Almost all of the longtail chicken breeds have Japanese origin. They were developed to be ornamental chickens. They all share one common characteristic – the roosters of these longtail chickens have a non-molting gene that causes some of their tail feathers to not molt and to have a rapid tailfeather growth.
Let’s take a look in a bit more depth, shell we?
Top 6 Chickens With Long Tail Feathers
In the United States there are 4 recognized long tail chickens: Cubalaya, Phoenix, Sumatra, and Yokohama. The other two are the Japanese long tail chicken Onagadori and the Indian Asil chicken (the long-tailed variety).
The Phoenix chicken is a stunning looking chicken with long tail that is sure to grab the attention of anybody that feasts their eyes upon it.
The Phoenix chicken was developed in Germany. However, it is actually based upon a Japanese breed of bird. This is the Japanese longtail chicken Onagadori.
Their long tail can reach 35 inch but sometimes more. But, in order to grow such a long tail feathers, the they needs a high-protein diet.
It is difficult to predict exactly how many eggs a Phoenix hen will lay. Some people claim that their hens lay as few as 60 eggs, and others claim that their Phoenix hens are producing as many as 180 eggs per year.
Phoenixes are docile, but sometimes they can have aggressive individuals.
They seems to be fine towards humans, but when it comes to other chickens, the Phoenix chicken is going to be more than happy to start a fight in order to ensure that it controls that territory.
This long tail chicken breed originates in Cuba. Although, its journey didn’t start there. The Cubalaya chicken was actually bred in Cuba but from several different chickens that the Spanish brought from throughout Europe and the Philippines.
Although they were first admitted to the APA back in 1939, in recent years, the Cubalaya chickens have become endangered.
This chicken is intended to be a dual purpose breed, but it is not raised that heavily for its eggs, mostly because the eggs are small, but you may be pleased to know that it is still a regular egg-layer.
You can get somewhere between 150 and 200 eggs per hen each year.
They stand nice and proud, with stunning flowing feathers on their body. The rooster’s sex feathers flow together from the neck to the end of the tail
In our opinion, the Cubalaya chicken is one of the most beautifully longtail chickens of all of the breeds.
The main purpose of the Sumatra chicken nowadays is as a show bird.
This isn’t really surprising, to be honest. As we said before, there are not that many chicken breeds out there that look as good as this one.
The Sumatra rooster weighs 5 lb. (2.2 kg), while the hen 4 lb. (1.8kg). This means that it can be used for meat. However, it is slow-growing, and it is tough to raise.
This would never be somebody’s ‘go to’ chicken breed for meat. It probably does taste good, though.
The Yokohama chicken is best known for the long tail feathers that it has. It is these long tail feathers that give the impression that the Yokohama chicken is far larger than it actually is.
The Yokohama hen can lay around 80 white shell eggs per year, although most people will find that their chicken lays a lot less than this.
The Yokohama hens are very poor layers of eggs, so, of course, this probably won’t be a bird that you want to get if you are looking for eggs.
Of course, as with most breeds designed for show, if you are only just starting to tinker with the idea of raising this longtail chickens for show purposes, then you probably won’t be successful.
It will likely take a few generations of chicken breeding before you are able to create a bird that is show worthy.
As you may well know, the Onagadori chicken is famous for having long tail feathers that simply do not molt. This means that they can end up incredibly long.
It is worth noting that the above four longtail chicken breeds do not grow the luxuriant tails of Japanese longtail chicken Onagadori. This chicken long tail feathers are a minimum of 6.5 feet (2 m) long.
Actually, it isn’t uncommon to see an Onagadori chicken with tail feathers that are 16 – 32 feet (5-10 meters) long.
Unfortunately, this Japanese longtail chicken is not recognized breed in US by APA.
Since this long tail chicken is not used for anything other than ornamental purposes, it is not going to be a decent egg layer.
These chickens with long tail feathers stand quite tall, and it has a rather compact body.
One of the main highlights of the look of their body will be the longer tail feathers that many of them have. There are a variety of different colors for this breed, but the vast majority of them are going to be black or red.
You may know that the Aseel chicken was recognized by the APA back in 1981, but its long tail variety is available only in India and not standardized in the US.
The Asil Chicken is purely bred for cockfighting in India. All of the birds that have been exported around the world have descended from cockfighting birds.
Raising Long Tail Chickens
Raising any of the longtail chicken breeds is just going to be too difficult for most people. They are currently not for beginners.
They must have good accommodation that provide high perches and tight well-bedded areas to maintain feather quality.
In order to attain its length, you must keep the long tailed rooster housed separately in a special cage with a high perch, and keep its tail feathers protectively wrapped.
Moreover, in order to grow such a long tail feathers, these longtail chicken breeds need a high-protein diet.
This is why in the US it is very rare to find a backyard chicken owner that spends enough time pampering roosters to keep their long tail feathers from breaking.