they should have sent a poet (of chickens)
September 10, 2016 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Fancy chickens were all the rage in the late 19th century, so Lewis Wright's Illustrated Book of Poultry was a big hit. With hundreds of pages of high density chicken information and dozens of beautiful chromolithographs by ornithological artist J.W. Ludlow, the book stayed in print for more than 40 years. Harvard University just digitized the book for public viewing. Here's their blog post about it.

There's hundreds and hundreds of pages about housing, feeding, breeding, and killing your chickens, but if, like me, you just want to see the pretty pictures, it's easiest to find them by scrolling through the thumbnail view. Here's some of my favorites:

Know your chicken: diagram of the components of a rooster

Mr Tomlinson's Buff Cochin Cock "Sampson" (Winner of the Birmingham Cup in 1860 and 1861)

Mr H. Leworthy's Pair of Andalusians (both prize winners but, sadly, not together)

These Sultan Fowls have particularly spectacular hairstyles.

I have my suspicions that Mr J.K. Fowler's Pair of Rouen Ducks, though 14-time prize winners, are not actually chickens.
posted by moonmilk (29 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is a great post. Thank you for sharing.
posted by Fizz at 7:41 AM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: hundreds of pages of high density chicken information
posted by Fizz at 7:41 AM on September 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


This seems like the perfect time to share my favorite find of the year: The 2017 Extraordinary Chickens Calendar!

omg there's a goat edition now too
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:54 AM on September 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


None of the Harvard links works on the iPad. (Except the blog.)
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:05 AM on September 10, 2016


Hermione Granger, I had that as my calendar for last year. My calendar this year is not nearly as exciting, prints of Mark Rothko.
posted by Fizz at 8:10 AM on September 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


CheeseDigestsAll: sorry to hear that the book viewer doesn't work on iPad. Try the Page Delivery Service? It seems to use much more old-fashioned web tech than the links above.
posted by moonmilk at 8:15 AM on September 10, 2016


I see your goats and raise you (literally) trees.
posted by Etrigan at 8:29 AM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why are so many of the chickens wearing disco pants?
posted by fatbird at 8:36 AM on September 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Try the Page Delivery Service?

Excellent. Thank you!
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:47 AM on September 10, 2016


high density chicken information is not a phrase that I ever expected to read.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:57 AM on September 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


high density chicken information is not a phrase that I ever expected to read.

Enjoy.
posted by Fizz at 9:04 AM on September 10, 2016


CheeseDigestsAll: I was able to get some of the Viewer links to work on my iPad in the book view option, by they took a minute to load.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 9:04 AM on September 10, 2016




Looks like it's not the first copy to be digitized.
posted by lagomorphius at 9:19 AM on September 10, 2016


they took a minute to load.

I'm at work today, so I'm looking at them from a computer at Harvard, and the site is sluggish. Possibly the popularity of these chickens has broken the internet, a la Kim Kardashian.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:51 AM on September 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


If anybody in the USA wants to try their hand at raising some of these gorgeous fancy birds, you can get chicks by mail order from McMurray Hatchery in Iowa. (Yes, you can send baby chicks through the US mail!) There's a pretty large minimum order, so the little birdies can keep each other warm in transit. Or you might be surprised where feed stores persist in spite of urban/suburban sprawl, and you can get your little fluffballs and supplies there.

I had 2 - 3 Wyandottes in my tiny urban backyard for about 10 years, and they were entertaining and low-maintenance pets (who actually hated to be petted, unfortunately) who laid excellent eggs for 2 or 3 years and then devoted themselves to gobbling up bugs, table scraps, and what passed for my garden. Those dinosaur claws are powerful little backhoes! But tossing tasty table scraps to the flock and watching them race around and body-slam each other to claim the treats was a real hoot. They were also very handsome birds, and I think the neighbors were willing to put up with occasional cackling for the sake of admiring them. At least, the little boy next door loved them - his dad would hoist him up to look over the fence and he'd point and babble delightedly until his poor dad had to set him down again. The next generation of chicken fanciers is on the way!
posted by Quietgal at 10:17 AM on September 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


they should have sent a poet (of chickens)

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white fancy
chickens
posted by languagehat at 10:47 AM on September 10, 2016 [4 favorites]




Via MeFi's own Horace Rumpole. :)

Oh, hi MeFi's own Horace Rumpole! Yes, that's where I saw it first!
posted by moonmilk at 11:01 AM on September 10, 2016


Marvelous post! Thanks.
posted by nickyskye at 11:38 AM on September 10, 2016


Your chickens were so tasty
that I baked them
in a creamy mushroom sauce
with cauliflower
posted by infini at 11:42 AM on September 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


John Martin's Rose-combed Dorking Cock "Champion" is pretty magnificent both in name and appearance!
posted by ghostpony at 12:07 PM on September 10, 2016


infini, that sounds like an actual recipe and I demand that you post it!
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:30 PM on September 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


... pretty magnificent both in name and appearance!

And he looks like he knows it, the smug bastard!
posted by fatbird at 12:34 PM on September 10, 2016


infini, that sounds like an actual recipe and I demand that you post it!

1 can of Campbell's mushroom soup
Cauliflower florets, about half a large head's worth
Diced chicken, uncooked
A few white mushrooms, sliced
pepper and salt
parmesan or other grated cheese

- proportion of chicken and cauliflower to taste

rice, buttered adn steaming hot


------

Boil cauliflower florets till al dente or steam in microwave
Saute chicken adn mushroom in a dab of butter
Make soup, don't add the milk instruction, use only water
throw in everything into the soup once it starts warming up and the lumps are gone
salt and pepper to taste
stir in the cheese, it thickens the sauce a wee bit

ladle over hot buttered rice to taste i.e i like mine soupy rather than dry

eat


ps. you can also bake it au gratin but this is faster
posted by infini at 12:40 PM on September 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Oh my god. See page 344 for the story of the invention of the cock-saddle. (SFW) Page 345 is also worth reading for its jovial description of the inventor's favourite cock.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:00 PM on September 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think the last link should be this.
posted by severiina at 5:02 PM on September 10, 2016




I love chickens and I love this. I am going through all the plates and can't even choose my favourite.

I need a calendar of these chicken plates.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:39 PM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


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