Chicken Breeds with Upright Tails

By Chicken Pets on
Chicken Breeds with Upright Tails

Welcome to the world of chicken breeds with upright tails! In this blog post, we will explore various breeds with this unique feature and learn what makes them stand out among the flock.

Chicken Breeds with Upright Tails

Upright tails in chickens refer to breeds that have tail feathers that point straight up or slightly towards the back. Some popular chicken breeds with upright tails include Japanese Bantams, Malays, Phoenix, and Yokohamas.

Japanese Bantams

Japanese Bantams, also known as Chabo, are ornamental chickens native to Japan. They are small in size but have vibrant personalities, and their distinctive upright tails and large combs make them attractive additions to backyard coops.

Unique Features of Japanese Bantams

Some features unique to the Japanese Bantam breed include:

  • Short and curved legs, giving them an adorable waddle when they walk.
  • A wide variety of colors and feather patterns, such as Black-tailed White, Black-tailed Buff, and Grey.
  • Impressive vertical tails with long, flowing saddle feathers that add to their visual charm.
  • Friendly and docile temperament making them great with kids.

Caring for Japanese Bantams

Japanese Bantams require similar care as other chicken breeds. However, their short legs and small size make them less cold-hardy, so they will need extra protection in colder climates. Also, keep an eye on their long tail feathers to ensure they don’t become dirty or damaged.


Malay chickens are one of the oldest and tallest chicken breeds, with origins in Southeast Asia. They have an imposing appearance, thanks to their tall, lean bodies and upright, fan-shaped tails. These chickens are quite rare but admired by enthusiasts for their unique looks.

Distinct Characteristics of Malays

The following characteristics set Malay chickens apart:

  • Exceptional height, males can grow up to 30 inches tall, with females slightly shorter.
  • Upright tails with long, sickle-shaped feathers.
  • A variety of colors such as Black, White, Spangled, and Red Pyle.
  • Minimal feathers, making them prone to cold temperatures.
  • Strong, independent personalities that may, at times, display aggressiveness.

Keeping Malays Healthy and Happy

Malays need good-quality feed and plenty of space to roam due to their size. They may not be well-suited for first-time chicken keepers because their behaviors can be challenging to handle. Moreover, it’s good to provide them with suitable shelter during colder weather and regular health checks to ensure they stay in top condition.


Phoenix chickens, renowned for their stunning tail feathers, are a German breed developed from Japanese Onagadori, a chicken breed with exceptionally long tails. Although not as long as their ancestral species, Phoenix still have tails reaching over three feet in length, adding a touch of elegance to their appearance.

Attractive Qualities of Phoenix Chickens

Phoenix chickens possess several unique features:

  • Long, flowing tail feathers that can grow up to several feet in length.
  • Available in multiple colors, but the most common are Gold and Silver.
  • Active, flighty nature with a tendency to be skittish around people.
  • Relatively small in size despite their eye-catching tails.

Phoenix Chicken Care

Phoenix chickens thrive when given room to roam, so a spacious yard is important to keep them happy. They may require extra care if kept in confinement due to their skittish nature. Frequent monitoring and cleaning of their tail feathers are also essential to maintain their appearance and health.


Yokohama chickens are a visually striking breed from Japan, known for their incredibly long tail feathers, similar to the Phoenix breed. These elegant birds make a beautiful addition to any backyard coop and are sought after by breeders and enthusiasts alike.

Distinctive Traits of Yokohama Chickens

Some distinguishing Yokohama chicken features:

  • Long, cascading tail feathers that can reach up to three feet in length.
  • Main color varieties are Red and Silver.
  • A calm and friendly disposition, making them great pets.
  • Sensitive to cold weather, so they require shelter during the winter months.

Yokohama Care Tips

Yokohamas require a clean and safe environment due to their delicate tail feathers. Providing a spacious coop and a protected outdoor area will help keep their long tails free from damage. Regular inspection and cleaning of their tail feathers will promote a healthy and thriving flock.

Sumatra Chickens

Originally from the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, these chickens boast dark, shimmering feathers and striking upright tails. Sumatra chickens have a rich history as fighting birds, although today they are primarily kept for their beauty and as exhibition birds.

Unique Sumatra Chicken Characteristics

Characteristics that distinguish Sumatra chickens:

  • Glossy, iridescent black feathers that appear green or purple in the sunlight.
  • Upright, flowing tail feathers with a slight curve.
  • Multiple spurs on each leg, a trait that sets them apart from other breeds.
  • Agile and excellent flyers, able to escape predators or reach high perches.

Sumatra Chicken Care

Due to their active nature, Sumatra chickens need plenty of space to explore and exercise. Their alertness and ability to fly make them good at avoiding predators but might necessitate covered or high fences. Additionally, Sumatra chickens prefer roosting in trees, so providing natural or artificial perches will encourage their happiness and well-being.

With so many unique and fascinating chicken breeds with upright tails to choose from, there’s bound to be one that catches your eye. Whether you’re intrigued by the elegance of the Yokohamas or captivated by the sleek beauty of the Sumatra chickens, these breeds offer a visual treat and lively companionship for your backyard coop.

Selecting the Right Breed for Your Flock

Before adding any of these beautiful upright-tailed breeds to your flock, it’s important to consider your specific needs and expectations. When selecting the right chicken breed, consider:

  • Space: Ensure you have enough space in your coop and yard to accommodate the breed’s specific requirements.
  • Climate: Some breeds are more cold-hardy than others. Consider the climate of your area and select a breed that can tolerate the local weather conditions.
  • Purpose: Whether you want eggs, meat, exhibition birds, or pets, select a breed that aligns with your goals.
  • Temperament: Choose a breed that will match your temperament and experience level.

Resources for Additional Information

Becoming well-versed in chicken breeds and their needs is essential when raising backyard chickens. Here are some resources to help you learn more about upright-tailed breeds:

  • Local and online poultry clubs: Joining a group of poultry enthusiasts can provide valuable insights, support, and advice.
  • Books and articles: Numerous books and articles are available, covering various aspects of chicken keeping, as well as detailed information about individual breeds.
  • Online forums: Engaging with other backyard chicken keepers on online forums can be a great way to learn from their experiences.
  • Poultry shows and expos: Attending these events can help you meet breeders, view chickens up close, and get advice from experts.

Chicken Coop and Run Best Practices

Designing a suitable chicken coop and run for your upright-tailed chickens is crucial for their health and well-being. Consider the following:

  • Space requirements: Provide ample space inside the coop and in the outdoor run to prevent overcrowding and stress.
  • Perches and roosting bars: Chickens prefer to sleep off the ground, and perches, especially for breeds that enjoy flying, provide them with a comfortable resting place.
  • Ventilation: Ensure your coop has proper ventilation to keep your chickens healthy and to avoid condensation, mold, and respiratory issues.
  • Security: Protect your chickens from predators by using secure locks, burying the wire mesh around the run, and providing a covered area where chickens can escape from aerial predators.
  • Accessibility: Design your coop to have easy access to cleaning, collecting eggs, and monitoring the health of your flock.

Feeding and Nutrition Tips

Maintaining good nutrition for your chickens is crucial to their health and happiness. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Feed quality: Provide your backyard chickens with high-quality, age-appropriate feed specifically formulated for their nutritional needs.
  • Fresh water: Always provide clean and fresh water for your flock to prevent dehydration and ensure their overall health.
  • Grit: Chickens need grit to help grind their food in their gizzard. Supply grit in a separate container or allow them to access it in their environment.
  • Treats: In moderation, treats can provide a fun, stimulating addition to your flock’s diet. Favorites include fresh fruits, vegetables, and mealworms, but avoid foods that are harmful to chickens, such as raw potatoes, avocado, chocolate, and salty snacks.

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to raise a thriving flock of upright-tailed chickens, ensuring their health and happiness while enjoying their unique beauty and charm.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions and their answers to help you better understand upright-tailed chicken breeds, their care, and other relevant topics. We hope these answers provide valuable information and guidance as you embark on your chicken keeping journey.

1. Are upright-tailed chicken breeds suitable for beginners?

Some upright-tailed breeds, such as Japanese Bantams and Yokohamas, are friendly and suitable for beginners. However, Malays, with their strong personalities, might pose a challenge for first-time chicken keepers. Always research the breed’s temperament before adding it to your flock.

2. Can you keep multiple upright-tailed breeds together?

Yes, with proper management, you can keep multiple upright-tailed breeds together. Provide ample space and resources to avoid competition and stress, and monitor your flock’s dynamics to ensure all chickens coexist peacefully.

3. Do upright-tailed chickens lay a lot of eggs?

The egg production varies among the breeds. Yokohamas and Phoenix chickens lay approximately 80-100 eggs per year, while Japanese Bantams and Malays lay around 75-200 eggs annually. Research specific breed egg production to match your preferences and needs.

4. Can upright-tailed chicken breeds cope with cold weather?

Some breeds, like Phoenix and Malays, are less cold-hardy than others. Proper shelter, insulation, and access to water and food in the winter months will be crucial for these breeds. Always consider your local climate when choosing a breed for your flock.

5. How do I clean and maintain their tail feathers?

To maintain tail feathers, provide a clean, spacious environment, and check regularly for damage, parasites, or dirt. If necessary, gently trim damaged feathers and consider separating aggressive or bullying flock members.

6. Are upright-tailed chicken breeds good around children?

Japanese Bantams, Yokohamas, and Sumatra chickens are known for being friendly and gentle around children. Malays, on the other hand, can have stronger personalities and may not be the best choice for families with young kids. Choose the breed that best suits your family dynamics.

7. How much space do I need for upright-tailed chickens?

Space requirements depend on the specific breed. As a general rule, provide 2-4 square feet per chicken inside the coop and 8-10 square feet per chicken in the outdoor run to prevent overcrowding and promote a stress-free environment.

8. What kind of feed should I provide?

Feed your chickens age-appropriate, high-quality poultry feed that meets their specific nutritional needs. This can include chick starter, grower, and layer feeds that properly support their growth, egg production, and overall health.

9. Can I mix breeds of upright-tailed chickens with other breeds?

Yes, you can mix upright-tailed chickens with other breeds. Monitor the flock to ensure compatibility and that no stress, competition, or bullying occur. Consider the needs, temperament, and size variations when blending your flock.

10. Are upright-tailed breeds loud?

Noise levels vary among breeds. Japanese Bantams are relatively quiet, while Malays might be more vocal. Research the breed’s noise level before adding it to your coop, especially if you have close neighbors or have noise restrictions in your area.

11. Can upright-tailed chicken breeds fly?

Some breeds like Sumatra chickens and Phoenix are more agile and enjoy flying, while others, like Japanese Bantams, are less capable due to their short legs. If your chosen breed enjoys flying, provide perches and take necessary precautions to prevent escapes.

12. How long do tail feathers take to grow?

Tail feathers can take several months to grow to their full length, and in some cases, depending on the breed, can continue growing for a few years. Proper care and nutrition will support healthy feather growth.

13. Do I need a permit to keep an upright-tailed chicken breed?

It depends on your local regulations. Some areas may require permits, while others may not. Research specific requirements in your area, and comply with local laws and regulations to avoid any legal inconveniences.

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