Phoenix Chickens | Beautiful Exhibition Birds


Phoenix chickens are a German breed of chickens meant as “garden chickens” after finding out that the Japanese Onagadoris weren’t able to survive in cold Europe. Today, these birds are great as pets and for egg laying while also coming with excellent flight skills. Many breeders also breed them for exhibitions.

Brief History on the Phoenix Chicken

These chickens are a German breed by Mr. Hugo du Roi, first president of the National German Poultry Association. This breed started out from the Onagadori breed and bred crossed with Leghorns and a few other breeds. Some of the other breeds involved in their development are the following:

  • Malay
  • Krüper
  • Modern Game
  • Bruegge Game
  • Old English Game
  • Ramelsloher
  • Yokohama

After extensive breeding initiatives, the first birds were born and were given their name to symbolize being the phoenix bird rising from the ashes of its forgotten forebearers.

Black Breasted Red Phoenix
Black-Breasted Red Phoenix advertised by

Three different variants of this bird are officially recognized by the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection, which are the following:

  • Silver recognized in 1965
  • Golden recognized in 1983
  • Black-Breasted Red recognized in 2018

Modern Phoenixes are docile birds and are recognized as ornamental and exhibition breeds. These birds are best suited for estates with large swathes of land from where they can roam and enjoy a good deal of freedom. Additionally, these birds only number below 10,000 worldwide so there isn’t a lot of these birds to influence the meat, poultry, and cockfighting industries. As such, sabong bettors won’t likely see any of them in the cockpits of Sabong International, unless some breeders use and breed them back with Malays or other cockfighting breed to produce beautiful and long-tailed fighters.

Key Features of Phoenix Birds

Big Phoenix chicken
A Phoenix chicken as photographed by Lukas Beno/ Source:

Modern Phoenixes are distinguishable from both Onagadori and Yokohamas through the following:

  • Medium size
  • Single comb with five points
  • Bright red combs and wattles
  • Clean blue legs
  • Silver, golden, and black-breasted feathers, depending on specific variety
  • Smooth shanks

This breed’s roosters aren’t well-known for their combat proficiency as they all have a friendly and well-trained temperament as well as being flighty, which aren’t good traits for cockfighters. Any aggression their roosters will exhibit will be that on the standard backyard chicken’s and won’t be ideal for cockfighting.

Still, Malays were once the ancestors of modern Phoenixes and some breeders might experiment with them and mix in other cockfighting breeds to create new gamefowl strains.

What Phoenix Chickens are Known for

Modern Phoenixes are well-known as ornamental and exhibition birds as well as backyard birds. These chickens thanks to their docile temperament and the fact that they’re good egg-layers can help backyard breeders produce more chicks or have some backyard eggs for breakfast. They are also good meat birds but they aren’t excellent as both a meat bird and as an egg layer, so breeders might want to cross their lines with well-known egg layers or meat birds to improve their chickens.

Because there’re too few Phoenixes worldwide, only about 10,000, the best use for these birds is to increase their numbers to take it off the watch list and to further improve this through crossing. Who knows, some breeders might be able to develop cockfighting birds out of these in the future.

Should Breeders Use Phoenixes for Cockfighting?

Kelso Gamefowls
A Kelso rooster that may be able to introduce aggressiveness to Phoenixes.

No. At least not until they’ve increased their stock of Phoenixes and have bred a cockfighter bloodline out of this bird. Introducing Malays can add strength and vigor to the birds, Asils may turn this bird into a heavyweight fighter, Shamos might improve durability, while Kelsos might turn this into an aggressive bird. Breeders should first increase their birds and experiment with a few cockfighter breeds before devoting these chickens to cockfighting.


Phoenixes are beautiful birds developed in response to Onagadoris not surviving in Europe and breeders intensely breeding an offshoot for their use. Still, some gamefowl breeders might think of producing new gamefowl birds from this breed using cockfighters.

If you’re breeding this bird, consider selling some chicks to the market and help more breeders increase this breed’s numbers. Who knows, some of them might have an interest in developing a new gamefowl breed and bloodline and you might see their resulting Phoenix gamefowl offshoots in certain cockpits.

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