These beautiful ornamental chickens are bred as show birds and have been designated as a Special Natural Monument in Kochi, Japan for where they originate.
The word Onagadori means eight “Long-tailed chicken” or “Honorable Fowl” in Japanese who have over the years taken great pains in breeding them.
The roosters have exceptionally long tail feathers which do not molt so can get to great lengths as they can grow for the rooster’s entire lifespan. The minimum requirement of which, for them to be regarded as a Longtail fowl their tails must be at least 2 meters long.
The rest of the rooster’s feathers that cover its breast, back and head molt normally as do the hens feathers.
Tail feathers of the Onagadori have been recorded of up to 27 meters long.
There are other breeds such as the Phoenix which is a descendant of the Onagadori that also have long tail feathers, but they normally do not reach anywhere near 2 meters and their tail feathers do molt.
These beautiful birds require special housing, perches and their tail feathers need extra care to be kept in top-notch condition. Sometimes their tails are rolled up and secured with silk ties for protection as breeders take great pains not to let the tail feathers be dragged on the ground or roughed up but the wind and or other elements.
|Country of Origin:
|American Poultry Association:
|No – They are not recognized as a breed of chicken in the United States
|They are classed with a Longtail classification
|Bantam Variety Available?
|No there is not Bantam variety of this breed
|Good Starter Chicken?
|No, they are not a good started chicken as they a very rare and high maintenance
Appearance/Body: They are a medium sized chicken with long feathery hackles on the male. They have bright red comb and wattles with white earlobes and willow colored clean legs with four toes. The stand quite proudly erect with a sloping back and extremely long flowing tail feathers on the male. The female is a bit smaller in size than the male with the same color wattles, earlobes and comb. Her tailfeathers are normal chicken-sized but held low like that of the males. Her wattles, earlobes and comb are a bright red.
Color(s) White, Black-Breasted Golden, Black-Breasted Red and Black-Breasted Silver
Comb: They have a single comb
Ave. Weight: Pullet: 2 lbs.
Hens: 3 lbs.
Cockerel: 3 lbs.
Rooster: 4 lbs.
Eggs: They are not very good egg layers.
They lay small light brown eggs
They lay 80 – 100 eggs per year
They will lay throughout the year
They start to lay eggs from around 26 weeks old.
Meat: They have yellow skin
They are not a meat bird
Breeding: They need experienced breeders
The hens do not get broody
They do not make good brood hens
They will not sit on their eggs
They will raise their chicks and make very good mothers.
Show Bird: They are bred to be a show bird exhibiting the gorgeous plumage and amazingly long tails.
Pets: They are a calmly relaxed breed and more for exhibition than pets
Other: These beautifully rare birds are an exceptional ornamental bird for your garden
|The average lifespan is 6 – 7 years
|They do not have any known health issues
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|Calm, friendly and regal
|They can fly but their tails make them clumsy
|They are relatively quiet birds
|Interaction with other chickens:
|They will get along with other chickens but due to their tail size, they are best kept away from other breeds.
|Good with kids?
|Although they are a huge fascination for kids it is best that they are supervised at all times around the Onagadori.
|It is not advisable to allow the birds with the longer tails to mingle with other domestic animals.
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|Always keep an eye on domestic pets such as dogs and cats.
If hawks and or foxes are in your area it is always best to take precautions.
Check with local animal shelters, zoos, vets, animal control and or pet stores about common predators in your area.
|These birds conservation status is recorded as “critical”
|They do not mind confinement but do require extra space and special places or restraints for their tails.
|They are more for warmer climates and are not too partial to the cold
|The rule of thumb for any coop is 50 cm x 50 cm per hen/rooster in the coop.
Ensure there is a good space for the nesting boxes and nightly roosting rails at least 1.5 inches wide.
Good ventilation for air but not too drafty especially in winter.
It is always a good idea to raise the coop off the ground to give the birds a dry place to roost and lay especially in wet weather.The Onagadori need more room and special places for their tails.
|Ideal Coop Run:
|It is best to completely cover the coop run in order to protect these rare beauties.
|Ideal Flock Size:
|As long as they have at least one companion they are happy in any size flock.
|There are special instructions and requirements for the males and their very long tails.
|The following accessories are ideal for your coop:
Straw for the boxes and roosting area
Animal carrier for transport purposes
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WHERE TO BUY THEM
|Live Poultry Outlets:
|They are a very rare breed in America and are not readily available at most hatcheries and or live poultry outlets/farms
|Internet Poultry Websites:
|There are a few internet sites that may keep them such as Feather Lover Farms. Always check the authentication of the birds and the Internet supplier’s reputation before buying off the Internet.
|The American Livestock Conservancy may have information with regards to the Onagadori in the USA but even though they are not accepted as a breed in the Standard of Perfection by the American Poultry Association they may still have some information about breeders or hatcheries.
|There are not many breeders and or clubs or associations in America for the Onagadori.
Feather Site may have some listed breeders and more information, special instructions, requirements, etc.
|The organizations and or breeders listed above may also have a host of valuable information about your chickens.
They will also be able to provide you with any special instructions, problems, etc. about your chickens.
The Onagadori is one of Japans treasured monuments which once declared as such there was a ban put on the export of the breeds eggs. Thus, any Onagadori that are seen these days outside of Japan are from eggs that arrived in those countries before the bird was declared a Natural Japanese monument.
It is due to this ban that these birds have been placed on most conservations lists as critical.
The Onagadori breed’s roots are quite ancient and its ancestry is believed to have been from a mixing of the green male junglefowl and the red female junglefowl. These breeds were called Bekisar and came from the Island of Java.
These jungle-fowls were well known for their lovely long tails and crowns.
The hybrid of these two chickens was used to start a new breed of chicken of which by 206 BC there were many a male bird with a long flowing tail.
These birds brought in good money to Japan as exports to China. Another breed came to be from these longtail chickens that were exported to China and they were called the Shokoku.
In around 700 to 900 AD, it was from the Shokoku chickens that Japan imported from China that Japan bred another species called the Totenko. The Totenko was bred in Kochi and documented by a professor name professor Hiraoka.
It was from the cross-breeding of the Totenko and the Shokoku that the Onagadori was born and the species refined from around 1912 to 1926 (the Taisho period) to what we know it as today.
In the 1920’s to preserve their beautiful tails, they came to be bred as cage birds.
The first Onagadoris to arrive in Europe in the mid-1940’s were known as Yokahama’s as they left the port of Yokohama in Japan. These birds were not very adaptable to the European climate forcing breeders to breed them with local hardier breeds that shared the Onagadori’s genes. Thus, a more resilient breed of the Onagadori came to be.
There are a few Onagadori in the USA but they are very rare to come by and are often mistaken for the Phoenix Longtail.
NOTES / SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS
As they are registered as a “critical” conservation status they may need an extra license to own or keep in your garden. For advice on what the bird’s conservation status and orders are please check with your local conservation department.
For breeders, it is imperative that you always check your bird’s bloodlines and ensure you are buying your birds from a reputed breeder/farm. In order to sell birds of such stature, they have to be recorded and documented, always check with local animal breeding organizations for these records.
These legitimate documents are also required should you wish to show your bird(s) in various poultry shows/competition showings.
For information and advice on adopting rescued animals, you can visit or contact your local animal welfare center.
- Caring for your Chicken
- Socializing your Chicken
- Breeding Chicken
- Raising Chickens A-Z
- Hatching Eggs
- What is Molting
- Animal Shelter (ASPCA)
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- American Poultry Association
- American Animal Welfare Society
- American Animal Control
- American Animal Husbandry Society