The Beauty of Ayam Cemani: An Exotic Charm from the Land of the Archipelago

The Beauty of Ayam Cemani: An Exotic Charm from the Land of the Archipelago

In a world rich in biodiversity, there are some creatures that amaze us with their unique charm. One such example is the Ayam Cemani, a breed of chicken considered to be the most fascinating chicken in the world. With its jet-black feathers, skin, meat, and even bones, Ayam Cemani has drawn the admiration and awe of many.

Ayam Cemani is a type of chicken native to Indonesia, specifically the Kedu region of Central Java. It has been around for hundreds of years and holds a special place in the culture and traditions of the local people. The most distinctive feature of Ayam Cemani is its dark, night-like color. Its feathers, skin, meat, beak, and even internal organs contain predominantly black pigment.

Some people even believe that the blood of the Cemani chicken is black. However, this is just a myth. In fact, the blood is still red due to the presence of hemoglobin, albeit with a darker intensity. Apart from the blood, the eggs are also part of the Ayam Cemani, which are not black, but white. 

While most chickens have brightly colored feathers, Ayam Cemani has a stunning dark elegance. Its jet-black feathers are glossy and create a dramatic contrast to its light eyes. His black skin is also a unique feature that sets him apart from other chickens.

The distinctive black color of the Ayam Cemani is achieved through a process known as "fibromelanosis" or skin hyperpigmentation. A genetic mutation that occurs in this breed of chicken causes almost all the cells in its body to contain a gene called Endothelin 3 (EDN3), which plays a role in controlling skin color. This results in an overabundance of pigment cells, causing the chicken's body color to turn black.

Although this mutation does not affect the health of the Ayam Cemani, the black pigment on their bodies makes these chickens very valuable. Some people even claim that the meat and bones of the Ayam Cemani have a distinctive flavor.

There are an estimated four countries in the world that have charming black chicken varieties. In addition to the cemani chicken from Indonesia, there is the silkie chicken from China, the black h'mong from Vietnam, and the svarthöna from Sweden. However, only the Cemani chicken receives special attention for its shimmering feathers with an alluring black color. Its high resale value makes it known as the "Lamborghini" of the chicken world.

Famous not only in Indonesia, Ayam Cemani has gained global attention. Chicken lovers around the world are attracted to its uniqueness and it is considered an ornamental chicken breed. The Ayam Cemani is considered a rare and highly valuable species. For example, in the United States in 2014, a pair of Ayam Cemani could be sold for around $2,000.

Some countries have also attempted to breed Ayam Cemani, although this is not an easy task. Ensuring that the genetics and health of the chicken remain optimal when bred is a challenge.

In general, people are interested in buying them because of their exotic appearance. However, there is also a belief in the chicken's magical powers, although this is a myth.

In many cultures in Indonesia, this chicken is considered to have spiritual and mystical significance. Some indigenous people believe that Ayam Cemani brings good luck and has the ability to protect its owner from negative energy. Therefore, this chicken is often used as part of traditional and religious ceremonies rather than for consumption.

It is said that this chicken has been a pet of kings and nobles since the reign of the Majapahit Kingdom. It is believed that this chicken has the ability to bring harmony, increase happiness, facilitate the search for a mate, bring good fortune in trade, and is even considered capable of supporting success in negotiations during times of war or dispute. Because of this view, ayam cemani became the target of individuals with wealth and power.

Therefore, there are several things that threaten the survival of this chicken breed. Due to its uniqueness, it has become a target for illegal trade and counterfeiting. Therefore, it is important to protect the breed and its habitat to ensure the sustainability of the population and to prevent overexploitation.

Source: Mongabay

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