The Onagadori Chicken is not nearly as well-known as most chicken breeds commonly raised for meat and eggs. However, these chickens are hailed as prized pets in the country of Japan, where they originated. These are gorgeous chickens with amazingly long tail feathers and docile personalities. Are you interested in learning more about this unique chicken breed? You’ve come to the right place! We put together this guide that should help answer all your questions.

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Quick Facts About the Onagadori Chicken

Breed Name:Onagadori
Place of Origin:Japan
Uses:Exhibition
Rooster Size:5 pounds
Hen Size:3 pounds
Color:Black breast and red, silver, or white body
Lifespan:6–10 years
Climate Tolerance:Cool and hot climates
Care Level:Moderate
Production:N/A
Temperament:Docile, friendly, interactive

Onagadori Chicken Origins

This chicken breed comes from Shikoku Island of Japan, in an area now called the Kochi Prefecture. This is one of the only places in Japan where these chickens are raised today. Onagadori chickens are believed to have been bred from other long-tailed Japanese chickens, such as the Shikoku chicken. Over time, they became the breed that they are today.

These chickens were designated as a Special Natural Treasure by Japan in 1952. Out of the 17 chicken breeds that are considered natural treasures in the country, they are the only chicken breed to have a “Special” designation.

longtail chicken onagadori standing on a perch
Image Credit: SARAWUT DEEPALA, Shutterstock

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Onagadori Chicken Characteristics

The Onagadori Chicken is a docile breed that is used to being around people. These gentle chickens are friendly and interactive, sometimes even sitting on their owner’s laps to hang out on a beautiful afternoon. These are quiet chickens that don’t cause much trouble in the yard. They like to stay close to home, so they don’t need much room to roam. They do require protection from stray dogs and other predatory animals, so they should be always kept in a fenced yard, if not an enclosed coop.

Uses

While the Onagadori chicken does lay eggs, they lay few throughout the year (about 50), so they aren’t raised for their eggs. Simply put, these chickens are bred to be prized pets for people throughout the Kochi Prefecture region. They are sometimes featured in exhibition shows, but they usually just decorate their owners’ yards while roaming around during the day.

Onagadori Chicken
Image Credit: SARAWUT DEEPALA, Shutterstock

Appearance & Varieties

The most notable thing about these chickens is their tail feathers, which can grow to be more than 4 feet long! These tail feathers flow freely and make the chickens look like they have fluffy dresses on. These chickens also have colorful plumage on their heads and backs.

Most commonly, they have a combination of red, white, and black feathers. However, some chickens have bright blue or green feathers throughout. The look of these birds is why they are so rare and so expensive to source as personal pets or for breeding.

Population/Distribution/Habitat

These rare chickens are not distributed widely. They are mostly raised by specialty breeders and pet owners in the Kochi Prefecture region of Japan. Only those who specialize in the breed raise them outside of this area, and they are few and far between.

Are Onagadori Chickens Good for Small-Scale Farming?

These chickens are not considered suitable for small-scale farming because they don’t produce enough eggs throughout the year to make it worthwhile. Also, these are rare chickens that cannot easily be sourced for farming, if at all. Therefore, they should not be kept for anything but being pets.

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Conclusion

The Onagadori Chicken is a special breed with beautiful features and typically stress-free lives. They are rare chickens that likely won’t be found anywhere but in Japan. If you visit the Kochi Prefecture, spend time looking in the yards of homes that you travel past. You’ll likely catch a glimpse of this unique breed roaming around in a yard or two.


Featured Image Credit: SARAWUT DEEPALA, Shutterstock