their attractive plumage. Most often they are a lustrous black with a green sheen throughout the body and tail. The breed comes in blue and white varieties, as well as the unstandardised splash - a natural result of breeding blue chickens.
The Black Sumatra was admitted to the APA Standard in 1883.
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 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.
For more on this breed and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-breed-focus-sumatra.1143674/
Chicken Breed Info:
Breed Purpose: Ornamental
Climate Tolerance: All Climates
General Egg Info:
Egg Productivity: Medium
Egg Size: Medium
Egg Color: White
Aggressive,Wild / restless,Flighty
Breed Colors / Varieties:
Black and Blue are the standard colors but other colors are available.
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:
- Cock 5 pounds
- Cockerel 4 pounds
- Hen 4 pounds
- Pullet 3 ½ pounds
- 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
BlackHackle likes this.
Recent User Reviews
"Most beautiful breed in my opinion"
Pros - Beautiful. Very good broodys. Very good table fowl.
Cons - Can be flighty. Can be aggressive.
I've raised Large Fowl Black Sumatras for over 15 years. If you can get over the flightiness and low egg count they are the best birds. Absolutely beautiful birds, they shine like emeralds in the sun. They are fairly quiet birds. Very productive setting hens. They will set multiple times a year and hatch most of their eggs. Their dark faces, multiple spurs, and long tails can not be found in any other breed. Some evidence points to Sumatras being one of the original breeds of chickens same as in Red Junglefowl. I butcher old hens and young cockerels every year. And they are very good table fowl. They taste how chicken is suppose to taste. Egg count is low in Sumatras, but I don't know anybody who raises Sumatras just for the eggs. Roosters can be very aggressive. But its not all that common in my experience. In 15 plus years I can only remember one rooster I would have called aggressive.