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Foreigners flock to Malaysia to learn about bird breed

Malaysian serama gaining popularity as Year of the Fire Rooster beckons

PETALING JAYA It is the Year of the Fire Rooster and no fowl is as "on fire" as the Malaysian serama.

The diminutive breed - famous for its puffed up chest - is considered the gold standard, so much so that enthusiasts go to Malaysia from countries as far as Belgium, Spain, Kuwait and Mexico just to learn about it.

The development and showing of serama as a sport can be intense competitions. Serama and its eggs are also popular on eBay and online pet forums in the US and Europe, selling for US$32 (S$46) per egg from show-winning parents and going up to US$80 for a serama with a "Malaysian bloodline".

A check on Facebook showed that there are overseas groups set up to discuss the rearing and selling of the bird.

EAGER

One Malaysian enthusiast, Mr Lee Kok Hoong, said he is often contacted by foreigners eager to learn about this breed of chicken.

He told Star Online: "They come to Malaysia to learn about the serama. There are many serama breeders overseas, some of whom have even crossed the breed with chickens from over there. And the eggs can be sold for about €150 (S$227)."

Considered the smallest breed of chickens in the world, they were created in Kota Baru almost 30 years ago and typically weigh under 500g each.

Mr Lee, a manager in a food company, said prices have come down to about RM15,000 (S$4,800) per bird.

He has about 30 birds in Malaysia and another 200 in Bangkok.

His prize-winning bird, which he bought for RM2,500, is now worth RM7,000.

"But I'm not interested in selling," said Mr Lee.

He said that while breeding serama is relatively fuss-free, it is not easy to rear the chicks.

He said: "The chick is very fragile and its body structure can go out of shape as it grows. It is also difficult to get the right colouring.

"The preference is for golden yellow and the next is black. The batik plumage is not so popular."

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