Several black chicken breeds exist especially in Asia but the Chinese Silkie is the most popular. Silkies are attractive birds that are covered in silk like fluffy plumage. Underneath all that beauty however, the chicken’s skin and internal organs are all completely black. They are mostly sold in the western world as ornaments, but in China the Silkies are considered a delicacy. They are savored for their deep gammy flavor and are rarely roasted. They are also considered good moms since they can hatch other bird’s eggs.
The Chinese refer to them as the “black-boned chicken” or “wu gu ji” and have been using its medicinal value since the seventh or eighth century. Women use it to boost their energy after giving birth and it also has a positive effect on lungs, stomach, yin and blood when consumed. The Chinese take full advantage of the Silkies medicinal value by using it to make an amber colored soup that is mixed with dried wolfberries, ginseng and jujubes.
A genetic study carried out and published in 2011, found out that the uniqueness of the Silkie chicken (fibromelanosis) is brought about by a genetic mutation that is unusual. This mutation is characterized as “a complex rearrangement that leads to increased expression of Endothelin 3, a gene which is known for promoting the growth of pigment cells”. The skin, internal organs and bones are black due to the massive expansion of the pigment cells.
They also interestingly have a high carnosine content which is a peptide that occurs naturally. This is used by people who want to increase muscle mass and is sold as a dietary supplement. It’s also used to alleviate autism and diabetes and to ward off aging effects. According to studies, black chicken is a rich source of carnosine that can also be used to prevent joint inflammation, atherosclerosis and protect against Alzheimer’s.
According to a British Poultry Science study, the black chicken eggs are healthier. If used when cooking cakes, they help increase the antioxidant levels while improving the quality of the product. Compared to regular chicken eggs, these eggs also possess unsaturated fatty acids in higher levels. The black chicken, according to those who have eaten it tastes no different from ordinary chicken but some consider it a little sweeter. Would you eat a silkie and savor the sweetness of the black meat?