BREED NAME: Ogye, also Yeonsan
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: This little Korean chicken, is beautiful, rare, ancient and unusual. Its history dates back to Middle Ages and it’s one of a few all black chickens with black comb, wattles, beak, lobes, eyes, and skin.
Its feathers are a green iridescent/ black, legs a dark slate and there is a hint of purplish red behind the black tones of the comb, wattles and lobes.
Its tall black single comb and high arched sickles are equal in height. A stout high tail and ample body feathering create a handsome look. His neck feathering is full, gently sloping down to tail base with a full but not exaggerated breast. He is well balanced and agile.
Size: Male: 3.7 Ibs. / Female: 2.6 Ibs.
Comb, Wattles & Earlobes: All Black, single comb, wattles round and forward, small lobes.
Color: Black with green iridescence.
Place of Origin: Uncertain
Conservation Status: Protected
Special Qualities: This breed and the Indonesian Ayam Cemani breed have the unusual characteristics of black bones as well as all external parts.
Korea and Indonesia are separated by a few thousand miles of sea or land, so it’s possible that trade routes through China and Thailand by land and the East China Sea through the Phillipines may have spread these rare black chicken genes.
The actual history of both breeds is very limited. Korean breeders do not know the full history of the breed. In modern times the chicken is found in the Chungcheongnam-Do region of Korea, but records show the existence of the breed in Korea during the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910 and what sounds like the importation of the breed before the days of the Goryeo Dynasty: Korea's Age of Enlightenment, 918-1392. (The translations from Korean to English are a bit rough for the Ogye’s history.)
A man named Lee Hyeong Heum is said to have lived in Yeonsan, Chungcheongnam-Do and made a gift of the chicken to the 25th Korean King, Cheoljong (AD 1849 – 1863) for the first time. The breed was declared the 265th Natural Korean Monument in 1980 and is being preserved.
Cross breedings in Old Korea, of the breed and the Native Korean Chicken, have produced “the Cock of Spots” and sometimes a white mutation.
The Indonesian Ayam Cemani is the same weight as the Ogye, with a taller comb, long legs and a much gamier look.