The Silver Phoenix Chicken is a miniature, ornamental chicken breed that is becoming increasingly popular at poultry shows. This ornamental breed was admitted into the APA (American Standard of Perfection) in 1965. There are a variety of reasons for this; they have gorgeous plumage, are easy to tame, and are very gentle. They require only a small amount of feed and space to maintain them, making them the ideal choice for the backyard breeder with a limited area. Because of their small stature, they are easy for children to handle, and make wonderful pets.
Traditionally, these birds were bred and raised in Japan, where they decorated the gardens of the wealthy. They were bred to have exceptionally long tails, some reaching as long as 30 feet in length. These long-tailed birds were called Onagadori. The Phoenix are descendants of the Onagadori. The Silver Duckwing Phoenix tails can reach about 4-5 feet in length. The long-tailed birds were taken to Germany, where it was discovered that they were often prone to health issues. The Germans crossbred them with other hardier game breeds, and thus created the Silver Duckwing Phoenix. The Onagadori have a peculiar genetic pattern that prevents them from molting their feathers every year, contributing to the long tails. Unfortunately, this gene did not carry over to the Phoenix and they do shed their feathers every year. Nevertheless, the Phoenix still has an impressive tail that can reach several feet in length.
The beak can be a shade of tan, while the eyes are usually a reddish bay color. The silver duckwing plumage has white with black and iridescent blue and silver shades giving them a striking appearance that many people favor.