Sumatra Chicken

Sumatra chicken is native breed of the Sumatra Island . It is an ornamental chicken breed and mainly raised for exhibition purpose. And it was used for fighting in some areas where cockfighting was not illegal.

Historically, the residents of Indonesian Island used to catch Sumatra roosters during the beginning of breeding season, use them in combat and release them once their seasonal aggression declined.

Today the Sumatra chicken’s seasonal aspect is still very much a part of the breed. And the breeders can expect fertility and broodiness to arrive late in the spring. The breed is probably the result of cross between feral Kampong chickens and a variety of wild fowl, which is extinct today.

The Sumatra chicken was originally imported from the Indonesian Isles of Sumatra in 1847 to the United States and Europe as fighting roosters for the purpose of cockfighting. It is one of the very old breeds, admitted into the American Standard of Perfection. It was first admitted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1883.

Now the Sumatra chicken is mainly kept as an ornamental breed. And it’s extremely rare today. Sumatra chicken breed is listed in the Critical category of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List.

Sumatra Chicken Characteristics

Sumatra chicken is a very beautiful breed and has very attractive plumage. It is a distinctive fowl which look less like domestic poultry than other chickens. It has a personality closer to that of a wild game bird than a domestic chicken.

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Sumatra chickens have a small bright red colored pea comb. They have small earlobes of gypsy color. Their wattles are very small and almost non-existent. Their legs and toes are black and their skin color is yellow. The roosters have lustrous greenish black feathers and a graceful carriage.

Although, today other color varieties also available with different color. The roosters have long sweeping tail, with an abundance of long sweeping sickles and coverts, carried horizontally. Black is the only color admitted into the standard but other colors are available. For example; White and Blue.

The White variety has standard white plumage and the blue variety has standard blue plumage. Standard Sumatra roosters weight about 2.25 – 2.70 kg, and hens about 1.80 kg. And the bantam roosters weight about 0.735 kg and hens about 0.625 kg. Photo from Wikipedia (Blue Sumatra, a rarer color than the standard Black).


Sumatra chicken is very active, alert and one of the best fliers. They are great jumpers also. Both chicks and adults are very hardy. It’s a easily handled breed. Roosters are usually not aggressive towards others, but they can be aggressive only toward members of their own breed during the breeding season. Although the roosters fight for dominance, but they usually don’t fight to the death.

Sumatra hens are not good egg layers. They lay some medium sized white eggs. But the hens are good winter layers. They are also among the best broodies and best protective mothers. Sumatra chicken require large space and they can’t do well in confinement. Review full breed profile of Sumatra chicken below.

Breed NameSumatra
Other NameSumatra Game, Black Sumatra
Breed PurposeOrnamental/Exhibition
Breed TemperamentAggressive, Can’t Bear Confinement Well, Easily to Raise, Flighty, Restless, Wild
Breed SizeLarge
Climate ToleranceAll climates
Egg ColorWhite
Egg SizeMedium
Egg ProductivityLow
Feathered LegsNo
VarietiesMany color varieties available. Black, Blue, Splash, White etc. But Black is the only variety recognized by the American Poultry Association.
Country of OriginSumatra

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