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The KUROKASHIWA (Black Oak) 黒柏鶏

(Sometimes written: Kurogashiwa)

 


 

The Kurokashiwa is considered a part of the long-tailed ornamental fowl and even though many have lengthy crows, it is not officially a part of the Japanese "singers" categories.

 

This rooster comes from a line developed in North Central Japan and shows the particularly beautiful form and fullness of tail feathers of this exceptionally beautiful line. There are usually two to four predominately long feathers, the two to four upper main sickels, which reach a length of up to one meter in length.

 

In their second year, the secondary sickels reach the ground and grow nearly the length of the main upper sickles.

 

The sattle feathers are very full but not expressly long. This rooster's crow is long and deep, without undulation and sounds very un-chicken-like. Some sources say that the Gashiwa isn't a long-crower and shouldn't be classified as such, but all the birds extent in Europe have exceptionally long crows. The first crows of our rooster caused me to run out outside to see what manner of beast had come into the garden.


The faces of the hens are completely black, the roosters' are black-red with much black pigmentation at the base of the single combs. The soles of their feet are dark olive and the legs are black with olive hints. The nails on their

toes should be dark ivory-grey. A large bird, the hens have an excellent brooding nature and are excellent mothers. If regularly handled, this breed can be very tame and make exceptional pets.

 

My breeding stock and that of Knut Roeder in Osnabrück, Germany, plus those of Julia Keeling in the Isle of Man are the only known birds of this race outside of Japan to date.

 

In the last century no birds of this breed were allowed out of the country. This shot on the right is courtesy of www.onagadori.de (Knut Roeder) and shows two birds of excceptional beauty and refinement. Knut told me, however, that this stock is lost. What happened to them he wouldn't say.

 

A group of Kuro's at right. Please note the distinctively long sickles in the tail but the "normally short" saddle feathers. This is an important difference between the TOMARU and the KUROKASHIWA.

 

The KURO is a longtail fowl breed of antiquity, the TOMARU is a country chicken type with a beautiful, long crow and the pitch-black pigmentation of the KUROKASHIWA but not the up to one meter long main sickles as seen in the birds above.



Another distinguishing factor, at least in the birds that I have studied, is the horizontally carried tail and back in the KURO. The TOMARU has a tail that is carried higher and is longer-legged than the KURO.

This shot below left is from Mr Tatematsu of Japan and shows the distinquishing factors I mentioned above: well-set body, medium-length leg, horizontal carriage, full tail (here with a nice addition of mutant sickles and coverts) that touch and drag the ground. The saddles are full but not long. Combs should be medium to medium small in size and the points should be no less than four. Europeans prefer five to six as an average, but as yet I have not seen a Kurokashiwa with more than five points on the comb.

 

The hen below right, also by Mr Tatematsu (used here with permission), shows the extra pigmentation in the face of the hens. My hens were pitch-black in the face.


This shot at right was the only image that we in the west had of the Kurokashiwa for many years, and it did not give the impression of a longtail breed. It shows the horizontal carriage and the dark pigmentation.

This shot below is from www.onagadori.de, from Knut Roeder, and is a breath-taking example of this breed. I have not seen this high of quality of Kurkashiwa even in films from Japan. And yet Knut says that these are lost. What a terrible shame! It looks like mine are the only left in Europe.


 


Photo above right courtesy of Julia Keeling, Secretary - Asian Hardfeather Club.



 
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