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    Chicken Breed

    A beautiful breed known for their long tails.


    Authored by Sam Peterson

    Breed type


    Egg color


    Pen or free-range?

    Works well in both



    Phoenix quick facts

    Lifespan: 6-8 years

    Weight: 3-4 pounds for hens (females); 4-5 pounds for roosters (males)

    Appearance: Known for their long tails; can come in a variety of colors, including black, silver, golden and red 

    Egg Production: 200-280 eggs/year

    Good for Beginners: Phoenix chickens are not usually recommended for beginners, as they can be more challenging to care for than other breeds.


    The Phoenix is a remarkably beautiful chicken breed known for their extremely long tails. They were created by the German breeder Hugo du Roi, who mixed various European breeds with the treasured Japanese Onagadori chicken. The Onagadori was becoming well-known in Europe for its uniquely long tail, which was possible through a gene that prevented molting of the bird’s tail feathers. The tails of mature Onagadori could measure more than ten meters in length, making them true spectacles to behold. Hugo du Roi took some of this DNA and created a less fragile bird that could better handle the cooler climates of Europe and North America. The end product was the Phoenix, a long-tailed ornamental breed which also sports solid egg production.

    Phoenix temperment and good-to-knows

    Prospective owners should be happy to know that Phoenixes are friendly, calm birds who are easy to tame. They hardly show any aggressiveness and are well-suited as family birds or for backyard coops. Young children should be kept under watch though, as many kids will try to pull at their long, flowing tails. If this practice can be avoided, they are generally seen as safe around children. Socialization will help them stay friendly as they mature. Though the hens are very relaxed, Phoenix roosters may pick fights with others in the flock on occasion.

    Though the Phoenix is considered an ornamental breed, it has relatively strong egg production for a bird of its type. The Phoenix can lay anywhere from 200 to 280 standard eggs a year, with tinted or brown shells. Bantam Phoenixes may have lower egg production alongside smaller eggs. Having not been bred as industrial producers, Phoenixes also retain the broody gene. This is great for those looking to hatch their own Phoenix chicks. The roosters are recognized for their fine meat, though diners may find them a bit small when compared to more meat-focused breeds. The Phoenix has unique dual-purpose capability for being such striking birds, so well-known for their flowing tails and regal appearance.

    Visual characteristics of Phoenix birds

    The Phoenix chicken has many color variations, and each region of the world has its own standardized version of the breed. Black Breasted Red, Golden Duckwing, white, and silver varieties tend to be the most popular. All variations have red, serrated combs and their signature long tailfeathers. Phoenixes usually weigh in slightly lighter than average, with hens at around four pounds and roosters at five. More specialized versions of the Phoenix also exist, such as the Mediterranean Phoenix, which is known for having a strong heat tolerance and constitution. There are also bantam Phoenixes available, good for those looking for a smaller bird or those who have less space.

    Phoenix chickens lack the full extent of the Onagadori’s tail growth potential, but they can still grow some impressive, lengthy tails. These tails trail behind them as they move, and as such many owners like to give their Phoenixes an abundance of perches and elevation. This allows viewers to fully appreciate the length of the tail as it drapes down, as well as keeping the feathers clean and out of the mud. They are good fliers, so reaching perches should be no issue.  

    Health and care

    Caring for Phoenixes can be a bit involved. Though they lack any outstanding health issues, the long tails of this chicken breed create much of the work. They need plenty of room to roam about to keep from getting bored. If they grow bored, they may start to feather-pick obsessively. Building plenty of perches for your Phoenixes will help keep their tails clean, but regular maintenance and cleaning will still be required. Keeping them healthy with standard bird care remains important, such as keeping them clean and clear of parasites. Though their cold hardiness was improved over the fragile Onagadori, Phoenixes are still better-suited to warmer climates. They will not tolerate cold extremes well, so owners should be sure to provide adequate warmth and shelter.

    Frequently asked questions about Phoenix Chicken Breed

    How long do Phoenix chickens live?

    On average, Phoenix chickens live between seven to eight years.

    Do Phoenix chickens have any health issues?

    Phoenix chickens are generally healthy but can be prone to Marek’s disease and parasites.

    Are Phoenix chickens good meat birds?

    Phoenix roosters are recognized for their fine meat quality, but they may be smaller in size compared to other meat-focused breeds.

    Are Phoenix chickens good with children?

    Phoenix chickens are generally calm and docile birds and can make good pets for children with proper handling and care.

    Are Phoenix chickens cold hardy?

    Phoenix chickens are not particularly cold hardy and will require adequate shelter and protection from extreme temperatures.

    Everything your flock needs

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    Find all the information you need about raising chickens. Get an overview, then find helpful links to more in-depth education.

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