Chickens with black plumage are quite common. However, there is an unusual breed of this poultry with black bones and even black internal organs.
The breed called the Chinese Silky has very soft fluffy feathers, and inside it differs from other chickens in that it has bluish-black skin, dark meat, as well as black bones, and internal organs. In the West, Chinese silky chickens are bred, as a rule, for decorative purposes, but in China and some other eastern countries, their meat is considered a delicacy and is not available to everyone.
The breed has been known since the 7th century, and it is believed that the consumption of these chickens, known in China as the gu ji (in the translation from Chinese – “chicken with black bones”), has a beneficial effect on human health. For example, Chinese women traditionally eat silky Chinese chicken meat after giving birth to restore energy, and the Chinese also say that black chicken dishes have a positive effect on blood, lungs, and stomach.
As a rule, in order for gu ji meat to fully manifest its unique properties, the broth is prepared from it with the addition of ginseng, dried wolfberries, and Chinese dates, and such chickens are rarely fried.
The mention of silk chickens is found in the notes of the traveler to China Marco Polo dating back to the 13th century – a genus of domestic chickens whose skin was covered with black hair instead of feathers. One of the first mentions that these chickens are found on the territory of Russia dates back to 1768-1773. Domestic poultry farmers brought this breed from Europe. German naturalist Pallas reports that he saw a Chinese chicken that had black skin and white plumage. These chickens are also found in Siberia, Persia, and Astrakhan. Silk chickens are excellent hens and mothers, they are often used to hatch not only chicken eggs but also to raise pheasants and partridges. White silk chickens hatch with canary-colored down – more attractive little creatures could hardly be imagined! The highlight of silk chickens is the color of their skin, bones, and meat – it is blue-black.
Eastern medicine considers the meat and eggs of Chinese chickens to be curative like ginseng. It tastes great. In the old days, silk chickens were served at dinner parties, seasoned with white sauce in order to sharpen the color of their meat.
In family communities of silk chickens, more than in other breeds, mutual affections arise. Cockerels are very attentive “gentlemen” not only to their own “ladies”. Perhaps you will not find more fearless defenders of your harem. Despite their toy appearance, they do not hesitate to rush to protect their family. Chickens are also known for their strong hatching instinct – they are used to care for chicks of other domestic birds (including waterfowl – geese and ducks) and even game birds (quail and pheasant). And this is not the fruit of the efforts of geneticists or biologists, as it might seem. Silk is one of the oldest breeds.
According to a 2011 genetic study, the unique feature of Chinese silky chickens is due to an unusual genetic mutation, characterized as “a complex rearrangement that leads to overexpression of Endothelin-3, a gene responsible for stimulating the growth of pigment cells.” A significant increase in the number of pigment cells not only causes black skin and bones but also causes the darkening of internal organs. Another interesting fact about Chinese silky is their high content of carnosine, a natural peptide sold as a dietary supplement. People take it to increase muscle mass, slow down the aging process, and alleviate diseases such as diabetes and autism.
The nature of black leather has been investigated at the University of Jena, and by zoologists in Bonn. Studies have shown that it is rich in amino acids, vitamins (especially group B), calcium, phosphorus, iron, contains niacin, and also substances that cleanse the blood and increase the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin, activating the work of the spleen, kidneys, genitals. With medicines from silk chicken meat, the Chinese cure tuberculosis, migraines, kidney diseases, gynecological and many other diseases.
There is a Chinese legend. In ancient times, one person’s mother became incurably ill. The son put her in a cart and took her to find a doctor who could save her. They traveled around the villages for a long time, but no one was able to help. Returning to their homes, they stayed with some peasants. The owner, according to the laws of hospitality, prepared the most valuable thing in his house – a black chicken. The next morning the old woman felt better, and by the evening of the next day she walked briskly, and in the end, she was completely cured. Since then, it is believed that silk “heals all ailments.”