Yokohama Chickens – Breed Profile & Facts
Yokohama chickens are some of the most eye-catching ornamental birds with unusually long tail feathers and plumage colors. Currently, Germany recognizes two Yokohama chicken colors, red-saddled and white. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, experts use the name to refer to other bird species known as Phoenix in Germany. Thus, there are numerous more color additions like spangled, black-tailed buff, silver duckwing, golden duckwing, and black-red.
All in all, the United States added Yokohama white varieties and red-shouldered/saddled under the Standard of Perfection back in 1981. Still, Yokohamas remain a rare variety but slightly more prevalent in Germany, where the locals regard their beauty more. Perhaps the main reason these birds are super exceptional is the long tail.
Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to keep the tail clean in the wrong environment. This article intends to shed more light on Yokohama chickens and how to keep them happy and healthy.
Where do Yokohama Chickens Come From?
Throughout the Edo period (1639 to 1853), Japan closed almost all forms of foreign trade. Later in 1854, during the Kanagawa convention, authorities discussed constructing five ports to enable trading with the outside world. In the process, they built Yokohama port around 1859 and documented its first export around 1864.
Japanese long-tailed chickens were the first merchandise exported to Europe. Some made entry to Jardin Zoologique d’Acclimatation in Paris and named Yokohama after their port of origin.
Others found their way to Germany, where Hugo du Roi, the first president of the German Poultry Association, started breeding them on a large scale. It is still not definite whether Hugo created the red-saddled coloring variety or if sailors brought them from Japan. In 1904, the United Kingdom formed a Yokohama breeder’s club and used the name to define Phoenix chickens.
Around the same time, Germany developed the first Bantam Yokohama by crossbreeding other bantam varieties with standard-sized fowls. As mentioned in the introduction, the US Standard of Perfection registered Yokohama chickens in 1981.
However, the US Yokohama variety differs slightly from its British counterparts. In fact, it is not unusual to hear most people across the world and in the US refer to the birds as Phoenix and not Yokohama chickens.
How to Recognize a Yokohama Chicken?
Yokohama is a slim, beautiful ornamental chicken breed, known for its trademark long tail. The famous long-tail sweeps all the way to the ground, a trait they share with Phoenix chickens. Other than that, Phoenix has white or cream earlobes, slate legs, and a single comb.
On the other hand, Yokohamas have pea or walnut comb, yellow legs, and red earlobes. Also, Yokohama birds have yellow beaks and skin.
Note that these birds are especially for the exhibition and are rarely considered meat or egg producers. In short, Yokohamas egg and meat production is nothing to write home about.
How Big do Yokohama Chickens Grow?
Yokohamas may appear larger than their actual size, thanks to their long tails. However, they fall under small chicken categories, with the standard hen weighing approximately 1.6 kg and roosters about 2kg. For bantam hens, they weigh roughly 0.62 kg, while roosters gain about 0.7 kg in adulthood.
Lengthwise, the tail can grow up to three or four feet. However, selected cases report some tails measuring average 27 feet long in Japan.
Are Yokohama Chickens Easy to Care For?
Although Yokohama chickens are famous for their elegance, they are amazingly low maintenance. Remember that they are specially created for a life in captivity and thus handle confinement pretty well. What’s more, they are docile and have calm dispositions. For these reasons, they are easy with young children and quite a sight around the yard.
Unfortunately, Yokohamas are not particularly cold-hardy and may require warm and comfortable enclosures in winter. Yokohama chicks tend to be weaker compared to other species. In truth, only a handful survived across the ocean to the US, leading to limited breeding stock.
It is prudent to buy chicks from private breeders rather than large-scale hatcheries. This is because hatcheries rarely breed chickens selectively for vigor and hardiness.
When it comes to grooming needs, check them regularly for parasites like lice and mites. Then de-worm them regularly, especially if they frequently interact with children and other animals. Altogether, Yokohamas are relatively healthy and ideal bird pets even in urban areas.
What to Feed Yokohama Chickens?
Yokohama chickens love scavenging and feeding on pests and insects. Nevertheless, experts recommend farmers give their birds commercial feeds before allowing them to forage. Best food options include grain mix, pellets, chicken mash, and seeds for birds over eight weeks old.
For younger chicks, Chick Starter is ideal and more nutritious. Do not forget to add extra protein to the bird’s diet for healthy feathers.
Calcium is also indispensable in strengthening bones and eggshells. Above all, include soluble and insoluble grit in their diet to aid digestion. Preferred options include limestone, crushed eggshells, crushed gravel, oyster shells, and Cuttlebone.
Luckily, you can find specifically formulated feeds for ornamental birds like Yokohama in the market. Still, you can enrich regular feed with scrambled eggs, milk, and mealworms for a similar effect.
What Kind of Coop does Yokohama Need?
You may not have to invest in a spacious coop because Yokohamas are relatively small. However, provide roosters with a slightly bigger space because of their long tails. Typically, hens require two to three square feet coop and a 10 square feet run.
Add an extra foot with rooster’s enclosures and make them approximately four square feet. It is not uncommon to find ornamental farmers placing them in wire cages.
In such a scenario, raise the enclosure off the ground and install meshed bottoms to allow droppings to fall quickly. The advantage of this technique is that it keeps the birds extremely clean, especially before a show. If there are no upcoming shows, allow your fowls to live in a more natural setting, scavenging and getting dirty.
What Health Problems Do Yokohama Have?
Several health issues affect Yokohamas and other chicken species. Some include Blackhead, Avian Influenza, Coccidiosis, Fowl Cholera, New Castle, Marek disease, external parasites, etc. It is worth pointing out that most ailments originate from unhygienic living conditions. In addition, second-hand coops may infest a new flock with frustrating parasites like lice.
Common signs of sickness include increased lethargy, loss of appetite, feather loss, skin irritation, discharge from nose and eyes, and declined egg production. It is critical to put the health of your flock at the front line.
Start by cleaning the coop regularly and replacing soiled beddings. Seek routine vaccinations to keep ailments at bay. Finally, always contact a qualified vet immediately if you notice any unusual warning signs.
How Many Eggs do Yokohama Chickens Lay?
Your feathered beauty may not give you baskets of eggs, but it is possible to get some out of the investment. The estimated yearly egg production ranges from 60 to 80 eggs per hen. Take into account that the first egg often comes around the 20th month. Like other chicken species, you may notice some decline during colder months.
Make their life more habitable by heating the coop when this happens. While most people prefer heat lamps for the role, you can also invest in hot water bottles, regular bulbs, or used heated pads. Also, add insulation and block draught access from any opening.
Most importantly, encourage your hens to lay more eggs by offering quality feed, freshwater, parasite control, and plenty of foraging. The beauty of foraging is that it helps with insects control your home and allows your birds to enjoy extra protein.
Can You Eat Yokohama Chickens Eggs?
Yokohama eggs are nutrient packed just like those from other birds. Take note that the tainted eggs are slightly smaller. A typical hen mainly produces eggs weighing about 40 Gms. As expected, bantams give smaller eggs at approximately 30 Gms.
Akin other chicken breeds, Yokohama hens suffering from insufficient calcium may produce weak shelled eggs. In the worst situation, the egg may even break inside the hen or on its way out. This often causes an infection known as Peritonitis. The condition requires immediate medical assistance to avoid an early death. In most cases, dependable vets use probiotic powder and antibiotics to boost good bacteria in the body.
Are Yokohama Chickens Good for Meat?
Yokohama’s diminutive size falls short of preferred carcass weight in the market. Also, the meat has a game taste that rarely goes well with most people. In other terms, Yokohama chicken meat has a wilder, stronger flavor. Some people claim that it tastes almost like a metallic flavor. You can detect the unique taste if you are more familiar with domesticated animal taste right away.
Although Yokohamas are poor meat producers, it does not harm harvesting some birds to explore some gamey flavor. However, you may have to get rid of the gamey taste by soaking the meat overnight in buttermilk. Another option is marinating the meat in a vinegar mixture with regular milk.
How Long do Yokohama Chickens Live?
The average lifespan for Yokohamas is six to eight years. This is the case with almost all chicken species. Bear in mind that insufficient food, filthy coops, and ailments affect poultry lifespan significantly.
It is pretty heartbreaking to lose your beautiful birds for the reasons mentioned. Simply put, prolong the lives of your flock by meeting their basic requirements like nutrition, medical health, and cleanliness.
Are Yokohama Chickens Friendly?
For individuals eager to take a friendly bird home, you can never go wrong with Yokohama chickens. Most encouragingly, they get along well with other chicken breeds and are not likely to cause brawls in your yard unless provoked.
Nevertheless, introducing new chickens to the flock requires a well-thought approach. For instance, if free-ranging, let new chickens roam first before mingling with the rest. Minutes later, allow them to mix and free-range together.
It might take roughly three weeks for new chickens to get used to a new environment. Mild pecking is normal as dominant birds claim a place in the flock. Even so, watch out if the fighting draws blood or takes more than 30 seconds. If things become unbearable, separate the offending bird from the rest.
Can Yokohama Chickens Get Wet?
Feathers are the first guard against wet and cold weather in chickens. They are moderately water-resistant, so birds can remain dry even when rained on. However, water may seep through during a heavy downpour and make your Yokohamas extremely wet. That explains why the birds may appear all happy outdoors during light showers.
You may even find them playing and drinking from puddles created outside in some cases.
Young chicks, unfortunately, do not have tough exterior feathers and may not enjoy this privilege. Thus, you might notice them seeking shelter once raindrops hit their delicate feathers. Even so, excess water may cause a couple of health complications for your flock, like respiratory distress.
If water finds its way in the coop, use sand beddings or other safer options such as pine or straw shavings. A heat lamp or lamp pad works magic in drying wet chickens quickly.
How Much do Yokohama Chickens Cost?
Mature Yokohama chickens cost exorbitantly compared to day-old chickens. This is because of costs incurred throughout the process. All in all, day-old chicks may cost you about $5. Laying hens can cost slightly more at approximately $10.
In addition, you may have to pay up to $20 for purebred birds for verified breeders. Without competent Yokohama chickens at the moment, there is a high likelihood that the price may go up in the future.
Raising Yokohamas is a fun project worth every coin. Not only are they super entertaining around the lawn, but a perfect choice for shows and exhibitions. We cannot forget to mention that they are super versatile with a rich history dating centuries back. All said and done; you can never go wrong with sassy Yokohamas because of their low maintenance and hardy nature.