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 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.

    Sumatra chicks

    Sumatra juvenile

    Sumatra hen

    Sumatra rooster

    For more on this breed and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here:
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  • 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






BlackHackle likes this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. RGB
    "Amazing Chickens"
  2. Gray Farms
    "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.
  3. speedbird
    "Gorgeous birds, but roosters are aggresive"
    Pros - I never saw a more beautiful chicken in my life
    Cons - The hens do not like to be handled. The one rooster I have will consistently attack you unprovoked. Yet he seems to coexist with other birds.

User Comments

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  1. SonicTheHedgehog
  2. AnimalGeek23
    They're so cute!
  3. Gramma Chick
    Smarter than the average chicken too
  4. FlyWheel
    Now that's a tail, wow!
  5. Alexandra33
    Thank you, guys!

  6. Ballerina Bird
    Wow, how gorgeous!
  7. TBirdsTheWord33
    I love, love, LOVE Bali! She's delightful in every way.
  8. kwhites634
    She even "looks" friendly
  9. goosiesnougs
    That is one good looking bird!
  10. 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 :)

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