Sumatras are an exceedingly rare breed of chicken with a personality closer to that of a wild game bird than a domestic chicken: they are thought to be closely related to the jungle fowl of the Far East. They have been known variously as "Sumatran Pheasants" or "Java Pheasant Game Birds," even though they are most definitely chickens! Their unique carriage, with their sweeping tails held low, gives them the air of a pheasant or peacock, however. Sumatras make great show birds, and they're usually kept for their beauty alone. This is no surprise, because they're usually poor layers and they aren't hefty enough to be a good meat bird. You can see from the photos that their shiny, lustrous feathers are striking, but in addition they're one of two breeds of chicken whose roosters have multiple spurs! Like the Silkie, they also have black skin and black bones.
All Other Breeds
Large Fowl & Bantam
Medium (6-7 lbs)
Officially recognized: Black only. Other unofficial colors: Blue, Splash
Suitability to Backyard Life:
Intolerant of confinement
Intelligent and active; usually calm but still irascible