Possessing a fantastic set of tail feathers that can grow up to five feet in length, the Phoenix rooster comes in both standard and bantam sizes. Those who love these chickens breed the Phoenix merely as a novelty or for show purposes because the hens are poor layers, and they are poor meat birds. Because they are extremely fragile, the tails of the Roosters require special care. Owners have to build special cages, pens, and roosts to make sure that the tail feathers of the Phoenix rooster are not damaged.
Scientific & Common Names
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Chordata
Class - Aves
Order - Galliformes
Family - Phasianidae
Subfamily - Phasianinae
Genus - Gallus
Species & Subspecies - G. gallus domesticus
Common Name - Phoenix Chicken
The American Poultry Association only recognizes silver and gold versions of the Phoenix. However, black and white varieties do exist. The long tail of the Phoenix rooster is black. These fancy feathers do not fall out when the rooster goes through its annual molt. Standard Phoenix roosters weigh about four or five pounds, and the bantam version weighs about two pounds. The scale-covered legs are yellow, and Phoenix roosters have a single, bright red comb and red ears.
Like most chickens, Phoenix roosters reach maturity around six months of age. They will fight with other roosters for mating privileges with the hens. A rooster will mount a hen and fertilize her eggs by touching his cloaca to hers.
The Phoenix rooster may need special care if the owners are interested in preserving the beauty of its tail. However, they are very good free ranging chickens if this is not a concern. They are not aggressive toward humans, but they are not extremely friendly either. Phoenix roosters scratch in the dirt for bugs and seeds, and they also crow at any time of day.
The birds from which the Phoenix were descended originated in Japan more than 1,000 years ago. Pictures exist of long-tailed roosters with tails that were 15 or 20 feet in length. However, modern varieties of the Phoenix only grow tails that are about 5 feet in length. The modern version of the Phoenix rooster was refined in Germany around 1900. The first president of the National German Poultry Association, Hugo du Roi, imported long-tailed birds from the Far East and set out to create a long-tailed breed with a hardier constitution. In 1974, the American Poultry Association accepted the Phoenix as an officially recognized breed.
In the United States, Phoenix chickens were kept as early as 1924. The Livestock Conservancy lists the status of the Phoenix rooster as threatened because so few people own, raise, and breed them.