There are circulating pictures of a black chicken with black eggs, but all sources checked say the black Ayam Cemani lays cream colored eggs, not black. Thus, the composite image is misleading.
Black Ayam Cemani chickens are real and the black looking eggs are real eggs, but from an entirely different bird. Which bird?
I started with one of the most dubious web sites, Answers.com. This site has so much bad information that it should be renamed “Guesses.com” in my view. I read Answers.com mainly to see what they get wrong. Here is an image of the Answers.com summary on black egg laying birds.
Honeycreepers are not Cayuga ducks, so without needing to check elsewhere the site’s answer is obviously self-invalidating. Besides, I found not a single image of a black Honeycreeper egg. Answers.com “answers” are wrong so often they are actually a menace to human intelligence, but at least it’s not pure fiction usually, just lazy repeating of what was heard elsewhere. In this case it seems they repeated some false information from 1899.
A commonly repeated, yet false, belief about the various honeycreeper species is that some of them lay black eggs. This idea was first made known in the scientific community with the 1899 publication of Nehrkorn‘s egg catalog; Nehrkorn’s claim was cited in ornithological literature for many years without verification, but by the 1940s it was established that none of the members of Cyanerpes lay such eggs.
This video confirms the Ayam Cemani hatching from creme colored eggs:
What are these black eggs, then? All indications are, these belong to an Emu ( Emu – Dromaius novaehollandiae), and specifically, to a mature one. An Emu breeder had this to say:
“Smaller (Emu) birds, say between the age of 18 months plus, lay normal green colour small eggs. Later, as they grow, they start laying darker, bigger (eggs) with black spots, (that is,) somewhat embossed dark black spots. Sometimes the black spots are so dense that it seems like black egg.”
Not all Emu eggs look black, but some do.
As an aside, there is another place you can find black eggs, or rather regular eggs that turn black:
Owakudani, meaning the Great Boiling Valley, is located in the mountain town of Hakone. One can take an aerial tram up to the hot springs, or walk up the 1 km path. On clear days either route delivers spectacular views of the ominous Mt. Fuji. Once the springs are reached, kuro-tamago, or black eggs, can be purchased five at a time. The eggs are ordinary chicken eggs but the shell turns black due to being boiled in the hot sulfur spring. Local tradition holds that for each black egg eaten, seven years is added to one’s life. However, some say that eating more than two is not recommended.
As for the bird, it looks amazing. Here’s a compilation of thumbnail images showing that they are indeed real. Click here for this search. If you do, you’ll see some black eggs
Ayam Cemani is an uncommon and relatively modern breed of chicken from Indonesia. They have a dominant gene that causes hyperpigmentation (Fibromelanosis), making the chicken entirely black; including feathers, beak, and internal organs.
Their beak and tongue, black comb and wattles; even their meat, bones and organs appear black. The blood of the Ayam Cemani is normally colored. The birds’ black color occurs as a result of excess pigmentation of the tissues, caused by a genetic condition known as fibromelanosis. This gene is also found in some other black fowl breeds. The roosters weigh 2–2.5 kg and the hens from 1.5–2 kg. The hens lay cream-colored eggs with a slight pink tint, although they are poor setters and rarely hatch their own brood. Eggs weigh an average of 45 g.
In the past individual birds in the United States of America have been priced at $2500.
If you look on Pintrest, Reddit, YouTube and elsewhere, you will see photos of Ayam Cemani chickens paired with black emu eggs.
Those are emu eggs, not Ayam Cemani eggs. AYAM CEMANI EGGS ARE NOT BLACK.
Summary: someone wrongly paired a picture of Emu eggs with pictures of Ayam Cemani chickens. This shouldn’t bother me but it does. What you think you see or know, what you think seems obvious, is sometimes not reality. Wrong factually unfounded conclusions destroy lives. Challenge your assumptions.
Humans could use a Renaissance of Reality. Someone had a blog by that title with a funny description:
This is a blog dedicated to helping, anyone it can, to get their heads out of their asses, their neighbors ass, their governments ass, any ass in which a head may reside.
That’s not just a good idea, it may be the only way our species will survive. ?
I raised chickens for years, though not exotic ones. The minute I saw the black eggs I knew they were Emu eggs. Every chicken egg I’ve ever seen has a smooth surface. Emu eggs have a roughness or granulated looking surface, not smooth. At the price of these Ayam Cemani’s I wouldn’t want to eat the profits of partaking in any of the eggs but sure they taste like…chicken eggs. I owned some chickens that laid green eggs. I had great difficulty in selling these because many people were convinced that the egg inside was also green thanks to the Dr Suess book “Green eggs & Ham”. It’s amazing what people just take as true without researching it first. In the US I think it would be near impossible to sell a “black” shelled chicken egg on the open market.
Chickens of color?
How do you tell when the meat’s cooked?
I totally agree with the disinformation that circulates as truth. Thank you for your article.
Thank you so much for this. My daughters were in pure awe of the chick hatching and they have vowed to become the first in Australia to import the Ayam Cemanis (we have Chinese Silkies, Araucanas and Isa Brown at the moment.)
And thank you for helping dispel the myth of the black eggs too. They do most certainly look like emu eggs (my best friend’s parents breed them for oil and meat).
We just got our very first black egg, we have no emus, only chickens and ducks.
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