The Malay Chicken is a very large breed of fowl that is originally from Asia. They are rarely used in egg or meat production facilities, but are rather popular as ornamental birds.
Known for their hardy nature, the Malay Chicken is a very robust animal. They are known not only for their long lives, but also for their high-energy lifestyle. Malay Chickens are very active birds with a strong tendency towards exercise, which helps keep their muscular bodies in shape.
While Malay hens will become broody, they are rarely used in laying facilities because of their large size. Their legs are so long that they often aren’t able to fit into a standard nest.
Malay Chickens are very large. Cocks average around nine pounds, with hens weighing in at around seven pounds. Malay Chickens are quite impressive in appearance because of the somewhat devious expression their projecting eyebrows and broad skull creates on their faces. Malay Chickens are known for their incredibly long legs. They have yellow skin and are most commonly red with a black breast, however, black, white, spangled and red pyle varieties exist as well. The Malays eggs have dark brown shells. The Malay has also been bantamized. The bantam follows the same description except for weight and size.
The native home of the Malay, in Southeastern Asia, is the only land this breed was known in until around 1830. At this time, the Malays were imported to England. Writers from around this time often credit the Malay with being one of the oldest purebred breeds known. The Malay did not garner much attention from poultry experts when they were first introduced to the market. They did, however, become moderately popular as exhibition birds. The Black-Breasted Red variety of Malay Chicken was admitted to the standard in 1883. The other varieties, including White, Black, Red Pyle and Spangled varieties were not introduced until 1981. Many experts believe that Malay blood was introduced to the line of many standard breeds of chicken, although this view is unsubstantiated. While still used as an ornamental bird, the Malay is now very rare throughout the world.