History of the Rogers Line of Long Tailed Fowl


I started breeding long tailed fowl in 2002. I began with the Astin line of non-molting fowl which produced feathers up to 14 feet in length.

In 2003 I received a pure yellow-legged white Onagadori hen.

I breed these birds in the colors of:

and pronunciation key

English translation
U.S. color term
yellow-legged recessive white

Description: yellow-legged bird with recessive white accompanied by a color diluter.
This diluter enables two green-legged parents, who each carry one copy of white but do not themselves express it, to produce white offspring with yellow legs.

white wisteria
silver duckwing

Description: silver duckwing with green (willow / lead) legs

yellow bamboo grass
gold duckwing

Description: gold duckwing with green (willow / lead) legs

red bamboo grass
red duckwing / bbr / black breasted red

Description: red duckwing with green (willow / lead) legs

five colors
salmon on duckwing

Description: dark brown shouldered mahogany salmon on silver or light gold duckwing, with green (willow / lead) legs.
The five colors that are to be expressed by a bird having this pattern are blue (the iridescence of the black in the wing), red, yellow, white, and black.
Contrary to popular misconception goshiki is not simply a dark shouldered gold duckwing as happens when crossing red duckwing with silver duckwing. Goshiki is like a salmon Faverolle with a duckwing base instead of wheaten.

(shojo tane)


orangutan variety
black-tailed red ginger

Description: black-tailed bright red / orange / buff ginger on wheaten, with the yellow-legged diluter.
Shojo is produced when ginger is on red wheaten. I have seen some who call ginger on red duckwing shojo. This is incorrect. When ginger is on red duckwing or is accompanied by mahogany it produces a deep maroon shade that is not shojo, but is called kapitan; which is not a standardized color in these birds.

The red phases came by way of the Nakamura hen. The Yellow-Legged whites and silvers came from the Kubota hen.

At their current stage of development I would consider my line to be pure Onagadori in phenotype because they meet the Japanese Standard, and they are roughly 70+% pure by genotype.

Descendants of the American lineage blended birds have been bred away from over the past years. My birds are now close to 100% Japanese origin; consisting of roughly 70+% Onagadori. The remaining percentage is a blend of Ohiki from the 2002 Astin imports and Totenko by way of the shojo colored Nakamura line hen that was 50/50 Onagadori and Totenko. The Totenko is an ancestor to the Onagadori. The only thing remaining in my fowl that is not original to the breed is a very small percentage of pure Ohiki from the Astin 2002 imports. The Ohiki is a close cousin breed to the Onagadori.

My yellow-legged white hen came from a family who was living in Mississippi in the early 2000s. Their surname was Kubota. I don't know of any relation between them and the family in Kochi, Japan. There are two ways to write Kubota in Japanese with two different meanings, both spelled phonetically the same in the English alphabet. I do not know which Japanese form the family in the U.S. used. The two families might not even write their names the same. I did ask Masashi Kubota's widow and daughter who live in Kochi, Japan if they knew if they had relatives in the U.S. They did not know of the late Mr. Kubota having any relatives living here.

The Kubota family living in the U.S. immigrated in the 1970s and brought eggs with them. They met Toni-Marie Astin in 2003 at the Japanese festival held at Stone Mountain, GA. They arranged for a trade. Toni-Marie Astin later gifted their yellow-legged white hen to me. I line bred Ohiki x Onagadori offspring back to this hen to obtain a pure phenotype.

Contact was unfortunately lost with the U.S. Kubota family after Hurricane Katrina. Last word through the grapevine was that one or the other had passed and the living spouse moved back to Japan.

Later under similar circumstances we were gifted a shojo colored hen from the Nakamura family living in the U.S. This hen was 50/50 Onagadori and Totenko. As a result she was split to duckwing, wheaten, and ginger; and was capable of producing all red phases of the breed.

Her father was a shojo colored Onagadori and her mother was a Totenko. These were the Nakamura's last two birds. They had bred them together in hopes of saving their lines. They hatched one bird and the parents died before their resulting pullet was of breeding age. They didn't wish to persu breeding this hen to anything available in the U.S. and gifted the hen to Toni-Marie Astin, who gifted her to us.

Many breeders in the U.S. claim to have Onagadori. The birds are mixes. In nearly all cases these breeders have never raised any of their roosters in tomebako to prove non-molting. This together with blue legs, as found in Phoenix (a breed largely of European origin), are a huge clue that their birds are not Onagadori. Blue legs do not exist in Japanese long tailed breeds. In Onagadori the legs are green for duckwing color phases and yellow in white and shojo varieties.

Additionally, the white color phase (shiroiro) in traditionally colored Onagadori differs from some other "white" breeds. This white is recessive. Offspring require two copies, one copy from each parent, in order to express this white. This recessive white is an extremely clean white and lacks any salmon in the breast or brassiness in the shoulders. The reason is that in traditionally colored Onagadori the recessive white is accompanied by a diluter. It is because of this that two green-legged duckwing traditionally colored Onagadori each carrying only one copy of the recessive white, but not expressing it, can produce white offspring with yellow legs. In all my years of breeding these birds I have never had a white hatch with any leg color other than yellow no matter if the parents had green or yellow legs. It would appear to be practically impossible for an Onagadori of the traditional form of white to have any leg color but yellow. I have never had to select for leg color in my whites. It sets itself.

A recessive white Onagadori can be bred to a recessive white of certain other breeds and not produce white offspring. There are different forms of recessive white. Some other forms are actually a recessive pyle. Hence the salmon breast and brassy shoulders expressed by some other lines that lack the true recessive white and diluter of traditionally colored Onagadori. The Onagadori recessive white can occassionally leak black. This is expressed in chicks as a black dot on the head. This dot is lost with the chick down. The recessive pyle not found in traditionally colored Onagadori leaks red throughout the life of the bird, causing salmon breasts in the hens and brassy shoulders in the roosters.

There is nothing wrong with the creation of new colors, such as recessive pyle, in a breed. Shojo did not exist in Onagadori until the 1980s when it was created by Japanese breeders using Jidori (a Japanese utility breed). I choose to breed only colors that are recognized in Japan. That doesn't mean others shouldn't or couldn't make new colors as was done with shojo in Japan.

No one else in the U.S. has the Rogers line. Such claims found on online auctions and sales listings are false. Some birds and eggs were sold many years ago. The only breeder still continuing with long tailed fowl reported to me at the time that their Rogers line birds had been eaten by predators before they were of breeding age. They have nothing remaining of the Rogers line, but still make this claim in online sales listings.

The claim some breeders in the U.S. make of "Onagadori Phoenix" is like saying someone has Cochin Leghorns. They're two very different breeds.

Onagadori are genetically Gt/Gt mt/mt Mf/Mf. Other long tailed breeds, such as Phoenix are Gt/Gt Mt+/Mt+ Mf/Mf, meaning that they have the dominant trait for the regular molting cycle instead of the recessive non- molting trait. Chickens that are not long tailed varieties are gt+/ gt+ Mt+/Mt+, meaning that they lack the quick growth trait of the tail and saddle feathers as well as the non-molting trait.

No one can have a bird that is both an Onagadori and a Phoenix. The genetics and standards by which they are bred and judged are completely different right down to the leg color, body type, and even feather type.

I would urge breeders making claims of "Onagadori Phoenix" to choose one and breed the birds in that direction. The Onagadori and Phoenix are two distinct breeds with separate origins. The Onagadori is Japanese, while the Phoenix is European with only a very small fraction of Japanese blood. Claiming that a bird is both does a disservice to both breeds, as it muddles up what should be clear, defining differences in the two breeds.

Combining breed names in this way confuses show judges as to what is proper for each breed and as to which standard by which they should judge the bird. An Onagadori will judge poorly by the Phoenix standard and vice versa because of body type, carriage, slope of the back, angle of the tail, width and varying flexibility of the feathers, length of the tail and saddle feathers, and so on. Please keep these breeds separate and distinct for the sake of the advancement of both breeds in their own right!

Some lines in the U.S. are very close to Onagadori. I would like to see more breeders test their birds for non-molting using tomebako. If the birds can go at least three years, preferably four years, without molting the tail and saddle feathers, while continuing to grow for that duration then correct the leg color of the line if necessary and call the birds Onagadori while being truthful of the line's origins. If they can't pass non-molting tests, then breed them according to the APA Phoenix standard.

Rogers line long tailed fowl were exported to Vietnam some years back via a transhipper (a shipping broker licensed for import and export of live animals). The breeders in Vietnam have done beautifully with the birds they acquired and raise them as proper Onagadori under correct care.



David Rogers
Co-Author of 'Long Tailed Fowl'


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Last Update: Jan 30, 2009