Posts Tagged ‘rare poultry’

A Living Relic from the Past – by David Rogers

December 2, 2010
It’s been some time since I’ve made a blog entry. All of the things that come with summer have occupied my time. Tending fowl, both adults and chicks, and caring for the garden all leave me with little time during the warmer seasons. I thought I may resume my entries with some news from the world of long tailed fowl.

Since 1984 one of the most beautiful color phases of non-molting fowl was thought by most to be extinct. There were occasional whispers from untraceable sources that there were still a small pocket flock here or there, but nothing was ever confirmed.

It was early in 2010 that I was notified by my dear friend Toni-Marie Astin that she had been contacted by some good friends living in her state that a family in Alabama was looking for a home for a pullet. She was described as being simply a red bird with a black tail. It was not clear until Toni-Marie herself first saw the pullet if she was red duckwing or something far more rare.

Above – Chou-Akane, photo courtesy of Toni-Marie Astin
When Toni-Marie picked up the pullet from her friends’ residence, she was quite shocked. She called me immediately after the pick up. I could not believe my ears. The pullet was a precious gift who had defied all odds against her in her yet young life. This pullet’s father had died after fertilization. Her mother had died while still setting on the egg. The incubation was carried out by the keeper of the fowl, Mrs. Nakamura. This pullet was the Nakamura’s last surviving bird, named Chou-Akane 蝶茜.

Not only is she a beautiful specimen of Japanese long-tailed fowl, but she is also of the shojo color phase; shojo tane 猩々種, the “orangutan variety”. It had been decades since most people had known of, much less seen, one of these fowl. Toni-Marie raised the pullet at her facility and conducted one breeding by her best non-molting rooster. After this, Chou-Akane traveled by vehicle from Georgia to Indiana by way of Will Lawrence and Micheal Aldridge. Due to their efforts, this rare fowl was not put at risk through the postal service.

I marveled at the iridescent orange-red of the shojo color. It is indeed a spectacular color in its clean state without flecks.

Above – Hakuraikou and myself in the last part of August, 2010. His longest feathers here were only a few inches shy of 7 Ft in length. The longer ones were one year older than the shorter ones. He did not obtain all of his adult feathers in the same year. Most were still in blood-feather. His tail was clipped for breeding in the days following this photo. Photo courtesy of Will Lawrence.

Chou-Akane was bred with Hakuraikou 白雷光, my white non-molting rooster. They have produced 25 offspring to date, three of which are shojo. It looks as though that thanks to the efforts of many, the shojo color phase of non-molting fowl will survive and hopefully overcome what was surely near extinction.

When something so dear seems lost and gone forever, never give up hope. Miracles can come seemingly from nowhere.

Below – A one month old cockerel of the shojo color phase, still with the juvenile pattern showing, from Chou-Akane and Hakuraikou.

So here’s to preservation and finding that which seems lost!