Malay Chicken Characteristics, Temperament & Uses

Malay chicken is a hard feathered, game fowl breed. It is the tallest chicken bred which may stand over 90 centimeter high.

Malay chicken is one of the most ancient chicken breed originated in Southeast Asia. Malays are found in parts of Northern India, Malaysia and Indonesia and is said to have ancestors in the Kulm fowl.

Malay is the first gigantic Asiatic poultry breed introduced to the western world. The breed arrived in England in 1830, and it was a very popular breed in England until it lost favor due to the popularity of the newly introduced Cochin chickens.

Malay chicken arrived Germany and Holland in 1834, and in the United States in 1846. Black Breasted Red Malay chicken was admitted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of perfection in 1883. And other five color varieties (both standard and bantam) were added in 1991.

A dwarf version of the standard-sized breed was created at the turn of the twentieth century. And the Malay was the first chicken breed to be bantamised.

American Poultry Association added the bantam version into their Standard of Perfection in 1904. Nowadays Malay chicken breed is raised mainly for ornamental purpose rather than eggs or meat production.

Malay Chicken Characteristics

Malay chicken is the tallest and very large bird. It achieves its great height from a combination of long neck, long legs, and upright carriage of body.

Their upright stance, neck and long legs make them look even larger than they really are. Malay chickens have many unique attributes.

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The crow of the roosters is hoarse, short, and monotonous and all these are reminiscent of a roar. The breed appears bold and perhaps cruel due it’s projecting eyebrows and broad skull. Malay chicken has small wattles and is inclined to be bare on throat and breast.

They have a strawberry comb, and their comb is low and thick. Their beak is short, broad and hooked. The skin color of Malay chicken is yellow. Their legs are yellow with remarkably large scales.

Their feathers are tend to be very close to their body, lacking fluff, firm, narrow and very glossy. And when viewed in daylight their feather will show a lustrous sheen. They have little fluff or down underneath as common to other breeds.

Standard Malay roosters weight about 5 kg and the hens about 4.1 kg. And the bantam roosters weight about 1.19-1.36 kg and the hens about 1.02-1.13 kg. Malay chicken has similarities with other Asiatic breed Asil chicken. Photo from TheLivestockConservancy.


Like the physical appearance, personality and behavior of Malay chicken is also unique as well. They are quite quarrelsome and the situation gets worse when they are kept in confinement.

The roosters may be aggressive in nature, and they are intolerant of other roosters. They may attack anyone who goes near to their hens. They are prone to eating each others feathers. So it is better to keep them as pairs or trios, or never keep more than one rooster with the hens.

Malay chickens are very hardy, active, energetic and are rugged. They have reputation for vigor and long life. For maintaining muscle tone and hardness of feather, they require regular exercise.

Malay hens are poor and seasonal layers. They lay a few medium sized light brown eggs. They will go broody but are not a good choice. Because due to their long legs they can’t fit easily in a nest, and for their short, narrow and tight feathers they can’t cover many eggs.

Hens are great mothers, but the roosters sometimes might be a risk to the chicks. Review full breed profile of Malay chicken below.

Breed NameMalay
Other NameNone
Breed PurposeOrnamental
Breed TemperamentAggressive, Flighty, Restless, Wild
Breed SizeLarge
Climate ToleranceHeat
Egg ColorLight Brown
Egg SizeMedium
Egg ProductivityLow
Feathered LegsNo
VarietiesBlack Breasted Red, Black, Black-Red, Pyle, Spangled, White and Wheaten
Country of OriginOriginated in Southeast Asia

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