Have you thought about how expensive a chicken can cost? You will be surprised but the price of the most expensive chicken in the world reaches $5000. This is a fairly rare and expensive breed of chickens in absolutely black color called Ayam Cemani. Check out all 10 of the most expensive chickens and find out why they are so expensive.
You might think the real challenge with keeping chickens is lowering costs, not raising them. Some folks, though, can’t resist the allure of a three or four-digit price tag. While anyone can find themselves a Rhode Island Red or a Plymouth Rock chicken without too much trouble, what if you’re after something a little more out there? Many chickens can be had for about $5 a chick, but these breeds are in a different league entirely. Some of these breeds are exotic birds difficult to import, while others are so rare they’ve come close to being wiped off the map. Still others command high prices because they’re so coveted for their high-end meats or other unusual characteristics. Either way, all the birds on this list have two things in common – you won’t find them on just any old farm, and at their cheapest, they cost 20 times more than your average chick. So, here is the list of the most expensive chickens in the world.
10. LIEGE FIGHTER – $50 Although their name suggests they’d be more at home in an episode of Game of Thrones, the Liege Fighter is actually one of three remaining breeds of Belgian game fowl – i.e. fighting roosters. Despite their martial history, liege fighters generally get along well with their humans, and their huge size – the roosters can be up to 30 inches tall – and muscled physique makes them excellent defenders of their hens. The hens themselves are smaller than their male counterparts and are reliable layers, while the males were selected to make desirable meat birds after their fighting days were over. These versatile birds are available at about $50 per unsexed chick.
9. PAVLOVSKAYA – $75 As the name might suggest, Pavlovskaya chickens are Russian in origin, and are in fact one of the oldest Russian chicken breeds. Though it’s not known when or how they actually originated, an old wives’ tale claims they were a cross between a chicken and a wild grouse. However they came about, the Pavlovskaya chicken has had a rocky road to modernity, nearing extinction at least twice in the last 200 years. Careful conservation efforts, complicated by their relatively low egg production, have kept these hardy chickens alive, and Americans can now purchase one of these striking, friendly birds – if they’re willing to pay $75 per chick.
8. SVART HONA – $85 Another bird that sounds like a death metal band is the Swedish black hen, or Svart Hona. The birds’ remarkable all-black appearance comes from a gene mutation called fibromelanism, which originated in Asia and made its way to Scandinavia about 400 years ago. Though similar to the famed Ayam Cemani in appearance, the Swedish black hen is unsurprisingly much better adapted to cold than its Javanese cousins. Additionally, although the Svart Hona is much rarer, with only about 500 known to exist, the lack of hype means a Svart Hona chick can be yours for the comparative steal of $85.
7. ORUST – UNDER $100 Given their origins on tiny Orust Island off the coast of Sweden, it’s no surprise that Orust chickens are remarkably hardy and excellent foragers. They’re also gorgeous, with a mix of black and white feathers that would make them equally at home in a classical painting or a production of 101 Dalmatians. Although they’re regular layers (three eggs per week), their wild, seafaring origins mean they don’t take well to confinement and are often nervous and overly protective of their hens. Perhaps because of this, Swedish chicken lovers are currently fighting an uphill battle in trying to preserve the breed, with global numbers estimated at less than 500. Given this scarcity, it’s no surprise an Orust chick will set you back just under $100.
6. DEATHLAYER – $100 While its name sounds like a German metal band, the deathlayer is in fact an ancient German chicken, whose origins date back at least 400 years. Also called the Totleger in German, the highly evocative name is said to come from the fact that the hens will lay an egg a day every day until they die. While that’s a slight exaggeration, the hens are prolific layers, as well as being some of the most beautiful birds in the game. Their high price tag – about $100 per chick – is reflected in the names of their colors; deathlayers come in either gold or silver.
5. OLANDSK DWARF – $100 Continuing the theme of chickens who belong in fantasy novels, we have the Olandsk dwarf, a predictably tiny chicken named after the Swedish island on which they originated. Their beautifully speckled feathers pack a lot of punch in a petite package, and these cold-hardy Scandinavians are also regular layers, producing upwards of 250 eggs a year. Their high price tag is a result of their scarcity; the current global population in the hundreds represents a remarkable success story after a 1989 population low of just 54 birds. Careful conservation efforts have eased the Olandsk dwarf back from the edge of extinction, but they’re still rare enough to merit a price tag of $100 per chick.
4. AYAM KETAWA – $100 If you’d like a chicken to bring a little bit of joy into your flock, look no further than the Ayam Ketawa or laughing chicken. Their unusual crowing, which resembles a human laugh to an unnerving degree, is so prized in their native Indonesia that the birds compete in an annual competition, hoping to win the prized Governor of Sulawesi Cup. Not to be confused with the more famous Ayam Cemani, Ketawas come in a variety of colors and are more noted for their vocalizations than their appearance or even their production capabilities. You can add their unique sound to your flock for $100 per chick.
3. BRESSE – $200 Known as the “Queen of Chickens,” Bresse chickens are said to be the most delicious chicken in the world. The combination of their unique metabolic processes, highly controlled diet, and unusually high meat-to-bone ratio produces an extremely flavorful meat. Named after the region in France where they originate, Bresse chickens have an “appellation d’origine contrôlée,” meaning that, like champagne, the only true Bresse chickens are born and raised in Bresse, France – and only eat Bresse corn and Bresse insects. Although an offshoot called the American Bresse was imported to the U.S. in 2011, the tight controls on Bresse production mean one bird can cost a cool $200.
2. DONG TAO – $2500 If you admire chickens for their close relation to dinosaurs, you might especially appreciate the Dong Tao or dragon chicken. Highly prized in their native Vietnam, Dong Taos picked up their evocative English name because of their massive, scaly legs – which can be as thick as a human wrist, and produce some of the most expensive and sought-after meat in Vietnam. Their legs also make it more difficult for them to hatch their eggs because of a proclivity for crushing and other accidents. The rarity of the breed, as well as the high prices commanded for their meat, mean a pair of Dong Taos can be yours for the low, low price of $2500.
1. AYAM CEMANI – $5000 No discussion of expensive chickens would be complete without mentioning Indonesia’s famed black chicken, the Ayam Cemani, the so-called “Lamborghini of poultry.” Notable for their striking, all-black appearance (even down to their bones and blood), a pair of Ayam Cemani chickens can set you back as much as $5000 – if you can even get your hands on them. With only about 3500 specimens in existence, most of them in Europe or their native Indonesia, it costs $100 just to get on the waiting list for one of these unique creatures. In the exchange, though, you’ll get chickens who are not only gorgeous, but also an exceptionally gentle dual-purpose bird – as well as an ornament to any chicken collection.
So there’s one way to make your neighbors jealous. Of course, there are plenty of ways to cultivate head-turning chicken flocks that don’t involve spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on one or two chickens, but “These chickens cost more than your vacation,” is certainly one way to gain chicken-keeping cred.