Black Chickens: The Rare Korean Yeonsan Ogye

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

09 February 2015

Black chickens seem to be all the rage at the moment. Poultry aficionados swoon and coo with excitement at the site of these rare black chickens. The most famous black chickens trending at the moment is the rare Ayam Cemani from Indonesia, which I am sure you have heard about, or seen images of at the very least. However, it’s time for a new yet ancient breed of black chickens to enter the fray. May I introduce the rare and radiant Yeonsan Ogye from Korea!

Tell Me More:

These black chickens are small in stature and are black from their comb to their bones- just like the Ayam Cemani. The Yeonsan Ogye have a slight green tinge to their otherwise black plumage. These black chickens are not just unique in terms of their colour, but they also have a sassy personality to boot. The Yeonsan Ogye cannot be kept in small cages and needs plenty of room to roam free. They can be quite hostile to other chickens and even humans- but I suppose you’d be a little prickly as well if you were one of few remaining all black chickens in the world! For this reason it has been difficult to incentivize breeders to raise these black chickens that are teeming with personality. This is further problematised by the fact that it takes the Yeonsan Ogye a longer time to mature and start producing eggs. For these reasons and more, unfortunately this wonderful breed of black chickens is now endangered.

What Makes Them So Special:

As far as black chickens go, the Yeonsan Ogye is one of the rarest breed of poultry in the whole world- with only a few farms in Korea currently breeding them. It is believed that a mere two to three thousand of these protected black chickens are born each year. At this current stage, it is believed that the Korean Yeonsan Ogye is related to previously mentioned Indonesian Ayam Cemani black chicken breed- they are almost like twins after all. However, it is a little perplexing to say the least, when you consider the distance between Indonesia and Korea and how this peculiar black chicken could have spread so far. One current theory is that the Ayam Cemani were a staple in Chinese trade routes during the middle ages, which may account for them spreading to Korea and adapting to that particularities of that environment- quite the cultural chicken indeed!

Though it would be extremely difficult, almost impossible, to import your very own Yeonsan Ogye into Australia, it is still interesting to marvel at the wonder of these magnificent black chickens. However don’t despair, there is still a host of other chickens with black plumage you can investigate.

If you were to find yourself caring for these rare and wonderful black chickens make sure you keep them safe by investing in some wire mesh flooring for your coop. Otherwise they might get snapped up by those pesky predators.

Sources and further reading

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