|In China, there is a special species of rooster, the black-bone chicken Gallus gallus domesticus (var.) Linnaeus, of the Phasianidae family. The black-bone chicken is short, with a small head but a short neck. The black-bone chicken is originated in Taihe County, east of Wushan mountain in the Jiangxi province of China. It has been raised for over 2,000 years there. It has evolved, however, and is now grown in many countries. In some countries the black-bone chickens are cultivated as pets for their silky, fur-like appearance.
In China, depending on the location that the chicken is raised, it could be differentiated into different kinds, such as white-feather-black-bone, black-feather-black-bone, black-bone-black-meat, white-meat-black-bone, and so on. In other countries, the colors of the feathers are becoming much better in quality and has different variety through breeding. Other than the original white, nowadays one can spot it in black, blue, buff, grey and brown.
In Chinese folklore, there is a fairy tale that goes with the black-bone chicken. It is said that the celestial Lu Dongbing made pills of immortality on Tiger-nose Peak long, long ago. Tiger-nose Peak is also known as Two-finger Peak of the Wushan Mountain in Taihe. On the day when the pills of immortality were successfully made, Lu Dongbing invited other celestial beings to the celebration party, including Tie Guaili, Han Zhongli, Zhang Guolao, He Xiangu, Lan Caihe, Han Xiangzi, and Cao Guojiu.
When the celestial beings were drinking wine, a pair of wild chicken flew from the forest into the pill-making pool and ate the pills of immortality. The chickens then became a pair of white phoenix. Lu Dongbing was not glad and reported to Buddha Guanying, but Buddha Guanying smiled and said: "It's a good opportunity for them to live on earth." Buddha Guanying pointed at the Tiger-nose Peak, and the white phoenix immediately became silky fowl.
The site for making pills of immortality in the fairy tale can still be seen at the Two-finger Peak of Wushan. There is a spring, known as "pill-making pool." The pool is about 20 cm deep. The spring water there is clear and sweet. In summer, tourists and passers would come by and drink the water there. What is strange is that the Spring Pool never overflows and cannot be depleted even drunk by many people.
The orthodox Taihe Black-Bone Chicken has ten apparent characteristics: blue comb, green earlobes, five toes, bearded, feathered shanks, white silky feathers, crest, black bones, black muscles and black skin. The white silky feather is the unique feature of the Taihe chicken when compared to the other black-bone birds.
In the Tang Dynasty, the 'maifengdanyao,' which has the black-bone chicken as the main ingredient, was thought to be the cure-all medicine for the gynecological diseases. The famous medicinal book written during the Ming Dynasty titled Compendium of Materia Medica says that Taihe Old Chicken is a tonic and nourishing food to treat women's diseases. It enriches blood and builds up the health.
Taihe chicken was named 'Wushan Chicken' by Emperor Qian Long of the Qing Dynasty. The story goes that in the early years of the Qing Dynasty, there was a person whose name was Tu Wenxuan in Wushan, Taihe. This person sent the silky fowl to the Emperor Qian Long. The Emperor ate the chicken and found it delicious. Then Tu Wenxuan was appointed as an official and the Taihe Chicken was named as 'Wushan Chicken' by the Emperor.
Taihe chicken also has been distinguished and admired abroad. In 1915, China sent the silky fowl to Panama Pacific & International Fair and won a gold prize for the silky fowl due to its unique characteristics.
When the Chinese leaders visited Thailand in 1983, they presented 20 eggs from the Jiangxi Taihe Wushan Original Chinese Farm as diplomatic gifts.
Taihe chicken is also favored as food. Its muscle fiber is fine and tender. Chicken soup made with it is tasty and refreshing. Its unique flavor makes it a special dish in a banquet. It could also make a precious medicinal dish when cooked with herbs.
Why does the Taihe chicken has such outstanding nutritional and medical value? Research conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences shows that it is due to the peculiar natural conditions in Wushan, especially due to Wushan spring water which contains various minerals. It is said that the original silky fowls drink spring water, eat worms in the forest and wild grass there. There is a local saying that it is impossible to raise Wushan chicken without Wushan water.
For many years Taihe people have made many kinds of products and benefited from Taihe chicken. They have made a series of tonic liquors and nourishing foods, such as 'Wuji Baifen Wan', 'Wuji Shenjijing' (refinement of black-bone chicken with ginseng and wolfberry fruit), 'Wuji Bujiu' (black-bone chicken tonic liquor), 'Wuji Mairujing' (black-bone chicken with extract of malt and milk), etc. The 'Taihe Wuji Bujiu' is one of the four famous Chinese gift liquors. In the Taihe country brewery, black-bone chicken mixed with Chinese angelica, dangshen and 14 other traditional Chinese medicinal herbs are steeped in liquor for three to four months, then stored for six months. It takes ten months to make Taihe Wuji Bujiu.
In the late Qing Dynasty, there was a disaster that killed almost all people and silky fowl in Wushan. In the 1930's, two scientists in Jiangxi province collected 10 Taihe Silkie, with 2 cocks and 8 hens from the peasants, in order to save the silky fowl which was on the brink of extinction.
Until 1938, silky fowls that remained in Taihe only numbered in the hundreds. In 1944, the Japanese attacked and occupied Nanchang, then bombed Taihe. The original Taihe silky fowls were almost totally wiped out. In order to protect the original Taihe silky fowl, scientists there disguised as peasants, at the risk of life, to raise the silky fowl until the end of the war.
In 1959, the Jiangxi Taihe Wushan Original Chinese Farm was established. Located in Wushan, the farm is set up with the unique purpose of raising the original Taihe silky fowl.
Wushan Chicken is the original Taihe Silky Chicken, or the China Taihe original silky fowl. Within Taihe County, other than Wushan, the silky fowl is raised in other places; but these chickens are named 'Taihe Chickens,' and cannot be named as 'Wushan Chickens.' When the silky fowl is raised in other districts besides Taihe County, it is usually named as Zhusi Chicken.
An original adult Wushan chicken weighs 1,250 grams with a growth period of 180 days on the average. It is maintained that this chicken is far more nutritious as a tonic than the ordinary chicken, especially for women.
To identify a black-bone chicken, just examine its tongue. A black tongue indicates it is a black-bone chicken.
Researchers in poultry breeding and genetics have discovered that the unusual pigmentation in the black-bone chicken breed--in the skin, bones, connective tissues, muscles and tendons, and some other internal parts--is due to the combination of two genes. It happens when the dominant fibromelanosis gene, 'Fm', which causes the black pigment (melanin) in black-bone chicken, works in combination with the recessive allele of the sex-linked inhibitor of dermal pigment gene with the symbol 'id'. As a result, modern breeders should be able to make any breed of chicken "black-boned," by incorporating these two genes. See R.D. Crawford, ed., Poultry Breeding and Genetics, Elsevier, 1990.
Also spelled as Black-boned Chicken, or called Silky Fowl, Silkie Bantam.
See also The American Silkie Bantam Club, which has been established since 1923; as well as Food, Animals, Birds and Meat, Chicken and Rooster.
|Black-bone chicken contains many kinds of amino acids (18 kinds of amino acids including the 8 essential amino acids for human body), vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E, niacin, protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, iron, nicotinic acid, etc.
Laboratory tests show that the Taihe chicken contains certain hormones, blue pigment and amino acids which are required by the human body. These factors can increase blood cells and hemoglobin. Abundant clinical experience has indicated that Taihe chicken has a peculiar effectiveness in treating women's diseases, sterility, menoxenia (abnormal menstruation), habitual abortion, blood leucorrhoea, metrorrhagia, and sickness after giving birth to offspring, and also aids in curing pulmonary problems--tuberculosis (TB), heart diseases, neurasthenia (a condition of nervous debility supposed to be dependent upon impairment in the functions of the spinal cord), and chidren's osteomalacia (a condition marked by softening of the bones).
The eggs of Taihe chickens can be used effectively to treat severe headaches, headaches after giving birth, faintness, asthma and nephritis (acute or chronic inflammation of the kidney). The eggs are also an ideal nutritive, especially for old people and high blood pressure victims, since the cholesterol content is lower and free amino acids are higher than that of other kinds of birds.
Taihe chicken can be used as an ingredient of Chinese-made medicines. For instance, Taihe chicken is a major ingredient in 'Wuji Baifeng Wan', made by the famous Beijing Tongrentang Pharmacy.