Literally "long-tail fowl." Japanese breed of chicken, specially bred for the roosters' long tails which can surpass 10m (30ft) in length.

The practice of breeding common domestic chickens for their tail length dates back to the mid-17th century and, until the decline of feudalism, their feathers were an aristocratic fad. An individual named Riemon Takechi is credited with their creation when Lord Yamagouchi, baron of Kochi demanded his subjects pay tribute in long feathers, to be used for pomp and pageantry.

The onagadori was designated a National Commemorated Object in 1923 and given special status in 1952, after the war almost wiped it out. The birds themselves may be seen in temple gardens since some breeders do not have the space to accommodate both the birds and their tail and place them in the care of the temple.

Tails can come in any single colour or combination of red, black and white. Oddly enough, onagadori eggs produce a gender ratio of two females for every male. They're also smaller than common chicken eggs and have a lower hatching ratio.

Frank X. Ogasawara, NG 12/1970

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