The modern Yokohama Chicken, an Ornamental Long-Tailed European Breed

BREED NAME: Yokohama

BRIEF DESCRIPTION: French and German fanciers of the Yokohama chicken introduced this breed to Europe in the 1860’s. The complete story has been lost but it’s possible that any long-tailed Japanese chicken shipped from Yokohama was given the name, disregarding Japanese distinctions of breed, possibly a translation problem.

The modern Yokohama chicken, an ornamental long-tailed European breed, has similarities to the German Phoenix. The two breeds share Japanese long-tailed ancestry and once were considered the same breed of different comb variety in Europe.

Today, in much of the world they are quite distinct. A quick study shows us that the Yokohama chicken has a Walnut or Pea comb as opposed to the Phoenix's single comb. 

The Phoenix will have a mostly cream or white earlobe with slate legs and the Yokohama has red lobes with yellow legs. Both breeds have a white variety with white legs and beak. Yokohamas appear more gamey or pheasant-like. Yokohama, The Facts:

Class: Light long-tailed

Size: Standard Male: 4.4 Ibs. / Female: 3.3 Ibs. / Bantam 

Male: 1.5 – 3 lb / Female: 1-2 lb

British Standard Male: 1.8 – 2.7 kg (approx. 4 – 6 lbs) Female: 1.1 – 1.8 kg (approx 2.5 – 4lbs) Comb, Wattles & Earlobes: Red lobes with red wattles and triple pea or walnut comb.

Color: White and Red Shouldered, Black, Black-Red, Silver Duckwing, Gold Duckwing with yellow skin and orange-red eyes. British colors: BLACK/RED, SILVER DUCKWING, GOLD DUCKWING, WHITE, BLACK, BLACK-TAILED BUFF, BLUE/RED, SPANGLED, RED-SADDLED

Place of Origin: The first “Yokohamas” are believed to be Shikoku exported from Japan and given a new name. Modern Yokohama chickens are a distinct breed developed in Europe in Standard and Bantam varieties. Great Britain has its own standards for the breed.

Conservation Status: Common to Rare

Special Qualities: The Yokohama is mainly an exhibition breed, closely related to the Japanese Minohiki (“Saddle Dragger” - a close relative of the Black Sumatra). Importation to the West, through the Yokohama port of Japan, is the source of the name. 

Prior to exportation these birds were known only as Shikoku or Minohiki, forerunners of the Yokohama and Phoenix. The first German breeder, Hugo de Roi, is credited with developing a red-saddled white, red lobed and gamey variety during the late 1800’s and seems to have been secretive about how he developed his bird.

It’s unknown at this point if his color type was imported from Japan or if other breeds were crossed in by Roi. Genetic studies of the Yokohama’s origin have proven Minohiki ancestry which was developed through Shamo and Shokoku. Both breeds were brought to Japan from China as early as 800 AD by Japanese diplomats.

Minohiki, from Shizuoka and Aichi provinces, can be clearly seen as having similarities to the Yokohama breed, though less standardized.

Although needing special care to cultivate long tails, the elegant Yokohama gained much popularity in Germany and proved hardy, even in harsh climates. They are most likely to grow a very long tail and saddle feathers, but not sickles.

With a short beak, small head, and pea or walnut comb, Yokohama has a streamlined, pheasant-like and horizontal stature; inclining slightly, but steadily, from its head through flowing tail.

Its ancestor, the Shokoku, has an ancient history as a temple fighter used in religious ceremonies, but this pitgame spirit was not fostered in Minohiki or Yokohamas, though both might be seen to have physical gamefowl characteristics.

The Yokohama has been cultivated and standardized thoroughly in Great Britain, where it’s considered a rare and large fowl. In GB there is a single comb Yokohama.

German fanciers named this type: Phoenix. British standards, established in 1904, include the red-saddled and straight comb, plus 5 distinct Japanese breeds under the heading: Yokohama – Totenko, Onagadori, Kurokashiwa, Shokoku and Minohiki.

Yokohama hens can be poor layers, sometimes only laying one small cream or tinted egg per week on standard layer feed. Some fanciers have increased egg production to nearly one egg per day with a quality high protein diet.

The breed reportedly does well in confinement, is docile and not always winter hardy. Hens are not known for broodiness or mothering instincts.

Return From Yokohama Chicken to Poultry Breed

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