Sumatras are a rare and gorgeous breed thought to be closely related to the jungle fowl of the Far East. They're kept for ornamental purposes because they don't lay very well and aren't hefty enough to be a good meat bird. Beauty, though, they have in spades! (The owners of My Pet Chicken have one, pictured here on the gray background, and she's among their very favorite and friendliest hens--and everyone who sees her wants one for themselves!)
Their striking, distinctive carriage sets them apart: Their tails are held low, and in the male particularly is abundant and sweeping, like the tail of a pheasant. In fact, Sumatra chickens were once known as the "Sumatran Pheasant" and the "Java Pheasant Game." Males often even sport multiple spurs on each leg. However, what distinguishes them the most is their beautiful, lustrous greenish-black feathers.
Sumatras are exceptionally stately birds, and with space to roam (and space to accommodate a tail that can be up to four feet long on a rooster!) can be a wonderful addition to your flock. Close confinement does not suit them. Sumatras make an excellent choice for exhibition, and--even better!--will make your other chicken-keeping friends green with envy!
* The minimum order of day-old chicks shipped to Rhode Island is 12 due to Rhode Island state law.
Baby Chicks: Behind the Scenes