aka Ayam Gallak

A Sumatra cock bird

Text by Shahbazin / J. Floyd

Sumatras (also frequently referred to as Black Sumatras, although other colors--chiefly white and blue--are available, particularly in bantam size) are a highly decorative fowl hailing from the Indonesian island that is its namesake. They are one of the very old breeds, admitted into the American Standard of Perfection in 1883, although having been originally imported in 1847. There is a lot of speculation as to the origin of the Sumatra; some believe that this breed may have originally been another race of jungle fowl, before being interbred with other fowls, and some think it may be the result of a cross with Gallus varius, the Green Junglefowl, or even that it may be from some other pheasant cross. The Sumatra may be an ancestor or relative of the Silkie, and possibly the forebearer of muffed and tasseled OE Games; it has certainly been used a fighting fowl and as a cross for other Game breeds, although it is now exclusively an exhibition bird.

The Sumatra today is a nice layer of white or tinted eggs; if one fancies small, pheasant-type birds, it can even be used as a meat fowl, although the dark pigment might be a detracting point. What is the breed's chief strong point is its beautiful, lustrous black plumage, shining with a really intense beetle green sheen. The head has an intelligent, wild-bird appearance; a small pea comb, tiny or no wattles, a large chocolate brown eye, and facial skin the color of a ripe black plum. The legs are glossy black, and the cocks frequently have a cluster of several spurs on each leg (a breed peculiarity). Both sexes have a long tail carried low, but the male has a particularly impressive heavy sweep of long, brilliant, curving, sharply pointed tail feathers.

Although I don't have any of this breed at the present, I have raised large Black Sumatras in the past, and when I sold my breeding stock I kept a favorite hen who lived to be 13 or 14 years old. Samarskite was her name, and she was trained to fly up on my arm, whereupon I would give her little bits of grain from my pockets. She laid pretty well until she was about 11, when she decided to give up on the production thing, and only produced the occasional egg, as a sort of surprise. After breeding season, I used to let my show cock loose with the hens and babies; he kept young cockerels of various breeds from starting fights or pestering hens, kept order in general, and never bothered the adult OEs on tie cords or in pens. The other birds respected the Sumatras, and Samarskite was always a high ranking hen, but they always seemed very pacifistic and benevolent. Cockerels sometimes needed extra protein supplements when growing in their adult plumage, as this could be a real stress on them if they tried to do it all at once.

Breed clubs:

American Sumatra Association
Doug Akers
300 S. 400
W. Lebanon, IN 46052

Oriental Game Breeders Association
Eve Bundy
PO Box 100
Creston, CA 93432
phone: 805-237-1010

The Asian Gamefowl Society
Julia Keeling, British Representative
Ballashee, Staarvey Road, German
Isle of Man, IM5 2AJ
British Isles
phone: (+44)-1624-801825
Speciaalclub Aziatische Vechthoenrassen
Willem van Ballekom (Secretaris SAV)
Hobokenlaan 19
5628 VA Eindhoven
phone: 040-2417208

Sumatra Links:

Palm Beach County Poultry Fanciers Association's Sumatra page

Rojo's Roost

Sumatras at e-chickens

Sumatra bantams at Boggy Bottom Bantams

Stewart Longtails has Sumatra

Sumatras at Rare Feathers Farm

"Sumatra," Shahbazin's prize-winning Black Sumatra cock
Photo courtesy of Shahbazin

A pair of Blue Sumatras

A Splash Sumatra pullet

A pair of bantam Black Sumatras
Photo courtesy of Colt Handorf

A Sumatra hen

Multiple spur growth on a Sumatra cockerel: at three and seven months of age
Photos courtesy of Bones

A pair of Black Sumatras -- you can see the multiple spurs on this male
Photo courtesy of Henry Rots

Another shot of the Sumatra cock at the top of the page

A nice pair of Black Sumatras
Photo courtesy of Horst W. Schmudde

A Platinum Sumatra cockerel
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Spratlen

Three-year-old Blue Sumatra bantams
Photos courtesy of Aubrey Webb

A Black Sumatra cockerel
Photo courtesy of Pete Akers

A Black Sumatra rooster from the UK
Photo courtesy of Rupert Stephenson

A flock of Black Sumatras
Photo courtesy of Heather Spaet

A different view of two-thirds of a trio of Sumatras!
The top two-thirds!
Photo courtesy of Mckinney & Govero Poultry

Khaki Sumatra pairs from South Korea
Photos courtesy of Lee Seong Woon

Bantam Sumatra cockerels, a Blue and a Black
Photos courtesy of Aubrey Webb

A bantam Sumatra pullet from Germany
Photo courtesy of Sascha Michel

Another pair of Blue Sumatras
Photo courtesy of Amber Jessop

A pair of Black Sumatras from South Korea
Photo courtesy of Lee Seong Woon

"Ebony," a Sumatra pullet
Photo courtesy of Pete Akers

Pete's Sumatra bantam hen "Evita"
Photo courtesy of Pete Akers

Another pair of Black Sumatras
Photo courtesy of Chris Black

A Blue Sumatra cock bird
Photo courtesy of Jason Scott Chavez

Photo courtesy of Pete Akers

A group of Sumatra chicks
Photo courtesy of Lester Stocker

Two shots of a Black Sumatra chick
Photos courtesy of Pam Marshall

More Black Sumatra chicks
Left photo courtesy of Taryn Koerker; right photo courtesy of
Heather Spaet

Black, Blue and Splash Sumatra chicks
Photo courtesy of Amber Jessop

Black and Blue chicks, Black on the left
Photo courtesy of Amber Jessop

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