Asiatic Chickens
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The original Asiatic Chicken was the small Chinese Black, which originated in Taihe, China. Humans have raised Asiatic Chickens for more than 2,000 years. Chinese Black chickens were short with a small head, a short neck and a black tongue. They were not layers.

Chinese black chickens are still bred, and because of their silky fur-like appearance, are even kept as pets in some countries.

Around the 1850’s an era of international trade exploded, sparking “Hen Fever,” a fixation on poultry breeding, in both the United States and Great Britain. In the days before refrigeration, many families raised their own Chickens for Meat and Eggs. Breeding a better fowl improved the families’ living standards. Many breeds were imported and many crosses were tried.

One of the Chinese exports from the port of Shanghai was the Black Chicken. As they did with Beef Breeds, the American importers, seeking more productive traits, interbred the new species with their existing stock.

Production

Asiatic Chickens are usually processed Chinese Style (also known as Buddhist slaughter) with their heads and feet left on. Asian Markets are the best source for these birds.  They are usually sold frozen, but occasionally fresh ones can be found. Black Chickens have small amounts of fine and tender all-dark meat that is highly flavorful and rich in nutrients.

The Chinese make a rich yellow chicken soup with Asiatic Chicken that is known for its curative powers and used for fortifying the energies of pre-natal women. One Asiatic Chicken is large enough to make soup for 8 people.

Varieties

Today the following types of chickens are recognized as Asiatic Chickens: Brahma Chickens, Chochin Chickens, Langshan Chickens & Sumatran Chickens. Modern Asiatic Chickens are still considered to be large-bodied and heavy-boned, with feathered shanks. They are still poor layers.